Customer Reviews: Panasonic ES-LA63-S Arc4 Men's Electric Razor, 4-Blade Cordless with Wet/Dry Shaver Convenience
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VINE VOICEon October 29, 2009
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
About 15 years ago I tried all kinds of electric razors (not Panasonic though). Then, the winner was Braun. It was the only shaver that I didn't have to go over a blade with afterwards. I've used every iteration of Braun (their top of the line ones) since then until their current model. (Remingtons are junk, Norelco pulled hair and never gave me a clean shave, it missed thicker hairs, there were other brands, etc). So I will basically compare the performance of this shaver to the newish (1.5 year old Braun Pulsonic self cleaning shaver which I've used exclusively until now).
A little background about me that is important for this review is that I have fast growing thick beard. I can shave more than twice a day and have a 5 o'clock shadow. And on top of that I cut myself if I used a manual razor. I have cut myself with electric razors too (I don't even know how that's possible).

So that out of the way, I can start the review.

The shave:
Wet (wet means with shaving cream, not just water): This was the best shave I've had, neck, face, and all. I was always told you can't get as close to shaving with a blade, but I can't tell the difference. I was extremely pleasantly surprised.
Dry (before taking a shower): Wasn't as close as the wet and not as comfortable but it was better than the Braun. Best dry shaver I've used.

I was worried because there is an even more expensive model with the cleaning base which made me expect a long involved cleaning procedure. It doesn't! Just rinse with water and push the power button long enough for it to go to cleaning mode (repeat with foil off). It freed me from having to buy cleaning cartridges I supposed so that's a plus.

I feel guilty using it in the shower because of how much water/heat is wasted (lets say a few minutes of wasted hot water during the shave...). Also since it's a little quieter than the Braun, I can tell that it's going over an area that still needs to be shaved (hear hairs being cut). So I'd rather use it on a sink.
Instructions don't say how to make the battery last longer. Should I charge after each use? Should I keep using it until it dies? Should I maintain a 50% charge? etc.
I could not download the manual online. The website-help directed me to buy it at the parts section. I told them I wanted to see the manual before I decide if I want the razor. I want to see how to clean it etc. They were very polite and thanked me for my feedback. But I still couldn't download the manual online, I honestly would have a hard time buying anything expensive blindly without looking at the instructions.
I think even though buying an electric razor has a higher initial cost, one saves money in the long run as the cost of consumables is almost zero (as opposed to buying disposable razors).
I was pleasantly surprised the head pivots in 2 different directions so that I don't have to point it carefully at my face.

I highly recommend it. It's my first Panasonic and I wish I had the chance to try Panasonics earlier.
I took 1 star off for lack of a user's manual online and lack of battery care instructions.

EDIT (Dec 2009):
Thanks for the comments, there is the a link to the product manual in the comment section.
After using it for 2 months, I still think it's the best shaver I've used. One drawback I found was that it's hard to shave sideburns precisely with it since the head is so big (trimmer isn't that great). The motor is in the head though so the size of the head is necessarily big.
Also, I agree with other reviewers about how a stand should be included. Washing it and then letting it sit on a towel is not the most elegant solution.

EDIT (June 2010):
I'm still using this shaver exclusively. I still recommend it. But I have some more notes.
-I hate the lock button (to lock the shaver head to prevent it from swiveling) It's just easier to hold the head in your hands than try to adjust it just so that the lock button can slide.
-I mostly use it dry even though i get a closer shave when wet. It's more convenient and I'm lazy.
-I use it wet when I have to go to something formal. And this is still the best shave I've gotten regardless if it's electric or manual shaver. It takes several passes though but that's ok. There is no danger of getting cut and it's cheaper than blades.

EDIT (Dec 2010):
I'm not sure I like the price fluctuations. If I had paid for it (esp MSRP), I would be extremely angry and feel ripped off. I've seen the price dip to less than a third of original asking price. This is probably because a new model is out. Sooo, it makes me wonder how much is it really worth? It makes me not want to buy the newest model Panasonic shavers anymore since obviously I'm being taken advantage of. Just price it fairly. I don't want to play games.

EDIT (Mar 2012):
Still using it with no problems. I have changed the cutter and foil as recommended in the manual. The battery is still doing well.

