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TOP 50 REVIEWERon December 29, 2010
I've accumulated quite a few electric razors over the years, with the three most recent being the new models from Norelco, Braun and Panasonic. So, thought I'd do a comparison to perhaps help those who are debating between these high-end models.

But first let's get a basic question out of the way: do you have to spend this much to get a good shave from an electric shaver? Absolutely not. Lower-end models such as the Braun Series 5, the 7000 and 8000 Norelco series and the Panasonic ArcIV are great shavers. What you get for the extra money is a slight improvement in the shave, a bit better design, and a few somewhat useful bells and whistles.

Build quality - all are very nicely put together. The Braun feels the most substantial; the 3D feels the most "plasticy."

Sound - the 3D runs very quietly; the Braun and Panasonic are far more "buzzy" but not too loud.

Overall feel - for me, the Braun feels the most comfortable to hold. Easy to grip even if your hands are wet. The Panasonic is a close second. The 3D feels the most awkward. Not horrible, but not all that comfortable either.

Dry shave: closeness - this is a tough call, with the Braun and the Panasonic both providing very close shaves. The 3D does a pretty good job, but my face does not feel as smooth as with the others.

Dry shave: speed - the 3D is the clear winner here. Just mows through my beard, with a total shave time of less than 3 min. The Panasonic takes about 4 min for a good shave; the Braun clocks in at about 5 min.

Dry shave: neck - this is the most difficult area for most shavers, and all of these models left a few errant hairs here and there. The 3D did the best but it comes at the expense of some irritation (see the next note). The Braun and Panasonic are about equal.

Dry shave: comfort - Braun is the winner for me, followed by the Panasonic. Zero redness even in the more sensitive spots (jaw line and neck). The 3D left me with some red spots on my neck. Nothing severe, but it is clearly a notch below the others on the comfort meter.

Wet shave - this is limited to just the Panasonic and the 3D. I'm not a big fan of wet shaving, but both of these do a very good job. The Panny works best with a very thin layer of gel-type cream; the 3D works best with a heavier lather (I got good results with Edge). Both provided close shaves, with the Panny a bit more gentle than the 3D. But, the 3D did a better job on the neck and jaw line.

**Update: Just tried the new Remington Alphagel shaving cream and that works very well with both the Panny and the Norelco. The scent is a bit heavy (menthol) but the no-foam consistency is a perfect match for a wet electric shave. Much better than any other shave cream I've tried. I reviewed the Alphagel if you want more info.

Maneuverability - this is where the Braun really shines for me. I have a mustache, and edging it with the Braun is a piece of cake. The 3D takes some practice, but it can do a decent job. Worst by far was the Panasonic - the huge head makes it very hard to create a clean edge around the `stash.

Auto cleaning - I love the cleaning station from Braun. Works well, cleans well, and the razor comes out lemony-fresh. The Panasonic cleaning station is OK, but is louder, takes longer, and the water-based cleaning solution is not as effective. I can't comment on the 3D station since the model I bought didn't come with it.

Manual cleaning - both the Panasonic and 3D are very easy to clean manually. They actually don't need the auto cleaning station (although it is handy for storage for the Panny). The cutters are removable from the 3D (unlike the Arcitec models) for extra cleaning every so often. The Braun can be cleaned with water, but it's hard to get it very clean since the cutter block is a single unit.

Lots more that I could say about these razors, but this review is already way too long. If I had to pick just one, I'd go with the Braun. While not perfect, it excels in several areas and feels the best. It also offers three settings (gentle, normal and intensive) that vary the speed of the cutters, a feature the other two lack. I find that very helpful. Plus, replacement heads are easily available and often discounted (as are the cleaning cartridges). But, the 3D and the Panasonic are also very good shavers and will get the job done. If you are willing to spend the money, any one of these would be a good choice.

