Philips Norelco SensoTouch 3D Electric Razor Review

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Back in high school and a majority of college, I used the Norelco 885RX electric razor you see in the middle of the picture below (I agree, I could not believe I still had it as well). It was well used and dying quickly.

In my junior year, I was given the sterling silver straight razor on the left and have been using it ever since. For years, I have been contemplating going back to using an electric razor (at least part time). So, when Julie offered the Philips Norelco SensoTouch 3D 1250X up for review, I quickly raised my hand to try it out and see how the technology/engineering has improved over two decades.

Admittedly, an electric razor is not really a gadget or tech-toy. But without a doubt, Norelco‘s styling and blade/head technology has definitely come a long way since the 80’s.

The ‘easy grip’ handle is comfortable and designed to enable you to attack your whiskers from nearly any angle.

Technical Specifications:

  • Contour-following: GyroFlex 3D contour following
  • Shaving System: UltraTrack shaving heads, Speed XL shaving heads, DualPrecision System, Patented Super Lift & Cut
  • Styling: Skin friendly precision trimmer Skin
  • Comfort: SkinGlideEase of use
  • Charging: 1 hour, Rechargeable, Cordless, Quick charge
  • Shaving time: Up to 17 days
  • Display: 3 level battery indicator, Battery  low indicator, Charge indicator, Travel lock, Cleaning indicator,  Replace shaving heads indicator
  • Wet & Dry: Wet and dry use
  • Cleaning: Washable Design
  • Handle: Slim handle, Easy grip, Anti-slip grip
  • Finishing: Ruby black frame, LED Display
  • Color: Black
  • Accessories Stand: Charging stand
  • Pouch: Soft pouch
  • Maintenance: Cleaning brush, Protection cap
  • Power Battery Type: Li-ion
  • Run time: 50 min
  • Automatic voltage: 100-240 V
  • Stand-by power: 0,15 W Max power consumption: 5,4 W
  • 2-year service guarantee

Package Contents:

  • Philips Norelco SensoTouch 3D Electric Razor
  • Charging stand
  • Power plug/cable
  • Carrying pouch
  • Protective blade cover
  • Cleaning brush
  • Instructions

The shaving system includes the following engineering: UltraTrack shaving heads, Speed XL shaving heads, DualPrecision System, patented super lift & cut design. This razor’s ‘3D’ shaving heads move independently from each other. They easily flow over the contours of my face, providing a smooth and painless shave.

The display is relatively high-tech and informative. It lets you know the battery level, charge indicator and whether the travel lock is on, whether cleaning (indicator) is needed, and whether you need to replace shaving heads. I really like how the razor lets you know when it needs your attention (aka a bit of TLC). The ability to lock this razor (so, it does not accidentally turn on, leaving it out of charge when I need it) during my travels is a big plus for me as well.

Like many electric razors, the 1250X has a sideburns/mustache trimmer that pops out of the rear of the handle.

Being the good gadgeteer I am, I decided to put the Norelco 1250 to a head-to-head test against my tried & true straight razor to see which is better.

I shaved the right side of my face with the Norelco 1250. It took less than a minute to get a nice, clean shave. The SensoTouch razors can be used either wet or dry and in conjunction with various shaving gels (it is washable too).

On the other side of my face, I wet the whiskers and added a bit of body wash soap. I used a brand new razor head. The shaving process takes a bit longer and is definitely messier (aka had to wash off the soap and then dry my face)….but I am used to it.

Visually there was little difference between shaving methods. But I do have to say, the electric razor side felt a hair (pardon the pun 😉 ) rougher than the straight razor side. That does not matter most days…..and when you take into account the ease and speed the Norelco shaves your face, its more than a fair trade.

The Philips Norelco SensoTouch 3D electric razor comes in seven varieties. The 1250X is their most basic model but other than better battery life and the included accessories, there is little difference between them. The MSRP on the Norelco 1250X is $199.99 but can be found for less on the Net. I will continue to use the Norelco 1250X but will not be retiring my straight razor either. My plan is to keep this electric razor at work for those mornings when 0400 comes way too early and I need to shave there after my first cup of coffee :D.


Product Information

Manufacturer:Philips Norelco
  • - Well made
  • - Close, pain-free shave
  • - Wet and dry use
  • - Washable
  • - Good battery life
  • - Three free-floating heads
  • - Informative display
  • - Travel lock function
  • - A little expensive

34 thoughts on “Philips Norelco SensoTouch 3D Electric Razor Review”

  1. Gadgeteer Comment Policy - Please read before commenting
  2. Nice review – great idea including actual use results. One note – I would call your tried-and-true razor a cartridge razor, rather than a straight razor. A straight razor is typically the Sweeney Todd, sharpen on a leather strop, folding single blade ( The successor to the straight razor was the safety razor, the thing that used flat, thin steel double-edged razor blades ( Following that was the cartridge razor, using Gillette-Trac-II-style cartridge blade – usually twin or triple blades, like the one you have. And, of course, electric shavers. I’ve used them all, including Braun, Remmington, and Norelco shavers. I agree with your assessment – blades usually win for closeness, but electric shavers are very convenient.

