I was very lucky to have been selected by BzzAgent to test the Braun Series 7-790cc Clean and Renew Electric Shaver. Genuinely this has been a fantastic opportunity not just because there is no way I could have afforded a razor at this price but also because it's a great honour to be selected to review it and then to share my views.
The razor is standing next to the Clean & Renew™ System which is in many ways the most fascinating part of the whole package. In their own words Braun says:
"The Series 7 sets Braun's Gold Standard for shaving - featuring the most innovative technology for perfect closeness and skin comfort, it shaves in the first stroke what others do in two. Sonic technology and new OptiFoil™ Technology help deliver Braun's most thorough shave ever. The 790cc comes with Braun's most intelligent Clean & Renew™ System for extra hygiene and convenience.
Braun's patented Clean & Renew system automatically cleans, charges and lubricates the shaver at just the touch of a button, giving you the feeling of a brand new shaver every day.
Sonic Technology 10,000 microvibrations with every stroke.
OptiFoil™ specially designed holes capture more hairs per stroke than ever before.
3x Personalisation modes Normal, Intensive and Sensitive sonic modes for a more personalised shave.
Sensoflex™ Head 6 times the adaptability of a standard foil head for a supremely comfortable shave.
Powercomb™ Lifts and cuts flat-lying hairs to give a more even shave in fewer strokes.
Precision lock fixes pivoting head in place for extra precision in problem areas.
3-Stage Cutting System shaves progressively closer in one stroke.
SmartFoil™ unique pattern captures hairs growing in different directions.
Enhanced ergonomic design.
Interactive LCD panel for charge, clean & replacement part information."
So what does all that means and what do I actually think of it (plus let's be honest is it worth £299?).
The razor is very similar to my old Series 7 but with some very important changes. There are now three intensity settings and the LCD now tells you a lot more about your battery charge and the cleanliness of the shaver block. As they both use the same shaver block the reality of the difference between the old model and the new one are limited but the new one is definitely better (and I really liked the old one!).
The big difference is the Clean & Renew™ System. This is an add-on that ensures that the shaver block is as clean as possible and that the battery is fully charged every day. The unit needs Braun CCR3 Clean & Renew Refill Cartridges to work:
These are basically the same fluid that you can buy to spray clean the cutter block and head (denatured alcohol) but the advantage is that you just drop the shaver into the unit and everything is done forward (well you do press a button!). The shaver head is cleaned and dried in about 30 minutes and each of the cartridges lasts a month (they cost about £13 for three).
In practice the use of the Clean & Renew system makes the shaver a much better prospect: it's always clean and it's always ready to be used. It's powered from the same power cord that you would normally use to charge the razor which means that it does have the two pin "bathroom" plug meaning that you have to use an adaptor if you haven't got a bathroom socket (which I don't so it sits in my kitchen).
I really liked this feature because I always feel that I'm likely to damage the head and cutter block when I clean them manually and given that they cost thirty odd quid the confidence that they have been cleaned properly and without damage makes a lot of financial sense.
Onto the quality of the shave. The three sonic settings are Normal, Intensive and Sensitive and for me these are progressively better. I much preferred the sensitive setting for my skin as I do suffer from shave rashes and in sensitive mode this didn't happen.
The razor feels very comfortable in the hand and it's extremely easy to use and very precise. All electric razors take some time to get to know and to get the best out of but I must admit I felt my first shave was excellent. You do have to pay attention as the Powercomb™ which sits in the middle of the foils can catch you out by tugging or pulling on longer hairs if you don't keep the head properly in contact with the skin.
I did have to shave for about ten minutes to ensure that I got a good shave and the foil does warm up over that amount of time so I got into the habit of shaving for a fairly intense time (maybe five minutes) and then the rest in smaller sessions.
The head itself is very complex and sophisticated but you don't have to worry about that as it's all automatic. Each side changes position as it flexes and moves to adjust to the contours of your face (extremely important as I mentioned earlier). The LCD display shows you the battery charge and how clean the head is. Given I've been using the Clean & Renew system I've never had to look at these but I'd be confident that if I took it away on holiday it would last for the week (more one these features later).
The sonic aspect of the razor is hard to review; you can definitely hear the difference when you change the settings and it definitely feels different on the skin but because it's always on I can't tell how much difference it makes but in comparison to other electric razors that I've tried this one is definitely much better.
As mentioned, because the Clean & Renew™ System keeps the head clean and the battery charged I can't really comment on how long the battery actually lasts and how easy it would be to clean without the system. I can say that I'm very happy to use the system as it's a much better option that cleaning it manually.
Overall a fantastic razor and a fantastic system to keep it clean and charged. Would I pay £299? Maybe. It's a superb product but that's a very hefty price.
I've already covered my overall thoughts about the Braun Series 7 790cc but I thought I'd cover some of the things I really like about using it.
In the picture you can see three things, the top of the shaver with showing the Sensoflex™ Head and the SmartFoil™, the LCD panel at the bottom of the razor and finally the razor in the Clean & Renew System.
The Series 7 has a combined foil and cutter block and to be honest this is quite expensive to replace (about £34) but the price is probably the same as the buying them separately and you only have to replace it about once every eighteen months.
In use the, all three elements of the head move independently and even independently within their own length. The upshot of all of this is that if you keep the head properly aligned against your face the razor gives you a fantastic shave, especially if you choose the right sonic mode (I prefer the Sensitive one).
The central element is the Powercomb™ which helps lift the hairs that lay flat to your skin and that the foils wouldn't normally catch. You do have to be careful (maybe precise is the right word) as if you don't shave properly the Powercomb™ will pull a hair out as you move the head away from your skin.
On top of all this flexibility the whole head moves forwards and back to follow the contours of your face and so keep the head aligned properly. You can lock it into a fixed position (angled to the body of the razor) but I haven't found any need for it. I can see how this would help if you've never had a razor that moves so much and mayby for longer growth it would be handy.
The next feature in the picture is the LCD on the bottom of the razor. This isn't very complex but it does tell you how much battery you have left and how clean (or not) the razor is. The last is a nice to have but the first is essential for me as I always seem to run the battery down before I finish shaving but that shouldn't happen now especially as I also have...
The Clean & Renew System. I love this feature (accessory). No more cleaning the head or remembering to clean it. No more checking to see if the razor is charged. Basically I can just grab and go with the razor every morning and once I'm done I put it in the Clean & Renew System, press a button and that's it. It even aturns it's self off after it's done so I can leave for work before it's finished and not worry about it.
There is more to like about this razor; the way it sits in your hand and the simple controls and only one thing I'm less than happy with (the long hair trimmer which works okay but seems less useful than I expected). So overall a great razor and a fantastic system.