Panasonic Milano Review:
This Panasonic Milano has a lot to live up to. It’s the little brother to the ER-GB80-S. That trimmer costs twice as much as this one, doesn’t have a nice friendly name like “Milano”, and kicks all sorts of behind. I consider the GB80 to be one of the best beard trimmers money can buy. Still it isn’t exactly cheap; the Milano’s price is much more palatable. So the question is, how much of what makes the GB80 would you have to sacrifice if you bought the GB40 instead?
Set Phasers To Stunning
The Milano looks nothing like the other trimmer in this series. It turns out that this is a good thing. I thought that the GB80 was a good looking machine, but the GB40 makes it look like an ugly robot. I really like the design of the GB40. It reminds me a lot of the technology design from the 90s Star Trek shows. The gradation of the different gray components is especially pretty to me.
The ergonomics of the trimmer look very comfortable, with a rubberized grip and a nice tapered middle.
Got the Moves
The Milano uses the same 45-degree stainless steel blades that got such rave reviews in the GB80. These hypoallergenic blades are also kind to sensitive skin. That’s especially important for skin that has spent a lot of time hidden under thick beard growth.
This is a multifunction trimmer, which means you can also use it on body hair. Just take off the comb attachment and you can shave your chest, arms, and other areas as well.
The first big difference we see in this cheaper model is the reduced number of length setting you can dial in using – you guessed it – a dial.
The GB80 had a full 39 length settings, but the Milano shaves that figure down to only 19. The longest beard length that it supports is 10mm. The lowest is 0.5 with 19 0.5mm increments in between those points. The GB80 goes all the way to 20mm, so if that’s what you need the choice has already been made for you.
The Milano is waterproof so you can wash it, but you can also trim wet with cream or foam. That’s a pretty awesome feature and not one that I had considered in a beard trimmer before.
I also really like the water drain feature. There is a special drain port that you can pour water into which channels it to exactly the right place it needs to go in order to clean the stainless blades. This is such a smart design feature and Panasonic deserves a lot of credit for it. Cleaning hair trimmers and electric shavers is, quite frankly, gross, and I really appreciate this.
One of the negatives, in my opinion, is the reliance of the the GB40 on NiMH technology for its batteries rather than the more modern lithium. I’m sure Panasonic has their reasons, but NiMH batteries can take a long time to charge. In the case of the Milano, it’s pretty bad. A twenty hour charge will give you 50 minutes of operation, putting it on par with its more expensive counterpart. The first charge is apparently a staggering 30 hours.
Panasonic also includes a very attractive charging stand, so you’ll have no excuse for having failed to keep your trimmer juiced up. In any event, you can use this trimmer corded as well, which also mitigates the problem of not having any quick-charge capability.
Penny for Your Thoughts?
The Milano is a very compelling product. Overall, I don’t think you’d be giving up much by saving half your cash and buying this instead of the GB80. However, if you want to maintain a longer beard you’ll have little choice.
This is also missing the slide-out trimmer that lets you cut edges and do fine work.
The people who have bought it are pretty happy with its trimming ability. Like me, they lament the long charging times and it turns out that if you trim wet all the time or rinse often with water you also have to oil the blades a bit frequently. At least the official guidelines say that you have to oil the blades basically after every trim. In practice, no one actually does this.
I really think that the GB40 Milano is an excellent trimmer and if you are of the short-bearded persuasion you’ll have no luck finding something this good at this price.