Black razor near a pile of hair

Once upon a time, long, long ago, men scraped the hair off their faces, if they did at all, with sharpened clam shells, pieces of flint, and rocks. This was...less than comfortable. Then they started experimenting with razors made of copper and iron, and thus began thousands of years of innovation in men's facial grooming equipment that culminates in the Braun Series 7 790cc.

We're a long, long way from the iron novacila that Roman barbers used, which corroded fast and was blunt after one or two shaves. The Braun Series 7 790cc, and other electric razors out there, offer fast, clean, comfortable shaves. And while some shaving purists still insist that no electric razor can give as clean a shave as a safety razors, that's fast becoming outdated information. We'll explain why in this review of the Braun Series 7 790cc and some of its close competitors.

What Is the Braun Series 7 790cc?

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The Braun Series 7 790cc is one of the newest in a fine lineup of Braun's German-made electric razors, which includes the Series 9 and Series 5 razors. (The Series 3 is made in China). All of Braun's razors, including the Braun Series 7 790cc, feature a square foil shape with an oscillating blade.

What Type to Choose

All razors are a personal choice. Typically, the rotary razors are considered friendlier to the face because of the way they contour around the shape of a man's face. They also do well for those of us cursed (or blessed, however you see it) with thick neckbeards and hair that grows in whatever direction the spirit moves at the moment.

Foil shavers will typically give you a closer shave, and they are less likely to leave you feeling like your toddler scraped your face with a fork. Use a linear motion with these, and if you have hair growing in multiple directions, you might need a pass or two in different directions.

Should I Get an Electric Razor at All?

Not that long ago, it was widely acknowledged that electric razors gave an inferior shave to cartridge, safety, or straight razors. These days, electric razors are really closing the gap, and the Braun Series 7 790cc is capable of giving an extremely smooth shave. This is due to a combination of technology, form, and blade quality.

However the key to getting a close electric shave is to not go all budget-conscious when you get an electric razor. The cheap ones will never perform to your satisfaction, though you might be able to get away with using them on vacation. Save up some of that pizza and movie money and invest in a high-quality razor like the Braun Series 7 790cc.

Product Specs

The Braun Series 7 790cc does an amazing job on facial hair, particularly on the first pass. Braun has designed this with some kind of magical smart tech that reacts to the length of your hairs and adjusts automatically to deal with morning stubble or a dense beard.

You can also toggle the intensity levels as you see fit anywhere from levels one to five. The Braun Series 7 790cc is waterproof and easy to clean, especially if you use their own Clean&Charge station, which gets out every stray bit of stubble after you shave, sterilizes the head, lubricates it, makes the head last longer, and, as a delightful bonus, causes your razor to smell like Chemical Lemons.

All jokes aside, this is an awesome razor that fully utilizes the most advanced razor tech. It even comes with a precision trimmer that will work for beard lines and sideburns. Use it in the bath or shower, dry or wet, with or without shaving cream. If you're looking for a foil shaver, the Braun Series 7 790cc should definitely be high on your list of possibilities.

Pricing

We've taken a look at four high-end razors in this review of the Braun Series 7 790cc, and the average price for these is right around $150. Some are a bit more or less, and the cheapest one on our list is currently running for around $90. However, depending on whether you're willing to hunt around for sales, you could conceivably knock $30 or so off the price of any of them.

How It Compares

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The Braun Series 7 790cc isn't the only one out there, so we've considered two other foil head razors and one excellent rotary razor, as well. In addition to the Braun Series 7 790cc, we consider these:

Braun Series 7 790cc

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Ease of Use

This is almost too easy to use. Once we'd tried it, we had a bit of guilt. Is it really supposed to be so easy to shave? Shouldn't it be a bit of a chore? The Braun Series 7 790cc also makes cleanup a snap. There's no need to remove the head and rinse it yourself: simply drop the whole razor into the Clean&Charge station and go get breakfast.


Design Quality

It is hard to find a razor better than this in terms of quality. This has been the most popular men's razor for years on end: a best-seller and one that people keep rather than trade up. Quality is one reason for this. This shaver lasts and is comfortable to use.


Warranty​

The Braun Series 7 790cc comes with a two-year warranty on parts and labor. Replacement heads don't come under the warranty, but word on the street is that if you actually experience a problem with one (a rarity) Braun will be on the ball about getting it worked out.

Pros

  • Easy to use and clean
  • Can be used wet or dry
  • Comes with precision trim
  • Very gentle on the face
  • Durable quality

Cons

  • Expensive: including replacement heads and cleaning solution
  • Doesn't work as well wet as dry

Panasonic ES-LF51-A

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If you want a foil shaver and don't want a Braun, check out this one. It's a highly-rated, four blade, cordless electric razor you can use wet or dry; and it's a lot cheaper than the Braun Series 7 790cc, or the Series 5 for that matter.


