Philips Norelco PQ208/40
Travel Electric Razor

I’ve reviewed quite a few travel shavers on my site and generally my opinion of them isn’t all that positive. Personally I think that non-travel electric razors have come far enough that they make the sacrifices inherent in travel shavers worth very little.

The main advantages are the low price and the dependence on disposable batteries. Because you can just buy fresh batteries from any store, it means that you don’t have to worry if you are going someplace where electricity supply may be an issue. That being said, let’s have a look at how the PQ208/40 stacks up.

Black is Beautiful

If you are going to make something that’s very inexpensive, but you still want it to look like it has some quality, the best color to make it is black. Black always improves the perceived quality of something. If this shaver was white, without changing anything else about it I’d bet it would look cheaper.

In this case simple was indeed better and Philips Norelco has gone for a very traditional design as far as rotary shavers go. Of course, non-travel rotaries tend to have at least three cutting heads, but this makes a flat profile impossible. So you have to trade off a slimmer device for one that requires more passes to shave and won’t navigate curves as well.

Floating on a Cloud

That may not be too much of a problem in this case though. Both of the heads are free-floating. Which means that (theoretically) they should follow the curves of your face a bit better than solidly mounted ones.

Philips Norelco says that the blades are self-sharpening, which means that they should never start tugging or pulling hairs – at least not more so than when they are new. Nonetheless, Philips says you should replace them every 12 months.

Traveling Foul

Apart from the small and light size, the disposable batteries, and the fact that it is described as a “travel shaver”, what other concessions are there to the life on the road?

Well, it comes with a protective cap and a soft travel pouch. That’s about it. I wish it had a built-in trimmer. The whole point of a travel device is to make you carry less. A trimmer is a must, so you’ll be forced to carry an additional device in order to trim your sideburns and such. I consider a lack of a pop-up trimmer to be a death knell for a travel shaver.

The 4-Minute Mile

The two AA batteries will get you about 60 minutes of shaving, according to the claims. However that will obviously depend on the quality of the batteries you choose to use. It may be a good idea to buy some decent rechargeables and only use disposables in a pinch.

It may well be that the razor has a relatively long run time, but according to customers it’s actually a slow shaver that takes longer to finish the job, so on balance you may not be better off than with a faster shaver that runs out of juice more quickly.

On the upside, that lower speed means that the shaver is very quiet, which can be advantageous when traveling, so as not to disturb other people.

Paying Customers

If I have to look at what people who have to live with this shaver are saying, it generally looks middling. I think it really helps that this is one of the cheapest travel shavers I’ve seen. Although the difference between this and my favorite, the Braun M90, is only about ten dollars.

As I suspected, people are really missing the inclusion of a trimmer. The shaving performance is not that great either; even for a rotary shaver the shave is not very close. There are complaints of hair-snagging and multiple passes to get anything shaved at all. Anything more than a 1-day beard and the shaver begins to struggle. It seems that the low price really looks like the only saving grace here.

Make Your Choice

Based on what I have read from users and the specifications that are on paper, there is no way I could recommend buying the Phillips Norelco. In every way the Braun M90 is a superior product and if it were my money that’s where I’d spend it. The truth is that this shaver is looking ready for retirement.