Small electric shavers for men have been around for decades. The modern portable shaver, with a perforated foil allowing men’s facial hair to be trimmed, was launched in 1950 by Braun through their model S 50 shaver. While the ergonomics of the shaver have changed since then, the basic technology, with the foil protecting the cutters, has endured. In fact, historic Braun shavers have even been exhibited in industrial design museums, as their form have reached iconic level status.
However, with the acquisition of Braun company by Proctor & Gamble in 2005, many fans of Braun’s shavers were concerned about the potential degradation of the brand’s strong German-based industrial design and engineering legacy. As time passed, some of those fears turned out to be founded, as much less engineering and marketing resources appear to be devoted to Braun’s electric shaver. Very few model iterations have been released, and Braun’s current shavers seem to emphasize affordability rather than quality. More marketing appears to be devoted to Braun’s higher end products, such as their series 3-9 shavers. This is a shame considering many people actually prefer the smaller form factor.
Enter the Panasonic Portable Shaver
Where Braun has been slowing down, Panasonic has been speeding up. Their portable shavers have a perfect product-market fit, occupying the midrange portable shaver space that Braun once dominated. Made in Japan with vaunted Japanese engineering, the shaver is well-built and trims exceptionally well. The cutter and foil seem especially optimized, reaching facial hair with more precision and strength than the new Braun models. Value for money is also exceptional, as the shaver costs around $25 on Amazon at the time of writing.
The shaver is also extremely power efficient. It runs off of AA batteries which are easy to find anywhere in the world you may be traveling. But most likely you won’t need to replace them while on the road, as they run for an amazingly long time (no precise figures available, but 3+ months so far on a single set of batteries through personal experience).
Close to Perfect, with a Couple of Caveats
Although this shaver runs extremely well, to the point that it acts as the daily driver for many men, there are a couple of issues that have irritated us (pun intended) that we would like to put out there.
- The ergonomics of this shaver are not great. While the profile is slim, it takes some hand strength to grip the shaver and to move it around the face. The ridges on the body do not bite exceptionally strongly, and a more grippy texture would have been appreciated.
- The foil is protected by a plastic cap that doesn’t do a great job of staying on. It feels as if the cap is secured via surface tension. In reality it is just a series of shallow plastic ridges that hold it in place. A more hardy cap would have been appreciated.
Who is this a good gift for?
We would recommend this product for the less hairy men in your life who can get by without a heavy duty shaver. This could be a great first electric shaver for teenage boys as well. And for men who are often on the road, this would make a great fit for their toiletry bag.