Electric razors going downhill a bit

I wrote the letter below to Norelco / Philips about an electric razor I got for my dad for Christmas.

I got a note back a few days later saying, “I am forwarding your comments to our product developement team.” :-)

I have had a Norelco 5825XL electric razor for more than 5 years. I’ve been extremely happy with it. I bought a 8140XL for my dad this Christmas and was fairly dissapointed.

There are several very specific issues I have with it. I would love to hear that you have addressed the problems I mention below. If not, would you please forward these comments on to the design team.

On the 8130XL, the plug must be inserted into the razor one particular way, but there is no visual or tactile indicator to tell which way it is supposed to go. It would be trivial to add a tactile indicator to which way it goes. Or better yet, deliver a low voltage AC current to the razor, allowing you to make the plug reversible. On my old razor, 120 volt AC current is delivered directly to the razor; while this conveniently allows the plug to be reversible, it makes the product more dangerous in the bathroom.

The case for the 8140XL does not fit the electric cord inside it. I have found it to be a very bad idea to not carry the cord with the razor on the off chance that I have forgotten to charge it properly. My old razor case can fit the cord and it isn’t unweildy.

A plastic shield is included with the 8140XL but it does not cover the entire head of the razor. In your attempts at making it look sleek, you have made the cover easily breakable, difficult to put on and to remove, and since it doesn’t cover the entire head, it does not hold errant whiskers inside the razor. The cover on the old razor had a sturdy triangular shape allowing it to be put on the razor in any of 3 ways. The old cover seals the head so that when the razor is shaken during travel, it holds all of the whiskers in.

The most important issues I see with this new razor is that you included a very attractive stand-up holder with the razor but there are 2 big problems with it. First, it is impossible to remove the razor from the stand with only one hand. One should be able to simply lift the razor up. But the stand is not heavy enough to overcome the resistance of the plug. A few ounces of sand in the base would fix that. Secondly, the instructions say in several places that I should not leave the razor plugged in to your beautiful stand-up holder for long periods of time lest the battery life be effected. Why should this be when the electronics of the razor are clearly smart enough to know when a charging cycle is finished? All you have to do is to set the trickle charge to 1/20 C or some such.

I am very disappointed that in the past five years, the only significant advances in your high-end razor line is the “tripleheader” blades and a waterproof case. In that same time, the razors have lost several important features that were available in your mid-line and higher product. I expected that 5 years of research would deliver a better razor for less money. But your new line delivers less features for more money. Worst of all, the high quality features of your previous model apparently cannot be had at any price.

I considered joking that I am available to work on your design team. Instead, I won’t joke but tell you that I -am- available for work interviews and consulting.

Thank you for your consideration.
I would very much appreciate a response, Lee Sonko


  1. Laura says:

    As loathe as I am to admit that Holly is right, this blog
    really is one long product review. Eep!

  2. lee says:

    What are you talking about? Less than 1/3 are product reviews. And I like telling people about my experiences.

    Rather than nag, just subscribe to this RSS feed.

  3. Lee says:

    I created a new tag. I went back retagging as far back as September before I got bored.

  4. Laura says:

    Uh hem, Mister Cranky, I was *NOT* nagging, merely acknowledging another’s point.


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