Panasonic Arc5 Electric Razor for Men, 5 Blades Shaver and Trimmer, shave sensor Technology, Automatic Clean and Charge Station, Wet Dry - ES-LV95-S
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- Sharp Men’s Shaver Blades: Panasonic ARC5 men's electric shaver with five ultra sharp precision honed 30° Nanotech blades and ultra thin ARC foil follow facial contours for a quick, close and comfortable shave. The charging time is 1 hour
- Wet/Dry Electric Shaver and Trimmer 2 in 1: Built in pop up trimmer details mustaches, beards and sideburns; Wet/dry waterproof shaver allows for convenient shaving in or out of the shower
- Multi Flex Pivoting Head: Panasonic flexible pivoting electric shaver head glides effortlessly to trace the individual contours of face, chin, neck and jaw; Built in shaving sensor monitors differences in beard density and automatically adjusts cutting power for exceptional comfort
- High performance Motor with a Linear Drive: This Panasonic shaver is equipped with a linear motor which delivers 14,000 cuts per minute (70,000 crosscutting actions per minute) and maintains peak power up to the end of every battery charge
- LCD Battery Indicator and Premium Automatic Cleaning/Charging Station: The shaver’s 10 stage LCD shows battery status at a glance; Premium automatic clean & charge station dries and charges the shaver with the touch of a button, keeping it fresh and ready for your next shave
- Note: Kindly refer user guide for trouble shooting tips
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Panasonic ES-LV95-S Arc5 Electric Razor, Men's 5-Blade Cordless with Shave Sensor Technology and Wet/Dry Convenience, Premium Automatic Clean and Charge Station Included . The shaver may not charge under the following circumstances 1) The recommended charging temperature of 50-95 degree fahrenheit (10-35 degree celsius) not being met , 2) The unit is already charged , 3) The unit is being used for the first time or has not been used for last six months and it may take a while for charging to start.
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This is my experience between the newest Panasonic Arc 5 and the Braun Series 9. I never purchase the cleaning system that both brands offer because I think they are an unnecessary expense. If you use liquid soap on the foils and rinse after use, the blades should be clean and fresh for the next use.
Panasonic has a somewhat quieter motor than the Braun, which is strange because the Panasonic operates at 14,000 cycles per minute as opposed to Braun's 10,000 cpm. For the Panasonic that's 233 cycles per second. That's amazing speed for the linear power plant.
Both mustache/sideburn trimmers leave much to be improved because the cutters are blocked by the shaving heads. A slight advantage goes to Panasonic because it's more visible and useful.
As the model Arc 5 states in its name, Panasonic has five cutting foils compared to Brauns Series 9 which has four. I assume the extra foil gives more coverage and opportunity to cut wayward or difficult hairs. I will say that five should be the limit. I can't imagine having more blades like the race in the manual razor market where five seems to be the limit. If a company adds more foils, you will need a wrist brace to handle the increased weight.
The Panasonic shaver floats on a 2 axis head where it goes front to back and side to side. The Braun is limited to only front to back. This is a major benefit where the heads more closely follow the contours of your face, chin and neck. Both units allow you to lock the head for sensitive or specific areas.
The LED screen on the Panasonic shows time used in minutes and seconds and then the percentage of battery strength. There's an option to use the motor full speed or allow the motor to vary the speed depending on the thickness of the beard. The Braun is much simpler and has five blue bars to show battery level.
Although subjective, I would say the Braun does have a better cosmetic appearance. Being generous, I would say that's why the Braun costs $70 more than the Panasonic. They both shave well but I would give the advantage to Panasonic. It gets the neck/throat area almost as close as a blade. It cuts through the whiskers without snagging or getting bogged down.
A better shave at a lower cost should appeal to performance and budget conscious buyers. Panasonic wins this competition.
Compared to the Braun, the new Panasonic is lighter weight (7 oz vs 8 oz) and slightly slimmer. It's mostly plastic, but then so is the Braun, and esthetics of either is a matter of opinion. The Panasonic has slightly less chrome showing and is a little more svelte, which I sort of favor, so a win for the Panny for appearances for me. The head is larger - about 1/4" wider - and seems more flexible than the Braun's, moving more easily around a true 360 degree axis rather than the Braun's two-dimensional swivel, allowing the Panasonic to adapt to the contours of your face better. It covers more area quicker, and shortens my morning shave by almost half compared to the 9095cc, but does require practice maneuvering the larger head around the corners and angles of your face. The Panasonic has 5 cutters arranged symmetrically (a center flat cutter for longer whiskers, flanked on either side by 2 foils), contrasting Braun's asymmetrical 4 cutters (2 different flat cutters, blue and silver, with a foil on either side). One advantage of the Panasonic is that the cutter blocks and foil can be purchased separately - the foils wear out faster, so may need more frequent replacement, but can be replaced without replacing the cutters. With the Braun, the cutters and foils are one cartridge assembly so you have to buy both. As an addendum, replacement heads for the Braun have been generally unavailable now for more than a year, with the few that are available priced sometimes at more than the cost of the shaver. The Panasonic replacement heads are readily available anywhere, usually $50-60 range for foil and cutter blocks combined.
