I am old enough to remember a certain evolution in razors. As a kid, the barber used a ‘straight’ razor (a folding, centuries-old design) to trim my side burns along with hot shaving foam from what I recall as an Oster machine but as the new technology introduced of elektrorasierer. At home, everyone used the single and dual edged ‘safety razors’ which required the ready availability of a Styptic Stick and plenty of small pieces of tissue to patch the inevitable nicks.
I tried and rejected electric razors of various designs and some years back and after trying a good many options, settled in with a Gillette Mach3 razor. The Mach3 has three blades with above and below lubrication strips.
Each year, both of these major razor companies (and their lesser known and generic competitors) come out with new models, touting closer and smoother shaves – each of which require increasingly expensive different cartridges. Recently, I tried Gillette’s newest entry into the continuing Gillette vs. Schick tournament of “who-can-create-the-newest” type of razor contest, the Fusion Power “Gamer.”
Gillette’s Fusion Power Gamer has a total of six blades. Five are in a line as are the three on my old Mach3 for shaving surfaces. It also sports a 6th blade, on the obverse side of the head, for trimming. It also contains an AAA battery that, when switched on, causes the razor to gently vibrate – somehow presumptively improving the shaving experience. A Hybrid razor.
As a bearded man, I use a razor daily, to shave my neck and to trim my cheeks. A fully clean shaven person might have a different experience. For me, though the Fusion Power Gamer felt smoother as I used it, it actually left more stubble behind than my old Mach3. So, although it felt nice, it did not do its job in any way better than the older version. I am not a shaving engineer – just a shaver. I expect, though, that cramming five blades onto the face of the cartridge, thereby reducing the space between each one, actually reduces the ‘cutting’ ability of the razor.
The vibrations powered by the battery added more novelty than function. I thought it something like buying a Hybrid car at a premium price and then discovering that the actual mileage you got was the same or worse that you were getting with the old car! Gratefully, Gillette does not use the word “Hybrid” in its ads for this razor, but it is clearly intended to be one – an electrically enhanced non-electric razor.
Am I the only one this sounds kind of bizarre to?
Admittedly, cartridges for the Mach3 are getting harder and harder to find – COSTCO still carries them in large quantities. Gillette’s Fusion Power Gamer razor retails, with a single cartridge and included AAA battery for between $10.16 and $12.99 in my area and on line. The cartridges, however, retail for between $19.81 and $32.49 for 10 of them. Do the math.
Since the advent of multiple blade cartridges and lubricant strips, very little has really changed in the construction or ‘shavability’ of razors. The guiding principal of the manufacturers seems to be something like, “What can we make that looks and seems new and better?” The answer would appear to be, to this shaver, very little.
Save some money. The vibrations are kind of nifty feeling – once. The five vs. three blades seem to do a less thorough job of removing whiskers though the 5-blade razor does feel better. Neither nicks and both do an acceptable job.
For people who must always have the newest innovation in everything, nothing said here is apt to dissuade them. For those of you who remain influencable, stick with what you have if it does the job for you and leave Gillette’s Fusion Power Gamer vibrating electrical vibrating non-electric razor to someone who thinks they really need it.