Note: I have the Braun 790cc-4 since I was able to get it at a fantastic price (on another site - sorry Amazon!) on Black Friday. But, under normal pricing situations, the 760 is cheaper and a better value. They work the same, with the differences limited to color of the razor, type of read-out on the handle, and the fact that the 760 lacks the "quick clean" feature in the cleaning station. None of these are really significant, so if you go with the Braun, pick the one that is cheaper.

But, you have to learn how to use an electric razor properly to get a good shave. Some quick tips:

1) Don't press hard - use an easy touch. If the heads are getting warm or hot, you're pressing too hard.
2) Shave against the grain when using a foil; shave in circular motions when using a rotary.
3) Stretch your skin taut when shaving your neck
4) Wait at least an hour after getting up before shaving (everyone's face gets a bit puffy when sleeping).

Happy shaving!

>>Update June 2012: Thought I'd post an update after 1.5 years of use. No complaints at all - works as good as the day I bought it. I'm also pleased to report that I have not yet had to replace the foil. Although I have several shavers, this remains my favorite, and I have yet to find another shaver that provides the same blend of solid build quality, ease of use, and outstanding shaving performance. It's still a 5-star razor in my book.

>>Update August 2013: Still working like a champ! Zero problems with functionality; fit and finish still looks very nice. I did end up replacing the head a couple of months ago, and it was surprising how much of a difference that made. I didn't really notice the foil and blades wearing since it occurs so slowly, but really noticed the improvement with the new head. I'm not going to wait so long to replace the head next time.

>>Update July 2014: Humming along without a problem. I did find that the head can be cleaned very well if I use an ultrasonic cleaner. Not nearly as quick and easy as using the cleaning station, but if you find yourself without any cleaning cartridges (as I did), an ultrasonic cleaner gets the head very clean. That method of cleaning does not add lubrication as the Braun cleaning fluid does, so I give it a quick spray with Norelco shaver spray after an ultrasonic cleaning.

>Update May 2016: Zero problems to report. Getting some wear on the silver parts and the handle has taken a ding or three due to getting knocked about while traveling, but the shaver continues to put in a good day's work without complaint. However, I recently had the opportunity to use the Panasonic ES-LT7N-S. I have to give the edge to that as my current favorite. It is new, so the price is still way up there, but Panny fixed a lot of the issues/complaints I had with their other high-end models. If your wallet doesn't complain about the price of the Panny ES, it's well worth considering along with the Braun 7 series.
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on August 27, 2011
I've used a large number of shavers over the years... most recently Norelco, Remington, Panasonic, and the Braun 360 complete 8595.... the Series 7 790 is hands down the best of them...

In general the Norelco and Remington I would describe as ordinary. They get the job done with more time, louder, and tend to be rougher on my skin in general.

The Panasonic has a good feel to it and a definite step up from the ordinary brands, but is a little unusual, heavy, and a little cumbersome with the huge head.

When I got the Braun 360 complete, on first use I was very surprised about how it clearly was so far above the rest, zipping through a shave in a smooth way and having a fit and finish that was very high end. The Clean and Renew is no joke and gives a crisp fresh feel every time and is really not very expensive when taken in context.

I dropped my 360 and broke the on off slider, so time for a new shaver... Braun was so much better in the past, how could I not buy it?

I don't believe in spending the extra bucks on luggage, watches, and various other stuff.... but in shavers it pays off... Same thing when getting higher model Brauns... why skimp $30 and give features when you have already committed to getting a great product?

So I got the 7 - 790... I put in the cartridge, charged it and tried it out.. and I have to say, the 790 is clearly a full generation better than the 360, which I didn't think was possible. It shaves in an almost surgical instrument kind of way.

-Clean and renew is expensive: In use the $4 clean and renew cartridges last about 6-8 weeks in 5 day a week use. I've seen crackpot ideas like refilling them with seabreeze (dumb as you aren't putting the right cleaner lubricant on your expensive shaver and it barely saves any money).
- An expensive shaver doesn't stack up to a quality razor. BS, this thing definitely gives a better shave than I ever got with a blade with a lot less mess or time and no cuts ever.
- An expensive shaver doesn't make sense with quality disposables being so cheap. BS also, to get in the ballpark quality wise, you would have to be buying $3 each disposables.... it only takes 4 months of blades to pay for a new shaver and a year of clean and renew packs.

