Disclaimer: NextGen sent me the knife I tested out for free. That said, I will always review products truthfully and share my real thoughts.
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I recently got contacted by NextGen and was asked if I wanted to try out their new knife. They ended up sending me an advanced prototype of their San Sebastian Elite model and I've been using it for the last few days with great results.
If you haven't heard of NextGen knives before, they are a company that is currently in their KickStarter campaign to launch a line of knives that have unique handles. Instead of the normal knife handle, the NextGen knives aim to remove the pressure that usually builds up at the base of the index finger and palm when you hold the knife in a pinch grip.
I was curious to try out their knives because I often get blisters at the base of my finger. This is especially true when I'm recipe testing a new book. I'm used to a normal 15 to 20 minutes of cutting and chopping when I'm getting ready for dinner but during testing it expands to 4 to 5 hours of cutting for various recipes. I usually just wrap electrical tape around my finger once it blisters, not the greatest of solutions!
These thoughts are based on using the knife for several days, during both normal meal prep, and a day of multi-hour recipe testing. I'll also update this review once I've been using it for several weeks.
When I first picked up the knife it definitely felt different in my hand. The handle is made of silicone instead of wood or metal, and it has an almost squishy feeling to it. You can feel right away that the contact between the handle and your hand is spread across the whole surface, not just in the usual blister points. Despite being a strange feeling for a knife, it definitely felt good in my hand.
The blade on the knife is a little taller than the knifes I'm used to but it still handled very well. It sits perfectly in the hand, and having the "handle" extend up to where your fingers are allows for a great grip.
I also tested the handle out wet and it didn't get slippery at all. I'm pretty sure oil would make it slick but it did fine with water.
The knife also cut well, as you'd expect a new knife to do. It seemed to maintain its blade well throughout the testing, and I only used my knife steel on it, not a sharpener.
The knife itself doesn't look "pretty" like some of the fashionable knifes in its price range do, like the sleek Shun knives, but the NextGen knives appear to be designed to be functional and comfortable, not a talking piece. I'd much rather have a knife that feels great in my hand than one that looks pretty any day.
After using the knife for a few days I'd definitely recommend it to someone that is looking at getting a great functional knife, especially if you run into trouble with blistering during long periods of prep time. If you back them on KickStarter the prices are about 10% lower than those on their website. It's definitely a unique concept and it's great to see someone think outside of the box and create a new type of knife design.