I have been using the Panasonic ES-SL33 Rechargeable Shaver for almost two months, since it featured on my Ultimate Christmas Gift Guide for Australian Dads. So, how does it stack up? Read on to find out…
Call me old fashioned, but I had always been a manual shaver kind of guy.
It’s not that I had never tried electric shavers – I had, several times. But each time left me feeling a little underwhelmed. I found that I wasn’t getting nearly as good a shave as I was with the manual razor, and with charging and cleaning it ended up being more hassle than it was worth. Needless to say, those old electric razors are now occupying a small corner of my bathroom vanity, never to see the light of day again.
Of course, I had purchased those razors from the bargain bins. I kick myself for doing it, because I should have known better. Even at the time, I thought, “don’t do it, you are buying a piece of junk.” But there they were, all shiny and fancy-looking. They didn’t look any different from the proper ones.
Except they are. Very, very different. I know that now, because for the first time in my life I have been using a proper electric razor, and it is excellent.
Panasonic are one of the giants of the electric shaver world and their products are very highly regarded. They have chosen to concentrate on the foil shaver design, rather than the rotary head. When it comes to foil shavers, Panasonic are a force to be reckoned with.
The Foil Head – Panasonic ES-SL33 Rechargeable Shaver
I like Panasonic’s foil-head design. As a long-time manual razor user, the foil head seems somehow more natural to me than the rotary heads. I found that I quickly understood how much pressure to apply and the angles to use to achieve a consistent shave.
The Panasonic ES-SL33 Rechargeable Shaver foil head does an outstanding job on some parts of my face. The moustache hairs are consistently dealt with in a matter of seconds. I also find it very strong around my chin. On my cheeks and sideburns I sometimes need a few passes to achieve a smoothness with which I am happy. I think that is possibly to do with the hairs being finer and more spaced in those areas.
My neck has always caused me the most problems with shaving. I have quite sensitive skin, and my propensity for growing a mean neck-beard means that if I leave it for a few days, things become… tricky. Luckily, the Panasonic ES-SL33 Rechargeable Shaver packs a little gem to make things easier – the pop-up trimmer. More on that later.
After using the Panasonic ES-SL33 Rechargeable Shaver for almost two months, I can confidently say that I’m a fan of the foil head. This electric razor has completely taken over from the manual razor as my choice of tool for facial hair maintenance. It is comfortable, quick, and it does a great job of making me look good. I’m not the hairiest guy in the world, so I find that a quick shave every second day is more than enough to keep me looking respectable.
Pop-up Trimmer – Panasonic ES-SL33 Rechargeable Shaver
I know the pop-up trimmer is designed for detail work around the edges, and with that task it does an exceptional job. But I also discovered (during a battle with a particularly luscious holiday neck-beard), that a very light once-over with the trimmer on longer hair is enough to make it a manageable length for the foil head to do its job effectively.
The problem with longer hairs (especially in areas such as the neck) is that they tend to veer off in all kinds of directions, which makes it difficult for the foil to lift and cut them. The pop-up trimmer cuts those hairs right down to little stubs, which is what a foil shaver deals with best.
As for its intended function – If you happen to enjoy sporting a moustache, sideburns or other hairy facial features, then you will find the pop-up trimmer a very handy feature to have. It cuts precisely and is easy to use when making even tiny adjustments. I use it regularly at my hairline, and I’m happy with the results.
Wet and Dry Use – Panasonic ES-SL33 Rechargeable Shaver
I tend to use the Panasonic ES-SL33 Rechargeable Shaver for dry shaving. A large part of that is because I enjoy the convenience of a dry-shave with an electric razor. I can be done in a matter of minutes and not have to worry about messing about with foam and water. It may only save a couple of minutes each time, but those minutes add up, especially in the morning when there never seems to be enough time.
I find the dry shave pleasant enough. It obviously isn’t quite as close as that which can be achieved with the sharpest of manual blades and shaving cream – that is the nature of electric razors. However, I also find that I end up with less irritation and micro cuts, especially on my sensitive neck.
