Customer Review

1,008 of 1,032 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Panasonic vs Norelco, February 17, 2011
This review is from: Panasonic ES8103S Arc3 Electric Shaver Wet/Dry with Nanotech Blades for Men (Electronics)
I purchased the Panasonic ES8103S and the Norelco 1150x at the same time and this review is a comparison of these 2 shavers side-by-side. I used both shavers for 3 weeks, shaving one side of my face with the Panasonic and the other side of my face with the Norelco. I didn't switch sides during the test to allow time to adapt to each shaver. Both of these shavers rated nearly the same amongst other Amazon reviewers and were the top-2 rated shavers under $100. I evaluated both shavers on a number of criteria:

-- Shaving Performance: I found that both shavers did a relatively good job overall. However, the Panasonic performed slightly better on the flat cheek areas whereas the Norelco did slightly better on the curved areas around the jaw bone and neck. I found that the shavers required different shaving techniques. The Panasonic, being a foil shaver, required an up-and-down or side-to-side motion whereas the Norelco, being a rotary shaver, required a circular motion. No matter how I shaved with the Norelco I could not get quite as close as the Panasonic. After some time I did find a technique with the Panasonic that allowed me to shave my neck and jaw bone area as close as the Norelco. I tried shaving both wet & dry and found no difference. I almost always shave dry and I found the Norelco didn't move as smoothly across the skin as the Panasonic. Overall, I give the edge to Panasonic for a better overall shave.

-- Return Guarantee: The Panasonic has a 30-day return policy, the Norelco is 45 days. I actually purchased the shavers from Target and they offer a 90-day return policy.

-- Warranty: The Panasonic has a 1 yr warranty, Norelco is 2 years.

-- Cutter Replacement: both shavers recommend replacing the cutters at specific intervals. Panasonic recommends replacing the foil every year ($24) and the blade every 2 years ($17). Norelco has only one replaceable part which they recommend you replace every year ($39). If you look at the cost over 3 years, the Panasonic would cost $65 whereas the Norelco would cost $117 which exceeds the original cost of the shaver ($100).

-- Charging: The Panasonic has an A/C adapter that can be plugged directly into the shaver and the shaver can be used with the cord attached. The Norelco can only be charged in the included charging cradle. If the battery in the Norelco goes dead you'll need to recharge it before you can use it. Also, the Panasonic has a digital LCD battery gauge whereas the Norelco simply uses LEDs.

-- Cleaning: Both shavers can be rinsed under water for simple cleaning. I found the Norelco shaving head somewhat difficult to remove whereas the Panasonic foil was very easy to remove/replace.

-- Price: Both shavers sell for under $100. Best price I found on the Panasonic was $80 @ Target. I saw the Norelco for $90 @ WalMart.

-- Other: The Panasonic has a built-in trimmer, the Norelco requires that you remove the shaving head and pop on the trimmer head. The Panasonic includes a carrying case, the Norelco does not.

In summary, the Panasonic rated higher than the Norelco in all areas with the exception of the warranty. My only real complaint with the Panasonic would be the noise. It is much louder than the Norelco but not so much so that I would return it. Based on my experience, I will be returning the Norelco and keeping the Panasonic.

2/21/13: Follow-Up
Hard to believe I've been using this shaver for over 2 years already. I've found some issues with the shaver that I wanted to append to my original review:
-- The battery life indicator is difficult to see unless you're in a dark room and there is no audible alarm that indicates that the battery is getting low. The battery will go dead without warning and, since the shaver can't be used when the cord is attached, you're stuck waiting for the charge to complete until you can continue shaving.
-- I commented on the noise in my original review. Maybe this is an issue with all foil shavers but I have found the Panasonic annoyingly loud.
-- Again, maybe an issue with all foil shavers, but I have found that instead of catching the shaved off whiskers they are ending up all over the counter and my shirt. I don't recall this being as much of an issue when the shaver was new. I haven't yet replaced the foil or the blade so perhaps that's the problem.
-- The battery seems to be losing some steam. I'm only able to get about 3 full shaves out of the unit before it needs to be recharged.

3/12/13: Follow-Up
I just replaced both the foil and the blades and it really made a difference. I'm getting a closer shave and I didn't see a bunch of shavings on my shirt when I was done.
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Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 31 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 20, 2011 9:13:08 PM PST
Blue Diver says:
Awesome review, man you did good! thanks

Posted on Dec 27, 2011 1:20:43 PM PST
Jammin says:

Yes nice review. Can you confirm that this shaver can be used corded AND cordless? It's not in the product specs/info on Panasonic's website (or anywhere else). Calling Panasonic didn't help either. Thanks!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 27, 2011 1:26:12 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 27, 2011 1:26:37 PM PST
Blue Diver says:
Only cordless, which floored me when I tried to use it corded after my batteries ran out. Really, my first shaver ever that has this limit. Why?!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 27, 2011 1:39:17 PM PST
Jammin says:
Thanks BD, seems that's now the case for all Panasonic shavers (I had hopes this was a last holdout). I stopped buying expensive cordless only shavers because I grew tired of the same problem you ran into...Plus when the rechargeable battery stops holding a charge (and it will), you have to toss the shaver even if everything else is still in good shape. Why? is right!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 27, 2011 1:43:11 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 27, 2011 2:08:04 PM PST
Blue Diver says:
Didn't think of it! So this is simply a way to force consumers to purchase another full unit, not just replace heads. How greedy. My Brown and Norelco can be recharged and used at the same time. I still have the box and have to make up my mind before 30 day return policy runs out.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 27, 2011 2:05:09 PM PST
Jammin says:
Glad I mentioned it then. Running out of charge is an inconvenience (having to wait for a quick charge or usually two in my case), but having to buy a whole new shaver when the irreplaceable rechargeable battery dies is unacceptable (wasteful - on the environment and the wallet). Looks like I'm thru with Panasonic after being a loyal customer for 15 years. FYI, all Braun series 3 shavers and up appear to work corded/cordless (that's probably where I'm headed since rotary is not an option for me, otherwise I'd go Norelco).

Posted on Jan 5, 2012 8:44:00 PM PST
Mike Schultz says:
Great review. Thanks for taking the time to write this!

Posted on Jan 19, 2012 5:56:24 AM PST
You shouldn't be able to return a product you shaved with for 3 weeks.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 19, 2012 7:18:06 AM PST
Blue Diver says:
Why not? You have actually 30 days and it used to be 90 just a couple of years ago.

Posted on Mar 12, 2012 7:30:51 AM PDT
amjladje says:
Thank you so much for such an informative review. My husband has been very ill and coming home for a long stay at the hospital. He is too weak to shave himself at present. I am too scared to shave him. I know nothing about men's electric shavers. Thanks to you, I know feel confident and informed enough to make this purchase. You truly helped me and for that I thank you.
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