Step aside, Juicero, there’s a new preposterous product in town: Meet the Revolution R180, a $300 toaster scorching its way toward you – and if that sounds OK to you, you need to sit a few rounds out.
The Revolution is purportedly the world’s first touchscreen and high-speed toaster, facts I can’t deny. While I’ve never seen the need for improvements upon the $30 toasters I’ve known and relied upon in the past, I’ll admit there are some fancier models at the Williams-Sonomas of the world. There will always be a more expensive appliance out there: The $13,000 Hestan barbecue grill, the $22,000 “limited-edition” Viking range, and the $50,000 fridge from Smeg and Dolce and Gabbana all stand out in my memory.
To be fair, that Smeg fridge is gorgeous. The Revolution Toaster is not. To justify that price, it has a touchscreen to “customize your toast settings and preferences with five food settings, three toasting modes and seven browning levels,” as well as a proprietary InstaGLO Heating System to brown your bagels faster than ever before.
According to CNET, which took the Revolution seriously enough to review it and test those speeds, it’s among the fastest toasters around. “If you’re serious about toast,” begins Molly Price – and I’m sorry, but I can’t even finish the sentence. Who’s $300 worth of serious about toast? Price ultimately gives it a 7.9 out of 10, despite obvious reservations about the cost.
Here’s where we need to pause for a second: Sure, technology can improve our lives. Last year at IFA, I saw a toaster with the most useful buttons I’ve ever seen on such an appliance: One was labeled “a quick look,” one was dedicated to crumpets, and one simply said “a bit more.” How perfect is that? It’s from Breville, and you can buy one at Bed, Bath, and Beyond for $80. But $300? What gives?
(Speaking of food, I learned at IFA that Germans put ketchup and curry on their sausages, making a reprehensible thing called a “currywurst.” There, I said it. It’s terrible. Don’t have one. But I digress.)
The very existence of the Revolution calls to mind the Juicero, a $700 high-tech juice machine that thought it would turn the world of juicing upside down – until it was revealed that the company’s specially designed juice packs (costing between $5 and $8 each, mind you) could be squeezed by hand. This fact dented the device’s singular claim to fame, that the juice press was capable of four tons of force — “enough to lift two Teslas,” according to founder Doug Evans.
It was the arresting price tag connected to this gem that had my head spinning, and ultimately one factor leading the company to shut down in 2017. Does the world need high-tech appliances? Is there a market for devices that cost tenfold more than we are accustomed to spending? Sure, why not? But I’ll bet my morning toast that the Revolution isn’t worth your dollars.
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