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Panasonic ESLA93K impressions
on March 5, 2010
Starting with the headline-spectacular.
The unit comes as a black model with cleaning base (ESLA93K) and a silver standalone model (ESLA63S). Both function the same.
This shaver incorporates some firsts for Panasonic: 14,000 rpm motor; a 2'nd motor in the head that copies the Braun foil-pulsing concept and a head that pivots up and down like Braun's have for years (plus the usual Panasonic side to side). And the whole head arrangment is a little more elegant.
Brought forward from the past models are the 4-system head, the ARC foil and nano-sharpened blades.
The black version is a thing of beauty. First class manufacturing with solid, gleaming surfaces and perfect fit and finish. Thick sections of body and foil cap plastics. A premium product through and through.
The shaver is not as HUGE as it looks in pictures. But, it is a larger form factor than usual for a Panasonic. While it "looks" unwieldy, once in hand it melts in like a custom glove and is a natural to handle. It is heavier than other Pansonics out of neccessity as there is literally a second motor in the head. But it is not burdonsome.
The motor note to me is not as jarring or intrusive as other Pansonics. I think the thicker materials and more casing account for this. But it does not approach a rotary for being a quiet shaving experience.
Closeness: The best I have ever experienced, hands down. I've had great, close shaves with other shavers that feel "dry." Not bad-but a close, dry. On a good day with the ESLA93K my skin gets a "baby bottom soft" feel. I have never, ever experienced it until this unit.
Comfort: It was impossible for me to experience discomfort with this unit. I was unable to shave in any direction against any grain with any amount of pressure that was not completely comfortable. In fact, after a couple days my shaves were not as close-I figured out I was not pressing hard enough. You just don't feel pressure.
Speed: I am a 7-9 minute shaver. Always have been. An over-shaver, never feel done. It's hard for me to go past 5 minutes with this unit. I start feeling "done" about 3 minutes. It's fast.
Trimmer: Due to the nature of the head the trimmer looks small-I compared it is exactly the same size as the trimmer on the Arc Retro. Works fine, it is in a somewhat unusual location but I got used to it right away.
Cleaning module: The module works well and is the standard vortex dry cake of soap plus water system with a different design to accomodate the shape of the shaver. The manual mentioned active-drying, which I do not think was the case with my ES8228S cleaning base. Still not as good as the Braun module in my opinion.
It carries over my one pet peeve from past Panasonic modules which is no sleep mode. When you come back for lunch, the shaver blinks once every 2 seconds. Blink. Blink. Blink. Gives you the urge to take out the shaver-so what's the point of leaving it in until tomorrow? But this is a perhaps a personal quirk and the unit does the job well.
The module is a nice convenience that costs under 15 cents per day and the unit is easily cleaned by rinsing and/or cleaning with liquid soap per the instructions so either way it's fast and easy.
Other: Unit has a bright, pleasant blue LED display that shows shave time, battery remaining, I think it indicates when cleaning is needed and it flashes a replace foil symbol after one year. Oddly, the LED goes OFF while you are shaving-but as stated above blinks constantly when done charging. I don't know who thinks of this stuff for Panasonic but it's odd.
Summary/perspectives: The Panasonic ESLA93K is the best foil shaver I have ever used, without question.
*Should I try it if I am primarily a rotary user? IMO-if you have always preferred the rotary experience you will probably still prefer a rotary to this unit. It is a fantastic shaver but it is a foil experience 100%.
*Should I upgrade if I just bought a recent Panasonic? IMO-if maximum speed, comfort and the sensation of soft closeness is something you are willing to pay for, yes. If ultra Panasonic close is all you need, all the other recent models are great.
*Should I try it if I love my Pulsonic? IMO-yes. To me the ESLA93K is everything the Pulsonic has been to others that it never gave me. It's a step above, it is the ultimate foil shaver on the market today.