Top positive review
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Impressive from the very first shave!
on 25 June 2014
So before I get to the various plus points of the Series 7, just a brief background to the test I gave it straight out of the box.
I'm a typical 'tall, dark and hairy'. Precious little left on my thinning pate, but plenty sprouting everywhere else, and a stubble you can almost strike a match on. 5 o'clock shadow would be nice, I have to deal with post-lunch shadow!
To up the 1st test stakes even more, I spent a week camping without shaving and just used clippers to get rid of the excess before ploughing straight in, so even my slower growing hairs needed attention.
The Series 7 has some serious grunt, and even with my substantial thicket to take on, it blasted through faster than my old Philips Sensotronic managed a normal, mid-week shave. Furthermore, the result was far smoother and commendably close to a wet shave, but much quicker and more convenient.
The head pivots very smoothly and follows the shape of your face well, and the locking feature does make areas like the upper lip and sideburns more accurate.
As you might expect from a reasonably expensive, German-made device, the shaver is very well made and feels reassuringly solid in the hand without being heavy.
The Clean and Refresh unit is a genuinely worthwhile feature which works well, rather than just being a 'gimmick' as is sometimes the case. This version has the air-dry rather than heated drying, so it takes some time. The advice here would just be to set the cleaning cycle off as soon as you finish, then it shouldn't be an issue. It is a bit noisy as the shaver runs for periods during the cleaning, but this part of the process only takes a few mins.
For those concerned about the cost of the Clean and Refresh refills, I can also confirm that the Series 7 can be cleaned very effectively by a combination of dunking the head of the running shaver into a mug or container of hot water with a splash of liquid soap (hand soap, shampoo or shower gel work equally well). Then rinse under a running hot tap with the stream aimed at the back of the shaving head as directed in the manual. The Clean and Refresh unit can then be used for a once a week 'service'.
All in all, this is a truly impressive bit of kit which feels built to last, well designed and offering really impressive performance. The running costs of the cleaning station are reasonable, even more-so if supplemented by manual cleaning as described above.
This is the first time I have owned a Braun shaver and from my initial findings, I may find that I never own anything else from now on.
**** Week 2 Update ****
Just a brief update some 10+ shaves into the Series 7 ownership 'experience'
Shaving is still fantastically close and fast - honestly it is a significantly faster process and produces virtually blade-close result. For anyone coming from a rotary shaver (i.e. Philips), you will also fine the Braun a much more precise tool, especially for getting sideburns straight and level, because the foils give a naturally straight line without needing to use the trimmer.
Cleaning is also a painless process. A quick open, tap-out, and then running dunk in a sink or container of hot water, releases most debris, so the Clean and Refresh unit only runs a light cycle and uses hardly any fluid.
Amazingly, this shaver has actually managed to make a tedious, daily chore, almost enjoyable.
I will update again when the first Clean and Refresh refill runs out, so I can report just how much the rinse-first approach stretches the lifespan.
1 YEAR UPDATE
So having had the Series 7 for a year, I'm still a huge fan. It still gives a fast, close shave every time, and cleaning is easy with a rinse under a hot tap.
The cleaning solution refills last much longer than expected, especially if you do just rinse under a hot running tap first.
Without doubt the best electric shaver I have ever used and highly recommended.
*17 Month Update*
So still loving the way the Series 7 performs, but I have discovered that when they 'recommend' the cutters are replaced every 18 months, they are not joking.
Spotted today that the foil had actually worn through to make a hole. Fortunately I saw this before I started using, otherwise this could have been painful an messy. I do have tough stubble and shave almost daily apart from weekends, but clearly the 18 month replacement cycle is more than just advisory, and heavy users should probably replace annually. At around £20, that's not too much to ask for a whole year of good shaving.
Oh and incidentally, by mostly rinsing under a hot tap before using the cleaning station, I've found that 3 cartridges can last over a year.