I did try a few wet shaves with shaving cream. It was a very comfortable way to shave. Perhaps that’s just because I’m used to wet shaving with cream, I’m not sure. If you have found dry shaving with an electric razor uncomfortable in the past, definitely give a wet shave with an ES-SL33 a go.
Cleaning – Panasonic ES-SL33 Rechargeable Shaver
Cleaning was one of the things that frustrated me most about my previous electric shavers. After each shave I would have to open the damned thing up and use a fiddly little brush to try and remove all of the hair. Sometimes I would have to do that mid-shave.
It was really, really annoying and one of the factors (other than the dodgy shave) that ultimately led to my abandonment of those cheap electric razors. After all, there’s no point enjoying the convenience of an electric shave if you have to spend twice as long cleaning up.
With the Panasonic ES-SL33 Rechargeable Shaver, all I have to do is flick open a little cleaning shutter on the back and run water through it. The simple things in life make me happy, and a simple, logical and easy that solution like that makes me a very happy person indeed. It’s a minor thing, but a brilliant thing.
I checked to make sure it works properly. Every now and then I pull the head off to have an inspection and make sure it isn’t clogging up with gunk. So far, so good, the simple rinse through the cleaning shutters is keeping it good as new. That’s a relief, because it is quite hard to take the cover off.
Battery Life – Panasonic ES-SL33 Rechargeable Shaver
The Panasonic Electric Shaver’s battery performance surprised me, but it shouldn’t have. After all, Panasonic are the makers of the legendary Eneloop rechargeable batteries – the only rechargeable batteries I use. But as shave after shave after shave went by, there was still no sign of the electric shaver slowing down.
I didn’t count how many shaves I had out of the first charge, but it was a lot. I kept expecting that dreaded moment when the razor rapidly slows to a stop mid-shave (another reason that I ditched the old electric razors). Eventually the Panasonic ES-SL33 Rechargeable Shaver did begin to slow down. However, there was still more than enough battery left to comfortably complete that shave. In fact, there was still enough grunt left to complete the shave after.
I wanted to really find out how far the Panasonic ES-SL33 Rechargeable Shaver could be pushed, so I tried to squeeze a third shave out of it, even with the obviously depleted battery. It put up a good fight, but eventually it spluttered to a halt. I think it’s impressive that the shaver was able to make another one and a half shaves even after it began to slow down. That shows me that I should never find myself stuck half way through a shave.
One thing I would like to have seen was a battery level indicator. These are included on more expensive Panasonic Electric Shavers, like the impressive ES-LT2N and the top of the range ES-LV9N. However, if you have to cut back somewhere in the name of producing a quality, budget electric shaver, then those are the kinds of sacrifices that need to be made. The excellent blades and motor are what really matter, and the ES-SL33 has those.
Ergonomics – Panasonic ES-SL33 Rechargeable Shaver
The Panasonic ES-SL33 Rechargeable Shaver is very comfortable to hold. It has a nice weight and balance in my hand. That’s not the most important thing in the world when it comes to shaving, but it shows that even with their budget models, Panasonic puts a lot of consideration into the user experience.
Value – Panasonic ES-SL33 Rechargeable Shaver
As I mentioned earlier in this review, electric shavers can be purchased very cheaply. However, my experience of such shavers is that they are rubbish.
Electric shavers can also be extremely expensive. Panasonic’s ES-LV9N has a RRP of $599.95 AUD, but it does have a list of features to match.
The Panasonic ES-SL33 Rechargeable Shaver sits firmly in my happy place – the value zone. At $159.95 AUD, it is about as cheap an electric shaver as you could expect to find, that still has a high build quality and is up to the task. Its list of features is short, but crucially, it does the key things that I require from an electric shaver and it does them extremely well. If you are a value shopper like me, the Panasonic ES-SL33 Rechargeable Shaver is hard to go past.
Disclosure – Panasonic provided Blog Of Dad with the ES-SL33 Rechargeable Shaver the purpose of review. The views expressed in this post are entirely my own, based on my experiences with the ES-SL33. For further information, please visit my disclosure statement.