Like its more expensive Braun Series 7 compatriots -- the 790cc (*Est. $235) and 760cc (*Est. $200), the Braun Series 7 720s-4 foil shaver has three adjustable settings to accommodate sensitive skin or coarse beards. But, it doesn't come with a cleaning station like they do.
All Braun Series 7 shavers come with a 10,000 rpm vibrating Pulsonic feature that's supposed to help lift and cut hairs neatly. Not many users comment on that aspect of the 720s-4, but reviews of other Series 7 shavers indicate that it can feel a bit like a massage. Most of the comments the 720s draws focus on how closely and comfortably it shaves.
"This thing shaves just about as close as it gets," writes one Amazon.com user. Another says he is unhappy that the most intense shaving mode is uncomfortable and tugs at his skin, but most report that the three different shaving modes provide useful customization. In particular, several say that the sensitive-skin mode is gentle.
Other user say the 720s-4 remains powerful while running off a battery charge, and the power levels don't change noticeably when it's plugged into a wall socket. Overall, they say, this shaver is "durable and competent."
Most users say they like this shaver's design. The pivoting foil head can be locked into place for better control, and reviewers say the pop-up clipper is sturdier than it looks and "a definite improvement over the older models." However, there are a few quibbles. The wide foil head causes some consternation -- one user speculates that perhaps the 720s-4 was designed by someone with a large face. Another says he wishes the shaver were just a little thinner in the middle, making it easier to grip, and a touch lighter.
One more user reviewer points out that because the shaver's power cord connects to back of the shaver instead of the bottom, it can end up in an uncomfortable position on your palm. This isn't a deal-breaker, he says, but it does take some getting used to. The carrying case is 'a joke,' in the words of one user who was annoyed he couldn't fit the shaver's charging cord into the case.
The 720s-4 receives a very good rating for noise in one major test, although it wasn't actually evaluated; it receives that rating by default because of its similarity to one of the other Braun Series 7 models that was tested. Users are mostly mum on the topic, although Steven Leckart, in a review of men's shavers for Wired, says the Series 7 "buzzes like a fridge ... with a chain saw inside." Although he doesn't identify the specific Series 7 model he tested, it appears to be the 790cc-4.
Like other Braun Series 7 shavers, the 720s-4 compensates for its cost with a relatively decent cost of ownership. Because it doesn't come with a cleaning station, you don't need to worry about purchasing cleaning cartridges. The entire unit is covered by a two-year limited warranty (the foil and cassette are excluded), and it comes with a 60-day money-back guarantee.
Users say any one of the Braun Series 7 shavers is a good choice if you like foil shavers, although the 720s-4 receives only a fraction of the attention given to the other Series 7 models. If you'd like the convenience of a cleaning station -- which most users seem to prefer, although they also say it can be a little noisy -- the Braun Series 7 760cc (*Est. $200) is our best-reviewed foil shaver.
The Braun Series 7 720s-4 isn't tested in a series of shaver tests from ConsumerReports.org, but it's deemed so similar to one of the other shavers tested that it receives the same score by default. More than 20 foil and rotary shavers are included in the tests.
Review: Electric Razors, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, As of June 2012
2. Which? magazine
The editors of Which? magazine, a UK publication that's very similar to ConsumerReports.org, ask a panel of men to try out rotary and foil electric shavers, including the Braun Series 7 720s-4. Not all of the shavers this model is compared with are available in the United States.
Review: Electric Shaver Reviews, Editors of Which? magazine, As of June 2012
More than 65 users give the Braun Series 7-720s shaver a 4.3-star overall rating on Amazon.com. They have a few quibbles about the design, but mostly they like it and say it provides a great shave.
Review: Braun Series 7 Series 7-720S Pulsonic Shaver, Black, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of June 2012
An unidentified panel of testers (it's unclear whether the author is included) evaluates four electric shavers, including a Braun Series 7 model. The Series 7 model appears to be the Braun 790cc-4, but the panel's feedback about its sound levels might be useful for the 720s-4 as well.
Review: Blade Runners: 4 Cordless Electric Razors Tested, Steven Leckart, July 26, 2011