Advantages Cheap price - usually, good power & heat levels, cool shot function, long 3 metre cord.
Disadvantages Hardly any heat insulation, no filter door, cool button has to be continually pressed to function.
|Value for Money|
|Ease of Use|
|Price||£9-99 in 2009.|
When it comes to hair dryers there are three main brands that I've been brought up with; my mum's old fashioned L shaped orange coloured Braun hair dryer and later replaced in years later by a 1980's "Clairol Turbo" which after 15 successful years started to have on and off days due to over heating. Now replaced by a wonderful Revlon Jetstream that she bought in 2001, my mum's hair dryer just seems to keep on going and on the basis that she visits me regularly not just to take advantage of the big city, it has been thumped, dropped and abused with no sign of dying. No wonder she refuses to use my cheap Visiq Argos hairdryer; hers has 2000 watts compared to my 1400 watts and as there's no cool shot function she refuses flatly to use it. After my hairdryer decided to stop working one day and knowing her preference to professional names and "cool shot" feature, it was clear that I would have to buy a hairdryer with this function alone to keep her happy - otherwise she'd have to cart around her professional Revlon which is three times the size of this little baby!A cool shot function is supposedly built into hair dryers these days to set curls in action; well with my straight and thinning locks there would be no curls let alone anything fancy going up top!
Armed with a shiny thin and long cord, the Revlon hairdryer is simply styled in black and silver decals despite the gold lettered brand name on the main body of the hairdryer and what you get here is largely what it says on the box. It is however a large/medium sized hair dryer and packs quite a hot heat even on the first speed setting. A cheap, bendable diffuser also comes with the hair dryer and easy to clip to the front vent it turns the Powerdry into a purposeful one direction hair dryer.
However, like most cheap hair dryers these days it is easy to see why the price is so low. It doesn't have fancy colours or any feminine inspired designs like my mum's flashy Jetstream model, yet has a sensible chunky slider to switch on and select the low speed or high speed on offer.
Wrapped in a black matt metal body with plastic/rubberised inserts on the rear to offer a bumper/rest to the hair dryer that won't damage surfaces, the Revlon is hardly the best built hairdryer and justifies the cheap price that accompanies it. It isn't however as space efficient as Revlon may like to think though because the main rear fan at the back is quite bulky, even though without the diffuser attached, it's sloping fixed handle and small body is reasonably easy to pack away in a suit case - but what a pity the Revlon doesn't come with an additional travel adaptor if travelling was its main call of design.
When the cool shot is activated however, it puts the hairdryer down a peg if the highest speed has already been selected, not only noticeable by the whine of the motor which can be fairly noisy but strong, but also by the fact that there is quite a marked difference of whoosh from the fan system on board whenever the cool function is selected. What a pity then that the cool shot is a blue button that has to be hung onto/constantly pushed if you want that feature activated. How can people curl hair with one tong in their hand and dexterous fingers on the other just to constantly keep their finger on the button to ensure curls can be set in place? That in my mind is daft - the button should be set in properly without the owner having to struggle to keep their finger on the button, if they are trying to perfect their look.A bonus to the design however is the fact that the Powerdry 1600 comes with a long 3 metre cord. This has been very handy infact, particularly from wall sockets that are not as near to the fixed bedroom mirrors in the guest bedrooms and there is also a pliable rubber hook on the end of the handle that allows you to hang up the hair dryer when it is not in use. It is just a pity that over the years, the cord has become tangled up so much since there are no storage hooks on the dryer's body, that it is impossible to unravel into the original straight design it once incorporated!
Another issue is that the handle at the bottom before the cord, has a rough section of information which has been bonded/embossed into the plastic. It may offer a grippy texture when in use, but it isn't tactile and again, the price you pay is reflected in the lack of thought when the information of power, voltage and country of origin keeps jutting into your hand as you aim to dry hair with the Revlon.The fan at the back is also fixed i.e. no additional flap to get into the fan when it gets dusty - this is where a vacuum cleaner's upholstery brush comes in so handy!
More importantly, in use when the hair dryer switches on it can take up to three minutes of use before the ring at the front starts to glow. My mum noticed this straight away thanks to the fact that she has a full head of thick hair. On some hair dryers I've used this is a warning sign that the hair dryer is about to cut out, but after five minutes of use, my Powerdry just kept going despite the glowing ring. The basic user manual does state that this hair dryer does have a thermal cut out cycle and can't be used until 45 or 50 minutes later have passed. On a higher heat setting, the ring will obviously glow faster because of the boost in power but as soon as you are finished keep your hands or fingers away from the front to minimize burns. The plastic diffuser also gets too hot for my liking in prolonged use.Unlike my old Visiq hairdryer (where incidentally these two hair dryers do look quite similar in feel and texture of shiny black metal and speckled plastic) the handle on the Revlon is a little longer which means more gripping onto the handle is welcomed rather than worry about the hair dryer slipping out of my hands. The weight of the hair dryer is relatively lightweight and welcomed - and the sloping handle with the light weight of the Revlon means it is easy to angle the dryer to my head at any angle when drying or combing/brushing hair. Obviously Babyliss/Revlon have got past the "compact," promise judged on the actual cylinder and not the handle that goes with it!
The only fly in the ointment is the build quality and lack of outer heat and safety protection even though it has a thermal cut out fitted. The fact that the cool shot button has to be continually pressed to release its function is a bit of a bind if you are also styling your hair. Not a bad job overall but for a company like Babyliss who are well trained in hair dryers, this should be a better built model for the price particularly for those with safety concerns and with a much higher turn of speed for faster drying with better tactile quality.Babyliss need to whip this hairdryer out of the 1990s and bring it into form for present day needs even if my Revlon still goes since 2009. It is faster than using a towel, that's for sure but it just about hits the mark if you are looking for a basic hair dryer with a cool shot and a cheap price. Thanks for reading! ©Nar2 2011
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