Although experts and users alike agree that the Philips SensoTouch 3D 1280XCC rotary electric shaver generally provides a great shave, a bevy of minor design complaints -- plus a high price and cost of ownership -- keep it from topping the charts.
Close shave, manages tough contours well. Multiple expert tests published in international magazines like Which?, Consumer, and Choice found that the SensoTouch 3D 1280XCC gives a smooth shave in just a few passes. Testers say it's very easy to handle and manages tough contours well; they like that you can use it for either a wet or dry shave.
Users are mostly just as positive about the 1280XCC's performance; "If you have a hard time getting a comfortable close shave, this is the razor for you," writes one Amazon.com user. "Best electric shaver I have ever owned. Shaves very close, does not pull, very quiet," writes another.
Just a smattering of negative comments from Amazon.com users run the gamut from "works well on short stubble, not as well on longer hair," to complaints that the shaver sometimes causes irritation or can't be made to shave close enough.
Shavings get all over the place. There are a number of relatively minor design flaws -- or perhaps misplaced features -- that draw potshots from users.
"The reservoir that holds the shavings really didn't hold any shavings due to the design," writes one Amazon.com user, who says the shavings spill down the front of his shirt instead. A number of users also comment that because you can't plug this shaver directly into a wall socket, you have to bring the charging stand -- which they characterize as both flimsy and bulky -- along with you. But the charger doesn't fit in the 1280XCC's carry pouch, so you have to pack it separately.
The 1280XCC takes about an hour to charge and gives you about the same amount of shave time in return. If the battery is fully depleted, a quick three- to five-minute charge gives you enough juice for a three-minute shave. You have the choice of three hands-off cleaning modes with the Jet Clean stand, but the stand doesn't detect which kind of cleaning is necessary; you have to make that decision yourself. Experts and users find the cleaning station to be needlessly fussy, and they say giving the shaver a quick wash under the tap after each use is more convenient and just as effective.
Not a weed whacker. Opinions about the SensoTouch 3D 1280XCC's noise level are fairly evenly split; one expert review says it's noisy, but that the noise isn't a deal-breaker. Most users, however, say this shaver is quiet, or at least not loud; "It does not sound like a weed whacker," writes one reviewer.
Pricey upkeep for a pricey razor. The Philips SensoTouch 3D 1280XCC comes with an industry-standard two-year warranty, plus a 45-day money-back guarantee. The manufacturer recommends replacing the razor heads (Est. $50) about once a year. Replacement Jet Clean cleaning/lubricating cartridges cost about $45 for a pack of six, each of which should last for about 15 daily cleanings.
We did find a noteworthy number of complaints that the Jet Clean system fails after a year or so; "It just gyrates and makes weird noises," writes one Amazon.com user. We also found a few complaints that the shaver itself simply stops working on occasion. In at least a few cases, that failure is due to a battery problem. Most users say that when problems cropped up, the company honored the warranty and handled the replacement process well.
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1. Which? magazine
The editors at this British consumer magazine ask a panel of men to try several rotary and foil electric shavers, rating each for a number of factors. One of the models they test is the Philips RQ1280, which is sold in the U.S. as the SensoTouch 3D 1280XCC.
Review: Electric Shaver Reviews, Editors of Which?, Not dated
2. Choice magazine
In this Australian consumer magazine, editors ask four men to test 12 electric shavers on one and two days' worth of beard growth. One of the models tested, the Philips SensoTouch 3D RQ1280CC, retails as the Philips SensoTouch 3D 1280XCC in the U.S.
Review: Men's Shavers Review, Martha Psiroukis, Aug. 2011
3. Consumer magazine
Consumer is the New Zealand version of ConsumerReports.org. The editors asked four men with different beard and skin combinations to test 10 models. Not all testers agree on which shaver is best, but the SensoTouch 3D RQ1280CC (or 1280XCC in the U.S.) is the top pick for shaving coarse hair and for normal skin.
Review: Electric Shavers: Our Picks, Editors of Consumer, Aug. 26, 2011
More than 300 Amazon.com users give this version of the SensoTouch 3D an overall score of 4.4 out of 5 stars. Most users report a clean, close shave with the 1280X, but a smattering of complaints run the gamut from poor durability and design to an uncomfortable shaving experience.
Review: Philips Norelco 1280X SensoTouch 3D Electric Shaver, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of May 2013