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Philips AquaTouch AT890

Ten years ago, I was a keen user of electric shavers, but the quality of the shave kept letting me down. But ten years is a long time in todays world, so I was excited to find out how much Philips has managed to improve their razors over the years.

I have been allowed to test three different Philips shavers, and this review will be featuring the most recent of the three, the AquaTouch AT890.

The Philips AquaTouch AT890 is a stylish shaver. The blue body and the grey and black fitting give it a clean and efficient look. As the name suggests, the AquaTouch series is entirely waterproof and can be used both with shaving cream or without. The AquaTouch can even go into the shower with you.

So basically, the AquaTouch seems like an attempt to attract some of the wet shavers around the World into trying electrical shavers. So for me – as a man who used to shave electric but has since changed into traditional wet shaving – this revisit to the world of rotary blades is interesting.

The AquaTouch series use the HQ8 blades also found in the 2D/3D SensoTouch series. The blades are almost identical to the blades used on my 10 year old HQ6580 apart from a few extra holes in the middle.

I have used the AT890 for a total of 10 shaves on 10 different days. I used it both in the shower, after my shower and even without shower (but with shaving foam).

Shaving in the shower
It sounds easy, and it sounds efficient. But it really isn’t. I always end up with large patches of my face unshaven. I would possibly get a better result if I had a large, brightly lit mirror in my shower, but I haven’t. :-)

Shaving after the shower
10-12 years ago I used to sell electric shavers in an electronic shop in Copenhagen. I always told my customers to shave BEFORE the shower, not after. The skin has a tendency to expand slightly from the long term exposure to hot water, and even though this is great for a blade based shave, it’s a bad idea when you use an electric shaver.
Based on my experience with the AT890, this is still the case. Do not use an electric shaver right after showering – it will leave you with a 5 o’clock shade even before noon.

Shaving before the shower with shaving gel or foam
This is where I got the best results from the AquaTouch. First I warmed my face using either a hot towel or washing it with hot water. I then applied a nice lather to cover my stubble, and started shaving.
This procedure gave me a very nice and close shave on my cheeks, chin and upper lip. But when it comes to shaving the neck, and in particular the upper part of the neck just below the cheeks, the Philips shaver got itself into trouble. It simply couldn’t cope with the shape of my neck and left the stubble more or less untouched.

According to Philips, you should look down when you shave your neck (contrary to stretching your skin when using a blade). This did help a bit for me – but not much.

The Verdict

I like the design of the Philips shavers, even though the AT890 look almost excactly the same as my 10 year old Philips. But the weight, shape and balance make it very easy and comfortable to use. Unfortunately, I must still admin that the shave is average at best. For a quick shave on a busy day it will do fine. But as I have mentioned before (in the article Rotary blade or foil shaver?) everything depends on YOUR face.

Just because it’s no good for my weird skin, doesn’t mean that it will not work for you.

If you own the AT890, please write your experiences in the comments below.

About Hans - the Shaving Detective

I am Hans the Shaving Detective, founder and owner of ShavingDetective.com.
You are welcome to follow me on Google+ or contact me via email with any shaving related questions.

Comments

  1. Hello

    With Christmas been and gone and after been asked what I would like for Christmas I left a few hints at a new shaver, my current shaver is a Braun 4776 foil type and I have had good results from foils shavers for many a year and my current shaver is now about 3 years old so asking for a new shaver for Christmas in my view was a good idea.
    Upon the arrival of Christmas and I opened my gifts and found that my hints had not gone unnoticed (big smile) but this time rather than looking at a new shiny foil razor I was looking at a Philips AquaTouch AT890 rotary shaver now here is the dilemma do I keep it or change it for a foil shaver that I am used to?

    So after doing a bit of soul searching on the web I found the http://www.shavingdetective.com website and noticed Hans had been given a Philips AquaTouch AT890 to review, but like most men im guessing I could not wait and here I was looking at my nice new AT890 and very nice to look at too the pressure of shall i keep it or swap it got the better of me and I decided that if I don’t try it I will never know if it will give me a better shave than my 3 year old foil shaver.

    I open the package and charged it up then waited till the next morning so I could give it a good run for its money, I didn’t do a wet shave I did a like for like with my foil shaver and upon the power-up I noticed how quite it was compared with the foil shaver. After a while shaving I noticed that it did a nice job of my cheeks but my neckline was not great and I had to finish it off with my old faithful Braun. After trying a wet shave while in the shower OUCH! All seemed ok to start and the shave did seem better but after when I checked in the mirror my neck was red raw and quite painful.

    Not very happy I decided to do a wet shave before the shower and that was better but still not great sticking at it I now find it does a better shave dry on my face after I have had a wash in the morning before work but I still have to finish off with the foil shaver on my neck line I am thinking it may be a better shaver it the blades spun round with a bit more gusto I think the problem with the rotary shaver is that it seemed to pull the hairs rather than cut then so maybe a little more speed may do the trick, Hey what do I know?

    So overall a nice looking shaver but for me I think if you don’t wet shave then the best next thing is a foil shaver but that could just be my skin type as I only need to save once a day

  2. Quinapalus says:

    I appreciate the effort and passion that you are displaying with this blog, but the fact remains that it has been proven time and time again that the best way to shave is with a blade. I’ve tried electrics and all types of Cartridge Razor, but have reverted to DE Safetys and Straights and am getting better shaves than ever. A good facial scrub, a glycerine based pre-treatment, a good quality soap or cream, a Silvertip Badger Brush and a Solingen Blade will always give better results than any imitator.

    • Thanks Quinapalus! :-) That is a fact, yes – and if I deny that anywhere, then I apologize. As I write in the review, I used electrical shavers years ago, and have since converted into DE shaving. And as I state in the review, the shave I got from the electric Philips was average at best.
      I like your term “imitator” and agree with you on all your points. But this website is also for those who consider electrical shavers – and I believe they need to be told the truth. :-) Hopefully, some of them will come to this site and be inspired to try out wet shaving as it should be! ;-)

  3. AT890 lacks very important future, found on older Philips’ shavers: 9 comfort-settings. Its battery cannot be replaced after lifetime (3-4 years), which makes this shaver very impractical (it cannot be used from mains). In comparition, older HQ8445 (cord-operated) has 9 comfort-settings and can last without service for more than 15 years. Maybe Philips’ designers should stop listening to mean chinese advises

    • BOBBY OGRADY says:

      PHILIPS AQUA SHAVER RUBBISH , MY BATTERY HAS JUST GONE , ITS AROUND TWO YEARS OLD , AND BATTERY CANNOT BE REPLACED , WORST BUY EVER , I AM HEADING BACK TO THE OLD TYPE ELECTRIC SHAVER

      • Walker Hall says:

        Actually, it is not that difficult to replace the battery. Google your razor model and “replacement battery” and you will find a ton of sites selling new replacements for around $5. Some recommend soldering in place like the old battery, but as many have figured out and recommended, you can simply snap off the old posts and fold the remainder over to create contact/tension with the new batteries. I may not have described it perfectly but many websites explain it. :)
        -Walker Hall

  4. bobby ogrady says:

    Yes how right you are i have AT 890 AQUA SHAVER JUST ABOUT TWO YEARS , JUST CANNOT FIND RECEIPT , BUT BATTERY GONE ALREADY , NEVER AGAIN , I WILL LIKE YOU SAY REVERT BACK TO THE OLD STYLE ELECTRIC SHAVER
    BOBBY OGRADY .
    DUNDRUM
    DUBLIN

  5. This model is not expensive, so I think it´s worth the buy. The shaver is pretty good. Is like the blogger said, it depends on your face, and on your beard. For me I see no diference from blade. It works perfect, using hot water and shaving gel. On dry skin is almost the same thing as any other shaver.

    I use the following technique: remove the excess of beard using the trimmer on dry skin (it´s a little bit difficult at the begining but once you get the hang of it, will be easy) – you may not need to do that it´s just a one-day or so beard. After, wet your face with hot water and use shaving gel. The shaving will go very smooth. To clean your shave, just use running hot water and it´s done! Very easy to clean and fast to use.

  6. This AquaTouch had been an excellent razor, and found it easy to use in the shower soaping my face and neck in preparation. I have chronic atopic eczema and many of the earlier Philips electric razors were painful to use – but not this one. However the battery has just given up after only two years of use. I have been careful to use and recharge it in the way recommended for Li batteries. Under these conditions, the battery should have lasted several years. I have lost the receipt, and, worse still, found out that the battery is not simply replaceable. This isn’t good enough, and Philips should be ashamed. Fortunately, I have a small rechargeable Braun to keep me going while I look at the competition.

  7. I purchased the AT890 in Sept. 2012 and really loved the comfortable shave. 3 months later the on/off switch became faulty and the retailer, Tech Retail (via Amazon), took 3 months to replace it.
    7 months later it has developed the same fault and the retailer and Philips don`t want to know about it. I was wondering if anyone else has had the same problem with the switch and is there any remedy.

    • Paul Newbery says:

      I have had the same power switch problem. At first, I thought it was the battery dumping its charge, but then after a recharge, the motor ran spontaneously and I couldn’t turn it off, which indicated that the battery was overcharged. So it had to be something else and it’s definitely the switch. now, the switch operates every so often and it is sometimes the work of a minute or two to get the shaver started and then a prolonged effort to turn it off again, usually accompanied by several sharp bangs against the sink!
      I’m minded to think that others who have complained of a dud battery might well be suffering with a faulty switch.
      I contacted Philips support via the European web-site chat facility and discovered that my unit, although 18 months old is still under warranty and they have sent a replacement straight away. I am most impressed!

  8. Ray bass says:

    Bought at890 to replace old Philips razer does not shave as good must go over 6 to 7 times to get good shave leaves wiskers did try to get money back guarantee but 6 months later Philips have not responded with a refund lost my file sent refund instructions never received had last name spelled wrong said would send instruction by e mail not received have spoke to them more than 10 times get a run around and another promise that never happens I am disappointed and will call better business

  9. I find this a pretty good machine

  10. Dinesh Sehra says:

    This was a very nice review. Now I am not going to buy the electric shaver I was planning for a long time. Just was looking out for some reviews. After having read a lot many, which all seem to be biased, this one really stands out with some clear and unbiased review.

  11. My boyfriend only uses cartridge razors and I have heard him complaining about not being able to trim his goatee evenly (as he has to rush off to work and is also studying part time). I assume an electric razor would be able to solve this issue but have no clue as to what kind would suit him. I buy him the same cartridge every time and don’t know much else about it.

    So this page seemed promising and I thought it would be great until I saw the comments.
    I guess I will search again.
    Does anyone have any other suggestions?
    I would really appreciate it, thank you.

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