Pity this poor razor: no one pays much attention to it. That's a shame, because this kid has some serious talent. The hypoallergenic blades turn at an aggressive 30 degrees, which gives a nice, close shave. The head pivots but can be locked into place when you want more control.


For the right person, this will provide a comfortable, close shave, though not quite as wondrously comfy as you'll get with the Braun Series 7 790cc. If your skin is very sensitive, you might not love it. And it doesn't shave longer hairs nearly so well as stubble.


Ease of Use

This is easy to shave with, but when it comes to cleaning we weren't impressed. It's not just that there was no fancy, beeping electric razor version of an automatic car wash like Braun has: there was nothing at all. No cleaning brush. No little bottle of oil to lubricate the cutters. You're on your own, Bucko.


Design Quality​

We were very impressed with how compact this razor is. There might not be a four blade electric razor to beat it in that department, and yet it still feels substantive and balanced. It looks pretty good, lasts very well, and offers you a secure grip.


Warranty​

Panasonic also offers a solid two-year warranty on all parts of the razor, including the battery.

Pros

  • Close shave
  • Compact and quiet
  • Durable design
  • Less expensive than many other models

Cons

  • Not as comfortable as some other models
  • Doesn't work as well on long hairs

Philips Norelco Electric Shaver 8900

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Philips Norelco is the biggest name in rotary electric shavers, and if it's a rotary you're after you'd be hard pressed to find anything better. One of the few issues we have with Philips is that their Norelco line is harder to understand than a chemistry textbook: there are a dizzying array of model names. If you can only remember one, though, make it the 8900.


This is a great razor that offers a pretty smart balance between price and performance. The three rotating heads move in eight directions, and the razor also comes with a beard styler as a separate attachment. For an extra $30 you can get a cleaning stand.


We found this razor to be about as comfortable as any rotary shaver can be. It also gives one of the closest shaves any rotary razor is likely to give you, especially around the neck. If you have facial hair that refuses to be tamed, this might be the razor for you.


Ease of Use​

The cleaning station, if you buy it, makes cleaning this very easy. Shaving is pretty good, though it might take a little practice to keep it from pinching.


Design Quality​

Everything on here is plastic, and while it looks good it doesn't feel as substantial as the Braun. It's also pretty Spartan on features and slick looks, which may not matter to you aesthetically but does seem surprising given the price.


Warranty​

Once again, we have a good two-year warranty that covers parts and labor on everything, including the battery.

Pros

  • Comfortable for a rotary
  • Very close shave for a rotary
  • Good value for money
  • Works well on longer hair

Cons

  • Cleaning station sold separately
  • Tough on sensitive skin
  • Hard to clean without cleaning station

Braun Series 5

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The Series 5 is a bit cheaper than the Series 7, but don't let that fool you. This is not an inferior product, and it is serious competition for Big Brother. It gives a very close shave with supreme comfort, and Braun worked hard to make the head flex work well enough that you can get all the hair around the edges of your chin or under your nose.


You can also adjust the pressure for various lengths of hair, and the motor is the same powerful one you'll find on the Series 7. This one also comes with the cleaning and charging station, and you don't have to pay any extra. Touching your face right after a shave you're likely to feel no difference between this and the Braun Series 7 790cc, but you might start seeing a five o'clock shadow just a bit sooner.


This electric razor works really well on both short and long hair, but the electric trimmer isn't quite a precise as the Braun Series 7 790cc or the Panasonic. Where this razor really shines, in our opinion, is in comfort. If you have sensitive skin, we can't recommend this one enough.


Ease of Use​

This is fast and easy to use and doesn't require a lot of finessing to get those annoying spots. Cleaning is just as easy as with the Braun Series 7 790cc. Pop it in the cleaning station and be on your way. It'll be waiting for you tomorrow, all shiny and bright.


Design Quality​

This has the same motor as the Braun Series 7 790cc, but this one vibrates more and is a lot noisier. The razor is slim, though, and feels very solid in the hand. The battery life is great, and this is definitely a durable razor.


Warranty

This comes with Braun's standard two-year warranty on parts, labor, and battery.

Pros

  • Braun quality for a cheaper price
  • Excellent for sensitive skin
  • Easy to use and clean
  • Close shave

Cons

  • Loud with lots of vibration
  • Hair trimmer is less good than others

Conclusion

Well, here we are: which one should we choose? Obviously if you're looking for a rotary shaver, we think the Norelco is the one to beat. The 8900 is one of the best-performing in that line, especially for men with aggressive hair.

If you're in the market for a foil shaver, however, we have to recommend the Braun Series 7 790cc. The 5 is good, but the 7 is better; and the Series 5 is getting old enough now that it may start getting harder to find replacement heads in a few years.

If you want a budget item, the Panasonic is an excellent choice. It gives a surprisingly good shave considering the price, and while it's a bit tougher to clean and not quite as comfortable, that might be fine if you need to spend less.

Get the electric shaver that's going to give you the best, most comfortable shave for your beard and skin. There's no reason the morning shave shouldn't be pleasant.

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