What defines the best shaver? Is it the shave? The features? The look?
It’s an important question. Made even more important when you reach the top of the shaving lineup. High-end shaving products claim to be the best. And with premium claims comes the premium price tag. The Braun Series 9 9290cc advertises itself as the brand’s best shaver. And it the price ain’t cheap.
When you consider buying something this expensive, the first thing you think to yourself is if it’s worth it. And that’s what I’m here to find out. As hard as it may be to define the best shaver, I will try.
I’ll review one of the Series 9 shavers and everything that comes in the box. And through it all, I’ll be asking myself if the device stands up as the best shaver I’d want, or if there are things lacking in its design, function, or quality.
Because if the best shaver can’t live up to my standards, how can I assume it’d live up to anyone else’s? Read on to find out.
Table of Contents
Braun Series 9 9290ccSpecification
|Number of Trimmer||2|
|Clean & Charge||Yes|
|Wet & Dry||Yes|
|Run Time||50 Minutes|
|Charge Time||1 Hour|
The Package: What You Get
The Braun Series 9 9290cc is the version with the Clean and Charge station. When you go to look for it on the store shelves, it’ll be the box that’s three times the size as everything else.
Although to be fair, it’s a much smaller package than the comparable Panasonic Arc5. Braun sandwiches the pieces relatively well, saving at least a few pieces of needless plastic.
Everything comes neatly wrapped in thin protective pouches. The shaver ships protected in its hard-shell carrying case, so there’s no moment of glory when you open the box and see the new tech gleaming at you.
When it’s all unwrapped and laid out on the table, this is what you have:
- The Series 9 Shaver
- Clean & Charge Station
- 1x Detergent Pack
- Travel Case
- Charging Cord
It’s a decent haul of goods. If I had to complain about anything it’s that the shaver doesn’t come with blade oil. The instructions state you should oil the blades routinely and yet there’s no oil. Even a cheap pair of hair clippers comes with a tube of oil.
I admit that this predicament permeates the shaver industry. No shaver comes with blade oil. But I thought it was worth mentioning. If you don’t have trimmer oil, buy some. You can pick up a tube for the price of a cup of coffee. It’ll save you having to replace the blades prematurely.
The Braun Series 9 9290cc Shaver: A Closer Look
For a product to deem itself the best shaver it must look the part. Thankfully, the Braun Series 9 is a sleek tear of chrome-painted plastic. It looks very cool.
The design isn’t too flashy despite all that chrome. It’s practically tame compared to some other brands at this price point. Like most Braun products, the device aims to instill its function rather than its flare.
One thing I noticed the second I lifted the device from its hard-shell case was that it’s a fingerprint magnet. You must wipe off the shaver at least once a week to remove all your greasy smudges. The indicator screen is especially prone to this issue.
The other thing that stood out to me the first time I held it was the gold-plated trimmer bar in the middle of the foils. It accents the machine-cut steel coloring of shaver head and foils nicely.
The shaver isn’t heavy, clocking in at about 1 pound. There are rubberized grips on the sides and curving over and into the back of the device. The 9 series fits snuggly in the hand and the contours are all in the right places.
One minor gripe is with the sliding trimmer. Depending on how you hold the shaver, your thumb can accidentally slide the trimmer up and engage the blade. You can easily remedy this problem by holding the shaver the other way, but I thought it was worth mentioning.
The Series 9 doesn’t overwhelm you with indicators and flashy lights. In fact, the LCD screen is bare bones compared to other high-end models I’ve reviewed.
There’s a 5-stage battery bar that switches to a 9-minute countdown when the battery is nearly depleted. That’s it. The device has no indicators for cleaning the shaver or replacing the blades.
I’m of two minds about Braun’s display design. First, I like the simplicity of the indicator design. It looks good and the light blue color of the LCD impresses a sort of futuristic sensibility.
Contrastingly, Braun’s simple-is-better approach may turn off some consumers. There are those among us who want all the information displayed for them. If that sounds like you, then you may have a harder choice than the rest of us. But something tells me that you’re used to that.
The Shave: How Does it Feel?
Shaving with Braun’s Series 9 9290cc is great, but is it good enough?
It turns out that the answer isn’t a simple yes or no. Believe me; I wish it was. The Series 9 delivers a fantastic shaving experience. But ultimately, I think it comes down to what you want from your shaver.
The weight combined with the fact that there’s a gap between the shaver head and the handle means this shaver doesn’t vibrate much at all.
Initially, I thought the thumb switch above the power button flips between wet and dry shaving. This button thoroughly confused me. Then I realized the button doesn’t alter the shave. It’s for locking the shaving head in place. Whoops.
There’s almost no noticeable difference between the wet and dry functions. I can’t pinpoint why this is the case. It must have something to do with the combination of five shaving elements and the micro-vibration technology.
