Released in 2010, the Braun series 7 is definitely the grandfather of electric shavers.
The design remains relatively unchanged since it’s original release over 5 years ago. So the question is – Can the Series 7 compete with the modern offerings of the major brands?
There are three current Braun Series 7 models available on the American Market:
799cc-6 – Premium silver model. Comes with all features. Cleaning station included. Can be used with shaving foam
790cc-4 – As above but cannot be used with shaving foam.
797cc-7 – As above but features a turbo mode for 12% faster cutting. In our testing of this model the shaver did not cut noticibly better than tthe 790cc-4
760cc-4: – Black model. The major difference between this and the above model is that the cleaning dock lacks the following features:
- Automatic clean
- Quick clean
- Hygiene indicator
720s-4 – Same as 760cc-4 but without cleaning dock.
Braun Series 7 Electric Shaver
What’s in the Box?
If you open up the box of the series 7 this is what you will see:
That’s a fair bit of stuff. Let’s break it down piece by piece. Starting with the instruction manual:
I was shocked when I opened the Instruction book, it was actually set out in a logical manner AND easy to read. If you have read any of our other reviews (Including Braun’s top of the line Series 9) then you will fully know my thoughts on Braun instruction manuals:
They suck. They suck really bad.
So it appears that once upon a time Braun was able to make an easy to read instruction manual. But somewhere along the line they lost their way and chose the path of evil, creating the incredibly awful instruction manuals that accompany the rest of their modern shaving line.
Next up is the star of the box, the Series 7 Shaver:
I will be examining the shaver in much more detail further down the review. But for now let’s continue exploring the Series 7 box.
Those of you who love to travel will be pleased to know Braun has included a protective travel case:
Curiously, the case is softer than that of the Series 5 and series 7 and gives easily when pressed.
Running along the hinge of case is a mesh air vent. This vent will either be your best friend or worst enemy.
On the plus side the vent allows air to freely circulate through the case. If you place your still wet shaver inside you won’t have to worry about mold or mildew growing inside the case due to the ventilation.
But on the flipside, the mesh also allows pieces of dust, dirt and fluff (you know, the stuff that sits at the bottom of your bag or luggage) to freely enter the case.
Of course, if you only shave in the comfort of your own bathroom then chances are you will not even use the travel case at all.
Note: Braun’s website claims that the 790cc-4 comes with a “Premium Leather Pouch”. The travel case that came our Series 7 box DEFINITELY is not leather.
At the bottom of the box you will find a cleaning brush roughly the size of your thumb.
If you have ever bought a Braun electric shaver before then this brush will look very familiar.
Braun includes this brush on just about every single one of their electric shavers.
There really isn’t much to say about it. It may be a cheap bit of plastic with bristles but it gets the job done when you need to sweep away hair clippings.
But if you want the best possible clean for your shaver then you won’t even look twice at the cleaning brush. The cleaning station is where it’s at:
Not only does the handy little dock clean your shaver without any effort on your part, but it also recharges it too.
In our opinion Braun’s cleaning stations work better than any other of the big name shaver brands. The secret behind this hides inside the Cleaning Cartridge:
Inside the cleaning cartridge is an alcohol solution that not only cleans but also lubricates the blades of the series 7 shaver.
Braun is the only electric shaver brand to use an alcohol based solution and there is a reason for this:
Many delivery services classify alcohol in any quantity as a hazardous substance. As a result, this shaver will be shipped by ground if you live in the USA. If you plan to order internationally (have it shipped by air) it is likely you will have to pay a hazardous materials handling fee, although this is generally a fairly small amount.
Finally we come to the last item in the box, the charger:
I am not happy to see the return of Braun’s annoying curly cord charger. You know that coiled cord you find on your office phone? That’s exactly what Braun has chosen to go with.
While coiled cords are no doubt fun to play with and wrap around your finger nicely, it hides a serious problem. The cord is short. VERY short. Even when fully stretched out it is shorter than any other electric shaver brand.
This can cause a bit of a headache if your power outlet is a fair distance from where you want to charge your shaver.
