Design: The Philips Shaver

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I was recently reacquainted with dry-shaving the Philips shaver when I was given a Philips 8290 shaver. This was a three-headed device which looks cumbersome but does a surprisingly good job.

Philips 8290 shaver unboxing

There are two camps in dry shaving: those that prefer the rotary shavers of Philips or those that prefer the riciprocating cutters of Braun, Remington and company.

My Dad had a twin-head Philishave that sat comfortably in the palm of your hand for many years until it finally gave up the ghost. It came with a faux leather travel bag and a set of cufflinks made in the abstract shape of the shaver outline.

One of my uncles in Ireland had a big triple headed shaver with a coiled electric power cable and a jewellery box style case that added to the ritualistic nature of shaving.   Philips has always put product design at the forefront of these devices.

The Philishave brand was dropped a couple of years ago, and feels like the loss of a well-loved TV series that you used to make a date with the ‘tube in order to watch. There was a TV repair shop  that also used to serve as a Philishave service centre on my way to school and I was used to the brand name and the Philips stars and water logo embossed on packaging and shavers.

My present shaver has a steel and silicon rubber exterior and weighted just right to feel comfortable in the hand, a bit like an old school Ericsson mobile phone – heavy enough to feel substantial, light enough to use comfortably.

Philips 8290 shaver unboxing

The shaver has a sophisticated motorised bath to clean the device and comes with a ballastic nylon carrying pouch in case the shaver needs to go traveling. Not the sexiest packaging but the most practical in a world where space is at such a premium for carry-on luggage and presents less of a security risk than a Gillette Mach 3.

Philips 8290 shaver unboxing

Philips have managed to make the new razors a lot quieter, previously if you stumbled into the bathroom half asleep to shave you would be unpleasantly awake by the time the stubble was off one of your cheeks.  I originally moved from dry shaving to wet shaving in my late teens because of the superior finish offered by a razor blade over the electric shaver. However electric shavers have caught up with their manual bretheren  and the electric shaver can easily shave my head and my chin.

One thing that surprised me about Philips and the shaver is the lack of education they have for dry shaving novices. I learned from watching my Dad. If you have the stamina to work your way through the manual (think about this for a moment we need an operating manual for a modern electric shaver) there is a very brief section in there, but nothing on the web, how show-me-how videos, no wiki and no product use education dressed up as grooming tips. I think that they missed a bit of a trick there. Philips you need to sort the education piece out, drop me a mail if you want some help. :)