...and I've tried a bunch, both foil and rotary. None have shaved this close with this much comfort. There is absolutely no razor burn. Even when I tried shaving over portions of my neck several times, nothing but a close shave. Beyond that the razor has a good weight and fits comfortably in my hand. The "minutes left" indicator is very convenient. Cleaning is a snap, just pop open the heads and run them under hot water.
Perhaps the biggest selling point is the 45-day money back guarantee. You try it and don't like it, you get your money back.
The down sides... Forget about using this for a "scruffy look"; there's no height adjustment. It's either a close shave or nothing. If you travel and expect to be gone longer than a single full charge (enough for 60 minutes of shaving) then you need to take along the base. The recharger does not plug directly into the razor. The price - $280 is a lot for a razor. And, you can expect to spend $60 every year (or two) for replacement heads.
Truth be told, this will not shave as close as a blade but it will get real close to that. Also, you get the convenience of being able to shave in less time, wherever you are (within reason), and whenever you want.
UPDATE - After using this razor for a while there's a couple things I've noticed that get you an even closer shave. Firstly, like the instructions say, you want to clean the heads after every shave. It's simply a matter of popping open the heads and rinsing them under the tap for a few seconds. Secondly, as I mentioned above, a light touch is the key. With your skin pulled tight you should barely feel the razor touching your face. It may seem like it's not doing much but it really is. Also, after using it five days a week for over a month the battery meter still shows a 28% charge. (More importantly, the shaver is still running like the battery is full.)
BTW, I feel that honest, effective reviews can take the place of first-hand experiences that are lacking in online shopping. I've always appreciated the help I've received from other reviewers and work hard to return the favor as best as I can. I hope you found this review helpful and if there was anything you thought was lacking or unclear leave a comment and I'll do what I can to fix it.
on October 20, 2010
This is my second Norelco 1290x shaver from Amazon. The first one I got was defective since I was not able to turn it on after charging it. I must point out that Amazon was very prompt in replacing the defective shaver. This is what makes Amazon great in my opinion.
Let me say right up front, the 1290x will never match the shave of something like a Gillette Fusion razor. The reason I want an electric shaver is because it is quick and easy to use and it gives a reasonably close shave. The 1290x feels great in the hand, is well constructed and does shave a little smoother and closer than my previous high end Norelco the 6885xl with 9 years of almost daily use, which I am still very impressed with. If only the battery did not die.
1. newly designed UltraTrack shaving heads are very flexible allowing shaves to be close and comfortable.
2. 1290x body has quality construction, feel and design (very good looking)
3. made in the Netherlands
4. shaves closer than my previous high end Norelco and seems to be a better shaving experience (smoother)
5. feels good in the hand with it's rubberized back and weight distribution (well balanced)
6. good looking motion display as are the useful LED symbols and numbers
7. trimmer works good on sideburns and is easier to aim than previous Norelco
1. protective sliding plastic heads cover feels like it could scratch the unit, so I am not using it
2. stand is very wobbly on a rough surface because of its suction cup feet
3. cannot be used with a cord when not charged, need to wait 3 to 5 minutes to charge for one shave
4. the 3 rotary heads need to opened separately for cleaning after every shave (per manual and indicator)
5. expensive to replace heads (4 new heads would buy a new 1290x shaver!)
6. need to make sure you do not leave the shaver charging for more than 60 minutes (per manual)
7. needs to be in stand to charge and it needs to be unplugged when done
Also, I feel the 'SensoTouch' name is somewhat misleading, since turning the 1290x on requires a firm press of the thumb against the on/off symbol. This shaver should not be confused with a true touch screen device like some remote controls, thermostats, phones etc.
Overall, I am very happy with the Norelco 1290x. This is now my 4th high end Norelco. It does sadden me however, that when the battery on this shaver no longer charges, it will either be a monument or a throw away item. This is not the case on my previous 3 high end Norelcos. They are still able to function with a cord allowing them to be used as a backup shaver or a travel shaver.
Keep in mind also that I do not have thick or dense stubble, so your results may vary.
on November 30, 2010
I was a HUGE fan of this shaver when I first received it. In fact, I've preserved my original review of it at the bottom of this one, but I can't believe a costly shaver like this would be dead after only five months of use. Since there is no option to plug this thing in, once the battery is dead, so is the shaver...for good.