And that is the last accessory you will find in the Series 7 box. Now let’s take a closer look at the shaver itself.
The Braun Series 7 Electric Shaver
If you have even glimpsed the other shavers in Braun’s “Series” range then the first thing that will hit you is just how dated the Series 7 looks.
But you know the saying:
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it
That is very likely the road Braun has decided to travel down. The Series 7 is perhaps the most popular out of Braun’s entire shaver range and messing with it’s design is just asking for backlash from it’s loyal fan base.
While unintentional, the matte gunmetal colored exterior has one benefit over the other shavers in Braun’s range.
It is NOT a fingerprint magnet.
While the polished chrome beast that is the Braun series 9 may look nice out of the box, it does not stay like that for long. Finger prints and watermarks are incredibly visible on it’s shiny surface.
Towards the center of the shaver you will find the power button. And to be frank; as far as power buttons go, it sucks.
Look closely at the power button in the picture above. You would assume that you could press the entire silver ring to turn the shaver on.
Unfortunately, this just isn’t the case and unless you press that really small blue button in the center, you will be unable to turn the shaver on.
Now the reason for this is the Braun series 7 doesn’t actually have a travel lock. So the design team has deliberately made it difficult for the button to be pushed by mistake at the bottom of your bag or suitcase when you travel.
But the end result is that it makes turning on the Series 7 Shaver a much trickier job than it needs to be. If you shave exclusively in the comfort of your own bathroom then this feature is pointless
Just below the power button you will notice two silver semi-circles, maked with a “plus” and “minus”.
These are used to cycle through one of three different speed settings, from sensitive to intensive.
Further down the handle, just below the Braun logo, you will see a small little indentation. This is the reset button. When your shaver hits 18 months of use, a “change shaver head” logo will appear on the indicator screen.
Pressing the reset button with a pen when you have changed the shaver head will reset the internal timer so that the warning can appear 18months later again.
It seems odd that a button that only needs to be pressed once every 18 months is located in such an obvious spot on the Series 7 body. The shaver would definitely look better without it.
At the base of the shaver body is a circular LCD screen:
Every other electric shaver in this price range uses easy to see light-up indicators. To show you your remaining battery charge. Not the series 7.
Instead, on the base of the shaver you will find a small LCD display screen, similar to what you would find on a calculator. And just like a calculator screen, it is easiest to read in bright light.
Shaving is basically the first thing I do when I wake up. And I had trouble reading the screen as my eyes tried to adjust to the day. Even the lower model Series 5 shaver we reviewed has a bright easy to read screen.
Like all the other Braun shavers, a trimmer is included to help detail your goatee, mustache or sideburns. Unlike the other Braun shavers, the trimmer is found on the front:
The beard trimmer sticks out horizontally to the body of the series 7. Just like the Panasonic Arc 5 I reviewed earlier.
I am a huge fan of the horizontal trimmers. They are much easier to to use than the trimmers that sit too close to the head of the shaver. The horizontal design makes it much easier to see the area you are shaving.
To activate the pop-up trimmer you place your thumb over the four silver ridges on the front of your Series 7.
With your thumb in place, you slide the ridges up and; as if by magic, the trimmer pops up!
Maybe I have been spoiled by the incredibly smooth release found on the Series 9 and Series 5 (They have the same trimmer). But releasing the pop-up trimmer of the Series 7 is jerky and difficult.
Too much pressure was required to slide the release for my liking. And if you have shaving cream or water on your hands then your thumb can slide right off, without releasing the trimmer.
Once the trimmer has popped up it cuts well enough. We found the trimmer to be ideal for detailing on the go. But if you want something to routinely trim your bushy beard then you are better off buying a dedicated beard trimmer.
It is also worth mentioning that the trimmer works best when shaving with downward motions. We often found the trimmer folding back down when upwards motions were used.
The rear of the Braun Series 7 is much less exciting than the front:
The rear of the Series 7 is dominated by black rubber. The rubber is very easy to grasp, even if your hands are covered in shaving foam.
