Thursday, 21 June 2018 00:47

REVIEW: Braun Series 9 shaver delivers a sleek and smooth face time experience


If your face grows hair, and you want it styled, or gone from there, Braun's Series 9 is an ultra premium way to wear your face the way you want it worn and shorn.

Of the various shavers I've used over the years, several have been from Braun, from the most basic of portable travel shavers powered by AA batteries, through to what was my previous daily driver, the Braun Cooltec Series 3 with a ceramic strip that delivers a truly cooling feeling.

Last year, I received a media release about the new Braun Series 5 shaver, which I duly wrote up in my usual style, noting that "shaving is like a ritual, for men and women, and while presumably very few women are likely to be using the new Braun Series 5 on their faces (although who knows in our modern world), it’s a piece of tech hundreds of millions if not billions of people use every day".

Intrigued by the new features available, I inquired about a review model to try out for myself, but was instead offered the Braun Series 9 blue/black model, which promised to "distill the best of Braun" in a fusion of technology and design.

This not only sounded like music to my technology loving ears and eyes, but also like ultra sharp and stylish blades to my stubble, which ranged from the 5 o'clock variety, through to "weekend wolverine" and beyond where I might have a week's worth of hair I no longer wanted to wear, meaning longer beard hairs that previous shavers never fully eliminated from under the chin and the neckline.

That would force me to fiddle with the trimmer or even an old-fashioned razor, and is a bit like those dishwashing pods that never fully clean your dishes, leaving you to scrape off hardened bits that your dishwasher is supposed to eliminate for you.

Of course, these are what you would have to absolutely term as first-world problems, but hey, a problem is a problem, and if there's a solution that avoids me having to reach for the literal cutting edge of a razor blade, thus needlessly extending the shaving ritual to an even longer timeframe, well, let me have at it to see if it works!

So, how did the Braun Series 9 go in this regard?

Let me start right off the bat by saying exceedingly well, and surpassing my expectations.

The Series 9 range boasts of "SyncroSonic" smart sonic technology, which not only removed all the protruding facial hair from the surface of my skin I wanted eliminated, but also performs "10,000 microvibrations with over 40,000 cross cutting actions per minute to capture hairs".

You can truly feel the smoothness of this action, which is augmented by Braun's "AutoSense technology" that it says "adapts to beard density to give you a bespoke shave".

Natuarlly, Braun depicts this as delivering an experience "engineered for superior efficiency and gentleness on the skin", which again, I can personally attest to.

I have also made sure to have almost a week's worth of growth so I could put the Braun Series 9 to the test, and I was very pleased to see that it handled all of that hair with absolute aplomb – and I didn't have to deal with rogue hairs that previous shavers just couldn't cut!

I mean, I wouldn't necessarily call it a dream come true, but after having used previous shavers that said they had this problem solved, but which for me at least they didn't solve, I could happily rate the Braun Series 9 as a cut above the competition.

Of course, that is far from all, for with a series of "unique shaving elements to Braun, including a specialised golden Titanium coated trimmer", I can personally attest that Braun's claim of being "the ultimate sleek-shaving experience" is one I've been able confirm for myself, and it is a really pleasing and satisfying experience.

Indeed, without a 5 o'clock shadow of a doubt, from all the close shaves I've gotten myself into, this has been, and continues to be, the best shaving experience I have ever had, and when I've tried going back to my previous older Braun Cooltec model, I really can feel the difference.

Clean&Charge dock

The Braun Series 9 I'm using also comes with a Clean&Charge docking station that cleans and lubricates the shaving mechanism. You don't need to clean your shaver first, but I do like to take the top of the shaver off, and tap it repeatedly into the sink, whereupon black and grey hairs that have been finely chopped emerge.

I now generally clean the shaver head manually each time I use it so that the cleaning dock fluid stays cleaner for longer, and I use the tiny little included brush to clean the top of the razor that has had the cutting head removed (which is the bit I tap into the sink to get all the hair dust out from there).

Braun makes note to tell you not to use the little brush on the shaver head, as its fibres can get caught in the foil, so that's why I tap it instead, but I still carefully use the brush on the underside of the shaver head to further clean it from hairy dust before Clean&Charging it.

I keep the brush in the Braun travel case, a black, hardened but still soft, zippered case, which protects the button from being pressed. You can also hold the power button down for three seconds to put into, or take it out of, lock mode, so you have double protection against your shaver being accidentally turned on in your luggage.

The head itself can also be fixed in one position, or by pressing a button you can have it move on an angle into 10 different positions, which is handy for shaving your upper lip up to your nostrils to get hairs that a lesser shaver could miss, and to better position the shaver head for your neck line.

Previous shavers I've used haven't had this feature as far as I can remember, so this too was very welcome and I definitely enjoyed being able to make use of it.

Of particular and extremely useful note is the fact the shaver head can be placed back on top of the Braun 9 forwards or backwards — it's compatible either way, and it's like a Lightning or USB-C connection — it doesn't matter which way you put it in, it just works.

The cleaning dock is intelligent, too – it can sense the level of dirtiness and can then clean the shaver head accordingly, which it does with a very pleasant lemon-y smelling clean scent. After the cleaning cycle is complete, the dock then operates a fan for approximately 40 minutes to dry everything out.

There's another important thing to note with the cleaning dock – if you use your Braun as a wet shaver with shaving or moisturising creams, which you can do as it is a fully wet/dry capable shaver, the dock has an image to remind you to rinse all of that away under the tap before putting your shaver in for its cleaning cycle.

