Everything about the Philips Norelco PQ208 is optimized for use in a travel situation. Having two rotating cutting heads (instead of the usual three) makes it compact, and AA battery power means you don't have to worry about matching voltage or being near an electrical outlet. That said, it still provides a close and surprisingly quiet -- if somewhat slow -- shave.
Your patience will be rewarded. The Philips Norelco PQ208 has just two rotary cutting heads instead of the usual three. Users notice that the heads spin a little more slowly than a plug-in electric shaver's -- but they also say that the PQ208 still works surprisingly well for a battery-powered travel model.
"It doesn't seem to get as close as my traditional razor, but it still works decently well," writes one reviewer at Amazon.com. He goes on to point out that his shaving experience with the PQ208 was free of the tugging and pulling he usually gets with his traditional razor. A few other reviewers agree that the PQ208 gives a close, clean shave -- even if you're not used to electric shavers -- but you'll spend about half as long shaving as you'd spend with a three-head model.
On the downside, you can't use the PQ208 wet (nor is it washable), and it doesn't have a pop-up trimmer. But considering that they're getting a close, clean and portable shave for less than the cost of replacement blades for a plug-in shaver, nobody seems to mind the lack of a trimmer.
No frills, no problem. The Philips Norelco PQ208 doesn't have the pop-up trimmer you'll find on most of the competition, including the Braun MobileShave M-90 (Est. $20) . That said, most users seem willing to live without the trimmer for short periods of travel, and the PQ208 still draws user praise for being easy to hold and easy to use.
The company promises 60 minutes of shaving per pair of AA batteries (the first pair is included), which translates into 6 to 10 shaves, depending on how long it takes you. One happy Walmart.com user reports getting up to 17 shaves from a single set of batteries. Another, this time posting to Amazon.com, notes that he got two weeks of use from a single set of batteries. "Although it was a bit slower after 14 days, it was still going well enough that 2 or 3 days more was entirely possible," he writes.
The PQ208 has a cap to protect the cutting heads and, although it's not washable, it comes with a cleaning brush.
"Nothing to fret about." Users agree that when you compare the Philips Norelco PQ208 to other travel shavers, it's very quiet -- and only a little noisier than a three-head (plug-in) rotary shaver. "A little more noise but nothing to fret about," writes one Walmart.com reviewer, while others can't say enough about how quiet the PQ208 is.
Cheap shaver; typical warranty. Beyond a single comment that the PQ208's battery door is "sort of flimsy," we didn't find any user complaints about this shaver's durability. When you're shopping for a compact shaver in the $20 or less range, this kind of no news is almost always good news.
The PQ208 is also backed by Philips Norelco's usual two-year warranty and 45-day money-back guarantee -- not bad for an inexpensive travel shaver. Although you do need to pay for AA batteries, cost of ownership is otherwise quite low -- around $22 for three replacement shaving heads every year, of which you only need two. Given that the shaver itself only costs about $20 and can sometimes be had for even less, you might as well buy an entirely new unit every year instead of replacing the blades.
More than 85 Walmart.com customers give the Philips Norelco PQ208 electric shaver a 4.5-star average score. They say it gives a "close, clean shave," and they love that it runs on two AA batteries.
Review: Philips Norelco PQ208 Travel Electric Razor, Contributors to Walmart.com, As of May 2013
Almost a dozen Amazon.com users rate the Philips Norelco PQ208, giving it a 4.5-star average score. Although nobody's mistaking this for a full-size electric shaver, most are thrilled with its clean, close (though not terribly fast) shave and quiet performance.
Review: Philips Norelco PQ208 Travel Electric Razor, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of May 2013