Over the past few years I've slowly been replacing items in my kitchen to create a silver theme with the appliances. With that in mind, I decided to buy a new toaster fairly recently. Whilst our original toaster still works fine, I like to have a back up just in case!
Researching & buying
I read a lot of reviews all over the web before I settled on this Prestige toaster; however I did have a specific set of requirements before I started looking. I wanted a two slice toaster that was as compact as possible (my kitchen is extremely small), a brushed silver colour (too much cleaning required for polished!), that held regular size slices of bread and wouldn't blow up. I did originally think that maybe I'd be better off narrowing my search by price as well, but it's lucky I didn't because there are very few toasters which met my requirements. In fact, a grand total of about 2. Once I'd disqualified the ones with bad reviews, I was left with 0. Hmm. Back to the drawing board.
In the end I decided that colour was the best place to compromise, and as my slow cooker, bread bin and blender all have black on them as well, I decided to include that in my search. I ended up buying this Prestige toaster for £24.99 from Amazon based on Amazon, Argos and Dooyoo reviews which were pretty enthusiastic about it. There were a couple of reviews from people who complained that their toast wasn't quite evenly done on both sides, but I'm not the kind of person who has time to check - or care. As long as it's not black on one side and raw on the other, it'll do.
Looks and Features
The toaster casing is predominantly black plastic, which is actually much better than my first choice of silver as there's much less chance of anyone burning themselves on it compared to a metal casing. As we are quite clumsy, use the kitchen at a different time to our housemates and have cats, this was an important advantage for us. If you have kids it's probably something to consider as well. The area just around and on top of the slots is a shiny chrome, but it's only a tiny bit to clean and not very noticeable if you can't be bothered. The stripe down the front, as shown on DooYoo's picture above, is a light grey/white plastic. The toaster is nowhere near as shiny as it looks above, and it looks quite classy with the exception of the 'Cancel' and 'Defrost' text above the buttons on the front which just makes it appear really cheap and awful.
However, they are practical if you have bad eyesight because you shouldn't have too much of a problem reading them. I might try to scratch the wording off with my fingernails at some point because it's cheaply applied.
Whilst this toaster is not any wider or longer than my previous (small) toaster, it is taller. So it doesn't take up any more 'useful' space on my worktop than my previous toaster, which is a definite advantage for a small kitchen, yet it is tall enough to do a good job toasting. This is actually more impressive than it sounds, because companies seem to be making their toasters bigger and bigger, and not all of us have the space - particularly as you need to pull it out from under cupboards to avoid damaging them. It's hard to find a good, reasonably sized toaster.
One of the nice features of this toaster is that there are a series of lights on the front, corresponding to the numbers 1-5 for you to identify how well done you want your toast (5 being practically burnt, 1 being lightly toasted). The lights will also flash to tell you what stage your toast is at, i.e. if you set it to number 4, the first light will start flashing, then as it reaches stage 2 you will get two lights flashing etc. This is great if you want to take your toast out early but aren't sure how well it's done, or if you want a rough idea of how much longer you have to wait. It also means that you can tell whether the toaster is already in use from across the room, which is useful.
To use the toaster, you simply put the bread in, push down the lever, and then select how well done you want your toaster by pressing the button as many times as you require to light more lights up. The defrost and cancel buttons work well enough with a simple press. The Cancel button isn't really necessary when you can just switch the toaster off at the plug, but some people might appreciate it.
The toaster is advertised as having an 'auto pop up' feature, which is pretty much expected with a toaster. Using medium sliced bread it doesn't pop up too well and the lever needs to be pulled up to get the toast out, aka the 'high-lift facility' which is supposed to be for small items but is in fact necessary for pretty much everything. The crumb tray is easy to remove as advertised and it's suggested that you empty it after every time you use the toaster (I haven't emptied it at all yet). There are variable width slots although I would be quite dubious about being able to use toaster bags in them to make a cheese toastie - they just don't look wide enough to me.
