The use of an electric shaver is simple — in theory that is. But a person’s face is not a flat surface that can be easily followed, so one of the more important, if mechanical technologies is having a pivoting system that enables the blades to angle themselves relative to the skin they are biting into. That’s just one of the physical attributes of Panasonic’s Arc3 3-Blade Electric Shaver with Built-In Trimmer Wet/Dry (ES-RT47-S), the 10,000 rpm motor driving the three-bladed system being another. Add hypo-allergenic foils covering the blades, a pop-out trimmer and removable hair cutting accessory and it’s starting to look like this could be a winner for those tired of cutting their faces to death with a straight or disposable shaver.
Superficially the ES-RT47-S is similar in appearance to other wet/dry electric shavers: a somewhat candy-bar like shape with a rubberized grip and the blades at one end and a port for attaching the power plug at the other. For charging indicators, there’s a small series of LEDs that glow to indicate a charge is in place and to provide confirmation of the shaver’s battery being workable. In use, it’s well balanced which makes for a sensible approach since it has to be hand-held. But you’d be surprised how varied the “feel” of a shaver can be to the detriment of the user. That’s not the case here.
Now the advantage of a “wet” shaver — by that it means the entire shaver is waterproofed and so can be used in a shower, etc. — is that the blades are able to get a better “hold” on the beard (with frequent trips under the tap). This also makes cleaning easier due to the waterproofed nature of the shaver, since this allows for simple liquid soap to be applied to the shaver’s foil covering the heads and then the motor is flicked on for a few seconds under the water spout. Following this with the foil removed, plain water removes any last vestiges from the blades and/or the foil. Once dry, reassemble the shaver, apply drops of oil (provided) onto the foil and the clipper (if it was used) and run the motor for a few seconds and that’s all the maintenance required.
By design, one of the advantages of an electric shaver is that it contains its blades in such a fashion that nicks and cuts are extremely unlikely to happen — this being contrary to what often occurs for straight edge blade users. The disadvantage that comes along for the ride is that the razor is unable to duplicate the straight edge experience of a single stroke removing hair: so yes those with intense beards will probably need to do a touch up late in the day (the “five o’clock shadow), but the ES-RT47-S makes for a quick application.
The fact that the Arc3 3-Blade Electric Shaver (with Built-In Trimmer Wet/Dry) ES-RT47-S is both lightweight and well balanced enables it to be efficiently used — the time and nicks saved adding up to a well groomed appearance. There’s always going to be a debate between straight edge blades and electric razors, but those looking for a shave that bypasses the problems of the straight edge will find much to like in this $99 (retail) electric shaver.