The Shavercheck website notes Braun's recommendation that Clean&Charge refills last two months, but has advice on how to double that lifespan or more, but with the replacement cost for a pack of two Clean&Charge refills costing $20.95, it's not a high price to pay to keep your shaver clean and fresh.

You'll also need to replace the shaver head about every 18 months for it to stay sharp and feeling like new, as is the case for shavers in general.

Now, as it has a cartridge within that contains liquid, you're not supposed to move the cleaning dock around – it's meant to stay in your bathroom, and there is has stayed.

Here's a Braun video on the Series 9 – more on the Series 9's battery life is below, along with a series of special shaving tips from Braun's new global ambassador, please read on!

So, what about battery life?

Well, I have been on about six overseas trips in the last three months, and I have been astounded at the battery life of the Braun Series 9 shaver, far outlasting that of my older Braun Cooltec Series 3 shaver.

Clearly, I'm only using the shaver once per day, although sometimes once every couple of days and on occasion, leaving things for three or more days depending on what I'm doing, but usually, I shave every day.

That's a vastly lower "on" time than with my iPhone, which I, like most others, turn on 100+ times per day, but even so, I was able to shave for what seemed like several weeks, with the Braun reporting three bars out of five bars of battery life left!

I considered just keeping on going until it went totally flat, but I returned home from one of these long travels and decided to put it through a cleaning dock cycle where it charged again.

That was about three weeks ago, and since then, I've been in Sydney, the US, back to Sydney, back to the US, and now in Shanghai for CES Asia as I originally typed this review, and I still haven't charged it. I'm now updating this article a week later after the CES Asia trip, and the battery life is still going very, very strong.

I have the travel charger with me, but I simply haven't had to use it while overseas!

In a world where we're always worried about our devices going flat, the Braun Series 9 has impressed me with stunning battery life the likes of which I've never seen in a shaver.

So, you can clearly see that my expectations of this shaver have well and truly been exceeded, and I can never go back to a lower model.

Obviously, this top-end shaver doesn't come cheap – its original RRP was $699, now listed as "starting from $599" at Braun's site, although the Shaver Shop is actually selling it for $449 on special as I type, but as with all things, you definitely get what you pay for.

Braun recently announced a new global ambassador – grooming expert, Dan Gregory.

He is the founder and creative director of Man Made, an "award-winning grooming room in London", which he describes as “part modern, part old school barbershop".

Billed as a highly sought-after barber, he has "appeared in leading international publications from Italian Vogue to British GQ", and obviously has a wealth of experience and love for his craft, he is "one of the most sought-after men’s grooming professionals in the industry today".

Here are his "Autumn/Winter (A/W) Beard Grooming and Styling Tips" and unique insights:

As winter sets in, award-winning barber, Dan Gregory "shares his top grooming tips for styling your beard, as well as the must-do practices for men who are thinking about changing up their look during the colder months".

On the top three facial hair styles to master as a man:

  1. Designer stubble
  2. The short and neat beard
  3. A faded beard

On the key Autumn/Winter grooming trend:

  • The key trend this A/W will be the short and neat beard.
  • I feel we are moving slightly away from the hipster beard and more people will be opting for a shorter, more manageable beard.

On the beard vs the clean-shaven look:

  • Whilst the clean-shaven look is a style that never goes out of fashion, there are many benefits to sporting a beard in the colder seasons. For instance, it’s good to keep your skin covered during the cold months.
  • The less you shave during wintry weather the better it is for minimising irritation, and cold mornings can also make shaving feel like more of a chore. Similar to the way the clean-shaven look goes with summer fashion trends, the beard is also more fitting with the seasonal clothing options during A/W.

Tips for beginners growing out a beard:

  • You must accept that it will look untidy throughout this time.
  • It will get itchy so use a beard oil and a brush to help straighten out the hair to stop them from itching your skin.
  • Buy a good face scrub to clean the skin under your beard.
  • Have an end goal. It’s easier to work towards something than just growing it out for the sake of it, as you will cave much sooner.

Styling tips for your beard:

  • During A/W, the colder weather is a great excuse to grow out your beard that little bit longer.
  • Some different styles you could try are keeping the beard longer towards the chin, keeping it fuller throughout or if you are a seasoned pro, grow it really long and blow dry it straight for a more pronounced look.

Top tips for taking care of your facial hair: 

  • Keep on top of it. If you have any sharp lines don’t leave them too long to grow out as it’s harder to find them when the beard gets longer. Keep on top of the shape every other day.
  • Make sure you wash your beard like you would your hair. If it’s long enough you can even comb through some conditioner.
  • Make sure you use a face scrub to cleanse the skin underneath. This will help keep your beard healthy and skin underneath it too.
  • Make sure you comb or brush every day. This will help stop any tangling and maintain good growth and shape.
  • Try not to dry you beard vigorously with a towel, pat dry or leave to dry naturally as friction from the towel can cause your beard to look unhealthy.

On the ‘must-have’ products for beard styling and maintenance: 

  • Braun 9-in-1 Multi Grooming Kit – thanks to its clever attachments, it performs 9 different grooming and styling jobs effortlessly.
  • Braun Series 3 electric shaver – tough on beards and smooth on skin, the 3-pressure sensitive shaving elements adapt perfectly to every facial contour and shave in intuitive straight lines.

So, there you have it. It will be very interesting to see what improvements will come in future models, but for now, this is unquestionably the very best shaver I have ever used, and while the cooling effect of the Series 3 Cooltec is very cool, pun intended, the Series 9 is better in every other way save for that cooling strip.

Finally, here's one of the stylish ads created for the Braun Series 9:


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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.



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