Pros: Fast, comfortable, quick shaves. Quiet. Good trimmer. Incredible battery life. Solidly built.
Cons: Bulky. A bit tricky to clean. No travel case. Outboard power adapter.
First, my qualifications as an electric shaver reviewer: Over the past thirty-plus years I’ve owned three Norelco rotary shavers, an early Remington Microscreen (briefly), one Panasonic Wet/Dry shaver, and two Brauns. And those are the ones I can remember.
My one experience with Remington was probably in the mid-seventies. Unfortunately, that early Microscreen model drove me nuts and made my face burn, so back to Remington it went.
The Brauns I’ve owned each lasted about eight years and provided decent shaves. I looked at their new models first this time but many reviews suggest that Brauns aren’t what they used to be. Indeed, some of the replacement parts for my last Braun seemed flimsy.
The first impression: Man, this thing is HUGE!!!
Remington’s offerings looked competitive in my online research. The F4790 seemed to have the right features at the right price. Yet when I first examined it at Best Buy I couldn’t believe how enormous it looked! Compared to my svelte Braun, this thing looked about as maneuverable as a 1970s-era Trimline telephone. Dismayed as I was by its massiveness, I decided to check out Braun’s offerings over at Target. I looked at the Series 1- 150, but that looked pretty bulky, too. What’s going on? Are all electric shavers on steroids these days? Apparently so.
And the winning candidate is…
…the Remington F4790 after all. Like many other manufacturers, Remington provides a thirty-day money-back guarantee, so if I decided that I really hated this shaver I could always return it – just like I did years ago.
After unpacking my new toy, I discovered that the cord actually has an outboard charging unit attached to the plug end. Considering the size of the shaver – roughly 6 ¼ inches in length by 2 3/8 wide, in a weirdly curved 30 degree arc – you might think that the charger would be integral with the shaver. At least the charger is a compact vaguely egg-shaped device, 2 ½ long and about 2 inches in diameter.
Electric shavers aren’t very pleasant traveling companions any more. Very few include travel pouches or cases, and the F4790 follows suit. On a few recent trips, I’ve resorted to the inelegant solution of tossing shaver, cord/charger and cleaning brush into a small plastic shopping bag.
The first shaving impression: WOW!!!
The first time I used my F4790, I couldn’t believe how pleasant an electric shave could be. Why?
The F4790 might just hold the record for the quickest shaver I’ve owned yet. One day’s worth of stubble disappears in a little over two minutes. If I really want to look (and feel) my best, I can have everything shaved smooth in just under three minutes.
…It’s easy to handle…
The F4790 maneuvers easily, despite its bulk. The only place that’s tricky is directly under my nose, although the problem might be the size of my nose as much as the size of the shaver. (Grin).
…It shaves well…
There must be something to this Pivot & Flex Foil Technology, as they call it…the pivoting head seems to glide effortlessly around all those troublesome contours of my chin and neck. Compared to my many previous shavers, the dual foil heads whisk away the stubble with just a couple of passes. Only a few long hairs escape their attention and the trimmer gets rid of those neatly.
Speaking of the trimmer, I’m pleased to find that this one actually works, unlike so many of the ones in other shavers. I can do ear and neck hair easily and without any tugging. The only odd thing about this trimmer is that it slides up from the reverse side of the power switch, requiring me to flip the shaver over.
Adding to my shaving pleasure, the noise level seems quite low. I can run the trimmer all around my ears with no discomfort.
…And the battery just won’t quit…
According to Remington specs, a single two-hour charge should yield 60 minutes of shaving. Assuming three minutes per shave, that would equate to twenty shaves. Well, I’ve used this shaver daily for twenty-eight days and the only time I’ve charged it was when I bought it -- and it shows no signs of slowing down! That’s amazing: Eighty-four minutes on a charge. If only the other rechargeable devices in my life would exceed expectations like that. But strangely, the low battery indicator came on after only twelve shaves.
Just one little minus
The designers didn’t make cleaning easy, although it’s not too much of a chore. First, there’s no release button for the cutter assembly; you just have to grip it firmly and pull it off, being careful to not damage the foil. You must also be careful when using the cleaning brush on the two cutters, because the post on which they are mounted seems a bit fragile. On the plus side, the manual recommends rinsing the cutters under cold running water, even though the shaver itself is not immersible or suited for use in the shower.
Looks like I’ve found the electric shaver I’ve been dreaming of
So far, I’m quite pleased with my new Remington. Despite my initial reservations about its design, I’ve found it easy to live with. It seems well built; I just hope that future replacement parts provide the excellent performance I’ve experienced these past four weeks and that the battery holds up over the long haul. If you’re as undecided as I was about electric shavers, I can recommend that you give the Remington F4790 or one of its close relatives a try.