on February 1, 2008
I have ready many user reviews and some technical reviews on the Norelco Arcitec and it has brought me to three conclusions: 1) You can't please everyone but you CAN please most 2) Some of the reviews must have been written by the competition and 3) A little more attention to detail will help some of you understand the product better.
I have been mostly a blade man for about 25 years, having only made a few brief attempts at using an electric. For the past several years, I have been using the Gillette Mach 3 and now the Fusion razors. They are the best blades ever, give a quick close shave and cost so much money to replace ($28.99 msrp for 8 blades), that if I changed them out when I really should (weekly is ideal and almost necessary they go dull so fast), I will have paid for the Norelco Arcitec 1050 plus a little extra, in just one year of use.
In the interest of trying something new, I have tried electrics before. I tried Norelco's first generation of the Nivea wet shaver and it was great, though it did run out of Nivea fast, which was hard to find and expensive and then I got bored and distracted and stopped using it almost as quickly as I started. BUT, it is still a work horse and whenever I break it out of retirement, and it still does a great job, even with worn out blades.
So, I decided to give the Arcitec a try. First, everyone comments on design and style, so let's get that out of the way. Great, innovative, light, maneuverable, and incredibly effective. I am NOT a dry shave guy. I only do it out of necessity when I am in a hurry. I have always found that wet shaving, even with my other Norelco which can do either, was WAYYY better and more comfortable. But, this is enough to convert me in just one use. Quick, smooth, effect, close, comfortable.
Let's debunk a couple of design complaints I have read about in previous reviews...
The trimmer...Yes, the trimmer may be a bit small, but I have a small face, and I almost never use a trimmer, so no biggie. BUT, one of the complaints I have read several times is that placement is bad because "you end up cutting your hair with the razor when you try to use the trimmer". People... the razor head pops off! Just pull it off when you are using the trimmer. It's pretty obvious you are supposed to. Which leads me to...
Replacing the blades...Other's have complained that you can't replace the blades, just the entire head from the neck up and that appears to be true. One user even said it costs almost as much as a new razor. Rubbish! It's $33 and change on Amazon for a new razor head. It will probably be less by the time any of us actually need to buy replacements. When was the last time you replaced the blades in an electric razor (O.K., a GOOD electric razor) for under $30? Assuming you do it once a year, you will pay what yo would for one 8 pack of Fusion blades.
Cleaning the blades... you have to open three small slots, instead pushing one button for one big chamber. It takes three seconds, so what?
There isn't a big hair chamber... Again, so what? I always hated having a bunch of hair gather in my razor.
The battery supposedly can be damaged by over charging, unlike previous models. Most likely, Norelco is just being careful. The nature of lithium ion and lithium polymer batteries is that they CAN'T be over charged, they have no burn in memory, and are safe to leave in the charge at all times. Even my old first-gen Norelco Nivea razor with cheap NiCad batteries, could be left in the charger forever and it never burned and still holds a charge for months or even years. You can take the risk and leave it in the charger. I did it all afternoon and evening yesterday with no notable problems.
One last observation, and I'm not the first one to make it... The only difference between the 1050, 1060 and 1090 razors is the LED. Each one offers a little more detail than the rest, but costs noticeably more for that detail. In all other ways each razor is the same. Maybe it's just me, but why pay up to $100 more for a unit that does all the same things? I don't care if mine has an LED that says I have 65 minutes left.
So, nutshell... great design, great performance, great everything. Take negative opinions with a grain of salt. With a 60 day return policy to Norelco, it's worth a trial run. I've only had it for a day and I already like it enough to keep it.
By the way, if you like wet shaving, it looks like it can do that too.
