The Philips HQ7290 is for the most part a very good, albeit slightly costly electric razor which stands out as much for its waterproof shaving and very quiet operation as anything else. F1 fans will no doubt be thrilled by the Williams F1 branding on the razor as well. It’s not the most feature-rich razor available, however, which is a touch disappointing given the price.
Initial installation involves charging the razor for 12 hours with the supplied charger which comes with the predictable curly charging cable. Aside from the razor itself the box contents are fairly meagre – just a cleaning brush and the shaver’s protective cap, along with the slender manual. A sticker on the back of the razor reminds you of the 12 hour recharging requirement, so there’s little need to refer to the manual much, if at all.
The R720A uses three rotary blades mounted on what Philips calls its Reflex Action System – this is essentially a spring mounting that lets you push the razor onto your face with varying degrees of pressure for a smoother or rougher shave. Razor operation is controlled via a single small button on the front face of the razor body. The power button sits above the very simple charging and low power indicators, which only come on when the unit is either charging or the battery is low; you’re otherwise just left guessing how much power is really left. The rear of the shaver houses a small trimming attachment, which sits right above its release button. This is nervous territory, as releasing it involves running your thumb just over where the blades are. The best aspect of the HQ7290’s physical design is in the side grips, which fit comfortably thanks to the clever placement of two rubber thumbrests on either side of the razor.
The first thing we noticed about the HQ7290 was how quiet its shaving motor was. It’s in stark contrast to the noisy nature of its F1 branding, but if you’re after a shaver that you can use without waking up anyone nearby, this is a good fit. Shave quality, once we’d adjusted to using the HQ7290, was generally quite good, although we found the Reflex Action System a little pointless, as we almost always tended to be pushing in with full force to get the best possible shave anyway. Although we were still wary of accidentally shaving our thumbs with the trimmer, it too worked well in our testing.
As it’s fully waterproof it’s also suitable for shower shaving, and it’s exceptionally easy to clean, with just a few seconds under a hot tap being all that was needed to rinse away any beard remnants each time we shaved.
The HQ7290 offers a good shave, and is a good fit for F1 afficianados, but it’s let down by the slightly higher than average asking price and lack of a discrete power display.
Reviewer: Alex Kidman