The only reason I can think of for this happening is that the instructions warn not to keep the shaver plugged in after it has fully charged, but it takes time to charge, and I don't have the time to sit there and watch it so that I can unplug it immediately afterwards. Since the battery lasts for 60 minutes of shaving, I've only needed to charge it maybe four times since I first got it, but each of those times, it remained plugged in for ten or more hours while I was at work. Seriously though, if keeping it plugged in after it's fully charged four times caused this to happen, that is ridiculous.
So, as amazing as this shaver was for me for five whole months, I now think it's a ridiculous product that everyone should stay far away from.
My original glowing review:
I've been a razor blade man since the moment I began shaving. Over the years, I've tried several mid-range electric shavers (though, to be fair, none in this price range), and I was never impressed. Until now, I'd never found anything that could perform better than a high end razor.
The Norelco 1290 impressed me on the first try. Electric shavers usually suggest that it will take up to three weeks for you to get a better shave because your face needs time to adjust, but the very first outing gave me a cleaner and MUCH more comfortable shave than my trusty Mach 3 razors. Sure, it still left me with a faint coating of stubble, but it was a lighter coating than I'd ever gotten from a manual razor. Best yet, it effortlessly moved around the fine details and crevices (especially at the corners of my mouth) without any effort on my part. I am impressed, to say the least.
- Very close, comfortable shave
- Gets into hard-to-shave areas without any effort.
- Cleans easily (you can use running water, and the heads pop up so that you can clean under them)
- Charges quickly
- Can be used with water and shaving cream
- Looks nice
- Heads must be replaced once a year. Not sure how the cost compares to purchasing razor blades on a regular basis.
- Recharging stand has suction cups, but it still slides too easily. If a plugged in recharging stand were to fall into a sink full of water, that would be BAD.
- While recharging, the shaver sometimes emits a subtle, high pitched sonic squeal that is immensely annoying. At first, this only seemed to happen when the razor was tilted slightly and not completely hitting the charging contacts, but now it seems to happen no matter how the shaver is resting. It's a minor detail, but it's the only aspect of the shaver that truly bugs me. Fortunately, it charges very quickly.
All in all, I can honestly say that this is the best shaving experience I've ever had and well worth the money. While I've never tried another high end shaver in this price range, I can absolutely compare it to a lifetime of shaving with high end razors like the Mach 3 and Fusion, and the Norelco 1290 easily beats both.
The big question on this razor really isn't "Is this a good razor?" but rather "What do I get for spending $230+?". This is Norelco's premium model. As such, you're getting the most advanced heads, premium construction, longest lasting battery, and longest warranty.
Overall, if you don't need:
*a super-long battery,
*a touch screen on/off button, or the
*digital minute display,
then you can opt for the less expensive 3-d model. From there it's a step down to the 2-d flexing heads. After that you make a choice between the Nivea wet shavers or the SpeedXL system. All are quite capable, but this model combines the best from all of those.
You'll definitely get the best, most comfortable shave from this one and will benefit from wet or dry shaving.
My personal experience is based on years of using Norelco razors. I've been using a SpeedXL razor for the past 4 years. It replaced the bottom-end $40 Norelco I had before that. The SpeedXL was a comfort improvement over the basic model, and the 3D system is yet another improvement over the SpeedXL. I had always wanted to try one of the Nivea/wet style shavers and now this model lets me use any shave gel, not just the Nivea cartridges. I've been getting the best dry shave ever, and once my skin got adjusted, it really is *almost* as close as a blade. Using it in the shower gets even closer. At first, I think I was misusing it because it glides so easily and conforms to your face so well, that I was probably pushing too hard thinking it was like my old razor. This one works well with a very light touch.
What differentiates this model from other Norelcos:
Norelco razors come in many flavors, with each series using different heads. To be clear, each razor which uses the same replacement head will perform similarly, and the difference in price is simply due to the other features. On this model (which is part of the 12xx series), that means a metal construction body, touch-screen control vs. a hard button, and the digital minute display vs. a bar graph.
The difference between heads (12xx series, 11xx series, etc) is the amount of flex, the degree of flexion, and the pressure it takes to actually flex the heads. On this model, the heads are VERY easy to flex and move in all directions. This leads to less pressure against your face when shaving, fewer strokes because the heads can reach more angles at once, and both of those lead to less irritaion. The foils are similar to the Speed XL (my previous model), in that they have 3 different slot types, but only two cutting paths vs. 3 on the SpeedXL. I definitely like these heads better. They seem to do a better job of letting the hairs into the cutters.
3D models are the 12xx series and use the RQ12 heads.
2D models are the 11xx series and use the RQ11 heads.
Arcitect models seem to be discontinued, but are the 10xx series and use the RQ10 heads.
SpeedXL models use the HQ9 heads, and cannot be used in the shower or for wet shaving.
I'm not sure if any of the heads are interchangeable.
The metal body and rubberized back are really nice. Only the front face is plastic, and on this model, not even the button sticks out or moves. The look is sleek, clean, and cool. It truly feels like a quality razor. Not that this really affects performance, but it does give confidence in its durability. The construction on this series allows for both wet and dry shaving. With wet shaving, you can also use shaving foam or gel. This is a big benefit to those who shave in the shower, or who prefer lotion. Since you can use any kind you like, this may save money over using Norelco's Nivea models, which use specialized packages of the Nivea gel. The razor is quieter than other models, and has more of a higher pitch making it sound like the heads really spin faster.
Provides up to 60 minutes of shaving, and only takes 60 minutes to charge. Very convenient, and the charging stand is useful, too. Other models provide as little as 30-50 minutes on a full charge. Given the speed of the cut from this model, plus the long life, you could likely pack this for a week long trip without hesitation. The downside is that it can ONLY be charged in the stand - there is no way to plug the adapter directly into the razor itself. As such, the pouch is not large enought to fit the razor, stand and power cord. So longer trips require more space to pack the stand. Additionally the razor and pouch is larger than lower end models, so even taking just the razor will require a bit more space. The battery is Li-ion, so it should stand up well over time.
2 full years.
It slides our vs. flips out and is narrower than the lower end models. However, it has finer teeth and is much more effective in my opinion. A clear improvement over the past. The problem with the trimmer on this model is that the main shaving heads often block your view of the trimmer, so it is more difficult to see it.
-Price. Obviously, this model is up to twice as much as other Norelco's. I don't think you get twice the performance.
-Charging. I don't like that you have to use the stand to charge it. If you don't have space on your sink, or if it's a rough surface, you'll have more of a pain to charge it. Also, for travel purposes, long trips require you take the charging stand. Lastly, the charging port on the stand is on the right-hand side vs. being centered in the back. For those like me, where the outlet is to the left of where the stand sits, this looks a bit messy with the cord going to the opposite side.
-Smaller stubble collection - each head stores the stubble vs all of it being collected together. To clean, you have to flip open each of the three heads. It's not hard, but more work than a simply single-button press on the older shavers.
For the criticisms, mostly the price and charging, I'm deducting 1-star. I believe this is the best Norelco you can buy, but for this price it's hard to justify not being absolutely perfect. I don't think those should necessarily deter you to a different brand or model. They may not be issues to you, and surely some of the features of this model may well outweigh the criticisms I have. You'll have to find the sweet spot of price/features for yourself.