It's one of the coolest electric razors I've seen. I bought the 1060 which is the same thing as this one except the display. I couldn't wait to get this one. I love Norelco's products. I bought this shaver and tried it for a couple of weeks and found it delivers a really harsh uncomfortable shave with lots of razor burn which I never got from my other Norelco. I think one reason for the harsh shave is that it doesn't have the floating heads anymore that easily give to the contours of your face, this seems to plow into curves instead and you also don't get the range of pivoting that the previous models have (I noticed this didn't surround my Adams Apple like my 9160XL does it sits flat on it). It gives a decent shave but not a great shave like I was hoping and you have to go over areas many times. I think who ever designed this razor just went for how sleek and cool they could make it look and the function came second. You can get as good of shave with a 8140XL SpeedXL which has the same cutting head technology and gain the comfort and save $120. It just won't look as cool on your counter. I've sent mine back and I just bought a Braun Pulsonic 9595 and it's the best shaver I've ever owned. Sorry Norelco but when I spend $200 dollars I just don't want something that looks good I want it improved too.
on June 25, 2009
*** UPDATE, 11/15 ***
The razor is still going strong. I've used it regularly and it continues to performs well. It takes me a little more time than my Braun shaver to complete the shave, but it's not a deal breaker. I don't use the trimmer, as it is useless (I use my Braun for that). Still, the performance is good enough that I decided to keep it (rather than return within the 45 day period). One other thing: I timed the shaving duration off a full charge and the Arcitec can go for an amazing 77 minutes (that's more than 20 minutes longer than the Braun).
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I have been a Braun shaving customer for over 20 years. I find I'm able to get almost as close as a blade. So, why bother with any other shaver? Well, I'd always been fascinated by the triple-head design that Norelco pioneered back almost 30 years ago. The last time I tried one was about 10 years ago, and I wasn't impressed. With the latest Arcitec design, I figured it was time to give it a try.
The Arcitec Models
Philips Norelco makes so many different models, I can't figure them all out. However, the Arcitec stands out by having a very distinctive slender look, the triple head surface on a flat conical piece that is affixed to a pivot, unlike the "neckless" other models. There are 3 main Arcitec models: 1050, 1060, and 1090. There are also two suffixes: X and CC. I think the 'X' means there is no cleaning station, while 'CC' means a cleaning station IS included. You may see some models shown without either suffix--this is the same as the 'X' (before they changed their naming convention). So, why is there a cleaning station if the heads can be rinsed under water? Competition. Braun provides one now... and with the scented alcohol solution, the shaver seems "fresher" after the cleansing bath. So, Norelco had to keep up. But in reality it's overkill; don't bother with one if you're thrifty. Rinsing the heads under water works very well.
Essentially, here's the difference: The 1050 has only 1 indicator for battery recharge needed, the 1060 has several LED indicators showing how much charge is left, and the 1090 has an LED double-digit display showing how many minutes of shaving are left. Quite frankly, the 1050 is just fine. When the battery gets low, you've got about 5 minutes left before the shaver will quit. Even still, for every minute the shaver is plugged in, that is how many minutes of shaving you get. Plug the shaver back in for 5 minutes, and you're ready to go for your shave. So... although this "early warning system" looks cool, it's overkill.
So, onto the shaver...
Appearance and Design
Out of the box, it is a beautiful looking device. Very futuristic. Adorned in several shades of black, dark gray, and silver, with catchy real carbon fiber side panels and a matte rubber finish along the backside for good grip. The three silver shaving discs contrast the black theme nicely. The shaver is lightweight and the heads have a lot of flex to them. There is no socket on the shaver for the cord--it comes with a charging base that serves as a resting stand, which secures the razor magnetically--very tasteful. There is also a "travel pod" included for portability that allows you to charge the shaver while it is housed inside it. Certainly, the accessories are more impressive than what Braun offers. It looked to me like Braun has met its match.
Then, onto the shave.
The Shaving Experience
This Arcitec 1050 is rather quiet, compared to my Braun 8595 Activator. I watched a couple of YouTube posted reviews of the latest Braun Pulsonic 9595, and that shaver sounded about as loud (if not louder) than my Braun 8595 Activator. So... Norelco certainly wins the prize for most quiet shaver. Actually, the sound is a low drone... it gives the impression that the shaver is a slow, antiquated device. The Braun sounds Bold and Busy with its Bounding Buzz. But in reality, the Norelco is formidable.
So, I touch the shaver to my face. I hear and feel the nibble of whiskers taking place. I begin to go through the motions... cheeks, chin, lip areas, then the neck. It feels comfortable. The discs are gentle. I don't feel anything like the reports of "heavy tugging" at the whiskers. I make a full double-pass across my face, then check the smoothness with my free hand.
