Panasonic ES-LA63-S Arc
4 Electric Razor
4 Electric Razor
There have been jokes about the increasing number of blades on manual razors for years. At some point in the past someone decided that adding more blades was not only a good way to improve shaving performance, but an amazing marketing opportunity. After all “more blades are better” is a simple idea for the average consumer to understand. The last time I checked, we were already up to five blades on manual razors – who knows if that’s where it will stop?
Anyway, I was reminded of this when I saw the main selling point of the Arc4 shaving system that this Panasonic razor has been equipped with. I’m used to seeing three cutting elements on higher end razors, but Panasonic goes one better with the Arc4.
Big Head Syndrome
I have to say that I am not a fan of the looks the Arc4 has. First of all, it looks a bit dated. Like something designed in the early 90s or late 80s. I also don’t like the big, oversized head. The whole thing just looks sort of awkward. The whole Arc range shares this same basic design, so that’s not good in my opinion. It is just an opinion though, you can think whatever you want.
I do like the blue LCD display, which gives it a bit more of the “cool” factor.
The buzzwords flow thick and fast when Panasonic talk about the Arc4 system. They describe the blades as a product of “nano technology”, but in reality the blades are just very, very thin. Which of course equates to them being very sharp.
The blades are angled at thirty degrees and small combs lift and feed the hairs into the blades.
The head also has a wide range of pivot potential, but it doesn’t look like the four cutting elements have independent suspension as some more expensive models do. This is made up for, to a certain extent, by the fact that the foil surface is curved (hence the “Arc” name), which should achieve much the same result with a mechanically simpler solution.
Panasonic is also making a big noise in its marketing about the linear motor in this shaver. A linear motor is basically an unrolled rotary electric motor that produces movement in a straight line. This means you don’t lost power translating rotation to reciprocation, for example. To cut through the mumbo-jumbo, this means that in theory the motor should be more efficient and therefore produce more power for the same energy use.
Panasonic says their motor is almost 50 percent faster at 14,000 cycles per minute than the average 10,000 cycles per minute shaver. They also claim that this motor design makes for something significantly quieter as well. Another potentially important feature of the linear motor is the fact that it performs at full spec even as the battery reaches empty. It also stresses the battery less, which should mean that it lasts longer before becoming a paperweight.
The Arc4 supports wet and dry functionality, which means that you can easily rinse it and use either foam or gel while shaving in the shower. A pretty essential feature in my book and a shaver that doesn’t do well in the wet is an automatic pass for me. It’s pretty cool that the shaver can use sonic vibrations to assist your cleaning efforts while rinsing it. I’ve seen sonics used to help with the actual shaving, but this is an angle I hadn’t thought of personally.
The electronic bits are quite nice, I have to admit. There is a 10-stage LED indicator light that lets you know when the battery is low and when it’s time to clean or replace the head. The battery takes an hour to charge, which Panasonic says is good for about 40 minutes of shaving. Well, they say 14 three-minute shaves, which comes to about that number. That’s perfectly acceptable. Some might even say, above average.
The Real World
Looking at the experiences customers have had with the Arc4, it’s clear that this is an excellent razor. People say that the shave is very close and smooth, especially when shaving wet.
Overall, at just over a hundred bucks, the Arc4 represents amazing value for money. It’s nearly a high-end shave for mid-range money, and that’s hard to argue with. I can’t really think of anything else in this price range that comes close.