The 5000 Series is the newest electric shaver release from Philips Norelco. The 5000 Series aims to bridge the gap between Philips Norelco’s aging lower model shavers and the much more expensive modes sitting at the high end.
Has Philips managed to hit the sweet spot in terms of price and a good shave? Find out in our detailed review of the 5700 Electric shaver.
5700 vs 5500 vs 5100 – Whats the difference?
Four different models of Philips Norelco make up the 5000 Series. The 5100 being the cheapest, the 5500 being the middle model and the 5700 offering the most but at a price.
Let’s take a closer look at the differences between the 5000 Series electric shavers.
Philips Norelco 5700 (Model: S5370/84)
The top of the line model from the Series 5000 and the subject of our review. The electric shaver features a “Turbo Mode” for a 10% more powerful shave, 50 minutes of shaving time and a three bar battery indicator. Turbo Mode is not found on the 5100 Model.
For accessories, the 5700 with a dedicated cleaning system for automatic cleaning and lubricating of shaver head and a protective travel case. A interchangeable precision beard trimmer rounds out contents of the box.As you would expect, being the top model, the 5700 is the most expensive of the three 5000 Series shaver models.
Philips Norelco 5500 (Model: S5370/81)
The 5500 is near identical to the 5700 as an electric shaver with the exception that the maximum shaving time has been reduced to 45 minutes.
The major difference is found in the included accessories. While the 5500 still includes the beard trimmer attachment, it is does not include a cleaning station or protective travel case. To protect the head of the shaver, a clip on plastic cap is used instead.
Philips Norelco 5600 (Model: S5390/81)
Identical to the 5500 except for the color. Silver highlights have been replaced with red.
Philips Norelco 5100 (Model: S5210/81)
The Philips Norelco 5100 is the lowest if the Series 5000 models. While it comes in at under the $100 mark, it is also missing a couple of features.
Not only have Philips Norelco stripped the 5100 of it’s silver highlights; it does not feature the Turbo Mode and the battery indicator only has a single light.
The accessories include with the 5100 are identical to that of the 5500. A beard trimmer attachment and a plastic shaving head protector.
We DO NOT recommend this model. Read our review to find out why.
So where does the Series 5000 fit in with the other Philips Shavers? Well, Philips now has a 9000 Series, a 7000 Series, and a 5000 Series. Sound familiar? It should. Braun uses similar branding in the Series 9, Series 7 and Series 5. We can’t help but feel Philips Norelco is trying to imitate Braun a little.
Charging the 5700 Electric Shaver
As I touched on before, there are two different methods you can use to charge your 5700 electric shaver.
- With the charging cord.
- With the cleaning station.
Since I will be focusing on the cleaning station further down the review, this section will focus on the charging cord.
Like most electric shaver chargers, the one bundled with the 5000S Series electric shavers is multi-voltage (100-240V). What this essentially means is that you can charge your electric shaver in any country in the world.
From America to Australia and everywhere in between. The only thing you will need is a travel adapter so that the charger can plug into the odd shaped power outlets you come across in your travels. If you travel for work or just vacation internationally, this is a very handy feature.
The charging cord is just over 5 foot long and will be more than long to reach from most power outlets to the bathroom counter top. Hang on to the twist tie that keeps the cord in a neat little bundle in the box, you can use it to shorten the cable to keep your bathroom looking neat.
The electric shaver will begin to charge the moment you plug the cord in:
When you first plug the 5700 in, every indicator on the screen will flash once to alert you that charging has begun. After this, the battery indicator will continue to flash until the shaver is fully charged.
Fully charging the Lithium-ion battery takes an hour and will reward you with 50 minutes of shaving time for the 5700 model. The 5500 takes the same hour to charge but offers a shorter 45 minutes of shaving time.
If the batteries die on you mid-shave then you will be able to get just enough use for a single shave (around three minutes) from a 5-minute charge.
Philips Norelco 5700 SmartClean Cleaning Station
Unique to the 5700 model is the inclusion of an automatic cleaning station. This station, called the SmartClean system, cleans and chargers your electric shaver without any effort on your part.