EDIT (Dec 2013):
Still working flawlessly. I've had to buy new cutter and foil again (once a year). Battery doing great.
The only thing I don't like is lack of cleaning base. I don't think I can just buy the base so I'm contemplating buying the slightly more expensive model that comes with the base. I'm a little lazy and don't always clean it between shaves...
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on December 9, 2010
I just purchased the ES-LA63-S to take advantage of the $30 rebate available from Panasonic until 12/31/2010. I upgraded from an older Panasonic model, the very capable ES-8075-S with Vortex cleaning system. The ES-LA63-S model is superior to my older Panasonic, without question. The blades seem a touch more powerful, the shave a bit closer. In addition, the slight curve present in the "Arc" foil and cutting blades do seem to provide an advantage compared to the "straight" foil and blades of my older shaver. Note that the ES-LA63-S is the exact same shaver as the more expensive ES-LA93-K; the only difference between them is that the ES-LA93-K comes in black and includes a drying/cleaning/charging base station. The truth is, you don't need this station, because the shaver is ridiculously easy to clean under running warm tap water with a little liquid or bar soap, and to air dry. The shaver features a sideburn trimmer, which works fairly well, and comes with a charging cord and black travel case.

This shaver features two motors (one with horizontal oscillation; the other with vertical oscillation), a 14,000 RPM cutting speed, four foils and is made in Japan (some of Panasonic's lower-end models are made in China). The blue-backlit LCD screen tells you how much charge is remaining, how much time you've been shaving for, and when the shaver needs to be cleaned. One full charge provides about 40-45 minutes of shaving time. As with all electric shavers, I find some slight touch-up with a razor is necessary afterwards (usually on a small part of the neck), but the bottom line is that by using an electric for the bulk of the shaving, you are saving a ton of friction and irritation on your face.

My personal tips to get the most out of this model:

1) Use a shaving oil (olive oil works great) and warm water and shaving cream for the most comfortable shave. The oil helps provide extra lubrication for the cutting blades as they pass across your skin. I do believe that the use of oil and a wet shave provides for a far superior and more comfortable experience than a dry shave. This is the main advantage of the Panasonic line-up over the Braun series -- the Braun models can't be used in the shower or with water and shaving cream.
2) Lock the shaving head so that it doesn't move. I find this makes it easier to control the shaver and aim it at specific spots on one's face.
3) Clean your shaver after every shave to keep it smelling fresh and clean. This takes 45 seconds at most. Remove the foil top from the shaver and rub liquid hand soap or bar soap lather over the foil and cutting blades. Wash them clean under running warm water. Place the shaver (with foil top still removed) upside down on a paper towel or some toilet paper to "gravity" air-dry. That's it.
4) Drain the battery fully before re-charging it -- this helps to prolong the life of the rechargeable battery.

In closing, bear in mind that Panasonic's own literature states that anyone switching to electric shaving from a razor will take about 30 days to fully adjust to it.
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on December 17, 2009
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )

* Closest shave of any electric shaver I've ever used in my entire life.
* Large, flexible head with multiple shaving foils is flexible and shaves my cheeks as closely as a straight blade does.
* Waterproof and very convenient to use in the shower.
* Easy to clean.


* VERY expensive!
* Still can't beat a straight blade when it comes to shaving my neck.
* Large head with multiple shaving foils makes it hard to shave precisely, which makes this a bad shaver for shaping beards and sideburns.


For the price, it should do a better job with the neck. You can get a shave that's ALMOST as good from one of the Panasonic shavers that costs half as much, and you still need a good straight blade to finish the job. Because it's the best electric shaver I've ever used, I will give it four stars, but it's far more economical to get a cheaper Panasonic and a straight blade.
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on September 20, 2010
I had seen comparisons between the ES-LA63-S and the Panasonic ES8243A (which I own also) and wasn't too sure that I would see a tremendous difference, but decided that since my foil/blades needed to be replaced on the ES8243A, that I would give the newest model a try. People had said that the ES-LA63-S does a better job on the jawline and neck since it has the extra degree of freedom, and boy were they RIGHT! I noticed it right away! The locking feature, brighter LCD screen, and extra 1000RPM are a nice touch, but that doesn't justify the upgrade enough for me like the extra movement does.

