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Comfortable, But Still Not a Blade
on August 27, 2010
I REALLY wanted to like this electric razor. I've been shaving since 1955, and have had everything from an Eversharp Shick Electric Razor to the first two-rotor blade Norelco to a Panasonic that was a wet/dry (which sounds like a vacuum cleaner in more ways than one). My most recent electric was purchased about 20 years ago, and it's a Braun which is all I can compare to this Norelco 1150.
Overall, the price of blade shaving has been quite a bit higher because of the price of blades (it's very much like color printers and ink), but one of the instructions on the Norelco box was to replace the shaving head once a year. In the area of cost, the edge - so to speak - goes to blades depending upon how tough a beard you have and how often you have to shave and change blades.
My preference has remained blade shaving, starting with a GEM of all things, and then to Gillette Blue Blade, Thins, Atra, and on and on up to the M3 Power Gillette. Along with Absolute Comfort Shave, there's just nothing as close or comfortable than a blade. And yet there's always this hope that someone will come out with an electric that can compete.
Now comes the Norelco 1150, the low end ($99 versus $359) of their newest line. Although it said that a carrying bag was included, I found none ... and I looked four times. Since it's only a "bag," I figured I could always use a sock to protect it while traveling. I've actually shaved four times, once with cream in four days, and here are my findings:
1. It has a quick-charge feature which is only 3 minutes, and a full charge in 40 minutes. That's fantastic IF your need the quick charge. (My Braun is a cord model.)
2. It is extremely quiet. In fact, having become used to the raucous hum of older electric razors, the Norelco doesn't SOUND powerful enough to shave.
3. It can be used wet or dry. I highly recommend "wet" using a heavy (what used to be called "brushless") shaving cream which with electrics can be messy.
4. The manual states that you should give the razor three weeks before you start complaining. Okay, it doesn't say that exactly, but it does say to use it for 21 days to get your skin used to this electric razor. Since I use my Braun every two or three weeks for quick touch-ups, I didn't think this was necessary. Besides, I've ALWAYS had razor rash from electrics, and to some extent blame electrics for "training" my beard to go in all different directions.
5. That said, this was VERY comfortable until I overdid the neck area. A little powder has always been soothing, and I sometimes recommend using powder BEFORE using an electric razor.
6. The trimmer actually trims sideburns nicely and straight, but (read CONS)
7. There's a 45 day money-back guarantee.
Before I get to the negatives, please take into consideration that I've always had a heavy beard and sensitive skin. And now that my beard is half-gray, the gray hairs are even more wiry than the black. (I must say that my two sons-in-law who were "consulted," said the following: the one with a light beard said that he got razor rash from any electric. Then there's Paul who, when he's on a speaking tour, has to shave two to three times a day, can't use an electric because the heads wear out in a month and he does not get a close shave. No, he's no relation to King Kong, but fair warning to those of you who understand this situation.)
1. Sorry, but the Norelco 1150 simply could not shave neck hair that was more than a quarter- to a half-inch long, and it was not good in what is becoming a NECK with creases.
2. It was my attempts to get these longer hairs at the base of the neck and between my lower lip and chin that culminated in a rash. It was not as severe as my previous electrics, but it still was a .... pain in the neck. In the old days, for me this would have led to ingrown hairs. I think if you have a light beard and shave daily with this Norelco, you'll get better results and may well love it.
3. As I said, the razor is good, but even better with shaving cream. However, cleaning is a chore. You can wash the head after easily removing it, and you can brush the hair out of the receptacle under the heads. But, when you come right down to it, I can shave with a blade and clean up faster than with the Norelco (or any other wet/dry electric.
4. As I said, the trimmer actually does trim and does it well. However, you have to take the head off and insert the trimmer in order to just do sideburns. This isn't terribly time-consuming, but it is an added step in the shaving process. It also gives you another thing to clean.
5. It has a large footprint: The base for the razor isn't huge, but it does take up enough counter space. The base has three small suction cups, two of which did not hold on our marble top even after cleaning the top. Bigger suction cups would be good, but in a bathroom where there is powder and other things that get on the counter, I wouldn't leave it out providing I have a drawer that can take a razor that is light but bulky.
6. Both the Norelco and my Braun do a great job on the cheeks, but the Braun does a better job on the neck. The Norelco is more comfortable, and there's a irresistible urge to go over and over the same spots, especially now that it's almost silent. And, surprise, the Norelco actually does a good job of getting ear hair. (Nose hair? Use a small scissors.) It's comfortable to hold.
It's not entirely fair to ask ME if I would recommend the Norelco 1150. I've been shaving with a blade for 55 years, and only intermittently with electrics. Considering that while I absolutely hate shaving, but don't feel clean without having shaved, I'll stick to the soap and lather and my trusty blades which now last a little longer than they used to. But a hundred bucks for a razor? Or go for a steam cleaned Norelco for $350? That's a lot of bucks under any circumstances.
I believe that the statistics are 72% blade, 20% electric, and the rest with beards (I guess). My father-in-law NEVER in 70 years used anything but an electric, and he always seemed clean shaven. If he were still alive, I might well have given him this Norelco for Christmas. In many respects - unfortunately other than closeness - there's a certain WOW factor to the Norelco.
That's as fair as I can get.