What I like
- Excellent shave
What I don’t like
- Not worth the ‘upgrade'; stick to the Mach 3
The battle for the hearts and minds of shavers continues with the introduction of the Gillette M3Power, which at this writing is the first and only powered cartridge razor system.
The handle is slightly thicker than the standard Mach 3 handle, and it’s a bit longer too (about the length of the shaving cartridge, incidentally). Even with the battery installed, though, the M3Power is lighter than the Mach 3. I prefer the feel of the Mach 3 handle, but it didn’t take too long to get used to the M3Power’s handle.
There’s a power button on the top of the handle close to the middle. The positioning is a little awkward; it’s at a spot where I often put my finger to manipulate the handle. As a result, you can find yourself turning the vibration on or off without intending to do so.
The M3Power handle will work with any Mach 3 blade (the original Mach 3, the Mach 3 Turbo, or the new M3Power blades). The new blades that come with it apparently have some sort of new coating on them to make them glide better, or at least so they claim. I didn’t notice any real difference between the different blades except that this one is green, and it’s even more expensive than the previous Mach 3 blades.
Aside from the blade, the big new feature with the M3Power is that it vibrates. The commercials claim that “micropulses” from the vibrating handle will make your hair stand up straighter, resulting n a closer shave. Frankly, I didn’t find those commercials very convincing, and I certainly didn’t notice any difference in the overall closeness of the shave, so I find those claims dubious.
In order to test whether or not the vibration feature actually made any difference, I shaved half of my head with the vibrator active, the other half without. The next shave I switched sides, so that differences due to the geography of my head wouldn’t be a factor. I can’t find any visible difference between the closeness of the shaves, and there’s no noticeable difference with regard to the return of the stubble either.
The vibration does cause a difference in sensation. The buzzing sensation caused by the vibration is weird at first, but you get used to it. It’s not particularly comfortable or uncomfortable, just different. After shaving with the vibration feature, though, I did notice that non-vibrating razors seem to drag a bit more. That is, I was more conscious of the dragging of the blade without the vibration.
The thing is, I’m not sure it’s really possible to get a closer shave than the ones we currently get from razors like the Mach 3 or the Schick Quattro. The closeness of a Mach 3 shave is just about perfect, as it doesn’t miss much of anything that sticks out above the skin. It’s not possible to get below the skin with a razor (not that we’d necessarily want to). Aside from the gimmick products (like a vibrating handle), I don’t know if there’s any room for improvement at this point.
Overall, the M3Power delivers the same quality and comfort that I’ve come to expect from the Mach 3 line. It’s an excellent razor, and normally I would highly recommend it. But you can get this same quality and comfort from a regular Mach 3, and it’s cheaper. With the M3Power, you’re not only paying more for the handle and the blades, but you have to pay for a new battery every once in a while as well, for no noticeable benefit.
So my advice is: don’t bother. Stick with the Mach 3, and save yourself the money. Unless, of course, you really want a vibrating razor.