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Philips Norelco Premium Man’s Care Kit – S8880/88 Review

In case you didn’t know, Norelco is the Philips brand name for their electric shavers, hence the inclusion of that name in its Norelco Premium men’s care electric shaver and toothbrush kit. The kit includes the IconiQ special edition shaver and the DiamondClean sonic toothbrush, along with a wireless charger.

IconiQ special edition shaver

Product overview

First impressions are good. The shaver makes use of premium materials, such as a machined aluminium power switch, ceramic black paint and metallic rose gold accents. Both devices feature that black and gold look, and thanks to that they definitely convey an aura of sophistication, even indulgence. In fact, I would say that they look ‘retro-futurist sophisticated’, which is to say that I don’t think they would look entirely out of place in the bathroom of a Victorian gentleman-inventor.

Key features & technologies

So, they look luxurious, and a luxurious look is always good, but how do they perform? Well, they don’t do anything unless they are fully charged, but you have the rather convenient wireless charging pad to take care of that. It can charge all Qi-enabled devices, including a Qi-enabled smartphone. If you’re not familiar with the term, and a lot of people aren’t, it’s really rather simple. Qi( ) is an industry accepted standard for wireless charging. The pad itself isn’t completely ‘wireless’ as it still has to be connected to a mains power supply, but the connection between your devices and the pad is wireless, so they only need to be sitting on it to charge. It’s not often that you need to connect the device with your eyes closed, but with Qi, if you want to then you can!

key features of norelco

It may charge more slowly than a direct connection, but apparently this is down to the limitations of the supplied power adapter. Presumably if you bought your own power ‘brick’, or happened to have one lying around, you would get a quicker charge.

IconiQ special edition shaver

The IconiQ special edition shaver feels comfortable in the hand as well as looking good too. It features V-Track Precision Blades, which Philips claims deliver a close shave in fewer strokes. I’d have to say that this appears to be true. It works thanks to a series of small V shaped guides on the rotating cutting heads. Their job is to direct hairs into the perfect position to meet the best cutting edge, and they can even cope with raising hairs that have been flattened or are different lengths. The effect of this is that you get a claimed 30% closer shave in fewer strokes, while leaving your skin in good condition.

shaver head

It certainly feels like a comfortable shave and does seem to cut through the work more quickly than other shavers that I’ve tried. The blades are supposedly self-sharpening which means that you get the same quality of shave each day. They do, of course wear out though, and it’s recommended that you replace the heads every two years (look for Norelco Shaver series 9000 Shaving heads) to get back to that fresh out-of-the-box sharpness.

self sharpending

The second innovative technology that the IconiQ special edition shaver brings to the table is its 8-directional ContourDetect technology, which claims to follow every contour of your face and neck. The blurb says that you will shave 20% more hairs in a single pass, and get an extremely close, smooth shave.

This does work well. The fancy sounding name describes a simple but effective feature. Each of the three shaving heads is able to swivel a few degrees independently of the rest, which means that they aren’t all pointing the same way when you’re moving them over the curves of your chin. Instead, each one flexes so that it can go where it’s supposed to.

If you’re someone who likes a wet shave, then you needn’t throw your gel or foam away just yet. As well as a comfortable dry shave, the IconiQ lets you also hop in the shower and use it wet. It obviously isn’t quite as close as a wet shave, but the difference is so small as to not be a problem.

groom with your shaver

How do you feel when shaving with IconiQ special edition shave?

I’ve been a wet shave man for more years than I’d care to remember (or admit to) and I’ve tried many different types of razor. It might just be that I’m a bit clumsy, but all the nicks and cuts that I always seemed to pick up from using razors steered me eventually towards the IconiQ. Since I switched I have to say that I have been pleasantly surprised at the result. Not wet-shave close of course, which is never likely to happen, but all the same, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it.

This is a well-designed electric shaver that is a pleasure to look at and a pleasure to use. It performs well and would appeal to a broad cross-section of users, although it has to be said, a broad cross-section of users who can afford to spend quite a large sum of money on removing their facial hair. For that reason and given the looks, it’s probably going to be more popular with affluent men in their 40s.

Accessories of IconiQ shaver

One rather neat feature of the package is a click-on brush that claims to ‘cleanse your face more thoroughly than washing by hand.’ It’s a brush that does give you the kind of pampered feel that you get if you went to the barber, so it’s well worth a try. Add the cleanser of your choice and it gets rid of dead skin cells and apparently increases circulation to the skin. Whatever the science is, it does feel nice.

beard style head

The SmartClick Beard Styler attachment clicks on easily and offers you 5 length settings so you can shape yourself a beard that is either stubbly or neatly trimmed. It has rounded tips and combs that noticeably help to avoid skin irritation, so another useful addition to the ensemble there.

5 length settingsSonicare DiamondClean

Sonicare DiamondClean

With similar attention paid to its appearance and quality, this rather elegant electric toothbrush looks like the perfect complement to the IconiQ shaver. Whiter, healthier teeth for life’ is what Philips say you will get, and after using it for a while it’s hard to dispute that it does give you a very clean-feeling mouth. The 31,000 movements a minute sound like they could strip paint, but the action is actually gentle and even enjoyable, like a massage for your teeth. The speed whips the paste into a froth of bubbles which helps with the cleaning process.

The brush comes with 1 brush head, a glass charger, and a USB travel charger. It has 5 brushing modes and promises a whiter smile in 1 week when used with Philips’s DiamondClean brush head. The head clicks on easily and features densely packed stain removal bristles in the centre which are claimed to make your smile 100% whiter in just 7 days and to remove 7 times more plaque from the gum line compared to a manual toothbrush. The claim for gum health is that it will improve in just two weeks.

functions of the electric toothbrush from philips


The 5 modes are called Polish, Sensitive, Clean, Gum Health, and White, and the differences between them are partly down to timing and partly down to speed. For instance, Gum Health adds half a minute of low power brushing at the end of the standard 2-minute program to improve circulation and encourage repair. It’s hard to say whether this does anything or not though. White mode adds 30 seconds for you to concentrate on the front teeth. There’s a slight gimmick aspect to the cleaning modes but they are quite useful when you want to focus on a particular type of result.

The Quadpacer prompts you to spend 30 seconds on each quadrant of your mouth and the brush has an angled neck to help you get into harder to reach areas, which I found helpful.

Since this is a high-end offering you might be wondering if you are missing out by not being given the DiamondClean Smart brush. I don’t think you are missing out. The smart version is twice as expensive, and for that you get brush head detection that selects the most appropriate brushing mode, a pressure sensor and a smart APP for your phone that gives you real-time brushing advice and tracking of your habits. All convenient features, but not worth the extra money in my opinion. Both clean your teeth just as well as far as I can tell, so you can see why Philips felt safe to include the cheaper option, because it is still a great brush.


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