- shave a very dry face, before washing in the morning. your skin expands a lot when moisturized, drawing your beard in and making in inaccessible to the shaver and showing a shadow much quicker as your skin dries out later, forget shaving in or after the shower
- wake up first and shave at least 30 minutes later, not only will you be better at it, faces tend to be somewhat puffy from laying down and result in a poor shave
- after shaving before putting the shaver in the base, pop the foil off and tap it a couple of times in the trash to get most (probably 90%) of the beard out.. it keeps the clean and renew fluid much cleaner and makes it last much longer as the base does a 'thorough' clean much less often.

Reasons I'm glad I broke my 360 complete (if I had known these, I would have just bought the 790 anyway)
- the fit and finish of the 790 is very very high.... like museum watch high.. ultra cool looking and constructed product
- the shave quality is much better than the 360 complete... almost surgical in feel, hard to believe I know because I thought the 360 was about perfect
- the 790, while having the same size head, has a much thinner and easier to hold body, the older Brauns tend to be a little beefy
- it has push button on off.... the older ones had a combo switch / trimmer slider which always was a little awkward to use
- the 790's trimmer juts way out from the shaver allowing a much better view for trimming sideburns etc. a HUGE advantage.
- the 790 has a quick clean feature, so you can start a cleaning cycle without it taking the shaver out of commission for hours.
- the hair lifting bar is very very good now at avoiding in grown hairs... if you have this problem, this shaver is the only one I've ever found that is effective at reducing them.

one of the few products in the universe that doesn't disappoint in some way.... buy it.
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on December 21, 2010
Braun Series 7- 790cc Pulsonic Shaver System, SilverI have been using Norelco razors since high school.I am now 65. Every 2or3 years for all of my adult life I have purchased the latest top of the line Norelco on the market. Way back many years I did buy a couple of other brands to check them out, but they always seemed like they were yanking the hairs out one by one , so I always stuck to Norelco. The last couple of Norelcos that I have had didn't seem to be better than the last. After doing lots of online research, and reading Conumer Reports I decided to try the 790-cc Braun. I was very skeptacle, but what the hey, you've got to try something different once in a while. I have been astounded at the difference. When people wrote that they got a shave as close as a blade, I fgured they were just rationalizing their purchaces. Well, they weren't. The shave is remarkable. It is quick,confortable and amazingly close. There are some negatives. The cleaning-charging system seems a little funky and the travel case is very flimsy compared with the Norelco. Other than those couple of minor details I really believe this is going to one of my best puchases ever. One other thing. This is the first product evaluation I have ever done, so i hope this isn't too long and has been helpful.
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The manufacturer commented on the review below
on August 16, 2010
I've had a top of the line Braun 8000 series (8595) for about 6+ years. It just started to fail recently - I didn't feel like trying another replacement foil/blade and after over 2,000 shaves - I guess it's hard to complain. If this new one lasts the same duration, then it will be well worth the money for just over $0.12 per day plus consumables (cleaning solution & replacement foils).

I opened this new shaver morning (790-CC4), charged it, and started using it. I like the variable setting (3-steps) for mild to intense. I like the feel of it and although the display is less sophisticated than my old one, this one might be more practical in usage. It has a Li-Ion battery and so is a bit lighter, and seems well-constructed.

