* Prices may differ from that shown
Up until receiving this as a gift last summer, I had never taken electric shavers seriously. Previously I had owned various Brauns, and Philips models; which although expensive, have performed utterly miserably, caused painful irratation, and worse still left me looking half shaved.
Being Italian I just assumed that this issue with electric shavers was because of the mediteranean facial hair type, being rather thick and fast growing.
The Panasonic ES-RT51-S511 (or just RT51) has however changed all that and re-written my views on dry shaving.
~The Panasonic RT51~
The Panasonic ES-RT51-S511 Shaver best feature is that it can be used in both wet or dry conditions, and the fact that it comes with a face hugging multi-pivotal three head unit. Lost you? Well essentially this means in plain English; that the (3 foil) shaving head on this unit can move with facial contours along the axis (axi?) which count for comfort, and that the unit is waterproof.
This is not a unique feature, not by a long shot, but when coupled with the 10,000 rpm cutters which are 30 degree nano-sharpened and stainless steel foils, it does make for an exceptionally comfortable shave.
Don't worry if you have no idea what 30 degree nano means, it just refers the particle size, and angle achieved, when used to sharpen the cutting edge, which equates to extremely, insanely sharp cutting surfaces when used in conjunction with the stainless steel foils as this unit does.
Oh should also mention the pop-up trimmer which yes isn't exciting, but is of course part of the standard kit, as is the almost obligatory cleaning brush, charging lead, and soft touch carry pouch.
Gone are the days of ALWAYS having to fully cycle batteries from fully charged to drained, to get optimal usage, which lasted just a few months before degredation anyway. The modern batteries using rare metals, perform exceptionally, even with irregular charging patterns (although cycling occasionally as described maintains battery longevity). With a 1hr charge you can safely expect around 40-45 minutes of shaving time, which for most people will equate to around 5-7 shaves, which is a drastic improvement over the earlier shaver models.
With regards to battery degredation, having owned the unit for 8 months, there is no noticeable lack of the above charging/usage performance mentioned which bodes well, as changing the integral batteries is almost a terminal activity (cost-wise).
I will start by saying be careful and don't pay too much for this shaver, I have seen this on-sale for around £140, and the majority of retailers have this unit for sale ranging from £68 to £110. Why such variance? No idea, but I know from experience it always pays to shop around anyway (prices correct at time of writing).
Amazon for example, have had this unit for sale at around £50 at times, so keep your eyes open!!
One annoying sales issue; which is bordering a transgression of the sales of goods act, is that I have noticed that the unit is sometimes described as coming with a charging base on many of the online retailers websites descriptions. I can assure you, it does not (or at least mine didn't).
I can honestly 100% vouch that my face required absolutely no adjustment to using this shaver, there was no initial period of a rash, or anything of the kind. The shaver shaved incredibly closely (within a whisker of a wet shave, pardon the pun) and smoothly, and caused absolutely no irratation at all, even in the sensitive and hard to shave jawline and neck area.
In addition, the shaver can cope with a few days growth of beard, but to be honest I imagine it is best in terms of maintaining the shavers performance for longer, to not leave it that late. However, it can cope if the occasion calls.
Although this shaver can be used wet, and even with lotions, potions, gels, or shaving foam, personally I didn't bother more than once.
It does perform well in that manner, but the whole point for me of dry shaving was to be faster, and make less mess. Which clearly using and purchasing all those extras to shave with, doesn't translate. You could however shave in the shower, or at the botttom of a swimming pool, as the unit is fully waterproof, with isolated electrical circuits within.
The time, the "wet" feature does come in useful though, is for cleaning. You can simply take the head off (by depressing a few buttons) and wash the whole thing under running water. And since the principle parts are stainless steel, a quick drying off period before reassembly, is all you need to worry about. No lubricant is needed!
Should mention the ideal size and feel of the unit, it just fits so perfectly in your hand, and the switch has been recessed in slightly, so you can't turn off mid shave, which is a problem on units I had previously owned.
I might be wrong, but i'm sure my last electric shaver which ended up in the bin, had foils which required replacing after 3 months, and cutters which needed changing every 6. And with foils costing around £20, and cutters the same again, it was expensive.
Seems technological advances have now increased such restricitve timescales, the recommended 1 year for the foils, and 2 years for the cutters (the bits inside) seems alot more reasonable, and makes the unit incredibly economical to operate.
At the time of writing the part numbers for the spares are;
If like me you had a negative view of electric shavers, are pressed for time in the morning, and/or can't be bothered to wet shave, then this shaver is definitely one to try.
For a reasonable amount of your hard earned pennies, you get a quality unit which performs like no other electric shaver I know off, and exceeds my expectations. Also worth noting, the main difference between this unit and the more expensive variants, is the self clean feature.
In my opinion if you're too lazy to press two buttons and rinse the thing under the tap, you're welcome to pay the extra £100!
For me, as the previous owner of a 9am - 4 o'clock shadow, this unit is has been nothing short of absolutely outstanding!
Panasonic's ES-RT51-S511 Shaver can be used for both wet and dry shaving, with its three-blade cutting system and pivoting head delivering an exceptionally close, comfortable shave at the sink or in the shower, while its five-level LED indicator keeps you aware of exactly how much charge you have left. 30 degree nano-edge blade technology and a 10000 rpm motor deliver a smooth shave, while the ESRT51-S511 Shaver also offers up to 45 minutes / a full week's worth of shaving time / per one-hour charge, plus a five-minute quick charge for emergencies. A pop-up trimmer helps with sideburns and detail work.