  3. @Fuzzy Wells: I agree with you regarding battery technology that Philishave have taken a step backwards when compare to their 8894. I bought one in 2002, and although their quoted shaving time was 100 minutes, through conditioning I manage to get it up to 169 minutes! Conditioning my 1290CC battery has upped it from 60 minutes to about 85 minutes. Although this is only half of what I got with my 8894, it is still good enough to go for 3-4 weeks without needing a charge (I shave 5 time a week).

    In terms of shave quality, however, although the 8894 was excellent for its time, the 1290 is way ahead — at least on my face and stubble. A few months ago, I posted a review of my experience with the 1290 here:

  4. I just replaced the battery in my Norelco, still going strong after 5 years. Now it lasts over a month on a charge because I upgraded the battery to a 1540mA from the 1250mA battery. 8 bucks for a new battery, versus 90-200 bucks for a new one.

  5. The “lift and cut” technology is harder on sensitive skin (as your picture aptly shows) than foil-head razors like Braun because it pulls (pinches) the beard hairs.

  6. As much as I love my gadgets, I shave with a 1959 Gillette Fat Boy, and use shave cream I whip up myself in a scuttle with a super badger brush. I enjoy every minute of my shaves…

  7. I too use the 8894XL and I get 142 minutes on my charge. Its interesting to hear people still using it and disappointing the battery is less on a newer, better razor.

  8. Battery life decreased because they put there (useless) electronics, and there is no room for a decent battery. Lower capacity = shorten time between charging = battery will live shorter and we need to buy NEW shaver sooner..

  9. I sent on 12/30/10, the necessary requirements for the $50.00 rebate for this shaver, purchased on 12/15/10, to P.O. Box 29308 Shawnee Mission, KS 66201-5367. I have not received the $50. The response I got on checking on line is that they do not have a record of this. I have the receipts to prove it. I purchased this item at Target in Mesa, Az. What can you do to help me?

  10. @Marlene Moe Sorry, but The Gadgeteer does not provide customer service for any products. We are a product review/news site.

  11. I don’t know about everyone else, but I inherited the genes that place facial hair in every conceivable spot. Judging by the pictures, I would equate the reviewer’s growth to peach fuzz. I’m jealous and wish I didn’t have so much facial hair to shave every day, it’s quite the task. I would like to see less of a subjective review if I’m going to waste my time reading this.

  12. Hmmm nice review thanks,
    Such conflicting points of view around the net, should i or shouldn’t I.
    Tempted to just stock with standard razors, but they’re a rip-off on so many levels too!

  13. No matter how good the 12xx series Norelco’s are, they are useless if they don’t work. Here’s the problem with these shavers. The charging stand was designed by an idiot. And, the razor cannot be charged without the stand.

    Due to a massive imbalance when sitting on the stand, the stand uses 3 suction cups to hold it to whatever (very smooth) surface it’s sitting on. Surrounding the suction cups are three moulded in plastic tabs that do a superb job of preventing the cups from adhering to anything. The shaver is held on the stand by two weak magnets that barely can hold it in place on a completely level surface let alone take even the slightest brush of a hand or towel passing by. The wiz kids at Philips need to take physics 101 and learn a bit more about something called gravity.

    More; the stand is really flimsy. If you plan on traveling with it, protect it well. With no protection, the stand is about the same envelope as the shaver and, yet another part, the charger combined. If that’s not acceptable, understand you can’t charge this shaver without it’s stand. If it is acceptable, protect the stand well as it’s delicate, bulky and required.

    Norelco did do a fine job of designing the stand in a manner that the shaver will slide through a hole in the bottom of the stand and be cradled very nicely. However, now it won’t fit in it’s pouch nor make contact with the charging nubs. I have no idea why this was done.

    I bought the 1250x. The first two times I charged it on a perfectly level granite counter, it fell off. It was returned.

    There are three reasons not to buy this product. 1), the stand is very poorly designed to the point of being useless. 2), the battery life is almost half what older Norelco’s were. 3), any company who displays the design incompetence embodied in the stand does not merit anyone’s business.

    I never used the shaver, it was returned before I could get a charge on it.

  14. My personal favorite by the Norelco series is the 7810XL, and I don’t feel as if it has been “upgraded” it is by far the best and I will continue to use it.

  15. I’m in the market for an electric shaver, but have never used one of any type or brand. So, for any of you old school electric razor old timers, any input on which is better the 2d or 3d…for that matter any other brand. Any advice would be much appreciative! Right now i have to shave every other day and would like to figure out a way to save money on razors!!!