The real test is the shave - and this is the best result I've ever had from shaving with an electric. On rare occasions I'll use a blade for a special occasion and a blade is usually much closer than most electrics - but I've been okay with a slight sacrifice using an electric in the past. My face right now feels so shockingly smooth, I'd swear I shaved with a blade this morning... So the proof is in the pudding - and I'd wholeheartedly recommend this shaver if you're partial to electrics.
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on June 25, 2013
I bought this shaver almost 2 years ago to replace a venerable Braun's Series 5 8985, looking to take advantage of the newer pulsating technology that my brother and some friends I trust told me was amazing. My brother has a beard as thick as polar bear fur, so if this shaver can go through that and survive -and satisfy him-, it was a very simple decision for me

The shaving result is definitively better with the series 7, I get a smoother face and where the Series 5 had to pass several times, the 7 gets it done in one or two passes. This in turn reduces irritation to the skin; I get none or only once in a while bumps and ingrown hair with this shaver and it last longer. And the ability to change the intensity of the shaving is very helpful for the neck and when you just want to retouch and still have very short hair; nice shave at minimum contact thus less irritation. Overall I'm very happy with the end result and the premium over the series 5 is justified, this is a better, more modern machine

However, it is not free of shortcomings. Even if the rubber grip is welcomed for a safer grip, the design is not that ergonomic and it takes time to adapt and find the proper way to handle it right, it feels just awkward for a few days. Then there is the strangely placed trimmer: by placing it on inside and not on the outside like the Series 5, the body of the shaver combined with your hand blocks your view when using the trimmer at certain angles, particularly your left hand sideburn if you are right-handed (and it would be the opposite if you are a lefty). The only way to unblock the view is to switch hands, which is not only silly but dangerous for the health of your sideburns. Also, after two years of use the paint on the border of the shaver's body close to the head is peeling off, apparently caused by the long time use of cleaning agent (made also by Braun by the way); it has no impact on performance but it looks bad and cheap. Painted plastic in the 21st century? Really? Common' Braun! And don't try to get it repaired or replaced easily, I live in Florida and have to send my shaver to Massachusetts! For service! And in the mean time I shave with... a kitchen knife?

Another issue might be the duration of the cleaning agent when compared to the Series 5, it lasts at least 30% less time, but this might be more an issue of a lighter cleaner than a different cleaning system, so I don't blame it on the shaver. I noticed the cleaning solution have changed as sometimes it leaves an oily, yellow residue on the sides of the shaving head, thing didn't do in the past

To summarize, this is a Ferrari on a Geo Metro body. If Braun could pay more attention to design and body quality, as well as product testing on the trimmer, they would have a really amazing, extraordinary product. Right now they have just a nice one
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on August 27, 2010
As a longtime user of Braun shavers (20 years), each model was a significant and welcome improvement over the last. Until now.

Previous models shaved so well that my wife thought I used a blade. For the 3 months I tried this model, I used my 4-year old 6000 series to clean up everything this expensive shaver missed. People commented on my 'one day' stubble the same day I shaved with this razor. For shaving quality, this model was a visible step down from earlier Brauns.

Although quieter than other models, there's no audible confirmation of clipped beard hairs as they're cut, so it's harder to brush over an area and hear whether you got additional hairs you'd missed before.

There are improvements such as the trimmer that folds nicely away into a stylish and rubber-accented grip. It also has a clean silver look with a nice blue LED accent. Although the base is too busy-looking for my tastes, it's shaped well and looks sturdy for being made of plastic. You honestly couldn't buy a better-looking shaver.

But for a close shave, this is a huge step back for Braun. Although their new shave head does a great job of retaining clippings and catching those pesky hairs that lay flat against your skin, the overall shave is far inferior to previous models. Worse, the entire line of Braun shavers including the 3 and 5 series all use a variation of this inferior shave head as well. As a result, I've turned to discontinued Braun shavers (6000 and 8000 series) and grudgingly turned in my longtime Braun fan-boy status for a move to Panasonic.