I have owned the Norelco Advantage, Panasonic ES8109S, Panasonic ES8243A, and now the ES-LA63-S, and never have I gotten such a close, comfortable, non-irritating shave from an electric for my sensitive skin. The rotary Norelco shaver really irritated my neck, and the other two Panasonics were certainly better than the Norelco, but I always had trouble with irritation on my neck since I had to go over the same area multiple times to get all the hairs. The ES-LA63-S puts an end to all of that! It not only hugs the neck and jawline so well, but feels somehow more gentle than its predecessors despite the increase in RPM. Shaving with the other two always took me 6 minutes or more wet or dry, but I can do a more thorough, less irritating job with the ES-LA63-S in around 2 minutes less time! I much prefer wet shaving to dry shaving also, and use Shave Secret oil because it allows me to see what I am doing in case I need to go back over a certain area and provides me with a slick protective barrier as well. I feel like the ES-LA63-S is "rolling" across my face because of the freedom of movement rather than my having to force the shaver along like it felt with the others.

So I would HIGHLY recommend this shaver even compared to its very similar looking predecessor - ES8243A - with the same looking "4" blades. It was a HUGE upgrade despite what it may seem from the pictures. WELL DONE PANASONIC - THIS IS THE KING OF ALL SHAVERS!
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on September 7, 2011
I found the three top of the line electric shavers - Braun Series 7, Panasonic es-la63, and Phillips Norelco 3D - to be so similar as to recommend any of them as excellent shavers, but each has its strengths and weaknesses. Too many reviewers are only comparing the closeness of the shave, but that's only one factor of several that may be most important. Here's my breakdown:

Closeness - Let's start with the most popular category. If all you care about is how close you can shave, then I rate the wet-shaved Panasonic and Norelco even, BUT ONLY when coupled with a shaving oil/gel combo such as Remington Alphagel Sensitive Shave Gel 5 oz. (Pack of 2) (there's a cooling menthol version as well). Another way to accomplish the same thing is by using SHAVE SECRET SHAVING OIL- THE BEST SHAVE EVER! 18.75ML topped with Edge Shave Gel, Senstive Skin, 7-Ounces Cans (Pack of 6). These provide the closest shave possible, but, of course, it's messy, takes a lot of extra time, and can be a general pain. There's no advantage in closeness to using non-oil shaving cream by itself. Going dry-shave, I may give the tiniest of edges to Panasonic over Braun and Norelco, but all three are awfully close - to each other and in quality of shave.

Speed - If you're in a hurry and want to get in and get out with a dry-shave as quickly as possible, the Norelco wins. The Panasonic is next followed by the Braun.

Comfort - I don't have sensitive skin, but the Braun wins out (unless going wet-shave with the oil/gel as described above). The Braun has three speeds so you can go slower for sensitive areas and intensive on less-sensitive places. I just leave it set on intensive all the time and have no problem. The Panasonic is next followed by the Norelco third. The wet-shaving Panasonic and Norelco are the most comfortable of all if you want to put up with the oil/gel prep and clean-up time.

Cleaning - Any auto cleaning system is easier than manual cleaning. Just pop in the shaver and press a button. That said, the Braun is the only system with alcohol in its cleaner to sanitize as well as a detergent to clean and oil to lubricate. Norelco's apparently has detergent and lubrication. From what I've been able to tell, the Panasonic solution is only a detergent. Manually, the Norelco is easiest to clean and you can duplicate the auto clean by pouring some of its Philips Norelco HQ200 Jet Clean Solution in a dish or mug and whirring the shaver in it for 30 seconds after shaving. The Panasonic and Braun can be rinsed off under a faucet. The Panasonic's special cleaning speed makes it slightly easier to manually clean than the Braun.

Maneuverability - If you have a moustache, goatee, beard, long sideburns, or whatever this is a very important category. The Braun is king here with the Norelco second and the larger-head Panasonic last.

Noise - You can hardly hear the Norelco at all. The Braun is a little buzzy and the Panasonic loudest although not irritatingly so. Still, a sleeping spouse nearby will appreciate you using the Norelco most.

Travel - The Norelco is last in this category because you'll need to bring the charging stand with you. The Norelco soft case does not hold the stand so that's a bit of a drawback. The Braun's harder case gives it top honors over the Panasonic's soft one, but the Panasonic has an on-off lock that the Braun lacks. Perhaps the Braun doesn't need it because the case is harder, and also because the Braun is the only shaver that can run while plugged in with a depleted battery. The other two require a 5-minute charge to give you a few minutes shave. A fully-charged shaver gives you about 50 minutes in each.
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VINE VOICEon October 31, 2009
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Over the last 35 years I've tried various shavers including Remington, Panasonic, Braun, and Norelco. My least favorite was the Norelco which never quite worked for my face. The Brauns were my favorites and I currently own three. I've been very satisfied with the last crop of Braun that come supplied with a cleaning kit. Then I got this Panasonic through the Vine program.

