Review Category: Dad Fit

Panasonic ES-SL33 Rechargeable shaver

Panasonic ES-SL33 Rechargeable Shaver

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.


Panasonic ES-SL33 Rechargeable
The foil head is comfortable and capable


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.


Panasonic ES-SL33 Rechargeable shaver pop up trimmer


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.


Panasonic ES-SL33 Rechargeable shaver cleaning
Seriously genius idea

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.


Panasonic ES-SL33 Rechargeable Shaver


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.

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Dad Fitness - Blog of Dad

Fitbit Blaze

When I was sent the Fitbit Blaze a couple of months ago, my first impressions of the product were very positive. But how does it stack up after two months of regular use in the real world?

In my experience, extremely well.


No Magic Bullets

The first thing I want people to understand about the Fitbit Blaze, or any fitness product for that matter, is that it is not magically going to make you fitter. There is no substitute for a bit of hard work, especially when it comes to fitness.

I’ve seen the general complaints about fitness trackers and read the articles about them being discarded in the back of drawers after a month, and I bet you have too. But those seem to have been written by people who think that buying a fitness tracker and strapping it on their wrist will automatically make them… fit!

The Fitbit Blaze is a tool It is a (particularly excellent) guide and motivator to a fitter, healthier life, but there is still a requirement of the end user to act on it. If you are looking for a magic fitness bullet, don’t buy the Fitbit Blaze (or any other fitness product, for that matter). If you are serious about making a few changes and want an excellent tool to help you along the way, then the Fitbit Blaze is a very attractive option.


Fitbit Blaze under business shirt


A Sensible Approach to Improved Fitness

One of the things I noticed very early on with the Fitbit Blaze and accompanying mobile app is the wealth of information that you can get from the device. At first that can seem a little overwhelming and there is the temptation to try and use every aspect of it fully.

I decided to make little changes at a time. I focussed on the key areas that I most wanted to improve, then I moved on to exploring other features of the Fitbit Blaze and accompanying mobile app once I was comfortable. This has worked for me. The Fitbit Blaze is now an integral part of my overall fitness plan and daily routine. Even after two months of use, I still have not fully explored everything the Fitbit Blaze has to offer.

I think that is great – I have upped my fitness levels substantially, but I still have room to expand that when the time it right. It speaks volumes of the versatility and depth of the device.


Fitbit Blaze Mobile App
So much data!


Daily Activity

One of the fundamental uses of a fitness tracker is to count steps. The Fitbit Blaze does this well. I feel that the numbers returned are a fairly accurate reflection of my activity each day.

There are some customisable features to add a little extra incentive to get up and walk. There is a programmable reminder to be active every hour – mine is set to the default 250 steps. My goal is to do that for 11 hours each day. While I rarely achieve that goal (there always seems to be a pesky missed hour or two somewhere in the middle of the day) I do find it great motivation to get up and be more active regularly. It’s also a great wake-up call to be reminded I still have 250 steps to take with ten minutes to go in an hour – more often than not it encourages me to get up and take a few steps.

The second goal that you can set is a daily step goal. Mine is set to 10000 steps. I achieve this goal fairly regularly. On several occasions over the past two months I have run around the house like a lunatic to make the let few hundred steps! The celebration screen makes it worth it.


fitbit Blaze Daily Goals
Nailed it!


Run (and other exercise) Tracking

This is one of my favourite features of the Fitbit Blaze. It has undoubtedly helped me to make some significant improvements to my running.

I ran before I had the Blaze, but not very well. I had a vague idea that I was running about two kilometres (it was actually far less) and I had no idea of my pace.

Of course, there are mobile apps that do similar things, but I never really got into them. With the Fitbit Blaze, the added convenience of having the real-time data strapped to my wrist while running seems to make it more practical. It also provides a greater insight into the nature of the run, with heart rate data integrated. Finally, I like that my running data is a part of my broader fitness tracking. All of those factors combined make using the Fitbit Blaze for run tracking a pleasant experience.