on August 27, 2011
Hey, I bought this razor about a month ago and I love it! Senso Touch makes shaving a pleasure and not a chore! Let me say this, I also own a Senso Touch 1250cc. You might ask me why I have two Senso Touch Razors? Well, the reason is that I'm a pastor and sometimes I live at my house and sometimes at the parsonage, so I have one for home and one for travel. They both shave the same and are Top of the Line Philips Norelco Shavers. I'm 48 and I have a collection of Norelco Shavers. I have been shaving with a Norelco ever since I was 16. My first was a two header from my Grandfather. All the men in my family have shaved with a Norelco. My Dad 68 shaves with the 1250x and he loves it! You do not really need the Jet Clean. 1250cc comes with a Jet clean and 1290x does not. Philips does sale a 1290cc in Europe with a Jet Clean for $700. Who wants to spend that for an electric razor? I clean my 1290x in the Jet Clean that came with the 1250cc. I do not see, as many people claim that the Jet Clean is bulky. It doesn't take up much space on my counter at all. The Jet Clean that comes with the 1250cc does not have the three settings as does the one that comes with the 1280cc. In my opinion, the three settings are unecessary. One setting cleans my razors well. The Jet Clean is really unnecessary. All you have to do is wash the razor out in hot water under the tap. Both the 1250cc and 1290x shave exactly the same. Now on to shaving. Personally, I like to shave with my razor dry, however I do shave with it wet on Sundays before church when I want to look my best and get a really close shave. For dry shaving, DO NOT put any powder on your face before shaving as I use to do with my other Norelcos. I did this when I first got my 1250cc and it ruined the blades. Philips Norelco was nice enough to send me another set. You can however use Willams Lectric Shave, but let it dry on your face before you shave and wash your hands after you shave because it can damage the apperance of your razor. This razor does take two to three weeks to adjust to your face. For awhile I got red bumps or rash just above my adams apple, but it soon went away as I adjusted to this shaving system. Stick with it and you will enjoy a close comfortable shave. Do not grind this razor into your skin! The best shave and the secret to useing this razor is a very light touch with circular motions across your face. When I shave with it wet, I like to use Barbasol or Nivea Sensitive Gel, both work well with this razor. 1290x and 1250cc both come with a nice travel pouch. The 1290x comes with the deluxe travel pouch and I really do not see much difference with either pouch. Senso Touch shaves almost as close as a blade or Gillette Fusion. It is an investment in shaving. The replacement heads sell for about $75, but you won't have to buy blades all the time as with blade shaving. Which one is best for you? It all depends on how much money that you want to spend on bells and whistles. The 1290x has a minutes display while the 1250x or cc has three bars that indicate how much shaving time is left. Both razors can be locked, but the 1290x automatically shuts off after it has been left on for five min. The 1290x has has touch screen on/off display while the 1250x or cc has a power on/off button. 1250x is exactly the same as 1250cc, but the cc means that a Jet Clean comes with the razor. I still have a 88994xl which is the James Bond Razor and it also gives a great shave. My Arcitec was a good shaver, mine needs new heads, by the way the heads on the Senso Touch can be used on the Arcitec, as I have read on other reviews. Senso Touch shaves better than Arcitec especially wet. The 1290x is metal design, while 1250x is plastic and as stated, both razors shave exactly the same. The 1290X is metal and definately feels heavier in yor hand than the 12050x/cc which is plastic. I have a heavy dark beard and Senso Touch gets the job done. I usually shave in the morning and sometimes in the late afternoon to get rid of any five o'clock shadow. Senso Touch is the only razor that I shave with. It surprises me that anybody would take ten to twenty minutes to shave with this razor. It only take me about five to six minutes with my heavy beard! I think it all goes back to guys grinding the razor into their skin! Again, you must use a light touch with small quick circular motions to get a smooth shave. Senso Touch is well worth the extra money, so why didn't I give Senso Touch a five star rating? The reason is it does not shave my upper lip very well. It leaves me with the appearence of a light light moustache, but overall it is the clodsest shave that you will ever get with an electric razor! Get Senso Touch either 1290x, 1250x or 1250cc and you will not be disappointed in your shaving experience. Now, be sure to register your Senso Touch on line and Philips Norelco will give you a two and a half year warrenty, which is great! They will send you another one if the razor stops working! Also, I am well satisfied with Amazon! I ordered the 1290x on a Mon. and it came Wed. If you have any questions then post a comment and I'll respond. Also, you can watch many great reviews and demostrations of Senso Touch on You Tube. Happy Shaving!-Michael, Baton Rouge, LA
on June 13, 2011
I bougth a 1290X Sensotouch 3D in January 2011. It never got a 60 minutes full charge, 55 at most. Six months later, a couple of days ago, I placed it in its charger but there was no charge at all. The battery is dead. I don't recomend this razor to anyone.
on September 14, 2011
After I bought this razor, twice I shaved and the head stop working. I called costumer service they told me all heads do not have any warranty.