About a third of the way down the rear you will notice two metal studs:
The cleaning station charges your Series 7 Shaver through these studs. Rather than needing to constantly plug and unplug the charging cord, you simply place the shaver in the cleaning station and your Series 7 will immediately begin to charge. Easy peasy.
Of course if you do still want to use the charging cord you have that option to. Located towards the bottom of the rear is the charging socket:
Simply plug the charging cable in here and your shaver will start charging away.
With the body of the shaver thoroughly examined it’s time to take a closer look at the shaving head:
The shaving head is made up of three separate parts that have very obviously been named by Braun’s marketing department:
ActiveLift Trimmer: The center trimmer on the shaving head lifts and cuts flat laying hairs (like the kind you often find on your neck).
OptiFoil: The two outer foil guards give a close finishing shave.
While this set up may have once been revolutionary, it is pretty much standard on most foil shavers you will come across nowadays.
In fact, it is SO STANDARD that Braun uses the exact same cutting head on their Series 5.
Check it out:
The only thing different is that the metal base of the Series 5 shaving head is slightly taller than the series 7.
Still not convinced?
You can actually take a Series 7 shaving head , whack it on your Series 5 perfectly:
Oh, and it even works perfectly when you turn the shaver on.
So that begs the question:
Why would you choose the Series 7 over the series 5?
I’ll be honest. As of this point in the review I cannot tell you. And that is a worry. Let’s soldier on and hopefully I will be able to come up with an answer to this very important question.
Like the Series 3, 5 and 9; the Series 7 shaver uses an irregular foil pattern:
Braun is the only shaving company to use an irregular foil pattern and we are somewhat puzzled as to why that is. If anything we found that the uniform foil pattern in the Panasonic shavers cut slightly better.
Each of the three shaving heads can pivot left and right:
This allows the shaving heads to remain in contact with your skin as you shave over contoured areas of your face such as your jaw line.
But it’s not just the shaving heads that are flexible, the whole shaving block itself can move back and forth:
The pivoting shaving heads and block work together to ensure the blades remain close to your skin no matter where you shave.
A button on the side of the shaving block allows you to lock the head into a single position. I found it much easier to shave under my nose without all the extra movement.
Update: After just four weeks of use there was a point where I forgot the lock was on and attempted to move the shaving head.
I don’t know what broke, but something did and I am now unable to lock the shaving head into position. The funny thing is that I didn’t even apply that much pressure.
I believe Braun is fully aware that this method of locking the shaver is faulty and prone to breaking because the customer service agent said that this was a common issue.
This is also very likely the reason that you will ONLY find this locking mechanism on the Series 7. The Series 9 and Series 5 both use a superior locking mechanism.
Upon contacting Braun I was informed that this was considered accidental damage and not covered by warranty, despite being a “common problem” that they are fully aware of. If this is a common problem I would lean to the fault being with the shaver rather than the actual users.
So I now I am left with an expensive shaver that is missing a feature that I was rather fond of.
On the other side of the shaving block is a button that allows you to release the shaving head.
After using the silky smooth release of the Series 9, the Series 7 button is quite stiff and unresponsive.
There are only two circumstances where you will need to remove the shaving head:
Cleaning: If you don’t use the cleaning station (the 720s-4 does not come ship with one).
Replacing the cutting head: Eventually the blades will dull. Braun recommends you change the shaving heads once every 18 months for a consistent shaving experience.
That should cover just about everything on the shaver itself. It’s getting to the stage where I take him for a test-drive.
But first I need to charge this sucker up.
The Braun Series 7 ships without a charge, so you cannot use this shaver straight out of the box.
But good news, a 5 minute quick charge is all it takes for 3 minutes of shaving.
Can’t wait that long?
You can also use this shaver while the cord is plugged in. Just be sure to keep the shaver clear of water if you prefer a corded shave.
It is here that you will be hit by the annoying placement of the charging socket.
Because the charging socket is on the rear, you must either charge your shaver laying flat on it’s face or on it’s side.
The display screen is not that easy to read in either of these positions; making it difficult to check the charging progress.