While the information about my runs from the Fitbit Blaze is good, I would like to see it expanded even further in future updates. I love data, the more the better! I would love to know things like peak speed, and speed at specific points in my run, rather than just the average speed per kilometre.

The impact of the Fitbit Blaze run tracking is evident in my results. I have used the Fitbit data to increase my average speed and distance run by setting small goals for improvement. When I started tracking with the Fitbit, I was running about two kilometres at about 6 minutes per kilometre. It was a start, but it was not good.

I set a small goal – run a kilometre in under 5 minutes. I then increased my distance to three kilometres. When I was comfortable with that, I added another kilometre to my run.
My next goal is to run all four kilometres in under twenty minutes consistently, then I will move on to five kilometres.

This part of the Fitbit Blaze also has tracking options for a whole bunch of other exercise types. They include: walk, weights, bike, treadmill, elliptical and workout. As someone who has a terrible aversion to gyms, I have only tried the run and walk tracking. They have worked really well – the “walk” tracking has automatically detected my activity on several occasions and added it to my fitness tracking – a great feature!


Fitbit Blaze Run Tracking
Can you tell which parts were downhill with the wind behind me?


Sleep Tracking

Sleep tracking was one of the applications of the Fitbit Blaze that I was most interested in when it first arrived. I find it fascinating to see my sleep patterns, especially when the data is presented in such an attractive and easy-to-understand graph.

While I enjoy looking at my data (my fairly consistent lack of deep sleep explains why I sometimes feel lethargic even after a long sleep), I’ll admit that I haven’t done much to improve this aspect of my fitness.
I do have a handy reminder that goes off each night to tell me that it’s time to prepare for bed, but the realities of a busy life mean that I often ignore it and stay up way too late. I shouldn’t, and I know I shouldn’t.

There’s plenty of evidence to suggest that I would be a far more productive person if I concentrated on getting a good night’s sleep. Maybe 2018 will be the year I get this under control. Maybe.

It isn’t exactly part of the sleep tracking, but the silent alarm is a nice feature to have. It helps me to get up at 5 am each morning without waking the rest of the family. A vibration on my wrist is easily enough to wake me from my slumber.


Fitbit Blaze Sleep Tracking
I actually got a bit of deep sleep! Nice!


The “Today” Screen

One of the things I love about the Fitbit Blaze is the large, colour screen. It makes it easy to read the clock-face, notifications, running stats and any other data you choose to have displayed. It also allows for fun little animations that play when you achieve a daily goal.

From the clock-face, you can swipe right to access some other screens. The first one is the “Today” screen.

This is a really handy screen for gaining an overview of your day’s progress. It tells you how many steps you have done, your real-time and resting heart rate, the number of steps you have taken in the hour (or the number of hours you have reached your step goal), kilometres walked, calories burned, the flights of stairs you have walked up and the number of minutes you have been active.
It is a very handy screen to have. In a glance you can get an idea of how you are going with achieving your daily goals. If you are serious about those 10,000 steps in a day, a quick glance at your wrist during your lunch break can tell you if you need to pick up the pace a bit in the afternoon.

My only minor annoyance with this screen is that you can’t drill down into the data. I would love to be able to click on some of those sections and gain a bit more information. For example, it would be great to be able to click on the heart rate section and get a chart of the past hour. On the “steps this hour” section, I would love to be able to click on it and see how many hours I have successfully completed. It’s not a big problem (especially as all that data can be accessed via the mobile app), and it was probably more annoying in the start when I intuitively tried to click on those sections, but it would be nice to have.


Fitbit Blaze Data
All the data is in the mobile app, but it would be nice to have more like this in the “today” screen


Heart Rate Monitor

I don’t really spend a lot of time looking at this part of my Fitbit Blaze, because I have never had any concerns about my heart rate. I do, on occasion find it interesting to look at.
My (limited) experience is that the heart rate monitor appears to be fairly accurate. It goes up when I expect it to go up, and down when I expect it to be down. That’s not exactly a scientific analysis, but it suits me fine.

I find the heart rate data on my running days particularly interesting. It shows that I could probably push a little harder, even when I’m telling myself that it is hard work.