The most important thing to me was the depth of the slots. My housemate in particular was annoyed with our other toaster because there was always a white untoasted 'stripe' at the top of the bread where it was too tall to be toasted. With this Prestige toaster, the reviews were fairly vague about this, but as there were no complaints I decided to live dangerously (ha). The final verdict is that it will *just* toast a slice of medium sliced white bread from Hovis and the like, but if you make your own or prefer large loaves you will have to deal with the white stripe effect.
Whilst I like my toast only lightly done ('warm bread' as some people call it), we do have a range of different preferences in our house and this toaster caters for all those needs. Most people will probably have the toaster set on 3 or 4 for a warm honey colour, but the important thing is that the bread will be evenly toasted and toasted all the way to the ends. It took me a really long time to find a toaster which ticked all the boxes, but I made the right decision thanks to the reviews.
* Doesn't take up much space
* Toasts pretty evenly
* Nice feature to show how well your toast is done/doing
* Varied levels of browning/toasting
* Doesn't get too hot
* Looks fairly good
* Reasonable price
* Fits medium slices of bread
* A bit cheap looking close up (particularly the text on the front)
* High-lift lever is necessary for removal
* Anything larger than medium sliced won't be toasted to the top
This toaster is also available in red, and there's a matching kettle for both colourways if you want to co-ordinate.
I wasn't looking for a toaster when I bought this, but I'd purchased the Prestige kettle just a week or two before and fell in love with it. We wanted to update our kitchen a little and a red theme, rather than stainless steel, seemed like a funky change. I was quite surprised at how expensive some of these more contemporary appliances are; there was a small handful of makes and models of red toasters to choose from, but the Dakota won hands down for its price alone when compared next to another toaster at twice its price. Having seen it had 4-5 stars ratings on the Argos site I picked one up and have been very happy with it since. It cost £25 when I bought it, and it's now also available in black (as per the image on here).
... Appearance ...
The biggest attraction, and thing that hits you in the face about this toaster, is its vibrant colour. It does seem a bit of a brighter red than the pictures on some sites suggest, but it's very bold, shiny and rich. I used to be one for stainless steel, something quite standard but classic and versatile so it wouldn't date. I've since changed my mind and have decided that plastic fantastic is the way to go; the Dakota is glossy and as such doesn't collect fingerprint marks or cleaning smudges or scratches in the way that steel often does. It does have steel at the top, which I've so far found to be fine to wipe down and has stayed looking in great condition, adding a great finishing touch to the toaster. The base, along with the push-down lever, is a dark grey colour.
Down the front is a clear strip that gets slightly wider towards the top, and two round buttons either side of it at the bottom. Looking at the image is probably far better than my description! Anyway, rather than looking futuristic I think this just sets the toaster apart and makes it original. It does have a 60s/70s feel to it, but you don't need a retro kitchen for it to fit. On its own, it's a good way to add a splash of colour and liven things up a little. I also really like its curved edges rather than a brick-like structure with straight lines; it has a more contemporary, yet retro at the same time (is that possible) appearance.
... Technical ...
Perhaps not quite 'technical' are its measurements: 31 x 18 x 20cm. This is a 2 slice toaster that actually fits normal size slices of bread without leaving half a slice sticking out of the top. I can fit regular bread it vertically or horizontally, though two pieces are rather snug if you wanted a sandwhich, so it does the job for me.
The press-down lever has a 'high lift facility', so you can push it up to bring up whatever your cooking slightly and make it easier to remove (which is really useful for crumpets!).
The two round buttons I mentioned are for defrost (which I haven't used so can't really comment on) and cancel, so you can pop the toast up whenever you want rather than wait for it to do so automatically. I'm a big fan of the cancel button because I'm not trusting enough to let an inanimate object, no matter how cool looking, to make me perfect toast.
The front panel consists of 5 LED indicators to control the 'browning', so one light means it's on the lowest and 5 means you're wanting your toast well tanned!
