Panasonic Arc5 Electric Shaver Rechargeable Razor Review

Panasonic Arc5 Electric Shaver Rechargeable Razor Review

Buy it at Amazon: Panasonic Arc5 Electric Shaver Rechargeable Razor [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Quick and efficient, smooth comfortable shave.

Like many guys during the past year of quarantining, at one point I let my facial hair grow out just because social mores were out the window. Also, I was more than a little curious as to how it would turn out. After a couple months of not shaving, it's finally time for my patchy beard to go and since my old Braun series 7 is on its last legs (it's over 10 years old!) I picked up the Panasonic Arc5 Electric Shaver as its replacement.

The electric razor comes in a leatherette zippered case, A/C charger, blade oil, cleaning brush, and an instruction manual. There’s also a chrome-colored version of this shaver, and you can get either style with a cleaning and charging station, if you prefer. Inside the case the electric razor has a clear plastic protective cap, and it measures 6 inches long, 2-3/4” across the head, and about 2 inches thick. I have the matte black version, and it has gold lettering and trim, but the plastic material doesn’t look or feel super premium. However, it is pretty lightweight at about 7 oz or 200 grams. The shaver head features a 5-blade design with outer finishing foils, inner lift-tech foils for flat-laying hair, and central slit blade foil for longer hairs.

Squeezing the release buttons on the sides, you can remove the foils for cleaning and servicing the cutting blades beneath, then to reassemble you just snap that back into place. As far as the controls, there is only the power button and a long LCD screen. On the back, there’s a trimmer that can be used by moving the sliding switch up past the head lock function to the trimmer icon, which pops the trimmer out on a curved arm into a horizontal position. Then to retract the trimmers slide the switch all the way back down to 'free.'

The shaver head has quite a lot of freedom of motion side-to-side and front-to-back to help guide the blades over the contours of your face. When you push the switch up to 'lock' position, this locks the shaver head so that it stays pretty still if you need to target a specific spot without the head moving around. On the back of the handle is a rubber grip, and there are three round metal contacts for the drop-in charging feature, if you have the cleaning and charging base. Other than that, the fine ridges on the handle give the unit a nice slip-free grip whether you’re right or left-handed. At the bottom of the handle is the charging port for the proprietary charger; a one hour charge gives you about 45-50 minutes of run time. When charging, a red plug indicator illuminates, and the current charge level will be flashing on the LCD. When charging is complete the LEDs will shut off, but pressing the power button while plugged in will show you the charge level. The shaver cannot be used to shave while plugged in for safety reasons.

The Arc5 is a wet/dry shaver, so you can use it at the sink or in the shower and with or without shaving cream. I tried it both ways so I could compare results. First, I made sure to take my facial hair down to 0.5mm using the trimmers. For me that’s like a couple days worth of stubble, but that will vary depending on how fast and how thick your facial hair grows. Short press the power button to turn the razor on. I found that despite the length of my facial hair being about a centimeter, or half an inch, the trimmer didn’t have any difficulty gliding through them in one pass.

While shaving, you may notice that the vibration sounds the motor produces occasionally changes. That’s because this razor employs a beard density sensor and adapts the motor speed based on the density and coarseness of the section of beard it is trimming. I thought this worked pretty well on my uneven and patchy beard growth. One of the things I think this razor does well is maneuver around the neck and jawline smoothly without catching or snagging. The blades each make 14000 cuts per minute which helps ensure a comfortable smooth shave. Even without shaving cream or gel, the result is quite smooth although I did experience a bit of skin irritation where I made multiple passes over the same area.

When shaving with shaving gel/cream I avoided doing multiple passes over the same area using the shaving scream as a guide, while rinsing off the blades between strokes. The gel provides some lubrication making things go much faster and reducing skin irritation. When looking at a side by side comparison of the two shaving methods, for me, the dry side came out with a closer shave that was more consistent but had more skin irritation. On the wet side, I had less razor burn for sure, but also I didn’t get as close as a shave either doing single passes over that side of my face. As someone who prefers dry shaving with an electric razor, maybe I’m just doing it wrong -- so I’d be open hearing to any tips and suggestions for wet shaving that you might want to leave me in the comments.

The shaver has a dedicated cleaning mode that you activate by pressing and holding the power button for several seconds. In the sonic vibration cleaning mode the battery indicators will flash, and there is reduced splashing and foaming, if cleaning with liquid soap. After rinsing the shaver out, pat dry and set it out to dry out of direct sunlight before storing. When travelling, you can also lock the power button so that the shaver doesn’t get turned on by accident in your travel bag. To activate the switch lock, short press the power button to turn on the shaver, then long press it for several seconds until the lock icon illuminates. The power button will be locked and won’t turn the shaver on if pressed accidentally. To disable the lock, press and hold the power button until the shaver activates.

Overall, I think the shaver did a good job of giving me a clean, smooth shave. I use it dry most days for a quick clean shave, especially when I’m shaving every day, but even if I get a bit lazy, I can take down the growth with the trimmers quickly to get a close shave as well.

Buy it at Amazon: Panasonic Arc5 Electric Shaver Rechargeable Razor [Affiliate Link]

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