This is my first review of an electrical appliance so please don't judge me too harshly!
I purchased this toaster at some point last year because it was the cheapest I could find that toasted four slices at once. The price on Amazon is £28.44 but I am quite convinced I did not pay that price for it, I either bought it from Currys or Comet, and it was less than £20, but the price may have gone up since then, but who knows with the prices of things these days. That is a confusing sentence.
So when I brought it home, to say my husband was disgusted was an understatement. He couldn't believe I had purchased something electrical without first of all consulting him and discussing the pros and cons at great length, before ultimately buying something that he liked adorned with bells and whistles. But he was also repulsed by the fact that this plain white lump of plastic only had one; yes that's one button/knob on the front! Doing toast was never going to be entertaining again.
*** So what does it do? ***
Well...it toasts bread! On the front of the toaster is a very small dial which is numbered up to 5 (for the length of time you want your bread toasting for), there is also a little * after the 5 which indicates the defrost function. This dial is also the cancel button - if you want to pop the toast before the allotted time, you have to turn this dial back to zero and then your toast will pop.
There are actually only two bread slots, but they are wide enough (I think the technical term is 'long-slot') to fit two slices of bread in each, so you can toast four slices at once. This is another reason I chose this toaster, because although I do often have to toast four slices at the same time, which is fine for square bread, we sometimes have rectangular bread and it is possible to fit the bread in sideways and the full slice gets toasted. But doing it this way means you can only toast two at once. But I would prefer to only toast two at once than have four half-toasted slices; if you see what I mean. I hate rectangular bread.
There is a removable crumb tray at the bottom which slides out very smoothly and the crumbs are easily discarded. I also like to give the toaster a good shake while this crumb tray is out to remove any loitering crumbs. But no matter how hard I shake it, as soon as I put it back down on the work top a trillion more breadcrumbs fall out.
*** Does it serve its purpose well? ***
Well I think it does an okay job; but my husband hates it and complains about it most of the time (we eat a lot of toast in this house), but I think that's just because he's a man and he likes his electrical equipment to be a bit jazzy and have other pointless functions.
When I am doing 4 slices of square bread at once, I usually set the dial between 2 and the 3 and it more often than not comes out okay. Sometimes it might be a bit on the dark side, and other times it might be a bit under-done. It really is the luck of the draw, but I tend to just keep my eye on it, and pop it when it is of the desired 'toast-status'. Now this might be a pain for some people, but it really doesn't bother me, I'm usually hanging around in the kitchen anyway, so I don't mind keeping a close eye on my toast. If you were to put the dial any higher than 3 then I think it is safe to say your toast would be frazzled.
Something we have noticed about the toast that comes out of this toaster is that it is not always uniformly toasted; there are sometimes 'untoasted' sections, which infuriates my other half, but again I don't mind so much. I just like toast, and enjoy it however it comes, but he is clearly a toast perfectionist, and to be honest I don't think he would ever find the perfect toaster, so I am quite glad I bought this cheap one rather that paying a fortune for one that probably toasts bread just as well, but doesn't even accommodate rectangular bread!
It seems to perform at its best when just toasting two rectangles, I actually did two slices of white rectangular toast the other day (for a guest, I do not usually toast rectangular white bread, me and my girls eat brown squares most of the time), and they came out perfectly. I left them in for the full amount (between the 2 & 3) and they came out nicely bronzed, and no sections were untoasted. And I think the guest thoroughly enjoyed them. Needless to say my husband wasn't around to put them off.
*** Other Points To Mention ***
You will hear a slight humming when the toaster is in action, but I think this is a good sign, so you know it's working ok!
The toaster is very easy to keep clean. The exterior is plain white plastic which can easily be wiped clean, and it doesn't show up finger prints (like many expensive chrome or brushed steel appliances!!)
The toast slots are actually quite narrow and may not fit extra thick bread inside - so people who are fans of thick crusty bread would maybe be disappointed.
The toaster does not have rubber feet, so it tends to move about on the work top, my husband finds this annoying, especially when he is turning the dial, he has to (heaven forbid!) use two hands - one to hold onto the toaster, and the other to turn the dial. Some people may also find this irritating.
*** Conclusion ***
Well it seems to me that this toaster does quite a good job, and if you are someone who just wants a toaster that toasts normal bread, then this could be the toaster for you.
It is cheap, it's reliable (I must have had it for nearly a year now), it toasts rectangle bread (a major plus point in my opinion), it has clear controls, and the toast is great most of the time.
I think it's a reasonably good toaster. My husband would disagree.
If you like fancy things in your kitchen then you should probably avoid this toaster; maybe if you are a perfectionist, you should probably avoid it too; also if you don't like 'toast-watching', then maybe you should also avoid.
But it serves my needs just fine and that is why I am giving it 4 stars.
Short name: Philips HL5224