At the bottom are non-slip feet which I've found to work really well at keeping the toaster in place, and a removable crumb tray, which makes cleaning it much easier.
... The Brand ...
I'd come across Prestige before, but I think that was just a frying pan. I wasn't really aware of their range until I saw the toaster & kettle, and found that the company has been going for over 50 years. The name is now one I trust and think highly of for their innovation and reliability of products, so I'm a happy customer.
Their range seems to be expanding to cover various kitchen goodies in different colours, so you can get a one-off piece for your kitchen or go the whole hog and colour co-ordinate. The prices seem fairly reasonable, but in terms of the toasters there were more expensive Prestige models available. I opted for this one because I wanted plastic rather than metal for the casing (due to ease of cleaning etc) and I don't see the point in spending a fortune on a toaster unless it really does make perfect toast without having to turn it several times in every direction.
... Usage ...
Okay, so toasters are pretty easy to operate because you put your bread in and push the button down and wait. There's not much I can say about its usage other than everything works smoothly; the push down mechanism is quite sturdy and the cancel button pops up the toast quickly and effectively. It's also easy to push up your crumpets slightly by raising the push-down mechanism up, just to get you a few extra millimetres leverage to remove it.
Whilst noise doesn't really bother me because I never expected the toaster to be silent, I should mention that it's fairly loud both pushing the lever down and popping something up.
The lights indicate how brown you want your toast and these are easy to set by pressing a button at the bottom. Clicking it once each time you want to add a light means you can go from 1 to 5 settings, and once it reaches 5 it will start from 1 again. It works really quickly and the lights come on in blue, solid rather than flickering, so they look pretty and they're easy and clear to see. The slightly strange thing about them is that once you leave your food in there for a short while, the top light will start flashing and eventually the lights will reduce. This is a good thing in the sense that it's aimed to make sure you don't blacken whatever you're cooking, but if something's underdone and you want it more brown then you need to keep an eye on the lights and increase them if they decrease automatically.
Cleaning the toaster is really straightforward because it's got the plastic case, so a quick wipe down does the trick without getting any scratches or smudges all over it. The removable tray at the bottom comes out easily and manages to catch the majority of crumbs well, so I was really pleased with this.
The toaster is quite lightweight, too, so it's easy to pick up but it wont knock over or move with the slightest touch because of the grips at the bottom. The cable is a decent length that can be kept wrapped so as not to cause any 'health and safety' issues, but I find it's just right for my use. Unless you're needing to use a plug a good few feet away then you should be fine with this.
... The Results ...
It's a bit unfair to say that this doesn't make perfect toast, because I'm yet to come across a toaster that does! Being under £30, I expected a good quality toaster that looked good, but I also anticipated that it would be much like toasters I've used in the past where I've had to fiddle with the bread every now and again to get it brown on both sides.
The browning function really does help and after a few days experimenting I found the settings I prefer and how long I need to wait roughly for different things (ie crumpets, white / brown bread). I do turn the bread to get it toasted evenly, but it's quick enough to do so I can't really complain.
... Negatives? Surely not! ...
There are only 2 slight niggles I have: 1 is with the metal bars on the inside, which sometimes catch the corner of a smaller piece of bread when popping it up. It may be unfair to blame the toaster, however, as it could just be the bread curling up and getting caught. The other small thing is that there's like a trench around the top between the metal (where you pop the bread in) and plastic, where crumbs can build up. This isn't really a problem because you can shake them out, but I thought it might be worth mentioning. It could actually be a positive, because more crumbs in the toaster means less crumbs on the worktop! Other than that, I've had no problems with this and aside from needing to turn the bread as with most toasters, this does this job and looks lovely at the same time.
... Recommend? ...
