By Rayy Zar
The ES-LV81 is Panasonic’s top-of-the-range model, and is priced accordingly – around $600, though you can often find it for nearly half that amount at sites like Amazon. It is the same shaver as the ES-LV61, with the addition of a cleaning system.
According to the company:
Face-Hugging Multi-Flex Pivoting Head – Head motion range: approximately 25 degrees back and forth, approximately 20 degrees left and right. Conforms to neck, under the chin area, and jaw line.
30-Degree Stainless Nanotech Blades – Nano polished 30-degree-angle stainless hypoallergenic blades cut hair at its base for ultimate precision.
Fast, Linear Motor Drive – A rapid-fire 14,000 cycles per minute linear motor drive delivers a faster, closer shave. The fast, linear motor ensures a quick cut, eliminating pulling, tugging and irritation.
Multi-Fit Arc Blades – Five independently floating blades follow the contours of your face, chin and neck for a close and smooth shave.
Automatic Cleaning and Charging System – Cleans, dries, renew and charges the unit automatically keeping the blades sharp and ready for the next shave.
Wet/Dry Shaving – Enjoy the convenience of a quick shave provided by the Panasonic ES-LV81-K Arc 5 Multi Flex Wet/Dry Nanotech Rechargeable Shaver using the dry operation or use wet, with foam or gel, for a smooth shave. Three stainless steel hypoallergenic blades and foils provide comfort and less irritation for sensitive skin types.
It has received many excellent reviews. But not everyone is equally impressed. Wired magazine reviewed four shavers, and said this about the ES-LV81:
As good as this wet/dry is at tackling five-o’clock shadow, it’s better at trimming dollars from your wallet. So is it worth the Bugatti price? No. That’s not to say the handling and performance are lacking. The head pivots on two axes, with a motor cranking 14,000 rotations per minute, to deliver a quick, gentle shave. But the bulky head makes it difficult to see where you’re going, which is the last thing you want when you’re shaving. Or driving. Or both.
At Amazon the shaver has received nearly 100 customer reviews, with an average rating of 4.2 stars. Here is a summary from a four-star review:
* Quiet and Smooth
* 5-blade cutting system works
* Cool looking blue LCD display
* Every feature you could want in a razor
* Fast and effective cutting
* Improved cleaning & drying system
* Crazy expensive
* Awkward ergonomics
* LCD display could be more useful
* Trimmer tends to close when moving “upward”
And here’s another summary, from a three-star review titled “Like a Mercedes, with Drive-through Car Wash Included:”
– Closer shave than Norelco style rotary shavers
– Wet or dry use
– Switch lock (prevents accidental suitcase-ON)
– Smart charger is fast (1 hour) and energy efficient (zero drain when finished)
– Battery status indicator
– Instructions for hand cleaning with standard soap & water
– Fit and finish is good. Doesn’t feel cheap.
– Large blade area – 1.0″ x 1.6″ – good for straight-aways, awkward on curves
– Automatic Cleaning system – Might not be worth the hassle
– Lithium Ion battery provides 45 minutes shave time (my Norelco is 30 min.)
– Warranty: 2 years
– Satisfaction Guarantee: 30 days
– Travel case: vinyl
– Head swivels left-right, up-down (benefit?, prone to breakage?)
– Owner manual: Clear and readable
– Louder than Norelco style rotary shavers
– Consumables are also expensive
* Get the latest price on the Panasonic ES-LV81 Shaver.