To be fair I was influenced to buy this because it's one of these retro pieces that looks rather good in the kitchen. The casing is an attractive shiny steel one, with "Dualit" stamped out on the side. Yes, it has a robust, sturdy design- nothing really to go wrong. It has like a clockwork timer to control how long bread is heated for. To bring the toast up you push the lever at the front and out it comes. It can keep toast warm as it has no pop up function. However, it does mean you have no favourite setting you can have it in every day, so a degree of supervision is recommended to prevent burning!
What I do like about this though is how you can buy new elements for it when needed, unlike other toasters. this, I find in my experience is the most common thing to fail any toaster. So it's then just a matter of purchasing a new element from the Internet or wherever you find them- but to be honest, I've had this toaster in full regular use since 2006 and it's still going strong, so I'm yet to find out how easy the elements are to replace in reality!
I find the dualit good at toasting bread evenly, but if I were to put anything taller than a standard toasting loaf, perhaps a slice of a large farmhouse from my local bakery (tesco!) then I'd have to keep turning each slice upside down to get both ends toasted. A bit of a pain really. It's a shame also that, for the price of this toaster, that it didn't come with those toasted sandwich racks. To be honest, now I'm older, and with less money to throw around, I would probably be hard pressed to buy a toaster again. Plenty of toasters last for years at a fraction of the cost, and toast bread in just the same way. I don't believe that customers arevable to replace the elements make these a financially sensible option.
I would go as far as to say that high price of these things is not so much to do with quality as it is the demand created by people like me to own one- really just to make the kitchen look posh!
WHen a toaster costs you £100+ then either it must make the toast for you and bring it up to you or in the case of this machine it must be the only toaster you will need for the rest of your life.
I bought this model as I was fed up with mass produced toasters going the way of all cheap machines that are not built to last and after a recommendation someone told me this was a model that not only was built to last but you could buy spare parts for in case of any failures of elements (which after 5 years is yet to happen).
The toasters main features are a lever which lowers and raises bread (no springs here to go wrong!) which has a reassuringly solid feel. There is a one slice or two option switch and there is a timer for how long to cook the bread for. The timer gets some time to get used to but mainly I just turn it to the 2nd timing point and that will do it how i like it.
There is a crumb tray which is easily removed from the front at the bottom. The toaster has a solid look and is finished in a chrome metal look that reflects the solid nature of this toaster.
It is expensive but if I split it down so far its £20 a year which is about what I would have sepnt on new toasters anyway and it is still going very well.