A couple of weeks ago I was watching TV, just your usual vegging out type of stuff, and a razor commercial came on. Normally, I tune these out because they seem to be all the same for the most part. They’re usually some variation of “Look at this awesome razor we developed, we added some shiny new features now give us your money” type of thing. Anyways, this particular commercial was advertising the Philips Norelco OneBlade electric razor and it grabbed my attention because they claimed it was a razor that could cut through any length of hair.
If you’ve watched any of my shaving videos on YouTube you know that one of my main complaints against all cartridge razors, aside from the expense of buying them, is that the longer your hair is the faster they tend to clog up. Furthermore, the longer your hair is the harder it is to remove the hair from between the razor blades and continue on with your shave.
With that claim, they lured me in enough to do a little research and buy a razor. Although, I’ve bought the razor it’s still sitting in its packaging waiting to be tested, so this post is based just off of my research. I’ll update this post once I’ve had enough time to put it through its paces.
What is the Philips Norelco OneBlade?
The Philips Norelco OneBlade is branded as a “hybrid” electric razor. It appears to be Philips’ response to the increasing number of men who have been growing beards the last few years. At first glance it has the appearance of a single flat blade. However, this flat blade has more in common with a set of clippers than the typical blade you would find a Mach 3 type of razor.
The hair gets drawn into grooves or channels and then a moving cutter chops the hair off. Since they are catering to the beard crowd, they don’t have to attempt to stack multiple blades on top of each other in order to try to claim it gives a really smooth shave, which is flawed anyways. Instead, they are opting to just get it close enough. They are giving up on a really smooth shave in order to be easier and gentler on the skin. Not only that, but it appears to be fully geared towards helping men who sport the stubble look keeping their stubble at a specific length.
What Does the Philips Norelco OneBlade Offer?
From a product standpoint, you’ll get the electric body, a varying amount of blades depending on if you bought it off of Amazon or in a store like Wal-Mart, a charger, and trimming combs. I bought mine from Wal-Mart and it came with only one “OneBlade” head.
One of my favorite places to go whenever I am looking for information on a product is Amazon. Usually they are pretty good about giving you all the relevant details including price. The price appears to be in the mid $30 range for the razor itself and mid $20 range for a pack of two replacement blades(and I thought the five packs of Mach 3 razor blades were expensive when I was still buying them.) Obviously, the price may vary due to different factors, but those were the prices at the time I wrote this article.
From the Amazon post here is what appears to be the key selling points:
- Two blades last up to eight months – I’m cracking up laughing here because that is based off of only two full shaves per week. That comes out to around 32 full shaves before you need a new one, which is right around the amount of time Gillette is advertising that their razors will last
- “Trims, edges, and shaves any length of hair” – I’m not really the “Rico Suave” type of guy who trims and edges his beard, so I’m just going to focus on the shaving part. However, this seems to be where this razor shines and the best use case.
- Some type of glide coating – The usual it’s great for your skin, yadda, yadda,
- You can use it to dry or wet shave and with foam – I guess it can save you some money on shaving cream if you used it to dry shave.
Negative Aspects of the Philips Norelco OneBlade
- Price – As mentioned all throughout this post, the cost of those replacement blades seem outrageous. I understand that it’s for a hybrid electric razor and all, but I don’t know if getting a consistent length of stubble is worth the amount of money you’ll be spending in blades. Maybe for some men it is.
- Battery charge vs shave time – You have to charge it for eight hours in order to get forty-five minutes of shave time. Obviously, forty-five minutes of shave time is enough to shave your face and head and probably a few other body parts before you plug it in and leave for the day letting it charge for the next day. My main concern is that as the battery goes through charging cycles and use, how much is that shaving time going to drop? If it starts dropping by more than 50%, or if the battery just goes bad, then you are going to run into the issue where you don’t have enough of a charge to make it through shaving all the parts that you want to shave.
- Won’t get a really smooth shave – If you’re the type of guy that likes to get a really clean shave it’s not going to happen with this razor.
Positive Aspects of the Philips Norelco OneBalde
- Fills a new gap in a beard centric world – You’ve probably heard the reports about how men are growing beards more often causing the razor manufacturers to not be as profitable as they once were. I applaud Philips for developing a new product that caters to men that like to have stubble as a part of their style. I can see the allure to being able to achieve the same length of stubble day in and day out as well as trimming and styling beards. This razor seems to fit that bill very well.
- You can use it in the shower – I think this is a great benefit especially if you are going to use it to trim the “manly” areas.
- Sensitive skin types – Since it’s not designed to shave as close to the skin as your traditional cartridge razor with umpteen blades, your skin will probably not be as irritated or inflamed when using this blade.
Just from my research and reading the marketing literature, I’m not a big fan of it already. However, I’m willing to acknowledge that as a trimming and edging razor it fits the bill very well. I’ll reserve complete judgment on it until after I’ve had a chance to shaving my head and face with it to Norelco’s claim that it will shave any length of hair.
Right now my gut instinct is going to be that even if it shaves long hair really well, I don’t think it’s a very good choice as a daily shaver primarily due to the cost of the replacement blades. It seems a lot more plausible to use it as an edging and trimming razor, but I still don’t think it’s a very good buy for just that one use. I think ultimately it’s very best use is if you are going for the stubble look and want to keep the stubble a certain length. If that’s what you are going for and you don’t mind the cost of the blades, then I think you found your match made in razor heaven.