Like all Braun charging adapters, this one works on any voltage between 100-240V. If you travel the world the only thing you will need to charge your shaver is an adapter plug, to fit the odd shaped sockets you will come across.
Braun claims the Lithium-ion battery takes 60 minutes to charge and gives you 50 minutes of cordless shaving. I found this to be fairly accurate and I averaged 15 full shaves before needing to recharge the shaver.
So how does the Braun series 7 shave?
If you are cutting hairs under 1/8th of an inch (2-3 days of growth). Just like all electric shavers, the Series 7 cannot cut through long hair. You will need to trim your hair to a stubble with a trimmer before you can effectively use this shaver.
Anything longer than a “tall stubble” saw many passes required (and in different directions) for the hair to be effectively shaved.
To this end the Braun Series 7 is better suited to those of you who have a strict daily shave routine (say if you are in the military). Because with daily shaving the hair will never grow longer than a stubble, you won’t have a problem.
Daily shaving will also prevent hairs that grow in different angles from growing too long. While the shaver mowed these down while they were stubble, once it became obvious of their growth direction, the shaver often missed these hairs, particularly on the neck.
Shaving with the Series 7 is so comfortable that daily shaving won’t be a problem at all.
But that comfort does come at a price. The series 7 will not give you the closest shave at this price point.
At this price point the Arc4 offers the closest shave of the foil shavers, but the shave is much more aggressive. And that’s a trade off that you are going to have to make.
The shaver noticeably performed better on everything above the jaw line. Anything below required more passes in different directions.
One thing I did dislike about the shave was that the two outer foils remained cool, the center cutter quickly got warm. This is a disaster for sensitive skin. Dragging warm metal across your face is a recipe for a break out.
In all my shaves one thing stood out:
The speed setting is a gimmick. No matter the speed, the shaver seemed to shave the same, the only thing that seemed to change was the pitch of the shaver.
If the speed settings worked as well as Braun claims, don’t you think they would have included this feature on their top of the line Series 9?
Overall I was happy with the shave given by the Series 7. While it won’t be the closest shave you will ever get (it is likely you will see a 5 o’clock shadow before the day is out) it makes for a great introduction to the world of electric shavers with a level of comfort that only Braun shavers can offer.
I do not believe the Series 7 provided me a better shave than the series 5. They both have the same shaving heads, the key difference between the two is that the Series 7 apparently “pulses at up to 10,000 micro-vibrations per minute”.
But I did not notice the difference in the shave. I felt the both provided an equally good shave.
Braun recommends cleaning your Series 7 shaver after each use.
There are two ways you can do this:
- Manually: Rinsing under running water
- Automatically: Using the cleaning station
I will focus on the hand’s off way first. Using the cleaning station:
Out of all of Braun’s shaving stations, the one that bundles with the Series 7 shaver is by far my least favorite to look at.
On close inspection you will notice that the unit is not completely black. It has lots of tiny gold colored specs (like glitter) all over it. When light hits the cleaning dock it makes it look like it is covered in dandruff.
The cleaning station runs off the exact same cord that you plug directly into the shaver to charge the battery.
Annoyingly, the plug end of the cord sticks out of the shaving station horizontally. This prevents you from sitting your cleaning station close to the wall on the right hand side.
And you will need to sit it close to a wall. The coiled cord really isn’t that long meaning you will have to sit it close to your power outlet.
Off to the side of the shaver is a large black button.
Pushing this causes the bottom to of the cleaning station to pop up, revealing a compartment underneath. This is where you place the cleaning cartridge (Braun calls these “cassettes”).
Out of all the major brands, Braun’s cleaning cassettes take the least amount of time before they need to be replaced.
While Braun claims that you the cassettes last up to two month, many of you will not see them last this long.
This problem is partially due to the solution being alcohol based. You will lose some to evaporation. The easiest way around this is to reseal the cartridge when not in use.
An indicator on the cleaning station lights up to let you roughly how many cleaning cycles you will be able to get with your cartridge. While not entirely accurate, it does help take the guess work out of monitoring your cleaning cassettes fluid level.