For those with soft beards, this may work well
Gets hairs pressed flat against your skin very well
Attractive and accurate charging level display
Retains shavings better than earlier models (fewer flecks fall out)
Quieter shaver (not as noisy) than others

Pop out trimmer isn't as wide as previous models
Trimmer has odd angle (hard to see where you're trimming)
Shaver looks ergonomic, but is hard to hold firmly in hand
Shave head becomes unbearably hot after 10 minutes of use
Unnecessary cleaning solution
Travel case holds shaver only, not charging cord
Charging cord is bulky (huge head on outlet side)
With cleaning base, takes up a lot of space on countertop

Braun provides a 90-day guarantee if you don't like the shaver. So, if you're on the fence, give it a try. NOV 2010 UPDATE - This has now been reduced to a 60-day guarantee by Braun.

If you don't like it and choose to return it, get ready to walk the gauntlet and wait a long time for your refund. The Braun web site makes it nearly impossible to find the return location (keep the form that comes with your shaver for these details - which may be outdated and refer to the 90-day risk free period which is now only 60 days). Braun requires 8-12 weeks to even notify you (by mail) that they received your shaver and then even longer to cut a refund check. Their refund center has a looping phone tree that suggests you can check the status of your return but endlessly loops to a recording of the location to mail your shaver instead. Obviously keep your receipt. Also send your return with a Delivery Confirmation to preserve your costly investment.
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on December 20, 2010
Let me begin by saying I have never written a review or endorsement of any product on the web or elsewhere. In addition, this review is not based on my personal experience, but that of my 86 year old father.

My father had been a blade shaver for many years, but several years ago developed macular degeneration and had a very difficult time with the traditional razor and shaving cream. At that point he adopted an electric razor, and was pretty adamant that the Norelco shavers were the best. However, it seemed like the Norelco shavers only gave a good close shave for a very short time, and they were hard for him to clean and keep in good working order. Also, his beard is fairly stiff, and most days he would have a five o'clock shadow by noon!

Anyway, exactly one year ago I gave my father this Braun razor as a Christmas gift, and I thought I would wait to see how it faired over several months before passing judgement. The fact is he loves it! I thought it might take him some time to get used to it, but within a week or two he was praising the shave he was getting with it. He says it only takes him about two or three minutes to shave in the morning, whereas his old Norelco was a five minute ordeal at least. The shave seems very close, and his five o'clock shadow now shows up at the right time! He loves the pop-up trimmer, and figured out how to use the head locking switch so that he can shave comfortably under his nose as well. Finally, the self-cleaning function is just what the doctor ordered here. He cleans it every other day, and a refill lasts about six weeks at that cleaning rate.

So, for Christmas this year I'm giving him the replacement head and some cleaning refills. While I think the refills are a little bit over-priced, it seems like a minor thing given the overall ownership experience.

OK, it's a second hand endorsement, but coming from my Dad it's pretty high praise.
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on September 3, 2014
I've used Braun shavers exclusively for 2 decades because frankly, they were the best. However with the last 3 shavers I purchased all 3 of them have broken approximately 1 year later. Each one broke in the same way. The 2 tiny plastic pieces that held the trimmer together broke off and the trimmer quit working. I paid a lot of money for each shaver. They may give the closest shave, but the build quality has deteriorated in the past few years and I'm tired of throwing money their way. I will never buy another Braun. This is tragic because my face is used to Braun shavers and it will take a long time to adjust to another brand.
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on September 4, 2015
I bought the Braun Series 7- 790cc Electric Shaver just about 1 year ago and wanted to wait until I needed to replace the shaver head before reviewing it. Per the instructions the shaver head should wear out in one year of “normal” use. Since that is a bit hard to define I will just describe “MY normal use” and let you decide where you fit in.
FYI: I bought mine on sale for $166.99 on Amazon.

For the record I have thin light brown straight facial hair and cannot grow a good beard. Just Google “Keanu Reeves Beard” and you will get the idea. I can usually go the weekend with little more than what others call a 5 o’clock shadow.
I use the razor every weekday for about 10 to 15 minutes to shave my face and neck in full. I shave in the car on the way to work (shame) and I tend to leave the razor in the car for most of the week not on the charger. (More below)
I rarely use the razor on the weekends, maybe 2 or so times a month.

