Are you familiar with the old saw "a watched kettle never boils"? That's the way I feel sometimes when I drop a couple of pieces of bread or a bagel or muffin in the toaster, push the lever down and it seems like an eternity until it pops up.
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I kind of like to be there at that moment ready to spread the hot fresh slice with some cold butter or whatever and watch it melt into the bread.
Now Cusinart has the answer with a digital minutes then seconds countdown timer right there on the front to let you know the exact instant when it's pop up time. The timer of course automatically sets itself depending on which cycle and the darkness setting you set. Here, there are four cycles, normal, bagel, defrost and reheat and six darkness settings.
Each cycle has it's own clearly labeled button accompanied by a blue LED which lights when it's chosen. Below that is a cancel button to stop everything and pop your toast up. The darkness setting is a big hunkin' dial easy to see, find, read and set even without your glasses.
The two (or four) depending on the model you buy, toaster slots have the automatic centering mechanism to keep your toast to be, well, centered equidistant from the heating wires.
There are toasters out there where the BAGEL button is designed to shut off the outside heating element so that only the inside cut sides of the bagel toast leaving the outside warm but not toasted. A part of me wishes this was one of those, alas, here the bagel button simply adds more time to the cycle.
The DEFROST button is great for defrosting then toasting frozen bread , pancakes, waffles, french toast etc. There are tips in the instruction booklet, do you read toaster instruction booklets? for which darkness setting works best for each category.
Because of the presence of the timer, the REHEAT button should be redundant but if you let your toast get cold this button will reheat it without any further toasting.
The toaster is brushed stainless steel which means the outside get's hot in use, and measures 9 1/2" X 7" by 6", L,H,Width, it has a slide-out crumb tray on the back and cord winding notches on the bottom. Cusinart generously gives a 3 year limited warranty.
After all is said and done, the end product is what counts. I can't find any fault with that. The toast is perfectly browned on both sides. For this review I tried several darkness settings and it was consistent even for multiple cycles. A typical medium settings takes exactly 2 minutes 30 seconds.
One quick tip. Out of the box there's a plastic film over the timer window with 2:30 printed on it, presumably for point of sale use. Don't do what I did and leave it on there then wonder why it always said 2:30 even when the toast was done.
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Amount Paid (US$): 74.95