Eh... not enough. Still rough. No immediate advantage over the Braun. So, I make another few passes. I pinch and pull at my skin as I would with the Braun. I do two more passes and check the smoothness again.
Pretty good! Just about as close as the Braun. Some places felt like I could make another couple of passes while others were better than what the Braun would do (like around the front neck area). So overall, I'm satisfied with the performance despite it taking just a little longer.
The trimmer? Awful. There's this little ridge on the backside of the shaver. A side switch partially extends and activates it, a small bank of cutting teeth. It's hard to get a nice smooth line. When you encounter a hair with it, there's a rather loud "click" sound. The Braun's trimmer is about twice as wide and zaps the hairs effortlessly. Although the Braun is a louder shaver, the trimmer does not introduce any added noise.
I do notice something else rather positive, though: no whisker dust on my clothes. The Norelco captures the whisker debris inside the heads and keeps it there, unlike the Braun which will dump a bunch of it on you if you turn it sideways or on a downward angle. For people who like to shave after they've gotten dressed, that's good news for Norelco.
Norelco recommends replacing the heads every 12 months. Braun recommends doing so every 18 months. The Braun Pulsonic series tells you when head replacement is necessary; not sure how this is done (number of shaves?). The Norelco Arcitec has a little "head replacement" indicator. The Arcitec replacement heads are about 30% more expensive than Braun's Series 5, and 8000 series, although the new "cassette" system with the Pulsonic is about the same. So, cost of maintenance might be higher. Also, I've seen mixed opinions about how long they last. Some people have complained having to replace them at 6 months, while an acquaintance says he replaces the heads every 10 years--when he changes shavers! He was once told that the heads are "self sharpening". That sounds a bit unrealistic to me. In any case, I can't report the replacement time here just yet... I'll need to use this shaver for a while. But I'll have to give it to Braun for a longer time between head replacement and at a cheaper cost (because it is also said that you can get away with replacing just the cutter block, if the foil is still intact, which drops the cost by 50%... can't do this with the Philips).
The Braun is a bit better, but not by a huge margin. The Norelco Arcitec 1050 puts up a very good fight. I really could use this razor in place of the Braun, day in and day out. Especially if the girlfriend is still asleep and I want to be super quiet. That's what impresses me the most about the Norelco--it is very quiet. And it is great about trapping the whisker debris (I shave before I get dressed, so it's not a critical factor in my case).
I'm going to continue shaving with it... Even though the manual says it takes a couple of weeks to get used to the razor, that's really for people who aren't used to electric shavers. My face is already well accustomed to the Braun, so if you're looking at switching to the Arcitec after using a different shaver, it won't take long for you to adapt.
Which shaver do I prefer? Well, at the moment it's still the Braun. It may be louder, but I find the foil design easier to control. It also achieves a pretty close shave in less time than the Norelco. I'm planning to keep both and will alternate between them from time to time. If I need to shave and make minimal noise, the Arcitec will be my choice. For travel, I prefer the sturdier Braun. The Arcitec looks better on the bathroom counter, no doubt about it.
In the final analysis
Run time: Philips (~75 minutes)
Weight: Philips (6oz)
Parts cost: Braun
on December 17, 2007
I've been using Norelco shavers my entire life with good results. But this new generation of aritec shavers are awful! I don't shave everyday and the blades on this razor are not cable of cutting longer whiskers. Anything longer than a five o clock shadow and this razor can't handle it. I addition this model is messy; there is no chamber for the the clippings fall into. Thus your shirt, the floor and counter will be covered with clippings. Also on the downside, the side-burn trimmer is completely inadequate; it too tiny to be functional. I returned this model and bought Norelco's cheapest model the 7110x and its infinitely better for only a fraction of the price!