  16. A good shave? Yes. But not being able to charge it without the stand? Bad. Battery life? Awful. My shaver went back quite soon after purchase, because the charge level which should be sixty minutes, was 48 minutes the first time of charging and reduced by at least two minutes each time it was charged thereafter. Battery conditioning did not help. Exactly the same thing has happened since the battery was supposedly replaced.
    Does anyone know how I can open this stupid thing so as to put some decent batteres in it?

  17. @ Billy D. Regarding your question “which is better the 2d or 3d” Possibly the most important difference, is the range of motions possible to the heads – and therefore how closely the shaver can track the contours of your particular face, jaw line, and neck. The 2D head can flex in two ways, the 3D in three ways. Another important difference is that the 3D models incorporate something Philips calls UltraTrack. It has been designed to get more types of hair. So if you need every bit of flexibility you can get and want extra shaving tracks, the 3D might be a must. Otherwise, you can save big by going with a 2D model.

  18. I loved this RQ1260 shaver before I bought it (great promo videos) and for about a month after. Then it began to irk me: the stupid charge cradle taking up space; the travel pouch way too big for the shaver but too small to fit the charging circus; the cutting zone is too far from the edge of the housing, so you can’t get those little hairs under your nose without stuffing one of the three “petals” up your nostril; trimmer is a toy, rendered almost useless by the overhanging main cutting heads; final straw, after 8 months, this morning it went troppo, suddenly. Won’t run for more than 5 secs, all the display symbols light up in sequence from the bottom to top. Have cleaned the cutting head so thoroughly I could do brain surgery with it, but machine refuses to play ball. Sooo hoping will get refund and not replacement unit.

  19. any suggestions for the best shaver for a black male? I have tried the 760cc and the 7380XL/18 so far, but they don’t work well. Even after 2 days of growth, these shavers can’t handle my beard.

  20. Hi! Thanks a lot for the information about the Norelco. I’ve been reading so many reviews of philips and braun but I finally bought a norelco 1280.
    I hope to get it soon and I’ll let you know what my review is!
    Thanks again, Gerry.

  21. To be perfectly honest, i was a bit hesitant to read through the review as it was dated, but having read it, must admit you cover lot of ground that is still relevant. Norelco shavers have come quite a long way in last five years with 3D leading all the way. My boyfriend has turned to rotary big time since last year due to falling quality of foils across the brands (he was an ardent Braun 790cc fan).

  22. this product is a cynical ripoff. it costs more to replace the shaving head unit, (which they recommend doing once a year), then the razor costs.???

  23. 2 yrs since my last comment. Now using a wet blade shave (Schick 5 blade system). Sooo much cleaner/closer shave (on face and important junk below waist) without the skin abrasion the electric shaver causes. Just a nicer experience too. I recommend chucking out the expensive toys and enjoying a classic wet shave again.

  24. To be honest, this article is a bit dated. However, a lot of what you mention about norelco shavers still seem pretty relevant. I’m more of a braun series 7 guy, although I’m digging the philips norelco 3d shaver… I might just give it a shot.

  25. I still had my Norelco 885RX until Christmas of 2015. Had it since the late 80’s and is now replaced with the Norelco shaver 4100 which I received for christmas. The battery had failed many years ago so I had no longer been able to use the cordless function for the past 8 years. I replaced the blades multiple times for which it extended it’s usefulness. But in the last few years the motor has grown weak and I feel that the time has come to replace it. Based on the manual of the 4100 it says it will last about 50 minutes on a full charge. Which seems less than previous models. Not sure what type of battery it uses but would think that with some type of Lithium it would last a lot longer. I prefer electric over a manual blade.

  26. All the pictures look great :).
    Shaving technology has been improved since traditional shave.
    I love clean shave and looks like Philips Norelco SensoTouch 3D Electric Razor is a good option. Thanks a lots.

    1. Hi Charlie, the Philips Sensotouch 3D range was superseded by the Series 9000 range in 2014, and just a few months ago the Series 9000 Prestige was introduced that sits at the top of the Philips face shaver range.

      When you say “fair hair”, are you referring to the hair colour or that it’s fine (as opposed to coarse) hair?

      In my opinion, Philips Series 9000 do provide a very close shave, but it does take 2-3 weeks for your skin to get used to the action of the shaver.

      Also in my opinion, Braun Series 7 or Series 9 shavers provide the most comfortable shave (I have owned both). While they provide very good results, they don’t shave quite as close as the Philips Series 9000.

      Hope this helps!

  27. Thank you so much for sharing this post with us . First I interested in buying Philips Norelco Beard Trimmer Series 7200 but I am confused about its battery longevity. Now then I read your post, it’s make change decision.

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