If you're into the stubble look, this trimmer promises the closest stubble trim on the market: 0.3mm. Unfortunately, the trimmer suffers from a number of deficiencies that have caused me to downgrade my rating from an initial three stars to one.
You set the length of the trim with up and down buttons, enabling increments of 0.2mm, which show on the unit's LCD screen. For some reason, it's harder to pull this trimmer through my beard than it was with the Norelco.
There's a "Power Burst" button that activates a higher speed. The "Burst" nomenclature is a little misleading, as you don't have to hold down the button to attain the higher speed. In other words, this works like the "Turbo" mode on the Norelcos. So I use the high speed for beard trimming and the low speed for detailing with the guide comb removed.
The instructions said initial battery charge would take 24 hours, but I'm happy to report that I got a full charge reading in a little over twelve. This trimmer must be packing nicad batteries, as the instructions suggest discharging the unit completely twice a year, presumably to prevent the sluggish performance caused by battery memory.
It seems that the power meter does not give an accurate reading of the battery life. After just two trims, the meter was reading one-third power remaining, but I can get at least sixteen trims before the motor really seems to be running too slow. I've deducted one star for this "power meter that cries wolf" glitch in the unit's firmware.
I have deducted another star for two notable omissions here. First, this trimmer has no vacuum capability to prevent cut whiskers from falling in the sink. There is a little plastic pocket called the "Whisker Belly" that does capture most whiskers, but not all. I miss the vacuum feature -- which makes cleanup easier -- and hope that Mangroomer incorporates it into future models of this trimmer. Trimmed whiskers also never flew up and hit me in the eye when I used a vacuum trimmer, as happened recently with the Scruff Sculptor. AARGH!
I now see what appear to be trimmed whiskers inside the LCD screen window. Yuck! And there's no way to clean them out without opening up the trimmer, presumably voiding the warranty. This is yet another indication of the lack of refinement that prevent my giving this trimmer a five-star thumbs-up.
The second omission is any kind of included accessories, most notably a travel pouch and cleaning brush. Really now, at this price point, MG should have thrown in a little lagniappe, as most other shaver and trimmer manufacturers do.
I should also mention a minor inconvenience: the trimmer length resets to 0.3mm. every time you shut off the trimmer, forcing you to reset it to your desired length for your next trim. Because an electric motor adjusts the trim length, this is another unnecessary battery drain as well as a nuisance.
In fact, as an example of the ergonomic shortcomings inherent in this trimmer, a whole series of button pushes are needed to turn the unit on, instead of the two required by the Norelco trimmer with vacuum. First you press power; then you set the length; then you have to press the power button again to turn on the trimmer motor; then you have to press turbo if you want the higher speed.
Finally I must comment on the extremely cautionary instructions, which sound like something your mom might have written, especially if mom is a lawyer. Perhaps the manufacturer was trying to add some sense of danger to appeal to men's love of adventure.
I am also amused by the wealth of feature names on display here. "Whisker Belly." "Power Burst." "Scruff Sculptor." I would gladly trade all three for a vacuum capability, an accurate power meter, and a travel pouch.
So if you're into the stubble look, you may want to give this trimmer a look, but be prepared for some shortcomings. I hope Mangroomer will trim these deficiencies on the next model...
ADDENDUM: As I write this, I see that only 6 out of 12 readers have found this review helpful. I would be pleased to answer any questions you may have about this trimmer, or supply any details I may have omitted. Since no one has taken me up on that offer, I have to believe that the 6 out of 12 readers who have found this review NOT helpful are probably employees of Mangroomer or their affiliates, and to them I say, "I'm doing you a favor revealing what a typical user might consider the shortcomings of this trimmer; don't dump on the messenger, improve the product..." With products and employees of this quality, I think it unlikely that Mangroomer will pose much competition to Panasonic, Braun, Wahl, Remington, or Norelco any time soon...
SECOND ADDENDUM: Careful shoppers will note that there seem to be a lot more positive reviews of this product posted recently. You will also note that almost all of these positive reviews have been voted unanimously helpful, whereas the negative reviews which were more prevalent before have been voted less helpful. I will therefore conclude again that employees of Mangroomer or their affiliates have been posting positive reviews and attacking earlier negative reviews. I STRONGLY URGE POTENTIAL BUYERS OF THIS PRODUCT TO READ BETWEEN THE LINES OF THE POSITIVE REVIEWS -- CAVEAT EMPTOR!
THIRD ADDENDUM: Okay -- there go stars three and four. After just a few months of use, the wonky power regulator is causing the trimmer to shut down after a second or two, even though the (inaccurate) power meter says there's one-third charge remaining. I finally got the trimmer to stay on, after turning it on a number of times. I've never had problems like this with a shaver or trimmer from Panasonic, Braun, or Norelco. So I give this trimmer and the company who made it a BIG FAIL. NOT recommended.
FOURTH ADDENDUM: Well, as I look at my review again today, I see that 21 out of 29 Amazon shoppers have found this review helpful, so maybe the ManGroomer guys have laid off dumping on my observations! Suffice it to say that I have bought a Norelco QT4070 vacuum beard trimmer and like that model MUCH better than the MG, even though the Norelco doesn't trim as close. So unless you REALLY want a close stubble trim -- I recommend the Norelco, which works beautifully.
* The closest shave of any beard/stubble trimmer now on the market.
* Compact, lightweight power transformer. MG nailed at least this one detail.
* Faulty power regulator causing trimmer to shut down.
* Trimmer lacks ergonomic refinement.
* No accessories included.
* Power meter gives false readings.
* No vacuum feature.
* Manufacturer suspected of posting false positive reviews here at Amazon and describing negative reviews as "Not helpful;" manufacturer lacks reputation and credibility of other long-time competitors.