Braun Series-3 3040
Electric Men’s Razor

The first thing that caught my eye about this shaver (as intended) is that this is the official shaver of the American NFL. That’s the National Football League for those of you who don’t follow U.S. sports.

From a design perspective I can totally see it. This shaver does make me think of sportiness. The bold blue-green sides scream words like “gym” and “sports bag” in my mind. It’s all rubberized and grippy; almost like something from BodyGlove. Do I like the looks? Not really, but I can appreciate people who do and I honestly think the looks of the 3040 are perfect for the intended market and audience.

Heading the Right Way

As with most razors like this, most of the defining features are to be found in the head itself. As you can tell, this is a foil-shaver – a design that Braun specializes in and sort of considers its home turf.

This is a mid-range model, so you may be surprised to learn that it sports no less than three independently-floating cutting elements. These deal with different length hairs, getting around one of the biggest problems with single-foil razors: hair length. When using a razor with only a single cutting element you better hope your facial hair falls within its optimal length range, because if not you aren’t cutting anything before trimming it down to a more manageable length.

The 3040 should theoretically handle that in a single stroke. Braun has also built in what it calls “microcombs”, which are tiny guides which feed hairs uniformly into the foils.

Inventing yet another marketing buzzword, the foils on this particular razor are called “SensoFoils”. As with every other foil Braun makes, they say this will give you a super close shave. Look, it’s common knowledge that Braun does make some of the best foils around, but it’s impossible for them all to be the “best” when measured against each other. I think companies like these bargain on the subjectivity of smoothness. Either way, the SensoFoils are probably quite good, just not to the hyperbolic extent Braun insists.

I was, however, impressed by the idea of “precision mode” where you can individually adjust the three floating elements to suit a specific issue with your facial shape. However, no customer even mention this feature and I have no idea how it’s supposed to work or how easy it is to do these adjustments, so really, I can’t factor it into the verdict.

Spray and Pray?

The 3040 is a wet and dry model. This means you can have a completely dry shave, use gel, use foam, and even shave in the shower. Honestly, I would have been insulted of a razor that looks like a scuba diver turned out not to be waterproof. It’s fully washable and can be submerged, which is always a major convenience.

It’s Electric

Unlike most new razors, the 3040 still uses Ni-MH battery technology rather than lithium ion tech. Honestly, that’s not a huge issue and may be better for this sort of device. A full charge takes a mere 60 minutes. That gives you 45 minutes of shaving or about nine shave’s worth of juice. Most importantly, a 5-minute quick charge will get you enough juice for one five-minute shave. There’s an LED battery readout as well that let’s you know when it is time to charge. Obviously this only works cordlessly.

That’s Just, Like Your Opinion, Man

So what do owners have to say? Generally there’s positive praise for the 3040. Most complaints come from people who don’t seem to understand that their week’s worth of beard growth is in fact more than the three day’s worth the 3040 is rated for.

What does seem to be the case is that you have to learn a few tricks with this razor in order to consistently get a good shave. It appears to perform significantly better wet than dry as well, so if you prefer a gel or foam shave this should move further up your list.

I suspect that all the features meant to help with a closer shave on 3-day beards or less make the hair tugging issues worse for beards longer than this. I don’t blame Braun – they’ve clearly said what the razor is meant for – that’s customer error.

One complaint I have seen consistently is a poor fit of the charging cord into its socket. Apparently it keeps popping out at the slightest disturbance. That’s not the kind of quality I expect from Braun, but it seems it’s the truth.

Judgment Call

This one is pretty tough to call. If the 3040 was an outright budget model I would say that it was pretty good and I could live with some of the issues people mention. It is, however, just out of what I would consider “budget”, so I have to be a little harder on it. For a hundred bucks I probably would give this a skip, but if it were on sale I think you’d have a winner.

Tags: