When your goal is to make something cooler than it already is, the lowest hanging fruit has got to be attaching a laser to it. Name one thing that isn’t automatically cooler if it has a laser.
The idea is actually simple, since most of us can’t really shave a perfectly straight edge in our facial hair, the 9100 offers a precise method of making sure your beard is symmetrical perfection. That sounds awesome, but does it work well enough to make it worth it?
The 9100 is pretty boring to look at. Philips Norelco isn’t exactly known for amazing designs in the first place and the 9100 is pretty ho-hum even by their standards. It’s OK, I guess, just nothing special.
The whole theme of the 9100 is precision, as it’s geared for stubble and mustache. The blades are self-sharpening chromium steel, the trimmer has two different edges for different types of precision trimming, and of course the laser projects straight beard lines directly on your face in order to help you shave the perfect Ken doll beard. Strangely however, this shaver only has 17 length presets; that’s one of the lowest figures I’ve seen. If you were looking for maintenance of a longer beard, look elsewhere. Those 17 increments are between 0.4 and 7mm. In its defense, the increments are a precise 0.2mm, but that still severely limits who will find this product useful.
Powering up that laser luckily does not seem to hurt battery life too much. An hour of charging will get you an hour of trimming from the built-in lithium-ion battery. Not too bad at all. There doesn’t seem to be a quick-charge feature for emergencies, but presumably a five minute charge will give you five minutes of trim, which would be functionally equivalent. Either way, this trimmer supports corded and cordless use, which means that you’ll probably be fine.
On average, the customer impressions of this product are not bad, but some people complain that the 9100 is a bit weak and struggles to trim even moderately thick beards. In practice, the laser gimmick also doesn’t seem to work all that well, since of course the laser moves around with the trimmer. The best you can do is check after the fact how bad your line is, but it doesn’t really help make them any straighter.
Philips Norelco makes plenty of very nice and very good trimmers, and this one isn’t bad either, but it’s definitely not the best one you can find.