No Flying Cars Yet, But How About a $300 Touchscreen Toaster?

Tech 1 week ago ExtremeTech-RSS 23

Toast. It’s typically prepared by carefully burning both sides of a piece of fungus-infused grain paste that’s been previously cooked until it formed a solid mass. Once this intermediate stage, known as “bread” has been produced, a second piece of equipment called a “toaster” is deployed. This second appliance is responsible for transforming bread into its scorched, dehydrated form. Dedicated hardware for the manufacturing of toast to a user-specified temperature and burn level has been a staple of American fast-breaking since the first Model 1-A-1 Toastmaster hit store shelves in 1925.

And according to Revolution Cooking, we’ve basically been doing it all wrong.

The Revolution R180 is billed as “the world’s first 2-slice, high-speed smart toaster.” The key word in that sentence is “smart.” High-speed toasters have been a thing ever since someone said “What if toast, but faster?” Granted, we didn’t have the same rules about keeping lead out of the drinking water back then that we do now, but “What if X but faster?” is pretty straightforward. So is “What if toast, but four?” No, we’re pretty sure that the smarts of the toaster are the big hook here.

Revolution’s website invites you to ask “What’s so revolutionary” and then to watch a video, but let me save you some time: The R180 is a toaster. It makes bread, like, super-fast and it has a smart screen, in case you’re confused about what’s going to come out of the toaster after you push a button.

I suppose this could be considered a revolution, especially if you’re an 18th-century cook reading this review through a time machine (and Google Translate), but very few people in the 21st century live a life sufficiently centered around toast to make this a must-have. There are exceptions, to be sure. This gentlemen really ought to be the first stop on Revolution Cooking’s must-have influencer shortlist:

The R180 is very fast. It has a nifty diamond-shaped pattern. According to the web page, many things that fit inside of other toasters will also fit into this one, like Pop Tarts, square waffles, bagels, and, oh yes — actual bread. You can join something called the “Breakfast Club.” You can register your toaster. You can actually register your toaster. Revolution refers to its method of making toast as “a patented heating system that offers a faster, hotter, more consistent and precise heating experience, locking in moisture and flavor.”

Allow me to translate: “We optimized the heating element and verified the chamber heats evenly.”

The FAQ section of the Revolution site actually contains some useful information on what sorts of bread fits in the toaster and what kinds of material you should and should not toast. This is genuinely important and I want to call it out. If you’re buying a new gadget whose signature feature is its ability to calibrate itself to the tastes of Louis XIV, all so that your Wonderbread-eating carcass can have a properly blackened wheat square, and you consider this a good use of your time and money, you really ought to check and make sure whatever you’re going to put in the toaster won’t cause a fire.

But the reason I bring up the FAQ is that it includes some true gems like this one:

That’s right. We’ve arrived at the point where you can bluescreen a toaster.

Not everyone agrees with my dubious take on the value of a $300 toaster. Here’s a somewhat positive review, noting that the toaster offers five food settings and seven toasting shades to optimize based on type. I’ll give the company credit for this much: While the idea of sticking a mobile phone screen on a toaster is not an appealing one as far as I’m concerned, they at least didn’t compound the mistake by attaching Wi-Fi. Imagine the pain of discovering you can’t play Doom on your fridge, make coffee in the microwave, and update your toaster’s recipes on Wi-Fi simultaneously because your toaster and your microwave don’t like each other. Quelle horreur!

There are a lot of fast toasters that toast two slices of toast at the same time. Amazon carries quite a few for prices ranging from $30-$100. But — if you need another touchscreen to lend purpose to your life — you can buy an R180 for ~$300. Maybe it’ll find a home on your kitchen counter next to the Juicero.

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