While I may be a notable fan of traditional wet shaving, there are occasions when it’s simply impractical to grab your nearest badger brush and start lathering.
When caught up in the early morning rush, I’ll readily admit to grabbing my trusty Philips CoolSkin to get a great quality defuzzing.
So when Philips’ outreach team gave me the opportunity to test out their latest SensoTouch 3D RQ 1280/22 electric razor I jumped at the opportunity.
The SensoTouch 3D range has been designed to minimise skin irritation giving a more comfortable, gentle shaving experience with superb results.
There are three features that are key to attaining such precision. Firstly, there’s the GyroFlex 3D technology, designed to curve and glide more evenly across the surface of the face, removing the need for excess cutting pressure and, therefore, reducing irritation. Secondly, Philips has created UltraTrack shaving heads; the multichannel construction is designed to catch hair of all sizes growing in all directions for optimal results. Lastly, you have AquaTech sealing technology making the device 100% waterproof – yes, if you choose, you too can wet shave with your electric razor!
However, the technological advancement doesn’t end with innovative design features; also included is a sophisticated ‘Jet Cleaning’ device that simultaneously removes debris from the cutting head, lubricates your blades and charges your battery.
WHAT’S IN THE BOX
Although tremendously over-packaged and encased with vacuum-packed plastic, the content of the box is nothing to be sniffed at. Inside you’ll find the razor itself, a charge station, a cleaning dock, a quick-start guide, a carry case with protection cap, a small cleaning brush, ‘Jet Clean’ solution and a power cable.
The actual razor itself is delightfully sleek. Unlike many modern electric shavers with hypermasculine rubber grips and brutish styling lines which all-but seep machismo, the Philips SensoTouch RQ1280 is refined and effortlessly debonair.
Angular, yet curvaceous and slight, the razor feels comfortable to hold; gripping the razor requires no effort and is lightweight enough to sustain a lengthy shave without resorting to a ‘time-out’ halfway through.
In terms of colour, the deep hued rubber and plastic contrasts beautifully with the metallic framing and embellishments, creating a gracious, sophisticated finish. The white LCD screen glows with stunning clarity, actively making me wish other manufacturers would follow suit. It’s surprisingly unobtrusive and it certainly adds to the premium finish. Philips have done an excellent job in taking a quirky design implementation and drenching it with style and good taste.
The charge station has a small, skeletal frame yet feels strong enough to support the razor comfortably. The rubber suction grips on the base do a great job of securing the charger to your marble, glass or tile counter tops. The glossy black finish is nothing short of seductive and sleek, and the apparatus is smartly designed as to avoid toppling or wobble.
Contrasting the effortless appearance of the charge station, the carry case with water resistant finish unfortunately reminded me more of a bicycle seat than a luxurious storage compartment. While not to my personal taste, I must say the pointed design is certainly space-savingly ergonomic and, when combined with the razor’s on-board locking mechanism and protection cap, is ideal for travelling light. So while not the most attractive of cases, it’s no doubt a comfortable fit inside your dopp kit.
I should also take the time to mention the idiot-proof manual did, unfortunately, bring out the fool in me; I just don’t speak the welcome guide’s pictographic language fluently enough to understand what I’m supposed to be doing half the time. Still, a basic web search soon found me up to speed on any issues I encountered, and Philips range of helpful videos were far, far more useful – I couldn’t help but feel a DVD (with multilingual subtitles) would have made for sheer perfection…
Still, when all is said and done, my initial impression of the contents is exceptionally positive. My only sincere gripe in terms of the overall package is the A/C adapter, and here’s why:
Firstly, the proprietary power cable has to share duties with the cleaning dock, making dual usage difficult, especially if you keep the charging station for ‘on-the-go’ use; secondly, the connection port is placed off to one side, somewhat spoiling the clean look of the charging station with an off-putting asymmetrical layout; lastly, being a two-pin plug some UK residents are going to need to invest in a three-pin adapter for charging – while not an extortionate added expense, it does mean further investment before you’ve even taken the razor out of the box.
So enough of the features, how about where things really count – the quality of the shave. Well, not being one to shy away from a challenge, my first test for the Philips SensoTouch 3D was the ‘3-day-stubble’ experiment – can this razor take a long-weekend of growth and make me workday fresh in a flash?
