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One day soon, I will be in a position to write my autobiography, based on the Braun shavers that I have owned and used during my lifetime. I have kept them all, though I have discovered no reason for doing so and no useful purpose for them either.! - it is just a sad reflection on the hoarding tendencies of the Badger clan.!
My last Braun - reviewed 18 months ago, decided to play a very nasty trick on me. The contraption it comes with, which cleans and recharges the shaver after each use, decided to malfunction.! I searched for a replacment cleaning unit and the cheapest in the UK costs £52. In the States I could get one for $29, but the cost of shipping, VAT, customs etc put me off. Since £52 is half the cost of a complete new Braun system, I used my old brain, and went for a new Braun.
1 The Purchase %%%%%%%%
So, being a Braun fanatic, off I went to search for one of their latest models The 8595 is not exactly the latest evolution of Braun's shavers, but it is pretty recent. Once I spotted it in Makro for £99.99 + vat I knew I could not get it cheaper, even online, and so purchase was made. Other prices I have seen, vary from £127 up to £159 - shop around!
2 The Contents %%%%%%%%
No huge surprises when opening the box, but a couple of interesting things I noted very soon. There is the new version of the cleaning unit.! This no longer has the section on it that gave up the ghost on my last one ! - design fault, I reckon, and at least they have rectified that - good job. The result is that the cleaning unit is a bit more compact. It is also a bit more hi-tec - extra Braun brains, which I'll describe later on.
Second difference, is the inclusion of a rigid carry case. The previous one had no carry case, and that had resulted in an expensive battery replacement after my gel immersed the shaver inside my wash bag on a trip to Amsterdam... ( no not hair gel - shower gel!! )
Third difference in terms of contents of the box, was a much bigger and better cleaning brush. I thought this was a bit surprising since the cleaning unit is supposed to do the job ! But, - silly me, - there are times when you travel and do not want to carry the whole caboodle with you - so just take the brush ! - good idea.!
Then of course, you get the shaver itself, a cartridge for the cleaning unit, some instructions and a guarantee.
3 The Shaver %%%%%%%
Braun shavers are fairly distinctive. This one steps in at the usual size - about 7" long, about 2" wide and about 3/4 " deep. Let's start at the working end of the machine. It has two main foils on its Activator head, which both have micro holes to trap and hold your hair, ready to be cut off by the cutting blade beneath. Between these two foils, is a third rigid foil which is designed to deal with longer hairs. On either side of this activator head are little blue buttons, which , when squeezed, allow the foils to pop up, and release any hair and dust inside. Press these same buttons again, and more firmly, and you can remove the foils completely, either for cleaning purposes, or to replace the cutting block. Braun recommend that foils and block are replaced together, every 18 months.
The acivator head pivots on the remainder of the shaver, and so moves gently over the contours of the face during shaving.
Immediately below the foil head, is the trimmer, which is useful for longer hairs on the face, beard trimming and such like.
Moving on down the front of the shaver, there is a recessed switch with three positions. Slide it to the first position, and you have the normal way of using the machine. Move to position 2 and the Activator head will no longer pivot, and you can home in on a specific area of the face more easily. Move the slide to position 3, and you switch the power to the long hair trimmer.
Nearer to the bottom of the shaver, there is an LCD screen - reception must not be too good in Belfast, and I cannot get either BBC or ITV.! I do get a picture in blue and grey, indicating how well charged the shaver is, and occasional lettering floating across the screen, either to advertise Braun, to tell me how clean the shaver is , or when it needs to be cleaned.
A tiny button below the screen, can be operated, and takes you into another set of screen images. You can discover how long you took to shave yourself the last time you used the shaver.! This might seem to be a waste of Braun Brains ! - but imagine that your significant other is gently caressing your cheeks in a romantic moment; she suddenly stops and moans - as in complaining - that your bristle is far too bristly ! Off you go, get the shaver, press the button and prove that you spent 4 minutes and 35 secs shaving.!! - end of argument !!??
If she is impressed, you can press the button again, and show her how many shaves you have had with this shaver.!
And if she presses the button again, she will discover the part number of the foil and cutter section - so that she can buy you a replacement one for next Christmas.!??
We are nearly there now ! - Next is a blue neon light which glows when the shaver is being charged, and right at the bottom, is the slot for the charging cable.
The reverse side is fairly uninspiring. Just a couple of rows of nodules, to prevent the shaver slipping out of your hand, and two metal contacts, which operate the cleaning process when the shaver is placed in the cleaning unit.
4 The Cleaning Unit. %%%%%%%%%%
The cleaning unit comes with electric cable and a plug which acts as a transformer. It stands as tall as the shaver itself, and is roundish in shape. Slot the shaver into place, and off it goes. One set of leds will tell you how much of a clean it needs - such brains the braun has ! - if it is clean, a blue light shows; if not it will select whether the shaver needs an Eco clean, a Normal clean or an Intensive clean.
Press the blue switch mechanism on the front of the unit and off it goes, all whirring away, spraying the head with alcohol from the cartridge below ( No Tallulahbang, you should not drink it - it is not Black Russian - though when did that ever stop you before !? ), and when it's clean, the blower dries it off with heated air.
Another set of leds indicates whether the cartridge of alcohol is full, empty or in between.
5 Shaving %%%%%
At last, you rightly say.! Come on Trevor, a shaver review is about how the thing shaves, surely - not the colour of the blinking blue leds.!!?? My reply, is that a review of how it actually shaves, would be far too short ! - all I would get is a string of 'Not Helpful' ratings - I'm here to impress.!
OK - it shaves brilliantly. Firstly, it is the quietest shaver I have ever had. Secondly it is the quickest shaver I have ever used - about 5 minutes does the job, and in wet shaving terms, you've only got the foam on your face by that time ! Thirdly, it does a really smooth job. It could reduce Pooh bear to a smooth piece of plastic in no time.! I have often reckoned that mechanical shavers are fairly close cutters, but that a wet razor is always closer. But this time, I think the brains behind Braun have come up with a shave that is as close as it gets without removing the skin itself.!
It is a Braun full of brains. Some guys will reckon that you are paying too much for gadgety extras, and I know what they mean.
But my take on it, is that I use the thing everyday; it will last for 3 - 5 years; the daily cost will be about 10p a day. If you go for something simpler, it may save you 1p a day - and you will have lost the ability to tell that dearly loved moaner how long you took grooming yourself, just for her !!