The higher speed cutting cycles of the Panasonic (14,000 cpm) compared to Braun's 10,000 cpm, seem to provide a more comfortable shave (for me) - that's 233 cutting cycles per second (Panasonic), compared to 167 cutting cycles per second (Braun), or 40 percent faster. Braun's "sonic" technology also creates more vibration (and noise) in the head and shaver compared to the Panny. The high speed Panasonic seems to smooth out each pass, and require fewer passes or repeat passes, as opposed to the Braun's "paint mixer" vibrations on your face and in your hand. Neither of course is as quiet as a rotary shaver. The Panasonic shave is definitely closer, with fewer missed spots or random whiskers. Panasonic also has a "sensor" mode on this shaver, which reportedly detects beard thickness and adjusts cutting speed, which it actually appears to do; it does result in a less irritating shave than previous models or the Braun, which could be attributable to this feature. The Panasonic requires a different technique and a lighter touch than the Braun - since it cuts your beard more easily, you don't need to apply any extra pressure shaving to get a close cut; in fact if you press as hard with the Panny as you sometimes must with the Braun, it will let you know you've had a close shave, and not in a good way. Easy does it. Both shavers have a lock for the head, allowing a closer shave around more challenging areas such as under the nose and around sideburns, and both have a pop-up trimmer for trimming along a straight line. Both configurations work equally well for those purposes.
Battery longevity seems similar for both shavers, with the nod going to Panasonic for number of shaves per charge because it takes less time to shave; should last a week or more on the road with a single charge. You can charge these shavers with the cord, without the cleaning station, and both are multi-voltage for traveling. Cords are similar with large transformer plugs, and like all wet/dry shavers, you can't use either shaver as a corded shaver but must recharge. Straight cord for the Panny, coiled cord for the Braun. Information on the shavers' LED displays is similar; the Panasonic provides percentage of charge left versus the Braun, which just displays diminishing bars until the final ten minutes of charge. The Panasonic also displays "MIN USED" for a shave, up to ten minutes, when it starts over. I actually find this useful for improving my shaving technique and speed.
The cleaning station for the Panasonic is significantly improved over the previous design, which sometimes had problems with leaking solution. The new design uses a detergent solution and a filter tray rather than a cassette - you mix the detergent packet with water in the tray, and I recommend distilled water to avoid mineral build-up on shaver or cleaner. The Panasonic cleaner is water based versus the alcohol based Braun station, but both provide excellent cleaning performance - Braun says their cleaning solution is not compatible with soap, so none of the Braun shavers that include a cleaning station are approved for use with shaving foam or gel. That's right folks - the Braun wet/dry shavers that include a cleaning station are not approved by Braun for use with shaving cream. The Braun alcohol solution is advertised as "sanitizing" the shaver head, but both cleaning solutions provide more than adequate anti-bacterial properties (remember, you wash your hands with soap and water), and neither actually sterilizes the head (important tip - don't share your shaver with anyone boys and girls). The Braun station runs with a couple of minutes of louder buzzing (running the shaver for cleaning), followed by about 40 minutes of a quiet fan cycle, while the Panasonic station runs the shaver a little over 5 minutes, followed by a little over an hour of fan drying; both stations seem to run either comparable cycle at about the same noise level - the fan cycle is plenty quiet for a spouse, partner or family member sleeping feet away. The Panasonic seems to dry the head completely, whereas the Braun is always slightly damp the next morning. Both station/shaver combos occupy about the same counter space and height, with similar controls and information for drying or cleaning, with the Braun being slightly larger and taller.
Probably most significantly, the Braun cleaning cartridges cost more than twice as much as the Panasonic detergent packs, require orders of magnitude more storage space, and are flammable; one plus for the Braun cartridges is that they are self-contained like the Philips Norelco cleaning system, requiring no mixing. If storage space is as important as convenience however (and we're talking a minute or so exercise of opening a detergent pack, emptying it into a tray and filling the tray with water - once a month tops), you can store more than a year's worth of Panasonic cleaning packets in the bottom of a bathroom cabinet drawer without noticing, while that many Braun cartridges will fill a substantial part of your closet with flammable liquid. Cartridges for the new Braun cleaner don't seem to last as long as previous units either, less than a month on average for me, shaving daily. Panasonic detergent solution lasts well over a month - going on two months now with the current solution and just as effective cleaning. Cleaning with either station will leave your shaver like new and smelling fresh, but both shavers can really just be rinsed in running water, so you don't absolutely need a cleaning station, although it is convenient. The Panasonic head is much easier to clean manually than the Braun since the foil and cutters are separate. The one minus of the Panasonic compared to the Braun is the travel case - the Braun has a nicely fitted hard leather case, where the Panasonic has their standard "faux leather" vinyl bag, but they do provide a hard plastic head cover.
As a side note, there is already a new Panasonic series of shavers (ES-LV6/7/9) on the market that appear similar, with a slightly redesigned head and body, and a similar cleaning station, so the ES-LV95 is not their newest model. Again, be aware that if you are a traditional "wet shaver" - I.e. shaving soap and water - Braun specifically says their only approved Series 9 shavers for shaving foam or gel are the 9040s and the 9080s (the "s" suffix means does not include the cleaning station), NOT the 9095cc. I have used it successfully with a shaving brush and soap, but according to Braun's literature this is an "off label" use and may void your warranty. If you are a wet shaver, technically your only choice is the Panasonic between these two. Highly recommended.
The first one lasted about 5 months. I do shave every day for about 15 minutes a day and I really enjoyed using it. However, one day it simply quit working. It wouldn't turn on, charge, or begin the cleaning process. I called customer support and they requested it be shipped in for service. It was nice to only have to ship out the shaver, and I was pleasantly surprised when I received what seemed like a whole new package instead of a "fixed" shaver. That said, the "new" one received lasted less than two weeks before suffering from the same fate.
My guess is that they are using very weak or even defective batteries on these products for it to just quit working one day without any sort of sign that something is going wrong. It's not acceptable for something that costs this much and should be designed for regular use. I wish I had gone with the competition - instead I'm not stuck trying to get them to replace the shaver a second time, and hoping that the third time is the charm.