Speaking of the micro-vibrations, I didn’t feel them. I, however, could sense them. Does that make sense? When the shaver passed over a patch of thicker stubble, I heard a change in the motor, but I felt no difference.
And maybe that’s what makes the Braun Series 9 deliver such a great shave. It kind of works the same no matter what it’s cutting. I tested the shaver on upwards of a four-day beard and it mowed through my hair with no problems.
The included slide-up trimmer works fine for touch ups and what not. Just don’t plan to use it for any major trimming work, such as knocking down your beard before shaving your face. They can get overloaded fast. I had them jam up on me a few times. Again, they’re great for the little things, just remember what they’re used for.
The Extras: Do They Stand Out?
Out of all the bits that ship with the Series 9, I’ll come right out and say my favorite is the hard-shell case.
Nothing irks me more than a company that hands you premium shaver and a soft leather case. It’s like they want you to break it as soon as possible.
Braun’s travel case has a heavy-duty zipper, a soft felt inner lining, and a tough plastic layer. Aside from smashing the case with a sledgehammer, your shaver should be secure on the road.
If I’m nitpicking, the only thing I don’t like about the case is that it just fits the shaver. Not that you should bring the cleaning station with you as you travel. But I’d prefer it if the case could also house the charging cord.
Which brings me to the Clean and Charge station. I’m torn with these cleaning stations. They strike me as a product invented to appease a customer that didn’t exist. And now that we have them in our lives, we must ponder they’re worth.
The cleaning station works well. Within a few hours you’ll have a clean and dry Series 9 Shaver. I can’t deny that you could also clean your shaver manually in less time.
If you’re the type that doesn’t like to wash stuff, who leaves any sort of domestic responsibility to your better half, then you need the cleaning station. The rest of us may see it more like a novelty.
What the thumb brush saves on space you save on function. I’m not sure how important a thumb brush is with a device that self cleans. I’d prefer a small tube of clipper oil. At least I can use clipper oil.
But I shouldn’t be so hard on the thumb brush. It fits snugly into the hard-shell case. And if you dry shave, you could do worse than brush off the hair that gathers inside the blade cartridge.
Overall, a great set of extras that most consumers will have little to complain about.
Maintenance & Lasting Impressions
Braun made it so that maintaining the Series 9 is practically dummy proof thanks to the addition of the Clean and Charge station. But you still need to do your best to deep clean the blade cartridge every month or two.
Braun states that their Series 9 blade and foil cartridges last about 18 months. I’ve found that you can push it to two years with the addition of the standard shaver maintenance every month or so.
The one thing I wish Braun would change about their shaver line is the blade cartridges. This goes for their entire family of electric shavers. They force you to buy the blades and foils as one package, and they aren’t cheap. So, budget accordingly.
Having used the shaver in my rotation for a few months now, I will say that the Series 9 doesn’t disappoint. You won’t find a shaver that shaves as close as this one. The ergonomics remain well thought out, and nothing about the experience has worn on me.
It feels a lot more substantial as a device than other leading shavers in this price range. It has heft. And the motor can really push power to the clipping elements. Like most of these high-end shavers, the head is a little too wide to reach under my nose. But with the trimmer engaged and some ingenuity you can figure it out.
I think if you maintain this shaver, it should last you years. The initial investment can deter some, but if you can afford it then you won’t be disappointed.
What I Like About the Braun Series 9 9 9290cc
- I think the shaver offers as close a shave as you can get with a foil product.
- The design is attractive, built to last, and the head is ergonomically exceptional.
- This is a wet and dry shaver, and it’s waterproof so you can use it in the shower.
- The five blade parts cut hair in less time than other leading shavers.
- The long-lasting Li-Ion battery can run for about an hour, or a week of shaving.
- Clean and Charge station completely cleans, sanitizes, and dries your shaver within a few hours.
What Could Be Better
- Although worth the price, I can’t argue that it’s has a high initial investment.
- The LCD screen sticks to the basics and only displays information about the battery life,
- Braun combines the blades and foils into one cartridge, so if one dulls or breaks, you must buy both.
Having tested every feature of the Braun Series 9 9290cc, can I honestly say it’s worth the price? Well, that depends.
It’s worth the price if you’re looking for an electric foil razor that can reliably deliver a smooth, irritation free shave.
It’s one of the best I’ve tested, but you must keep in mind that it’s also just a shaver. If you were ready to spend the money on this product, then you should. At the same time, I can’t recommend this shaver to someone who can’t justifiably afford it.
The price tag is really the only downside to the Series 9. I like everything else about it. And I like it more and more when the price drops lower and lower. So, if this thing is on sale, I highly recommend picking it up.
Braun did a great job with this shaver, and the only problem is that they know they did — and they priced it accordingly.