Now there's a new mandoline on the block from the design-happy gang at Chef'n and I recently gave it a whirl. Comparable in price to the Benriner, it has a much more modern design with a little more safety in mind. I cut myself probably twenty percent of the time on my Benriner. The SleekSlice, with its collapsible silicone finger guard, keeps fingers out of the way of the blade.
Speaking of the blade, one of my only complaints about the SleekSlice is that its blade is slightly serrated, as opposed to the traditional straight slicing blade of most mandolines. While it made for easy tomato-slicing, it didn't zip through, say, a carrot or beet with the same razor-sharp precision of my Benriner, or the fancier, more expensive French counterparts made by deBuyer and Matfer. I rarely need to slice large quantities of tomatoes in a uniform, thin manner, which is why I use a mandoline in the first place. However, I do use a mandoline for cutting leeks for soups or sauces, potatoes for frying, etc. These vegetables are harder to slice with precision using a serrated blade.
I like that the SleekSlice has a dial with four settings for setting the thickness of the slice. It's straightforward and easy to use. It also has a handle with three folding settings: underneath, at ninety degrees, and straight out. This is helpful for adapting to different slicing scenarios like over a bowl or pan, or slicing directly onto a cutting board.
Overall, I give it a thumbs up, especially as an entry-level model to whet a new cook's appetite for mandolines. I would never give the Benriner as a gift to someone who doesn't cook much because of how easily it cuts skin as well as veg, but definitely would consider the SleekSlice... perhaps closer to tomato season.
• Check out the Chef'n SleekSlice Mandoline at Sur La Table ($20) and many other major retailers nationwide.