While you can clean your 5700 shaver without the SmartClean system, using it definitely simplifies the process.
Decked out in gloss black, the SmartClean system has been designed to take up full time residence on your bathroom counter top. Those of you with limited space in your bathroom may be cringing at the thought of this.
The SmartClean dock is powered by the very same charger that can plug directly into your shaver.
As you may have guessed, the SmartClean system is not exactly travel friendly. If you shave both at home and abroad, you may with to invest in a second charging cord. This way you won’t have to unplug the SmartClean system each time you take your shaver travelling.
On the side of the cleaning station you will notice a square shaped button. Pressing it will cause the bottom of the station to pop up, revealing a compartment for you to place the cleaning cartridge:
The SmartClean System uses disposable cartridges that both clean and lubricate the blades of the 5700. The cleaning cartridge contains the detergent that the SmartClean system uses to flush out the hair clippings from your electric shaver.
If you want to continue using the cleaning station you are locked into buying replacement cartridges every two months from Philips. We found ourselves getting 6-7 weeks out of each cartridge with daily shaving, cleaning after each use.
Now I know a lot of you may be gritting your teeth at the ongoing cost of cleaning cartridges but this is by far the easiest way to clean your electric shaver. Philips Norelco is one of the most difficult electric shavers to clean manually and our testers found that the cost justified the convenience.
Unlike Braun and Panasonic Cleaning stations, you will have to press the cap down on the SmartClean in order to lock your shaver into the station.
Your electric shaver will begin to charge the moment it is placed into the Smart Clean System.
The whole cleaning process takes around 4 hours.
You read that right. 4 hours..
Part of the reason for the extended time is that the SmartClean uses induction to generate heat that dries the shaver. While this is a more time consuming process, the added advantage is that the drying process is whisper quiet.
A common complaint with the Braun and Panasonic cleaning docks is that the fan in the cleaning station is annoyingly loud. Not so with the SmartClean system.
Removing the shaver from the cleaning station before four hours has passed will reward you with wet shaving heads. Not exactly what you want if you shave dry.
Overall The SmartClean unit did it’s job, however the 4 hour cleaning time will require patience on your part.
The only other gripe I had with the dock is the gloss black surface. Gloss black and bathrooms just don’t mix. Watermarks, dust and figerprints are quick to show on the surface of the cleaning unit.
While these marks will in no way affect the cleaning stations performance, due to the size of the dock you are forced to keep it on display in your bathroom. And unless you constantly wipe the unit down, will have a smudged piece of black plastic on display for the world to see.
Testing the Philips Norelco 5700 Electric Shaver
So now for the million dollar question:
How well does the 5000 Series shave?
The short and sweet answer is: Averagely.
To find out why, read on.
The whole shaving experience starts with picking up the shaver. It was interesting to note that while the 5000 Series is identical to the 7000 series in size and shape, it is not weighted the same.
While the 7000 series feels like the weight is evenly distributed across the shaver, the 5700 felt a little top heavy.
Before I begin to discuss the overall shave we will stress this: There is a break in period. You will have to spend at least two weeks using the shaver before your skin will adjust to your new shaver.
Philips Norelco is fully aware of this break in period and offers a 45 Day money back guarantee if you find the shaver is not to your liking after giving it a decent workout.
And then there is the learning curve of using a rotary shaver. If you have swapped over from foil shaver or from traditional shaving then the circular shaving motions will immediately feel foreign.
So admittedly your first few shaves with any electric shaver will not be great. But once you push past this hurdle you will know whether or not this shaver is right for you.
When you push the Power button of the 5700 the motor bursts into life. The shaver starts in the standard mode and you have the option of activating turbo mode for a more powerful shave if you see fit.
And you will see fit. The standard mode is awful. Why Philips did not just include the “Turbo Mode” as the standard shave is beyond me. Everyone who tested the 5700 repeated the same complaint. Without Turbo Mode, the shave is downright awful.