The cleaning refills are not too badly priced. A 4-pack will set you back less than $20 from amazon and will easily see you over 6 months worth of cleaning.
There are even websites dedicated to making your own Braun cleaning solution. While I cannot comment on the effectiveness of a home made detergent, it does provide a solution who do not want to commit to continually buying refills.
Important: Using home made cleaning solutions may void your warranty.
Since I am quite time poor, I am happy to purchase refills. It keeps things simpler.
As soon as you place the Series 7 inside the cleaning station it will start charging. The cleaning station will also check the hygiene status of the shaver to determine if it needs to be cleaned or not and if so, how thoroughly (short, normal or intensive cleans).
And here is where the whole system is flawed. The cleaning dock determines how clean the shaver is based on the hygiene indicator on the shaver itself.
But the hygiene indicator is only timer based. I could turn the shaver on and off without using it and the hygiene indicator will still go down.
Even more annoyingly, the hygiene indicator will not reset if you clean the shaver under running water. The only way to refill the cleaning indicator is by using Braun’s cleaning station (after all it is in their interest to get you to use your cleaning cassettes as quickly as possible).
A clean lasts from 32 to 43 minutes depending on which cleaning setting the dock chooses for you.
Fortunately there is a 25 second quick clean option, although the shaver head will be dripping wet when finished.
Note: There have been many complaints that after years of continued use, the alcohol solution will start to eat the paint just below the head of the shaver, causing it to chip.
This is a well documented problem and is unavoidable if you wish to continually clean using Braun’s cleaning cassettes. The damage is only cosmetic and will in no way affect the performance of the shaver.
Braun’s cleaning stations work the best out of all the major brands and the Series 7 did not disappoint. The alcohol based cleaning detergent thoroughly removed all traces of hair clippings and even lubricated the blades.
Cleaning an electric shaver does not get any easier than that.
But cleaning the Shaver manually is where things got a little difficult:
At first cleaning the Series 7 appears to be incredibly simple. Use some non-abrasive hand soap and run it under water with the power on.
Remove the shaving head and repeat.
But achieving a perfect clean seems just out of reach. There were still small little hair “dots” inside the shaving head even after cleaning for a good 2 minutes.
While the clean is satisfactory, there are still hairs inside the shaving head. The Braun cleaning station did a much better job at removing these than my increasingly frustrated attempts could.
If you can successfully clean this shaver under running water then I applaud you. It was something I could not manage.
And don’t get me started on doing a “dry clean” with the included cleaning brush. Messy and not very effective.
The whole cleaning process is designed to steer you towards the cleaning station.
Now fortunately the cleaning station does an incredibly thorough job at removing any traces of hair. In fact, the best out of all the big brands. If you treat this as a shaver that you must use with the cleaning station then you won’t be disappointed.
To this end I would recommend you steer clear of the 720s-4 model, since it does not come with an included cleaning station.
There is no doubt that under the right conditions the Series 7 provides an great shave. There is a reason why this product is so popular after all.
But it is really showing it’s age.
And this is very obvious when you compare the Series 7 to the step up and “step down” in Braun’s Series range of electric shavers:
Nearly everything the Braun series 7 does, other shavers in Braun’s line up can do as good or better. Not just the series 9 above it, but the Series 5 below it.
Which begs the question, why would you choose this shaver over either one of them?
And after thoroughly reviewing the Series 7, I cannot come up with a compelling reason as to why you should.
It’s not that the Series 7 is a bad shaver, that’s not it at all and it is a fine example of Braun being able to offer a great shave. But staying true to a design that is now over 5 years old is not doing the shaver any favors, especially at the price being demanded.
It’s funny. If I reviewed this shaver 5 years ago when it first came out then it is likely I would have only had positive things to say since there was nothing else on the market quite like it.
But as time passed and Braun’s competitors (and Braun’s own range) have caught up and the shaver has gone from great to merely good.
For many of you, good will be good enough. Especially if a reliable and satisfactory shave is all you want. But for those that want better, you do not have to look too far to find it.