The Philips Norelco Nivea for Men HS8420 rotary shaver's most unusual feature is its ability to dispense Nivea for Men lotion as you shave, although user reviews about this feature are mixed. You can also take the HS8420 into the shower, if you like.
Amazon.com owners report that the HS8420 provides a close, irritation-free shave as long as you use a light touch and shave wet (using lotion, cream or gel). One Amazon.com user warns, "Don't even think of shaving dry with this razor - you'll tear up your face." We found owner comments that this shaver handles both coarse, curly hair and sensitive skin well, although you may need to make multiple passes for a truly clean shave.
Users are quick to point out the Philips Norelco HS8420's lack of basic features like a beard trimmer, which might explain its relatively low features score in tests from a major consumer research group. The only other feature to draw much attention is the HS8420's ability to dispense lotion as you shave; Amazon.com users like the lotion but fret about the cost of replacement bottles (*Est. $20), which they say last for about three weeks. As one Amazon.com user writes, "The problem is, you need to dispense quite a bit of the stuff to get a comfortable shave."
The consensus is that the Philips HS8420 isn't big on features or speed, and its shaving heads are too large to navigate tight spaces like your upper lip, especially if you have a moustache. A few users warn that this rotary shaver doesn't do so well at navigating an Adam's apple or dealing with neck stubble, either.
A few users complain that the Philips Nivea for Men HS8420 feels and looks "plasticky," and that it takes too long -- eight hours -- to charge. Many high-end shavers can get a full charge in 90 minutes or less. We also found warnings that because this shaver doesn't snap or lock into place -- it just sits on the charging base – it won't charge if you don't get the shaver positioned just right. On the other hand, users say the Nivea for Men lotion this shaver dispenses is "very soothing, moisturizes, and has a nice, light scent."
The Philips Norelco HS8420's noise level draws only a few stray comments; one Amazon.com reviewer compares it to an older Panasonic shaver he used to use: "The buzz from the Panasonic was so loud others in the house could hear it but nobody knows I'm using the Philips." The HS8420 also earns a very good ranking for its noise levels from a leading consumer research organization.
The Philips Norelco Nivea for Men HS8420 comes with the same full two-year warranty you get on all Philips shavers and a 45-day money-back guarantee. Although users pick out the Nivea for Men lotion (*Est. $20) as one of this shaver's best features, it's also one of the most expensive; several reviewers say each replacement bottle lasts just a few weeks. Replacement heads cost about $30.
If you are looking for a rotary or wet/dry shaver, there are better options. The Remington SR9130 rotary shaver (*Est. $80) has a few features this one lacks, although it doesn't dispense lotion; the Panasonic Vortex ES8109S (*Est. $100) is the best-reviewed wet/dry foil shaver.
The editors of ConsumerReports.org evaluate 14 foil and rotary shavers, including the Philips Norelco Nivea for Men HS8420. A panel of testers rates each model for shave, cleaning, noise and features.
Review: Electric Razor Ratings, Editors of Consumer Reports, As of June 2012
More than 100 owners review the Philips Norelco HS8420 at Amazon.com. Most of the reviews are positive, and the HS8420 gets an overall rating of 3.9 stars out of 5. Reviewers say that the HS8420 is easy to use, and that the lotion dispenser makes shaving more comfortable. Several point out, however, that the lotion is expensive to replace.
Review: Philips Norelco HS8420 Nivea for Men Razor, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of June 2012
3. Choice magazine
Editors at Choice magazine, the Australian equivalent of ConsumerReports.org, call the Philips HS8020 ‑- which is similar to the Philips Norelco Nivea for Men HS8420 that is sold in the U.S. ‑- a top performer. Reviewers point out that it doesn't have a mustache trimmer and takes a long time to charge, but they say it is easy to clean and comfortable to hold.
Review: Men's Shavers, Editors of Choice magazine, June 2008
Writer Jesse Corbeil describes five electric razors in detail, including the Philips Norelco 8060X, which is now the HS8420. It's not clear whether Corbeil performed any hands-on testing for these models, although he does go into some detail about the HS8420's features.
Review: Guy Gear: Electric Shavers, Jesse Corbeil, April 22, 2009