This is almost the perfect toaster. I was looking for a weighty toaster that wouldn't slide back when pushing the lever down and that also looked good on my counter with my other black and stainless steel appliances. The Kitchenaid Proline toaster seemed to be the perfect unit, so I splurged on spending $100+ on it. First impression was "WOW!" in a positive sense. This thing weighs nearly 10 lbs., is built like a tank, has good rubber feet to prevent sliding around and, mainly, looks great on the counter.
While many of today's toasters offer wider slots to accommodate thick slices of bread and bagels, they suffer from short slots that scrunch up breads like Brownberry which we buy. The slots on this Kitchenaid Proline are about a half inch longer (I think 6" total), so this is nice. But, there are a few, perhaps minor, negatives that I should point out:
1) As other reviewers have noted, out of 9 darkness settings, you need to set this to at least 7 to get your toast moderately dark. After testing a few slices, a setting of 7.5 to 8 seems to be optimal. This isn't a major flaw for me, because you can get it really dark if you set it to 9. As long as it toasts the way I like it, then I'm okay with it. Also, I must note, it seems to be toasting darker as we have used it more, so maybe it just needed to get "broken in". (2) It only toasts on both sides -- there isn't an option to only toast one side, like for bagels, or english muffins. Many cheaper toasters now offer this. 3) My main pet peeve..the trays don't close around the bread (or waffles) when you lower it down. So, you've got these wide slots and the bread and waffles tend to curl up a bit by the time they're done. This may seem like a silly gripe, but I don't really like "wavy" toast and my 5 yr. old made the comment to my wife that she "makes the worst waffles ever!". It frustrates me that for a quality unit like this, Kitchenaid overlooked a simple feature that even cheap toasters incorporate. I've been thinking about returning it, but I do love the looks and the overall quality of this unit and will probably avoid the hassle at this point. Anyway, I thought other potential buyers would appreciate knowing these things.