Although experts and users alike agree that the Philips Norelco Shaver 8900 (formerly known as the 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 Philips Norelco Shaver 8900 (formerly known as 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 the wet/dry capabilities of this shaver.
Most user reviewers are equally as positive. "If you have a hard time getting a comfortable close shave, this is the razor for you," writes one Amazon.com user. But, as always, a rotary shave isn't for everybody. The Shaver 8900 doesn't do so well on long hair, and it occasionally causes some irritation.
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. A number of users also dislike having to bring what they describe as a flimsy, bulky charging stand along (since the Philips Norelco Shaver 8900 doesn't plug directly into the wall).
The Shaver 8900 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, although experts and users say it's needlessly fussy.
Not a weed-whacker. Opinions about the Philips Norelco Shaver 8900's noise level are evenly split; one expert review says it's noisy but 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 Norelco Shaver 8900 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 found a noteworthy number of complaints that the Jet Clean system fails after a year or so and 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.
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 Philips Norelco Shaver 8900 (formerly known as the SensoTouch 3D 1280XCC).
Review: Electric Shaver Reviews, Editors of Which? magazine, 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 Norelco Shaver 8900 (formerly known as the Philips SensoTouch 3D 1280XCC) in the U.S.
Review: Men's Shavers Review, Martha Psiroukis, August 2011
3. Consumer magazine
Consumer magazine 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 Philips Norelco Shaver 8900 in the U.S.) is the top pick for shaving coarse hair and for normal skin.
Review: Electric Shavers: Our Picks, Editors of Consumer magazine, Aug. 26, 2011
More than 680 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 (now known as the Philips Norelco Shaver 8900), 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 Razor with Jet Clean System (Series 8000), Contributors to Amazon.com, As of May 2014