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APPLIANCES / HEALTH & GROOMING

Who has the Best Mens Shaver, Braun, Philips Or Panasonic?

By David Richards | Wednesday | 27/04/2011

Technology has crept into just about everything in the home including the humble shaver, to the extent that some top end shavers from the likes of Braun, Philips and Panasonic have a retail price tag of close to $700, which is the same price as a Tablet PC or decent sized notebook.The question is, do they stack up?


Philips Senso Touch 3D
The big question is do they perform better than a $12 bag of Bic shavers?

In a comparison test of three top end shavers which included the $699 Philips Senso Touch 3D, the $549 Panasonic  ESLA83-s and the $549 Braun Series 7, I discovered some interesting facts.

Out of the box and even before we had thrown a switch, the clear winner was the Philips 3D Touch, which has three rotating shaver heads, for the simple reason that a lot of shavers are purchased as presents, and for an outlay of $690+ one would like to think that the packing lives up to the price. In the case of the Philips presentation, it was slick, well-packaged and really looked the part.

Once the packaging had been stripped away, we got down to plugging the devices in to be charged and it was here that we hit the first big design fault.

Bathrooms are where a lot of shavers are used, and quite often they have limited power outlets because of size restrictions. While the Braun and Philips power adapters easily plugged straight into the power socket, the Panasonic adapter was poorly designed, with the cord side loading into the adapter, resulting in it taking up two power spaces if not loaded in a right sided power point.


Click to enlarge

Each of the shavers came with a charging and cleaning unit, with the Philips again taking the prize for the best looking unit. This was followed by the Braun unit which, while being highly functional and easy to use, did lack the power control of the Philips unit which automatically kicked in the Philips cleaning system to lubricate the blades and recharge the battery after every use. The cleaning unit had 3 cleaning settings: automatic for normal usage, eco for 40 percent less energy usage, and intensive for extra-thorough cleaning.


Click to enlarge

The Braun unit has an alcohol based solution which is located in the base of the unit, which when activated cleans the shaver head. It's a lot simpler than the Philips with both units delivering the goods via an easy to use system.

Panasonic ESLA83-s
As for the Panasonic unit, this device looked ugly when compared to the offerings from Philips and Braun. The overall design looked very old fashioned with grills on the front of the unit. While functional, it lacked consumer appeal and any form of styling.  

Grip
I am a big believer that a shaver has to feel comfortable in one's hand and, when we applied this test, the Philips was the most comfortable. It's slimmer than both the Braun and Panasonic offering.

Head
The most critical element of a shaver is the grooming head, and in this shootout the Braun nudged ahead, more because it was solid and functional while delivering a good shaving experience. I really liked the 3D heads of the Philips shaver and while they performed the job admirably, they were a tad too big on the face.

As for the Panasonic head, this was big and bulbous and when shaving on ones top lip was a tad uncomfortable when compared to the Braun and Philips offering.

Shave
For the purpose of this exercise I dedicated a day to each shaver, so that my beard growth was the same on each day that I shaved.  While the Panasonic shaver performed well delivering a clean shave, it was the Braun and Philips shavers that delivered the best dry shave. While the Panasonic shaver performed the task well, it was not as smooth a shave as with the other two units due in part to the large shave head.

The Philips shaver was smooth and effortless and it appeared to be quieter than both the Braun and the Panasonic models.The Braun model had what's called an OptiFoil shaving head which has zones with differently sized holes to capture hairs growing in different directions. This helps when cutting in close. 

On the other hand, the Philips model has three floating heads which at first takes a little getting use to. The UltraTrack shaving heads incorporate a dual precision system and patented super lift & cut technology.

Braun Series 7
With all of the shavers I suffered a stinging sensation on my face after using them while dry shaving.

All of the shavers were cleaned after use each day, using their own cleaning system.

When it came to wet shaving, which only the Philips and Panasonic models were able to deliver, the Philips 3D model was excellent especially when one added a touch of shaving gel. 

In fact it was the closest shave to a cut throat shave, which despite all they say about electronic blades, shaving technology, shape and form, it is still the best way to deliver a silky smooth shave.

Again the Panasonic model was good but not good enough.

The overall winner was the $699 Philips 3D shaver which has 3 rotating heads. It not only looks good, feels comfortable in the hand but delivers a good shave when being used in either wet or dry mode. 

However it was its wet shaving capability that tipped it over the line to be a clear winner.

If my review had been dry shave only, I would have scored the Braun and the Philips 3D equally on shaving performance, and the Braun ahead on value due to its $549 price tag. 
 
While the Panasonic shaver was highly functional, and did what it was intended to do, it was not outstanding. This product needs a total redesign from the cleaning unit up. The head needs to be smaller and it needs to run a lot quieter. 

At the end of the day there was only one clear winner, the Philips 3D. It has a great design, especially when it came to handling the device while shaving. The shave especially when using cream or gel was exceptional.

The price was a sticking point but you have to give Philips credit for an excellent product that I suspect in the long run could be cheaper than 28 packets of blades at $24 a pop.

 

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