Real-time and resting heart rate
Real-time and resting heart rate


Water Tracking

I didn’t realise how valuable this could be until I spent a week trying to pass a kidney stone. Seriously people, water is important!

When I first started using the Fitbit app to track my water intake, it was obvious I wasn’t drinking enough. I began to increase my intake, but I still struggled to get anywhere near two litres a day. I just didn’t like drinking water much.

Then I had the kidney stone – the most excruciating experience of my life. The doctor’s message was simple, cut back on junk food and DRINK WATER.

Since that time, I have had no trouble exceeding my daily intake target. I’m now at the point where I don’t bother to track it every day, just every now and then to calibrate and make sure I’m still on track.
Now that I have had the kidney stone experience, I genuinely think the water tracking is one of the most useful and underrated features to have. I highly recommend you give it a go, and if you find that you are not drinking enough, drink some more. Kidney stones just aren’t worth it.


Water Tracking on Fitbit Blaze
This is one goal I always meet


Food Tracking

I can’t say much about this because I haven’t really used it. I’m fortunate enough to not have to worry about weight loss. For those who need it, the food tracking component of the app appears simple enough to use.

From the brief play around that I had, I could see some clever features. It remembers your most frequent meals, so after a little bit of use it should be fairly quick to add most of your regular foods. The Fitbit Blaze is prepopulated with many common Australian foods, which makes it easier to add new foods. It also has a handy barcode scanner to pull information from packets. I’m not sure how well that works, I haven’t tried it yet.



I find it hard to fault the Fitbit Blaze, but if there is one area in which I sometimes have issues, it’s syncing. Part of it comes down to my reluctance to have Bluetooth constantly on. I tend to turn Bluetooth off on my phone when I’m not actively using it.

There’s no doubt that syncing the Fitbit Blaze works best when Bluetooth is always on. I imagine that is to do with feeding a constant trickle of data, rather than trying to download a few days’ worth of data at a time. I understand that, which is why it doesn’t overly bother me when it takes a few minutes to sync upon connecting to my phone.

The other time that I sometimes have a syncing issue is when trying to change the clock face. For some reason, particular clock faces seem to have trouble loading. The Chronograph face, for example, just doesn’t want to appear on my Blaze! It’s not a big issue, just a minor quirk. It is easily fixed by switching to a different clock face – there are plenty to choose from.


Battery Life

This is area in which the Fitbit Blaze excels. The battery lasts for days a days (although there is some variation depending on how heavily you use it). It is fairly common for me to go four or five days between charges. The Fitbit Blaze takes about three hours to fully charge, but I have found that 20 minutes on charge while I shower and get ready is enough to get it through a day (if I need to).

I find that kind of battery performance from a fitness watch with a decent-sized colour screen remarkable. It is part of what makes it so effective as a sleep tracker – if the battery only lasted a day, I would be taking it off each night to charge it. With the Fitbit Blaze, the watch stays on my wrist all night, every night.


Smart Functions

The Fitbit Blaze is a fitness tracker with smart functions. The functions are rudimentary, but I actually like that. I really don’t need to be able to reply to emails from my wrist, but it is nice to be notified that they have arrived. It means I don’t need to stick my hand into my pocket every time my phone vibrates. With the Fitbit Blaze, I can check if the message is important first.

If you are after even more smart functionality, the Fitbit Ionic may well be worth checking out. With extras such as built-in GPS, NFC payments, and the ability to store and play music, the Ionic is the ultimate premium fitness watch.



The Fitbit Blaze may not be magic, but it is an excellent motivating and fitness tracking device. It is able to do just about everything I would want a fitness tracker to do, and it does it well. The Fitbit Blaze looks stylish, has excellent functionality and is very hard to fault. If you are serious about getting fit, the Fitbit Blaze is an excellent place to start.


Disclosure – Fitbit provided Blog Of Dad with a Fitbit Blaze free of charge, for the purpose of review. The views expressed in this post are entirely my own views, based on my extended experience with the Fitbit Blaze. For further information, please visit my disclosure page.

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