This was interesting since Philips claims that the boost in power is only 10% yet it was more than noticeable improving the quality of the shave from awful to average.
Annoyingly, the electric shaver does not remain in Turbo Mode when you turn the power off. You will have to press the Turbo Mode button each time you turn the shaver on.
During our research we repeatedly came across the following statement written on retailers websites about the Series 5000 shaver.
A close, fast shave. 75% of men beat their shaving time S5000 (no turbo) compared to Philips Click and Style.
I would like to stress that this is not a good selling point.
The Philips Click and Style shaver only has two shaving heads to the three that you find on the Series 5000. The fact that 25% of men can shave quicker with a two head shaver that is a fraction of the price is actually sums up our entire thoughts on this shaver. For the record we have also tested the Click and Style and found it to offer an exceptionally poor shaving experience.
When using the electric shaver; the trick is overlapping circular motions, both clockwise and counterclockwise (in areas where direction of hair growth varies). Pulling the skin tight in trouble spots also helped.
Philips normally excels at creating a low friction shave. However, the shaving heads on the 5700 are anything but that. Even the ( Philips Norelco 6100 and it’s much more dated design managed to beat it out. The new “low-friction” discs just do not do their job.
The individually flexing shave heads are a lovely feature. A feature that has not made it’s way south of the $100 mark on Philips Noreleco shavers prior to the release of the 5000 Series.
The heads bent and flex perfectly allowing the shaver to adapt to your jawline. The movement in the shaving unit also helped prevent being heavy handed. Like any shaver, if you push too hard with the 5700 then your skin can be forced through the combs of the shaving head resulting in micro-cuts that lead to irritation.
While the flexibility of the shaving unit helped keep the shaving heads in close contact with the skin, the shaving heads themselves required many passes to adequately cut through hairs. Whether it’s the weak motor or the fact that these razor blades just don’t work as well with the flexible shaving head of higher priced electric shavers, we couldn’t say. But the result just wasn’t there.
We even had a few instances of pulling hairs, most noticeably in our black tester who has thick, wiry beard hairs. Despite being barely larger than a stubble, the 5700 had difficulty cutting through denser sections of beard.
While it is common knowledge that rotary shavers just don’t get as close to the skin as foil, the 5700 still managed to leave us disappointed. Maybe this is because we have had the privalige of testing the most expensive shavers that Philips Norelco has to offer, but the shaver just left too much length. If you are looking for that extra close shave, you just won’t find it here.
But it’s not all bad news for the 5000 Series. The 5700 performed much better on testers with light to medium thick hairs. Teenage testers in particular who had little more than peach fuzz. While these testers were happy with the shave they also commented that it wasn’t they best they had experienced from Philips Norelco.
Which leads me to my next point. The 5700 has a MSRP of $149.95. At this price point you can pick up the 7300. While not perfect, the 7300 leaves the 5000 Series in the dust.
And then there is the issue of the 5100 model. It does not include the Turbo Mode, a feature which we feel is vital to the usability of this shaver. Our recommendation here would be to avoid the 5100 at all costs.
We are not happy to make this recommendation since the 5100 was shaping up to be a new contender for the best rotary electric shaver under $100. But Philips Norelco has decided that this is a market they do not wish to keep happy, and would prefer users jump up to their much pricier (albeit admittedly superior) shaver models.
The 5000 Series is Philips attempt to bridge the gap between it’s lower priced electric shavers and high end models. Unfortunately, we found the shaver to be more of a miss than a hit.
Attempting to offer up the “Turbo Mode” as bonus feature is downright laughable seeing as the shaver struggles without it to the point where we recommend you DO NOT BUY the 5100 model.
While the shaver certainly looks better than any other rotary model under $100, the performance left us wanting more amongst those with thick beard hairs. While it may be suitable for teenagers and those of you with light hair growth, it is not a shaver we can universally recommend.
If you do wish to buy the 5000 Series, be sure to hang on to your receipt so that you can make use of the 45-day satisfaction guarantee return policy. It’s a lovely safety net.