Braun Series 5 review

Braun Series 5 review

The first electric shaver I ever bought was a Braun  back in 1998. Two years later, I replaced it with another Braun model I had won in a competition. Since then, I have owned a Philips shaver and a load of different Gillette razors and in the later years, Double Edge razors.

Recently, I got the chance to try out one of Brauns latest models from their utterly popular Series 5. As you may have read elsewhere on the site, I definitely prefer wet shaving over electric shaving, but for a few weeks I decided to leave the razor blades and shaving soap and use the Braun Series 5 for my shaving needs. I will share my experience in this review.

The Braun Legacy

Ibraun-series-5-with-6550t may not be fair to compare the Series 5 shaver to my old Braun shaver from 1999. After all there must have been some development over the last 13-14 years. But in many ways this may just be the best way to judge the quality and necessity of the product.

As most other Braun shavers, the Series 5 has a double foiled shaving head with an extra knife between the two foils. This is the same technology seen in the Series 3 and 7 (but not in Series 1) – and is also similar to the head of my old Braun 6550 from 1999.

The machine itself is quite a bit larger than my old shaver, but the actual shaving head is more or less of the same size as the old model. It has however been improved in several ways, but more on that later.

The Series 5 shaver has a very nice feel, and it fits great in my hands. The handling of the shaver is perfect and it seems very well balanced. The shaving head pivots, but can be locked in several positions for better precision.

The actual shave

As mentioned before, I believe the shavers head is a piece of great technology. Not only does the head pivot and lock in different angles to allow increased precision but it will also lift and lower each of the foil blades individually as it pivots. This seems to work very well as it allows the knife between the foils to reach more of the thorough stubble on your chin. This particular feature is known as UltraActiveLift, and is available on several Series 5 and 7 shavers.

I often find that reviewing electric shavers can be hard and painful, as each type of shaver requires some time to get used to. But with the Series 5, I hardly experienced any rash or irritation at all. It did (as most electric shavers seem to) have some problems dealing with longer stubble underneath my chin. But a bit of extra effort in that area was enough to get the job done.

Cleaning and maintenance

The Braun Series reviewed by Shaving Shavingdetective

The Braun Series 5 reviewed by Shaving Shavingdetective

I have been testing the Series 5-030 model. It is delivered with the rather bulky Clean&Charge station. The station is a large docking station to be placed somewhere in your bathroom to store, clean and charge your shaver.

Let me start by saying that you don't have to use the station to charge your shaver. I personally prefer to just use the charging cord whenever it's needed.

The Clean&Charge station holds a cleaning cartridge, which will automatically clean your shaver while the battery is recharged. It seems to do a great job keeping your shaver clean and properly lubcricated, but I am generally not a big fan of these large charging stations. Once you have inserted the cleaning cartridge it is a hard job finding somewhere to put the station while it is not in use. It requires both the cleaning fluid and electricity plugged in to work, so you must find a good spot for it. You can of course disconnect it when not in use, but it is a bit of a
extra work.

Overall

I have to admit that I am quite fond of the Braun Series 5-050 shaver. It does a great job at what it is supposed to do, and the design is both useful and beautiful at the same time.

I may not be a big fan of the Clean&Charge station – but since it is not required for me to use it, I will just leave it in the box for now. The shaver is just as good without the station, as long as you remember to clean the shaving head every now and then.

The particular model I tested is available on the European market, but Series 5 shavers are available with different accessories and several design variations from Amazon.com and a shop near you. All Series 5 shavers use the same shaving head and technology, so the variations are only in design, display indicators and other minor details.

Overall rating 4 out of 5 stars.

Philips AquaTouch AT890

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.

5 shavers to review

Yesterday I received two large packages full of shavers and trimmers. A total of four electrical shavers and a body groomer arrived from Philips and Braun. I'll make some thorough reviews of the different models over the next months, but I'll start in a few days with a brief comparison of the models.

From Philips (Norelco) I'll be testing the entry level razor, PowerTouch 920CC along with the new AquaTouch 890 and the SensoTouch 2D RQ1180.

From Braun, I'm up to test the Braun Cruzer 6 Face Cruzer and the Cruzer 6 Body and Face.

As you may imagine, reviewing five different electrical razors on one single face can take more than just a day or two. But I'll do my best to give you a heads up on all the models in just a few days. That should give you a chance to get the right model on your Christmas list.

If not already, make sure that you're subscribed to my newsletter (fill in your email in the top of the right hand sidebar). I'll be updating you shortly on my experiences with these electrical razors.

Note on review products; The Philips products have been lend to me, and I will be returning them as soon as the reviews are completed. The Braun products were part of a press release kit and was sent to me for review purposes.

Rotary blade or foil shaver?

Rotary blade or foil shaver?

If you look at electric shavers, you will basically find two types. The rotary blade technology, used by Philips and some of Remington's models, and the foil technology used mainly by Braun and Panasonic. Both types do the same job – but in very different ways. I will help you  find out what is best for you!

The Rotary Blades

The rotary blades used by companies such as Philips/Norelco and Remington (Photo by Philips)

However, first let me explain the differences between the two.

The rotary blade shavers have a series of circular cutters attached. Typically, three rotating blades placed in a triangular pattern.

To get the best shave, you will have to move the shaver across your face in slow, rotating movements – almost as if you were applying a nice skin tonic.

The foil shavers

Braun has chosen a different approach to electric shaving. Their shavers consist of a series of knives hidden under a rectangular metallic foil, designed to raise the hairs and guide them close to the vibrating knives. Long and straight movement of the shaver is the key to success here.

Which to choose?

So which one should you buy? For me, the answer has been quite clear.

I need both! For the last seven years, I have used a combination of the two types.

Honestly, I must have a strange face. For my face and cheeks, the rotary blades really do a great job. However, on my chin and neck, where the skin is slightly looser, the foil shaver is so much better for me.

If I use my Philips shaver for the entire shave, I will have to spend much more time shaving my chin – and I will eventually end up with irritated skin. Using my Braun foil shaver for the whole shave will result in a beautiful chin, but will leave the cheeks less soft compared to the Philips shaver.

Not for everyone?

The foil blade shavers, like the ones from Braun and Remington, tend to be better on looser skin (Photo by Braun)

Compared with the shave you get from a traditional razor, the electric shavers win by far when it comes to convenience and time. It is so much easier just to pick up the electric shaver and get the work done, instead of preparing the razor, foam and water and slowly work your way across your face and chin.

Nevertheless, the dry shaving methods used by most electric shavers may cause some irritation to your skin. If your shaver allows you to shave on a wet face, you could apply loads of warm water or a good pre-electric shaving oil just before shaving.

If your shaver cannot cope with the wet face, you could try to put a warm, damp towel on your face for a few minutes and then dry your face afterwards. This will warm your whiskers a bit, and probably lessen the skin irritation.

You should expect the skin irritation to be worst in the first few weeks of using the shaver. This is true if you have never used an electric shaver before – OR if you are trying to switch between a rotary blade and a foil blade shaver (or the other way around).

Money back guarantee

In Denmark, where I live, both Braun and Philips offer a 30 or 60 day money-back guarantee. You can buy the shaver and use it for some weeks before deciding if it's the right one for you. This is fantastic, as it will allow you to try out the different methods before deciding which shaver to use for the years to come.

Many of the electric shavers you can buy on Amazon come with a full 60-day money-back-guarantee. This applies to many Philips Norelco, Braun and Panasonic shavers.

I am very interested to know about your personal experiences. If you use an electric shaver, please comment below and let me know how you decided on your current model.

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