A few years ago I became a convert to electric shavers after I tried one of the new Norelco rotary shavers.  The Norelco Spectra 8894XL ($190) Rechargeable Cord/Cordless Razor is an improvement that, until I used it, I did not realize could be made.  If you’re looking for a top-of-the-line, best-in-class electric shaver, look no further.  This is a slam-dunk great gift idea!

This model looks great, feels really good in use and is surprisingly quiet.  What we all want to know is how well a shaver does what it is supposed to do.  I am pleased to report that it shaves close and it shaves quickly, though not always on the first pass if the whiskers are more than a day or two old.  But it DOES get all the whiskers as fast as any shaver I have tried.  I use the recommended circular motion and I have to work a bit to get the job done on the longer hairs.  However, there is NO irritation and no pulling. The result is comfortable, close and smooth.

The rotary design makes it just a bit of a challenge to shave with precision up to my beard line as compared to the job that can be done with a more standard foil-type in-line shaver.  But, for those wide open spaces on the face, well, it’s smooth sailing.

The adjustable Personal Comfort Control features nine settings for sensitive to normal skin.  Just roll the side wheel to dial in the closeness and comfort level for any skin type.  I find that the closest level does just fine for my skin type.

It is super easy to clean.  Just press the release button on the front just under the shave head and the head pops up on its rear hinge.  Then, just rinse it out under the faucet.  Occasionally, I disassemble the shave head, remove the rotary blades and do a more thorough rinsing.  Reassembly is easy.

Fully charged, the precise and high-quality display indicates that up to 100 minutes is available, according to the manual.  However, after a few charge and discharge cycles, the display on mine usually indicates 110 minutes of shaving joy when fully charged.  For many users, this might represent over 20 shaves before recharging, and that has got to be either the best or close to the best in the business. Shaving For Bald Men can be difficult but there are products that can help you. Also of note is the fact that this top-flight shaver holds its charge better than any shaver I know of in that even after months of non-use, I can still fire it up with little effect upon the remaining charge that was indicated when last I checked.  This is remarkable as far as I am concerned.

An advanced, great-looking “Polymer” LED Display shows remaining shave time, when the razor needs to be cleaned, when heads need to be replaced and a visual charge alarm. It remains on while charging and in use.  One of the interesting capabilities is that the display changes momentarily to time used when switched off from each use, and then to remaining time before the display switches off completely.  The shaver will also operate with the charging cord plugged in, though it will not charge while the shaver is in use.

There is little mess outside the shaver.  With other types and makes I am used to seeing shavings on the outside of the shaver and on everything below.  With this and other Norelco rotary models, the shavings all go and stay inside.

Competitive shavers use a sort of bath that the shaver sits in, with consumable supplies.  That adds to the expense and, frequently, the mess, on a recurring basis.  With these Norelco shavers, I like the ease of use, lack of mess and the fact that there is no maintenance cost except for periodic replacement of the blades.

If this product performs as well as its predecessors, I expect to get at lest a year’s use from the rotary blades before replacement, at a cost of about $38.  The battery, as with other shavers, is not replaceable.  So, when the battery has passed its useful life, in, perhaps, three to five years on average, the shaver should get recycled as detailed in the accompanying literature.  In other words, it’s time for replacement!

The pop-up trimmer does a good job though I wish it would trim more closely.

Finally, I have to specifically cite the precision sound coming from this shaver. I am sure it is by design that this Norelco shaver is remarkably quiet as compared to all others I have tested.  It just sounds really good, exuding quality befitting its price and its stainless steel construction makes it feel solid.  It doesn’t awaken Mrs. Gadget as do other, noisier shavers tested.

With this and other electric shavers, if you are new to the experience, you MUST give it two to three weeks for your face to become accustomed to using electric.  Most manufacturers or, at least, the retailers, offer a 30-day money-back-guarantee (that’s a MBG, of course!) so you can try it and return it if the experience is just not to your liking.  Electric shaving is never going to be as fast as a good straight razor shave, but it sure is convenient and easy.  With Norelco, however, their try-it-first MBG is 60 days and their product warranty is two years.

The Norelco Spectra 8894XL comes with countertop stand and a leather case that holds the shaver, supplied cleaning brush and charger so it’s meant for travel. However, with the long battery life, you may elect with confidence to leave the charger behind unless your travels take you away for more than a couple of weeks at a time.

More information about Norelco’s grooming products is available on the Internet at www.norelco.com.  Find them at your local retailers, including Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Target and department stores.

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