Gadget name: Magimix by Robot-Coupe Vision Toaster
Note: The brushed stainless-steel model we tested is only available through Williams-Sonoma, but models in ivory, red, or black are available for $199.95 at CHEFS Catalog. The technology of the units is identical.
It looks like: A terrarium of a toaster: Its see-through panels allows for close toast monitoring. This sleek machine has one long slot to toast two slices of sandwich bread or one long slice of artisanal bread.
What we were looking for: We expect that a good toaster should pop out nicely browned bread in the shade that you select. We also wanted a durable appliance that could handle lots of bread in rapid succession (in the occasion that you’re making toast for many) and last for years in our kitchen. Frankly, we couldn’t find a toaster priced below $100 that satisfied all our reasonable toast expectations, so we scoped higher-priced models to see if they could make the grade.
How we tested it: We varied the settings and made light, medium, and dark slices and watched out for any uneven, burned, or dark-on-one-side-only pieces of toast. To test its ability for handling crowds, we made three batches of toast in rapid succession and then made 50 more slices with a little more time in between batches. Then we tackled bagels, toaster pastries, English muffins, and frozen waffles.
How it actually works: The Magimix’s controls are simple and it produced great slices of toast time after time. It was the clear winner in our recent testing of 10 toasters.
Good to know: This high-end toaster was the only model we tested with quartz heating elements. (Most everyday toasters have heating elements made of Nichrome wires, the trade name for an alloy of nickel and chromium, which are wrapped across a flameproof mica sheet. As electricity flows through the wires, they radiate heat.) But the Magimix is different: Large quartz rods are placed along the top and bottom of each side of a single long slot. Quartz is highly responsive, cooling and heating rapidly, and it emits intense heat to toast the exterior of the slice while leaving the inside moist. This also helps explain the toaster’s high price.
My favorite part: We could hit a central “stop” button if we wanted to arrest the browning (which we could view in real-time through its clear sides).
Cheaper alternative: If you think $200 is just too much to pay for excellent toast, we recommend (with reservations) our best buy: The KitchenAid 2-Slice Toaster (Model #KMT222OB) is available on Amazon.
Overall: If we can send a robot to Mars, why is it so hard to find a toaster that works well? As a high-performance model with quartz heating elements, the Magimix is the ultimate machine for those who appreciate the sheer joy of perfect toast.