Yes I would recommend the Dakota if you're looking for something stylish, but practical and works well at a reasonable price. There are cheaper toasters around, but there are also far more expensive ones, and having not seen many good quality red toasters I would say this is one to look out for. I should also mention that there are other colours available, so there's no need to buy red if you think it's too garish for your taste (hilst I would normally say red plastic would look tacky and cheap, this actually looks quite classy) then a black version is available too. Now I've got the toaster and kettle, and have bought some red mugs too, I've got my eye on a set of tea/sugar/coffee canisters next to complete the set!
Selling for £24.95 at Argos 11.2010 / £26 Amazon
(Also reviewed by me, gothic_moon, on Ciao)
If you read my review on the Kenwood TTM404 last year, then you will know that I wasn't particulary very pleased with this toaster as it was so slow. I managed to put up with it for the past year, but now that Tesco's are doing their double up deals it was time for me to change it in.
I was getting fed up with the stainless steel ones and decided to go for a two slice toaster instead of the 4 slice that we have at the moment (it's not often that we have to do more that 2 at a time anyway!).
This particular one came out good in all the reviews that I read so I decided to buy the Prestige Dakota. Coming in a nice shiny black colour it would certainly fit into any colour range ( I believe that you can also buy this in red too).
Having wide deep slots it meant that we could still toast crumpets and muffins as well as bread. Being completely black apart from the stainless steel top where to bread goes in this was a smart looking toaster. On the front there is a clear panel that has 5 numbered markings on it, these are one on top of the other which are clearly marked out. At the bottom of this panel there is a stainless steel button that has the word "Browning" written above it.
The idea for this button is as it say's you decide which level of brownness that you want your toast and press this up to 5 times, which then goes on to light up each number you press with a bright blue light.
Each blue light comes in the form of a tiny circle. As the bread toasts the lights will reduce as it gets browner, going down to 1 then it will pop up.
The blue lights will then return on and will stay lit up for around 2 minutes just to warn other people that the toaster is hot and just been used. This will stay at this setting unless you unplug the toaster then you will have to re press the numbers again.
As for the time issue it toasts really quickly and very evenly, each slice of bread has been browned to perfection and so far we haven't had one piece that has been even near burnt!
On each side of of the panel there are 2 black buttons, the one on the left is the "Defrost" button. This when pressed will increase the time of toasting for frozen foods, such as bread, crumpets, muffins ect...
On the other side is the "Cancel" button, this is incase you decide to stop the toasting function ( I can't think why you would!).
When toasting smaller items you can lift the lever arm upwards which will bring the crumpets up so it is easier to lift out. This can be found on the right of the toaster, otherwise the toast will just pop up when finished.
On the front at the bottom you will find the crumb tray, this is a large square steel tray which slides in and out very easily unlike some other toasters that I have used. This toaster seems to stay a lot cleaner and always looks lovely sitting at the back of the breakfast bar . All it needs is a quick wipe over with a damp cloth and it looks like new.
This is a "Coolwall" toaster so it stays cool on the sides, but be warned that it does get very hot on the top where the toast pops out, as I discovered the other day when my finger accidently touched the top OUCH!
I bought my toaster from Tesco's for £25.97, but it can be purchased from many different places for around the same price. I'm very pleased with my buy and would strongly recommend this toaster to anyone. This also comes with a 2 year guarantee.
5 Dooyoo Stars for a great toaster that actually does work properly!
The well designed Prestige 51048 Dakota Toaster in black 2 Slice is made in a high gloss metallic finish / The Dakota toaster has toasting slots of variable width for either thick or thin bread / It features auto pop up reheat and defrost settings mid cycle cancellation button 5 position electronic browning control with LED indicator Non-slip feet and easy removable crumb trayPrestige Dakota 2 Slice Toaster 31 cm x 19 cm x 20 cmHigh Lift facility for easy removable of small items and deep variable slots for toasting thick and thin bread5 position electronic browning control with LED indicatorDefrost and mid cycle cancel buttonsNon-slip feet and easy removable crumb tray / Short name: Prestige 51048