Pros: Great shave, no irritation, nice features, and better value than European shavers.
Cons: Battery died after less than 2 years of usage. Not recommended.
Road testing this new shaver was a snap and enjoyable.
Panasonic's line of "Linear" shavers have always been impressive and the new 8163 is no different. Out of the box, it charges rapidly and is ready to go. The curved head handles my face perfectly with out ever biting, even on sensitive skin.
The early "Pro Curve" models could break the skin if you're not careful and tended to irritate a bit. This new shaver eliminates the irritation but have somehow retained the closeness. You can tell how good a shaver is by how fast it works, smoothness of your skin or irritation if any.
Cleaning is a snap under the water tap with a good liquid soap. There is a turbo clean mode which runs the shaver very fast for 20 seconds. Nice feature but you'll never need it. A good old fashioned tooth brush also comes in handy for wet or dry cleaning around the cutting blades. I normally just use an old soft bristle, small, paint brush or shaver brush from one of my broken Braun shavers. Even dry cleaning is easy and fast.
The best part of the Panasonic is how quickly and effortlessly it shaves and how easy it is to clean and put away for the next one. While Panasonic recommends giving the shaver a chance to adapt to your face, I found no transition time needed, it worked perfectly out of the box, the first time.
Two things missing are 1. The 3 position lock found on previous models, replaced with a 2 position flexing head with flex or rigid setting. You'll never miss the middle, semi flex, setting. 2. Inductive charging which, while worked fine, could send a lot of "RF noise" to any radio and possibly tv near the charger. now, you get an optional stand that sits the shaver up on end and plugs into the supplied power cord, or you can plug the cord directly into the shaver and set it flat on a counter top. It works just as well as the inductive type if not better.
The instructions are written well and easily understood, which is refreshing for a change. How many times have you had to try translating broken english from a non english speaking country origin? There is a supplied pouch for travel. It's convenient for storing the shaver at home to protect it from tile counter tops.
Panasonic recommends replacing the foil and cutting blades every year but I've rarely had to do that with their products as they are tough and stay sharp. Hint: dry cleaning with any kind of brush, thoroughly, then spraying Remington's shaver saver once a week, will prolong the head life many years for most use applications. When you do replace the foil and cutting blades, get ready to spend at least $65 or more for the pair.
Be prepared to spend a little chunk of change on this shaver as there are very few vendors willing to drop their prices below the low 100 dollar range but worth every penny. Best price at the time was obtained from J&R Music from N.Y.and an established reputable business. You can find them and other Panasonic vendors on line or through catalogs but not too many retailers seem to carry Panasonic, surprisingly enough. You can also buy it from Panasonic directly but you'll pay a premium price.
Very important; Beware of the retailers that sell a lot of "factory reconditioned" or "factory serviced" used/like new products as many of them are either flawed or faulty.
Bottom line: Great shave, nice features, and fair purchase price. Many European made shavers cost much more and are not made as well. Panasonic pulls another rabbit out of the hat for us.
As of late '08 the battery gave out and no replacement is available. The shaver works very well otherwise but because of this new event, I'll have to downgrade to not recommended.