The bottom line is this shaver shaves closer and more comfortably than any of the other razors I've tried. The handle is very comfortable and has some nice gadgety tricks for we electronic nerds. It displays the amount of time you've used the razor and the percentage of battery life left. I like this sort of thing...most people probably wouldn't care about it.

I've only tried the razor in dry mode...I've never had a wet/dry shaver so I haven't had a need to try it in wet mode.
There is no cleaning kit, but since the shaver can be placed directly under running water, there is no need. Frankly I prefer cleaning with water, and not having to buy cleaning solutions which are necessary with the Brauns.

I could go on ...but let's face it the only thing that counts is how fast does it's very fast; and how well does it shave...better than any razor I've ever used and I've used most brands on the market. A definite 5 Star Shaver.

UPDATE: Nov 29, 2009
Still like this Razor a lot. But after a month of use I think I have to take One Star Away. The Braun normally lasts one week on one charge. The Panasonic lasts only about 5 days. So the battery isn't quite as nice as on the Braun. Second, when I rad out of battery power, the shaver would not shave when I plugged it in directly. I had to let it recharge for about 10 minutes before I could shave again. Maybe there is some magic button to push to make it work off direct plug in power. But I couldn't find it.

UPDATE: October 27, 2010 The weak battery in the razor is a real negative. It will now only do 2 days of shaving before it needs to be recharged. That's unacceptable for a razor that can't shave off a cord when the battery is dead. Too bad, because it shaves very well...just not for very long. So what started off as a 5 Star rating, dropped to 4 Stars last November, and is now down to 3 Stars.
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VINE VOICEon November 19, 2009
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Background: My facial hair grows in quickly -- 5 o'clock shadow type guy, and grows a full beard in a couple weeks. I'm also pretty particular about what razors I use (and can use), sticking only to Gillette Mach 3 blades of one variety or another (tried the Schick Quattro, didn't like it). I've never had an electric razor, other than using a low-end model more than 15 years ago which never really did the job. I was sckeptical an electric razor could do the job for me.

Immediately after starting to use this product I was impressed. I get a very, very close shave with it -- comparable to a razor, and without all the effort and mess. Plus, I find this to be a big time saver for me. It takes me about 3 minutes to do the job, and it gets done in the shower which is even better in the mornings when I'm pressed for time (i.e. running late). I've used it for almost 3 weeks so far, haven't touched a razor balde since, and finding it fit into my routine more and more every day.

Big, big fan of this electric razor.

* takes little time to charge -- about an hour or less.
* it lasts the whole week on one charge.
* it gives a very smooth shave and doesn't irritate sensitive parts of my face/neck as razor blades do.
* it is great to use in the shower
* I've been using it for almost 3 weeks so far and still haven't had to clean it (it has an indicator to you when to clean it)
* I expect cleaning it to be super easy
* the travel case is slim, and won't take up any more space in my luggage than the razor itaself does.
* pivot head / fixed head / sideburn edge
* heft and size. I have large hands, and this fits my mits well. Good solid weight too.

* when recharging, the light is BRIGHT. I dno't leave it charging overnight b/c the light from teh bathroom is noticeable in teh bedroom. Wow.
* more on the above -- the light blinks too, which is doubly annoying
* doesn't do a great job on one part of my face, just under the jaw line. I frequently have to do this part over. Not sure if it's the razor or me. I'm going to blame the razor.
* costs a lot.
* replacement blades are going to hurt the pocket book when it comes time to get them.
* There isn't a charging station. Some people might like just having a cord. I would like to have a cord AND a charging station for the price of the razor.
* worried that if I drop it, it'll break.