on August 2, 2007
This is the fourth generation of Norelco Electric's I've owned and I must say it's hands down the best. My previous Norelco the "James Bond" Spectra has served me well. It was a comfortable shave but took me a good five minutes to get that real close 'blade' smooth shave. With the new Arcitec 1050X that time is about cut in half and the shave is on par with a blade. Totally different feel that the heavier Spectra. The new design eleminates the need for the pressure adjustment wheel on the older model. The flex head design works very well. Cleaning is a breeze with the flip out heads. The hard shell travel case is nice. The razor charges in the case or stand. The trimmer is just OK and will take a little getting used to because of it's location in relation to the head. I didn't see the need to spend more for one of the models with a few more bell's and whistles. Over all a great electric. A bit pricy but well worth it to me and for anyone that chooses an electric over a blade.
on August 23, 2008
It's one of the coolest electric razors I've seen. I bought the 1050CC. I couldn't wait to get this one. I love Norelco's products. I bought this shaver and tried it for a couple of weeks and found it delivers a really harsh uncomfortable shave with lots of razor burn which I never got from my other Norelco. I think one reason for the harsh shave is that it doesn't have the floating heads anymore that easily give to the contours of your face, this seems to plow into curves instead and you also don't get the range of pivoting that the previous models have (I noticed this didn't surround my Adams Apple like my 9170XL does it sits flat on it). It gives a decent shave but not a great shave like I was hoping and you have to go over areas many times. I think who ever designed this razor just went for how sleek and cool they could make it look and the function came second. You can get as good of shave with a 9170XL SpeedXL which has the same cutting head technology and gain the comfort and save $120. It just won't look as cool on your counter. Sorry Norelco but when I spend $200 dollars I just don't want something that looks good I want it improved too. I talked to the Corp. office, in regard to this. Their Demanor was
"it is the finest razor we have ever made". VERY UNTRUE.
I have used Norelco for many years, ( I am 71) This is the WORST razor I have ever owned. Bar None
on March 31, 2008
I purchased the 1050 to replace my old Phillips Quadra 6865 which needed new heads and rechargeable batteries. I am really disappointed with the results from this shaver. As other reviewers point out, this razor is very harsh on my skin and in fact the third time I used it it gave me a bad case of razor burn in my adams apple area that resulted in scarring (since healed). I now am very careful when I use it and this results in it taking longer to shave than my old razor. It can give me a smooth shave but it requires care and patience. I feel that the 1050 is a step backwards for Phillips. In the end I replaced the batteries and heads on my old Quadra and use it more than the 1050. I would recommend that if you are buying this shaver, make sure you can return it if you need to. One final thing. Several reviews here complain about the shaver head catching their hair when using the trimmer on sideburns. The manual tells you to remove the shaving head when using the trimmer.
on September 9, 2007
I am liking this razor more and more every time I use it. It has a sleek design and is much lighter (the sides are made of carbon fiber). The shaving experience is much different; a clever design change, which I like.
The main cutter assembly (RQ10, which Amazon sells for $35) attaches to the body and pivots like a joystick. This design change reduces shave time immensely because all 3 cutter heads glide over your face/whiskers at the same time. A great improvement over the standard Norelco where 1, 2 or 3 of the cutter heads are used in varying combinations.
This razor does especially well on 2 or 3 day old beards. It mows down the whiskers without any ripping or pulling. It sounds like it! The motor is a bit loud; a more powerful loud. The lithium ion battery is the latest and best battery technology. Full charge time is only 30 minutes.
One of my pet peeves with current and past Norelcos is placement of the power button, which I would accidentally turn it off with my right thumb (onc certain models). I don't have that issue with this model; the power button is lower.
I would have given it 5 stars if not for the poor trimmer, like most reviewers mention. I don't know why they call it a tube trimmer. I would call it a micro trimmer! Much too small. Hang onto your old Norelcos for trimming!
Overall I am extremely pleased with the new Arcitec and recommend it.
on December 28, 2007
This razor is a work of art -- exceptional styling and quality of fit and finish as far as I am concerned. In addition, it shaves quickly and closely with minimal irritation. I also own a new generation CoolSkin 8040X which I use exclusively in the shower with Nivea for Men shaving gel, and it provides an exceptionally close shave with no irritation for my skin/beard type. I received the Arcitec 1050X Christmas Eve, have used several times already both "dry" (with a Pre-electric shave lotion) and "wet" over the sink with lotion and a few drops of water patted on my face, and it shaves very well either way. I would give the slight edge to the 8040X in terms of closeness and comfort, but I love both, and if you prefer shaving dry, the Arcitec 1050X is an excellent choice. And did I mention that it is a work of art? Beautiful and functional!
