Whether it's wet or dry, most men on the planet have to shave. I don't know about you, but I hate having to do it everyday - why we can’t go rugged and be manly is beyond me, the sort of I've been in the wilderness living off the forest and the grubs look should be the new thing for the winter - it would have my vote for sure.
Until the oceans freeze over or world poverty is solved we’ve got to follow society and have a clean-shaven face when we turn up to work. Don’t get me wrong I’ve tried the former in the work place - it lasted for around two weeks before people started questioning the facial hair.
So it comes down to the eternal choice of Wet or Dry Shaving. I’ll happily admit now that when push comes to shove I’m a wet man. The time it takes is relaxing, the feeling of a badger’s hair tickling our jaw soothing and the end result - ie a clean shaven face - tasty for the girls. Sadly we don’t all have a slow long 10 minutes in the morning to get through the rigmarole of this wonderful tradition. It’s normally a “get up, fall out of bed, damn I’d better shave, and there goes the last bus I should’ve been on” type of reality.
In steps the Philishave SmartTouch-XL HQ9100. It’s Philips’ answer to the problem. The flagship dry shaver in its new range, the SmartTouch promises to cut, dice and eradicate you of all that hair growing from your face. The HQ9100 is still based on the standard three-circular-blade approach with yet more springs added for that even smoother shave.
According to the blurb on the back of the box, these springs, which in marketing speak Philips has called the “SmartTouch Contour-Following System” allow the entire head of the shaver as well as the individual shaving heads to move, closely following the curves of your face.
Furthermore: “The Speed-XL shaving heads provide 50% more shaving surface and have more blades to catch more hairs, and more slots and holes to catch shorter hairs, giving you a really close shave in fewer strokes with less irritation.”
What this means to you and me is a closer shave without having to run the shaver over your face numerous times to get that rogue hair that is unwilling to cut.
The other useful improvement is the addition of a dial that lets you set the floating shaving heads. There are three settings, Sensitive, Normal and somewhere in between for you to chose. You can notice a difference, but to be honest only a slight one.
Power is provided by a built-in rechargeable battery that will give you roughly 80 minutes of shaving - around 26 days for the average man based on a 3 minute shave - for one hour of charging and the HQ9100 sits snugly in a docking charging cradle when not in use.
So is it better than a wet shave? Well yes and no. I personally am a big fan of the ritual of wet shaving, but as we said at the beginning you don’t always have time for it.
The Philishave HQ 9100 is expensive, like £220 expensive, but it certainly gets the job done. The LCD lets you see how long you’ve got left - ideal if you’re on the road. The trimmer on the back is great for sorting out sideburns and the shiny Stainless Steel bullet case that accompanies it will mean it will be safe in your bag on those aforementioned travelling trips.
Could you get the same from a £50 model from Boots? Yes but without the cradle, without the moving blades, without the sensitivity buttons and without the LCD display. If you want to push the boat out then this is definitely a high-class shaver to put on the list.