On the whole, I'm very, very pleased with the product. I think it's one very impressive piece of machinery, and I would be thrilled to receive it as a gift.
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VINE VOICEon January 20, 2010
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I've used a lot of electric shavers over the years, including some of the higher end Remington, Braun and Panasonic units. I mostly used them to avoid getting nicks on my chin. However none of them have done a good enough job on my neck, so I usually used a manual razor on the neck and sides and the electric shave in the goatee area. I was both apprehensive and hopeful about moving up from my Panasonic ES8228S Men's Linear Vortex Nano Arc Foil Shaving System, Silver because compared to it, this thing is a jumbo jet. It has a much bigger shaving area, and has a higher rpm motor which hums confidently when you turn it on. It took about two weeks for me to get my face to adapt for a similar shave quality and after about a month I've found that it gives me a much better shave than any of my previous shavers. It's razor close on most of my face and it has even gotten the cross grained hairs on my neck into presentable fashion (not as close as a blade, but respectable). It is much larger than my last shaver (I've uploaded some comparison photos), so it did take some getting used to, especially on the upper lip. Overall I'm very happy with it, and even though it doesn't come with a cleaning station like my last Panasonic razor, I don't really miss it since the recommended liquid soap and water method works very well, it's easy and a lot quicker and quieter than the base station.

- Works great wet or dry
- Gets cross grained hair down to respectable levels
- Easy cleanup
- Long Battery Life (10-14 days)
- Power lock switch so it won't accidentally turn on during travel (I had this happen once on an old shaver)
- Easy to read LCD with wash reminders, time used, and percentage of battery left (10% increments)
- Multi-directional pivoting head
- Fast and strong motor reduces the number of passes
- Large surface with 4 blades (but only two inside driving 2 more in the foil)

- Small soft sided travel bag can't fit charger (although you won't need it for most trips)
- Large shaving area takes some getting used to on smaller areas like the upper lip
- Without the base you don't have a "home" for the unit and you do have to remember to charge it.
- Maybe price is a bit steep compared to others, but if you get it on sale it's a good deal.
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on October 9, 2013
I was really impressed when I first purchased this shaver after being a Norelco user since I first began shaving back in the early 1970s. It gave a very close shave. I liked that it could shave using water and shaving cream. I also liked that it monitored the charge and that recharging was done quickly.

However, within six months the shave became more inconsistent and there were places, particularly on my neck, that I had to shave three to four times before it was totally clean. Within a year, more trouble spots occurred that I started using my son's razor when going to an important event. I've had the shaver about 18 months and its clear that it needs new blades. However, the cost to replace the blades is more than buying a new low-end Panasonic or Norelco shaver. Even my Norelco blades lasted longer. Would probably get a cheaper model next time that doesn't cost as much to replace the blades.
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VINE VOICEon April 2, 2011
Over the years I've mostly been an electric shaver guy. I've had mixed results with blades, including a satisfied run in recent years with the Gillette Fusion Proglide Power Razor, 1-count Package and preceding Fusion Power line of blades. This satisfaction was heavily diminished by the ever increasing price of blades ($45 for 14 at a warehouse club), and I once again decided to go with a more permanent solution. While I've had good results with Norelco and Braun offerings, I've been most satisfied with Panasonic, so that's mostly why I went with this shaver.

I opted to get the best shaver I could for the $$$ by forsaking any charging station/cleaning apparatus, and thus far I couldn't be happier. The Arc IV is a funny looking shaver, abandoning the cleaner lines of previous designs for a more ergonomic (well if you exclude the challenges created by its immense head) approach. The large head includes four cutters, but only two traditional blade blocks. There are three foils, and a fourth row of blades for larger hairs, and the whole endeavor moves quite nimbly across my face. The only real challenge is in relation to the size of the head, but you quickly learn how to wield this shaver like Thor would Mjöllnir (or perhaps a bit better)!

For those of you new to electric shavers, give it a week to ten days to allow for your skin to adapt to the shaver and vice versa. You should get good results right off the bat, but it will get better once this break in is completed. For those of you new to Panasonic shavers, it will work fine dry, but give a good wet shave a try. You won't be disappointed. You won't need any special goo, as just about anything (including a light bit of shaving creme/gel) will do. This seems to yield a much closer and more satisfying shave. Once done, simply rinse the bits of hair and any shaving medium off, shake it dry, and it'll be ready for the next shave. An occasional bath in a bit of soapy water will keep it nice and clean (it has a hyper fast cleaning setting). One last tip, while this works well either wet or dry, a damp shaver (say one cleaned an hour or so before using) can be irritating on a dry face, so either wait until its dry or go all wet.

As far as other details, it's all good. Charge times are modest; battery life is good; it locks off for travel; and its been a charm to use. I don't think there's a better shaver out there, but between Amazon's and Panasonic's (30 day trial period) return policies, you don't have much to lose.
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