Thursday, January 17, 2008

Toaster Review: The Sanyo SK-7 "Bagel Best"

A fancy new double-decker toaster, the Sanyo SK-7 "Bagel Best," recently appeared in the kitchen area of my workplace, which had previously been served - or should I say underserved - by something called "ToastMaster," which was neither. "ToastMaster" is standard in Mariott hotel rooms (my sleep lab is housed in a Mariott Residence Inn) and, it has to be said, couldn't toast itself out of a wet paper bag, even if said wet paper bag was dried out, doused in lighter fluid and set aflame, something my cousin Ted in his youth back in the 70s was a bit of an expert at and would've been happy to do. To make matters worse, "ToastMaster" is actually co-branded with Kellogg's Pop-Tarts, if you can believe that. "ToastMaster" must be destroyed! But I digress...

The Sanyo SK-7 "Bagel Best" is a huge improvement. So without further ado, I give you the very first Macerating Shallots product review...

First, a quick overview. As you can see from the photo, this toaster's design is characterized by economy of space. This makes it particularly appropriate for workplace kitchens, which are typically short on real estate. The SK-7 has two toasting surfaces, with heating elements at the top, bottom and middle. The sleep lab's example is early-nineties white (the SK-7W), but it's also available in more contemporary silver (the SK-7S). It packs 950 watts of power, measures 9.25"wide x 8.4"deep x 12.9"tall, and retails for around $55. The following scores are out of 5.

Ease of Use: 4
The SK-7 has only two controls, both of the knob variety. The knob on the right is the timer, which goes to 15 minutes. The knob on the left allows the user to determine which heating elements come into play in the toasting process, the four options being top rack only, bottom rack only, both racks and the "Bagel Best" setting. The really weird thing here is that the settings for both racks and "Bagel Best" do the same thing, which is to say both settings engage only the middle element. A setting that would engage the top and bottom elements together would be nice. Granted, that's not really an "ease of use" issue, but well, there you go.

Evenness of Toasting: 4
On repeated tests, the SK-7 toasted the top half of the bagel evenly. The bottom half, however, was toasted a just a bit more on the front than on the back. Pretty good, but not a perfect 5...

Speed/Efficiency: 2
This is the SK-7's only major drawback. Its 950 watts fall a bit flat, as my bagel had to wait nearly eight minutes to get a decent toast on. In my work environment, this isn't such a big deal, which is why I was generous enough to give it a 2, but if you're working within the increasingly typical 30-minute lunch break, those extra minutes really count.

Functionality: 4
Sanyo makes no conceit about the SK-7 being a toaster-oven. It's strictly a toaster. But a capacity for baking as well as toasting would be a simple adjustment on the part of Sanyo's industrial design staff, involving only the chip and the knob configuration, and would make this a much more useful product, even at a slightly higher price point.

Design: 5
Aesthetically pleasing. Perfectly proportioned. A champion space saver, the SK-7 is just large enough for two bagels at a time. Its glaring lack of power notwithstanding, the SK-7 got itself mad juju.

Overall Score: 3.8

Now, at this point you're probably asking yourself, "How can I get my boss to outfit the kitchen at my place of employment with a high-end toaster such as the Sanyo SK-7?" The answer is simple. Just bring in something that looks like this:

After 3 or 4 toaster fires, a Sanyo SK-7 will magically appear, I promise. Incidentally, that crusty old Black and Decker model, which served me so well for so many years, will be going home with my colleague Richard. I really hope he has fire insurance!


Trisha said...

I do not understand the love of taost and never will. I do love the waffle makers at Marriott though.

tommy said...

Well... no fish on toast for you, I guess!

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