Yes, I’m serious. Panasonic sent me its high-end electric razor to try out after I complained about needing to learn how to shave again when I transitioned from a rather scraggly beard to a neatly trimmed goatee. As I’ve said earlier, it was a sort of strange thing to be a forty(cough)-year old man having to learn how to shave smoothly again after having a beard for over a decade, but ask I did, and I delved into the world of cheap, disposable razors and chemical-filled “sensitive skin” shaving creams.
It worked, but to be honest, shaving with a razor is a pain and I found myself only shaving twice a week, which left me – surprise! – looking scraggly again, but with two lengths of beard: the long beard where I was intending to have facial hair, and the short stubble where I was too darn lazy to shave every morning.
But an electric razor? Last time I tried one of those (admittedly a looonnnggg time ago) I was super unimpressed and concluded that my skin/beard just didn’t work and that if I only had steely, straight, tough stubble I could get by, but since mine isn’t that stiff, I was hosed.
Enter Panasonic and its PR agency…
I did a bunch of research, including asking men on Twitter what kind of solution they had for shaving and keeping clean, and was led to two main companies, Braun and Panasonic. I dug further, including reading Amazon reviews of electric razors, and found that a lot of guys seem to have an ongoing love affair with the high-end Panasonic with “nano technology”.
Now, I don’t have a clue where there’s any “nano technology” involved, but I like the enthusiasm of the company being so geeky, so I contacted them and asked if there was any possibility I could get one of their units to try out. To my surprise, the PR agency they work with said they already knew my writing, so it was pretty easy to make it happen. A few weeks later a big box arrived with their current top-of-the-line model, the Panasonic ES 8249.
Why a big box? Because this isn’t just an electric razor, but a base unit that sits on the bathroom counter and both charges and cleans. The rechargeable ergonomic razor itself is a quite reasonable size, with a shaving head that makes fast work of my face:
With previous shaving devices of any sort, cleaning it was always up to me and typically involved a tiny little – easily lost – stiff brush. Not modern hi-tech razors! This unit included a large base station that offers up storage, charging and cleaning, as you can see here:
The problem is, when the razor is in the base properly, the LCD display flashes every few seconds that it’s fully charged. Incessantly. So as you can see in the pic, I’ve learned to flip the razor around in the base so that it’s still resting, but there’s no annoying LCD display to bother me.
This is one of my criticisms of the unit. For a whopping $399 (at Amazon.com [aff link]) it should be smart enough to just flash that it’s fully charged for a few minutes once dropped into the base unit, then the display should just turn off.
On the other hand, I have to say that the cleaning capability of this razor is pretty astonishing. Check these two pics out, first of the razor when I’ve used it for a week, then after I dropped it – dirty – into the base unit and selected the “clean” option:
and, some time and a lot of weird noises later…
Ultimately, I have to say that I think that the Panasonic ES-8249 “arc iv” “pro-curve” “nano blade” razor (yeah, that’s a mouthful!) is hands-down the best razor I’ve ever used. I not only now shave every morning but sometimes touch up late afternoon before a night out. It’s never bothered my skin one iota and it’s actually kinda fun to use, especially when compared to the shaving cream and razor blade I was using prior.
Is it really worth $400, though? If you want to look clean and have shaving be a quick and easy task rather than a chore, almost akin to cleaning your teeth, then yes, it might well be one of the best investments you make for your appearance this year. Oh, and the people around you will doubtless appreciate your new, clean looks!