(Pocket-lint) - Hand crankable bike lights, torches, radios and phone chargers are one thing, but a wind-up electric shaver? We have, quite literally, put our neck on the line to see if the Piranha from PowerPlus can really cut it.

With two flexible rotary heads, a pop-up beard trimmer and a solid comfortable feel, the Piranha is a simple, no-frills, shaver that just happens to have a small pull-out hand crank on the back. It reminds us of an old school 1980s shaver, so we guess that makes it a bit retro, although we’re not sure the manufacturer designed it that way.

In the box you get a USB to Mini-USB cable for charging from a computer, a mains adapter and a little brush for cleaning. Handily the shaver comes charged so we could put the 3.7V 3-phase brushless generator through its paces at full power.

When we first fired it up we didn’t think the shaver was fully charged as the motor sounded decidedly sluggish, as if the battery was about to run out. Sadly this wasn’t the case; the motor just lacked any sort of reassuring buzz and made an unnervingly pedestrian grrrrrr.

It’s worth remembering that this shaver only costs £25, so we weren’t expecting results like the Panasonic ES8249, and on the easy areas around the cheek and jaw it did a pretty good job getting rid of 2 days of stubble. When it came to the neck and upper lip it was hopeless.

The heads do flex nicely, but the lack of oomph from the motor meant we had to hold the shaver still and move it very, very slowly over the skin to avoid it pulling at the hair. It was slow uncomfortable progress to say the least. For quality of shave we’d give it a generous 4/10.

Could the dynamo and its promise of charger-free shaving redeem the Piranha’s poor performance? We let the battery run flat before cranking and, following the instructions, wound the handle for 1 minute to see if we got 2 minutes of shaving. It did just that which wasn’t all that bad, especially as the motor ran at full speed straight from the off.

You’ll have a sore wrist trying to get a full shave’s worth of power, but if you charge up the shaver via the mains and give the battery a regular boost with the winder there’s no reason why you couldn’t keep it chugging along indefinitely.

You’ll need to keep it topped up as a mains charge takes a whopping 8 hours for 1 hour of shaving.


If the quality of the shave was even half way to acceptable we’d love the Piranha. It’s a great concept for camping, holidays and anywhere you might need a spot of grooming away from mains power.

The dynamo and winder do a good job and easily juice up the weedy motor, but it’s precisely this low power that, although great for keeping bike lights and radios powered-up for days, just isn’t enough to give a decent shave.

Thanks to www.ecoutlet.co.uk for providing us with the sample for review.

Writing by Chris Haslam.