The answer is unquestionably so. In my pseudoscientific test I ‘dry’ shaved one side of my face whilst ‘wet’ shaving the other; the results were almost identically good. Both wet and dry, the Philips SensoTouch 3D gave the closest, smoothest shave I’ve ever managed from an electric razor. While the unit loses half a star for failing to equal the cutthroat closeness of a traditional wet-shaving blade, the performance is still unparalleled by anything I’ve ever used in the electric realm.
Perhaps just as impressive was the accomplishment of the GyroFlex head; the 3D foil hasn’t once nipped my skin during the testing period; zero tugging or pinching from a razor sporting an unbelievably light touch. Dare I say it, but this is a level of flawlessness I’d expect all future electric razors to aspire to.
The precision trimming blade on the rear is easily activated by extending the cutting head and does a good job of grooming sideburns and ‘staches; while not as assiduous as a dedicated trimmer, the slimline body of the unit allows for easy manoeuvring around those hard to reach areas and certainly does the business for those necessary daily touch-ups; while not faultless as a standalone device, it certainly beats manually switching between heads in the middle of your shaving routine.
Like cooking a delightful five-course banquet my greatest bugbear of electric shaving is the messy cleanup afterwards. Awkward brushes, tepid water and fussy disassembly are no fun whatsoever; little joy was ever savoured whilst dislodging wads of matted hair ensnared on cutting blades.
Thankfully, the considered build of the GyroFlex 3D head means ridding yourself of those trapped follicles can be done in a snap. Simply lift and click open each of the three foils to get inside for a respectable rinse under the tap.
Still, if you want zero-fuss automation, the ‘Jet Clean’ dock is here to save the day; the metaphorical dishwasher of the electric shaving world, this system will clean, dry and lubricate your cutting blades without any of the usual chaotic cleaning nonsense.
Simply pour solution into the cleaning tray, plug in the unit and attach your razor. You can then select from one of the three modes: ‘automatic’ for regular usage, ‘eco’ to wash using 40% less energy and finally ‘intensive’ for a rigorous cleanse.
While the system is puzzlingly slow on all three settings, it performs a fantastic job of eradicating stray hairs from the unit each time, requiring no more of the slavish labouring over the sink every week to keep things shipshape.
The ‘Jet Cleaning’ fluid costs approximately £6 a bottle; although not inexpensive when used regularly, the solution does ensure a better quality of cleaning, guaranteeing a top-grade rinse each time and keeping your razor in tip-top condition throughout its lifespan.
While the solution does have a distinctive chemical odour, it’s not too unpleasant or overpowering, plus there’s always the option to opt for Jet Cleaning solution with a ‘Cool Breeze’ scent if you have a genuine dislike for the ‘lemony’ note of the regular fluid.
The battery indicator features an LCD display with the number of minutes of charge remaining; this glowing counter trickles down gradually as you use the razor. From full charge you’ll receive an operational time suitable for approximately twenty shaves, although you’re likely to be topping up the battery as and when you use the cleaning system.
You’ll get more than enough cordless power from the razor for short business trips and weekend excursions, although extended trips will probably require the portable charging station.
With a robust suggested price of £300, you’d expect something pretty special from your razor and I don’t feel the Philips SensoTouch 3D disappoints in this regard. As I always say, when it comes to the world of fashion and grooming always look at the cost in terms of value for money.
Those who love their triple and quad-blade systems are paying a pretty premium for their daily shave – those refill cartridges and canisters of gloop don’t come cheap, even when heavily discounted! By contrast, the Philips SensoTouch 3D will provide you with clean-cut electric shaving, every day, for years and years to come in return for a reasonable initial investment.
Also remember, the higher guide price doesn’t necessarily reflect what you’ll be paying at the counter; a quick perusal of most online retailers sees that three hundred figure plummet by a third!
Philips proudly claims the SensoTouch 3D is their most advanced shave system yet, giving you the ultimate shaving experience. Embellishment aside, I have yet to see anything from this razor that contradicts this statement. Ergonomic, attractive, technologically advanced and offering a superb quality shave, there’s an awful lot to love about Philips latest range regardless of the higher price point.