Top critical review
Mixed feelings with this - get the Series 9 instead
August 21, 2018
As of this writing, i've had the Braun Series 7 for 9 months. This is a long review, so if you need to skip to the most important point, just read the verdict towards the bottom.
I always found rotary shavers to be effective at tackling the wirey hair in my light beard. However, it got to the point that I felt the rotary shavers of today felt "cheap," compared to previous generations.
Enter the Braun...I purchased a Series 5 and a Series 7. I'll compare this model to the Series 5, as well as to the rotary shavers I used to have.
*Why the Series 7?*
I got the Series 7 because it is the most-recommended shaver on the planet. This is how I would break-down the differences between them:
-Series 1 - Terrible, avoid at all costs
-Series 3 - Good starter shaver for teens with thicker skin
-Series 5 - Good for light and medium-light skin, does an adequate job with sensitive skin, pivoting head, excellent build-quality. Second most-powerful motor. Not recommended for medium or heavy stubble.
-Series 7 - Most-recommended shaver on the planet, good for just about every skin type, has a massaging shaving experience, good features for sensitive skin, good build quality, second-most-powerful motor, replacement heads are wayyy too expensive and justify purchasing the Series 9.
-Series 8 - See Series 5 above, as this is a re-branded Braun Series 5 (Model 5795). Costco-exclusive that appeared around 2019. Not really a true successor to the Series 7, as it does not include an extra shaving blade in the cassette. Has a longer-lasting battery, though.
-Series 9 - Top-of-the line, has an extra blade compared to the Series 7, excellent build-quality, most-comfortable shave, most-powerful motor, design is based-heavily on the Series 5. Blades are expensive, but may not be as expensive as the Series 7.
*Why the 790cc-series?*
I purchased this specifically from Amazon, as it seemed to be the only retailer that sold the 790cc series. Therefore, I specifically opted for this "older" generation because it can be used corded and cordlessly. No longer do I have to wait for the shaver to charge, as I can just plug it in. More importantly, when the battery dies, I can still use it corded until the motor dies. I don't have to look into replacing the battery myself, unlike a lot of cordless razors that cannot be used while plugged-in.
If you don't know, the Series 7 is probably the most-recommended men's shaver on the planet. Why? A host of reasons, including:
-It has been out since 2010
-A very close shave
-A comfortable shave, thanks to the massaging, pulsating motor
-A motor that adjusts to your beard
-Five power settings
Why do I diverge from the crowd? Well, the Series 5030 was released in 2012 - a full two years after the Series 7 was released. The changes were so successful that the 5040-series from 2016 was essentially the same - minus the dual power function. The 2015 Series 9 looks practically-identical to the Series 5. I think that says alot, as the Series 7's design didn't carry-over to another model - at least not yet. Here's why I prefer the Series 5.
-Cost - This is the mac-daddy of all issues when comparing the 5 and the 7. Not only is this cheaper than the Series 7, but the blades are cheaper as well. The Series 7's most-well-known issue is that the same, high-quality blades that came with your Series 7 are notoriously-difficult to find...so much so, that there is actually price-gouging. While a Series 7 blade could fit on a Series 5 razor, the opposite isn't true, unfortunately.
-Design - From an aesthetic POV, I like the Series 5 better. But more importantly, the "locking head" truly locks. The Series 7's perhaps second-most well-known issue is that the lock will break with normal usage, which isn't covered under the warranty.
-Build quality - I found that Series 5 felt more substantial than the Series 7. I already thought that the Series 7 had great build quality, but the Series 5 beats it in my honest opinion. Both the 5 and 7 are miles-ahead of anything low-to-mid-grade from Norelco, and slightly edges-out their highest-grade options.
-Grip - I can get a firmer grip on the Series 5 than the Series 7
-Indicator lights - The Series 7 has a hard-to-read LCD screen, which shows the battery and hygiene levels...except the hygiene monitor doesn't work by detecting cleanliness...the only thing that it detects is how long it has been since you cleaned it in the cleaning station. In other words, the hygiene indicator is a cash-grab. The Series 5, on the other hand, has LED lights that don't require ambient light to see clearly. Only a waterdrop icon appears when it says it needs to be cleaned - I just ignore it.
-Beard trimmer - I find that the Series 5's beard trimmer is designed better and less-likely to break.
-Cord placement - the power port is located at the back of the Series 7, which means that the unit has to be face-down when you charge it. If you had a corded model, it makes shaving with the cord very awkward. The Series 5 power port, on the other hand, is located on the bottom - so you can charge it from any angle you want.
-Travel lock - The Series 5 has one; the Series 7 doesn't. The Series 7 tries to make up for this by making the power button recessed and thereby more difficult to press.
I would concede the following points to the Series 7
-Power button location - The series 5's power button is located in an awkward situation. So when you first start shaving, don't be surprised if you accidentally turn it off. Annoying, but with a bit of practice, you'll overcome this.
-More comfortable shave - I like the pulsating shave
-Quicker shave - It takes less time and effort, compared to the Series 5
-Power Levels - You can choose one of five power levels. For someone with a light, sensitive beard, this is great and I definitely notice a difference.
As previously mentioned, I have a light beard - so anything over the Series 5 is overkill for me. Since beard types are different, I would recommend at least the Series 7 if you have at least a medium beard.
The shave with the Series 5 is adequately-comfortable, but does take more passes than the Series 7 or Series 9 to get their same level of closeness.
*Should I upgrade to the Series 7?*
The short answer would be that it depends on the thickness of your beard, as well as your skin sensitivity.
For the longer answer is, if you can find a great deal, just go with the Series 9. You may pay more for the razor, but it'll even itself out by the cheaper blades.
*Is the cleaning station worth it?*
In my experience - no. I own both the Series 5 and 7, and each has a cleaning station. While it does a good job, I didn't like the station's build quality and the fact that replacement cartridges can get expensive. In other words, it's a cash-grab. Basically, you put the shaver head-first into the cleaner. It'll charge while it cleans and will use the power of gravity to pulsate-out the hair to the bottom of the cleaning cartridge.
Instead, I take a glass with soap, flip the shaver head-first, and dunk it into the water while it is running (don't do this if you have it plugged-in). The hair will naturally fall to the bottom of the glass and the blades will be clean - its the exact same concept as the cleaning station - albeit safer (not flammable) and less-expensive. Once it is dry, i'll put a little oil on it.
I felt that this was a good deal for the $125 I paid for it.
3/5 Stars - I have very mixed feelings on the Series 7. This is a nice product, but any nice product has to be backed by a great design and plentiful spare parts. While it offers a wonderfully-comfortable shave with customizable power options, I would definitely get the Series 9 over this. There's a reason that the newer 2012 Series 5's design was used for the 2015 Series 9, instead of the 2010 Series 7.
The extremely-high prices for genuine Series 7 replacement blades, as well as the likelihood of the Series 7's locking head breaking with normal use make me hesitant to recommend this shaver.
If the Series 7 is overkill for you, go for the Series 5. If you *must* get a Series 7, just fork-over some extra money for the Series 9. I've tried it and it is everything that the Series 7 should have been and more - no need for power levels, more durable, excellent locking head, more powerful, shaves faster - I could go on and on.
*UPDATE 1 - July 3, 2019*
I've had the Braun Series 7 for 9 months and it works fine - I don't use it as much as my Series 5, though, which would explain why I haven't had to deal with the hassle of being gouged for a new Series 7 blade.