Update (1/16/08): This razor really holds its charge well. I am still using the original (initial) charge, and although I don't use this razor to shave everyday, I originally charged it Christmas Eve. Additionally, after seeing several reviews claiming that this razor was only good for shaving everday, and could not handle 2-3 day growth, I recently shaved after allowing my beard to grow for three full days just to test how the razor would handle it. Admittedly, I don't have the heaviest beard growth, but it's not "light" either so I can grow a full beard with good coverage. This razor handled my 3-day growth pretty well. Of course, it did take me longer to shave than it normally does if I shave everyday, but I was very pleased with the results. I did not find that the razor bogged down, nor did it pull or snag on any hairs as some claimed it would. The power/rpms were plenty enough to tackle this job with relative ease and I am still very happy with this razor and can highly recommend giving it a try. Remember that if you are really dissatisfied, you can return it to Norelco within 60 days and receive a refund. I returned a previous model that did not work well for me and received my refund check within a month. Good luck, and hope it works for you!
I have used Norelco shavers for many years and prefer them to all other models I have tried. This review comes from much experience with the brand.
This Arcitec design looks fancy and works well, but gets three average stars because it really works no better than the previous non-space-age, less expensive designs. The 1050, 1060, and 1090 all operate the same, they just have a different display: none is better than the other, and don't waste money on the Cleaner accessory. It is fairly comfortable to hold (I prefer the feel of the original model because this is one is smaller), and looks fancy sitting on the counter, but it does not do a better job. It requires cleaning after each use as there is no space for the hairs. I have always cleaned my shavers after each use anyway. Unless you just want the apperance, it is not worth the extra money.
Technically: The triple-blade per round head (each cutter has three spinning blade areas) does not do any better than a double cutting blade. Kind of like a Saturday Night Live skit in the 70's, Jim Belushi said, "Buy a triple bladed razor. For those that will believe anything". Lift-and-cut is a ridiculous concept and a marketing ploy, but Norelco's do a nice job. Norelco went back to more diagonal openings with this model, which is good. Many other newer models have lots of little pin-holes which are worthless, as the hairs have no time to enter a small hole with shaving motion. You would have to set it directly on a hair to cut it. The less pin-holes the better.
Feel: The head design feels better on the neck, and has not caused razor-burn if I do not stretch the skin tight like I need to with the original model. It takes the same time to shave as my older unit, and I get no better results, no faster. It takes the same time to get a smooth shave, and the same persistance in some areas.
Function: It is a little bit easier to shave under the nose, above my mustache, but not a major difference. It is much harder to trim my sideburns with this unit as the heads almost cut my hair on my head above the ears the way it is shaped. Very poorly designed trimmer, so I use my older shaver for that.
Battery: Early, new battery life is good, as with most new battery devices. But, it states to not over-charge. Meaning, you need to be around when recharging to unplug it after it is charged; not good for those that shave and must go to work. The other units would shut off after charging.
Cleaner/Charger: Again, one needs to be around when it is finished to not over-charge. The cleaner is not necessary and a waste of time, money, and chemicals. I use a razor brush from an older unit, brush it out quickly over the wastebasket (one can't blow it out without getting hair dust all over the bathroom, and it can't be shaken into the wastebasket as easily as the older models), and I spray it quickly with Remington Silicone Lubricant (I can only find it at Wal-Mart, which is the only thing I ever go there for, by the way).
Overall: Buy it for looks and keep your old one in the drawer for sideburns. Nicer on the neck.
I would return it, BUT, it was a gift, AND I like the look of it. I know, I know!!
I purchased a Braun 9595 through J&R on Amazon, and it has a 60 day trial return guarantee. This is the first micro-screen razor I have used and it is better in all respects to the Norelco Arcitec except for the fancy styling. It is fast and comfortable, and my face feels razor smooth. I was able to return the Arcitec and am really happy with this Braun 9595 model.