I purches about $269.00 for this razor and I have to pay extra $59.00 for new head too. !!!
on January 21, 2012
I have Philips Norelco 1290x for less than 2 years and the shaver died. It is a prefect shaver - smooth and nice shaving, but broke too soon. Purchased for $280 - one would expect to last more.
It worked in the morning. Left it to charge during the day and when came back from work - it was dark. Cannot turn it on, no any sign of life.
It is disappointing that Philips makes shavers for so long time and one would expect newer products to last longer. It is more disappointing for me since I purchased a new head ($60) a month ago. Not sure if I would be a Philips customer again.
on October 7, 2012
I have been using the Norelco 1290x for three weeks and I am very happy with the shaver. It shaves closer than the Norelco Spectra that I had been using for 8 years. The razor's ability to closely shave my neck without causing redness or irritation is what I find most impressive about this shaver. The extremely small trimmer was for me the biggest disappointment because it does not do a very good or very fast job on my side burns.
Much has been made in some previous reviews about being careful not to overcharge the battery. On my razor, the charging of the battery stops after the battery is fully charged. I know this because both the power adapter and the shaver cool-off after "60" minutes is reached. Furthermore, the if the charging didn't stop, or at least diminish to a trickle charge, the battery would at the very least overheat, if not explode or catch fire. No where in my owner's manual is there a warning not to overcharge the battery by leaving the shaver plugged in. Again, I have the 1290x and its manual, so I am not speaking about other models. I will say, however, that my Spectra is exactly the same way; it stops charging when the battery is fully charged.
I will continue to use my Spectra while traveling, however, for two reasons. First, the 1290x travel case is inadequate in my opinion to protect the razor in a suit case. Second, should the 1290x battery fail while I'm traveling, I would not be able to shave because I can't plug the cord directly into the razor like I can with the Spectra. I understand that Philips wanted to make sure that none of the shaver's users would be accidentally electrocuted by shaving in the shower with a plugged-in razor, but I don't want to have to travel with a back-up razor.
I no longer have this razor because the LED display failed during the warranty period and Philips replaced the defective handle with what they said was a "new" handle. Seven months later, and one month longer than its warranty, the second handle stopped working completely. Philips offered me a 15 percent discount coupon on a new unit. I took the handle apart and found that the battery still had full power (3.7 volts), so I know that the battery was not the issue. Interestingly, I noticed that the 8000-series shavers were discontinued and a new 9700-series shaver has come out. Since the 9700-series uses the same heads as the 8000-series did, I decided to purchase a new S9721/84 so that I can use the two sets of heads that I purchased as spares for the 1290x. Also, even though I wanted to give a Braun series-9 shaver a try, my research showed that not only have Braun's customer service and products been no better nor more reliable than that of Philips, their series-9 shavers are neither sold nor supported in the US. I'll find out soon enough if the 1290x model was a lemon or a harbinger of the things to come from Philips Norelco.
on October 15, 2015
I have to admit I am getting tired of Philips Norelco inconsistency. When I bought the shaver it was great, smooth, clean, quick shave. But now that I have had the shaver for a little over a year it is not doing as well because according to Norelco the head should be replaced. But now the replacement head RQ12+ from what reviews I have read is not as good as the original head plus it is harder to clean. If you are lucky enough to find one of the original heads for sale, it costs in excess of $300, more than the cost of the original shaver. That's ridiculous. This is the second problem I have had with Norelco. My first Senso Touch 3D shaver I sent back to them under their 45 day satisfaction warranty because although it shaved well the trimmer didn't work at all. Fortunately, I did get my money back. But for whatever reason these people at Philips Norelco just can't get it together. When you buy from them you never what you are getting, sometimes quality, sometimes junk. I have read that the Braun and Panasonic are consistently better shavers. Perhaps it is time for a change.
A little update. I found something very interesting and useful. I recently ran out of pre shave lotion, so I grabbed some Avon Skin So Soft. I used the same amount as I would pre shave. With my old shaving head I got a smooth, close, quick shave, just like when the head was new. It was a little oily, but that was no problem because my after shave took away the oily feeling leaving my skin soft, smooth, and clean. Give it a try before you replace your head. Considering the cost of a shaver head and actual pre shave lotions it is a bargain.