Ease of use:
It fits well in my average sized hands. The vibration is noticeable but not at all uncomfortable even after extended use. The tilting razor head works very well to work its way around face contours and never requires an awkward position to reach any part of my face or neck. The sideburn shaver is less well positioned and requires a mirror and a weird hand position to get it right, holding the razor upside down and angled forward. That said it works as needed so Im not removing any stars for the odd positioning.

Shave Quality: Braun Series 7 -v- Gillette Mach 3 Razor
Prior to the Braun I was using exclusively the Gillette Mach 3 Razor to shave. I shaved only every other day with the Gillette due to the cost of blades and need to replace them after only 3 shaves. I will use a good shave from the Gillette blades to judge the closeness of the Braun.
With the blades I would usually shave against the grain to get a truly baby soft stubble free shave.
The Braun, and probably no electric foil razor, will ever really match that. However, the brawn is very close with just two or three circular passes. Around the neck is where it seems to fail a bit for me and often requires many (10 or more) passes in multiple directions before I stop feeling noticeable stubble. Otherwise the rest of my face feels like when I use the razor with the grain. That is just the slightest noticeable stubble. I have never felt any burning or irritation after shaving with the Braun. The closest I come to discomfort after shaving is a dry feeling that goes away after a few minutes. Visually I feel like I am well shaved and could go to any formal event without feeling the slightest bit grungy.

I have yet to have it run out of battery power. Even after a full 5 day week of shaving without charging (or cleaning) it still worked perfectly without issues. I would dare say you do not need a travel charger for anything under a weeks vacation. Battery life has not depreciated at all after a full year of use.

Here is where this razor beats the rest hands down. With the couple of electric razors I had tried and tossed in the past I had to open the head and bang/blow out the hair after each use or they would stop doing even a remotely good job. I have never had to open the Braun and manually clean it. Dropping it in the cleaning/charging station does the job 100% perfectly. I have been through 3 refills ($3 each) since I bought this almost 1 year ago and clean it usually twice a week. The rest of the time I leave it in the car and routinely will use it 3 or 4 days in a row before cleaning with no degrading of shave. After cleaning it in the charging station it has a fresh alcohol smell and on opening it is shiny and clean inside without even a tiny bit of hair left behind. I don’t know how long it takes to clean because it’s just drop it in, press the button and forget about it. If nothing else sells you on this then the cleaning station function should. Its just that great. I have added photos before and after cleaning. You can clearly see how great a job it does.

All in all I cannot see myself going back to the ridiculously expensive blade razors again and unless something genuinely better comes out I cant see giving up my Braun Series 7. Well maybe for a Series 8 but only time will tell.
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on November 30, 2010
After being extremely pleased with my Braun 5550 for fourteen years, and after considering the glowing reviews on the web, I purchased a Series 7. My 5550 reached the point it would no longer work with the cord, and since I'd already replaced the battery once, decided it was time to upgrade. I didn't really want all the features of a wet/dry shaver with self-cleaning, but purchasing a shaver with these extra add-ons seems to be the only way to get a quality model.

I'm returning the Series 7. What takes the 5550 two or three strokes to shave smooth, takes the Series 7 a dozen or more. I don't have a heavy, or fast-growing beard, either. I think the bulk of the problem is the foil design, which has regularly-spaced, smaller holes than the replacement foil for the 5550...which has a pattern that looks like tiny wagon wheels. These are more adept at passing through hairs from different directions, and which lay differently against the face. Are you listening, Braun?

The other complaint I have of the Series 7 is that it is very LOUD! Granted, I have sensitive hearing, but when shaving near my sideburns (over and over and over...) the noise is excruciating.

This story has a happy ending, though. I found a repair service that will rebuild my 5550. While expensive, I'll be able to enjoy a quick and clean shave for a least a few more years.
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