As you are no doubt aware, Braun, Panasonic and Philips are the powerhouses of the electric shaver world.
But as we start to approach the affordable end of electric shavers, a fourth player enters the Game. Remington.
The XF8700 Smart Edge is the foil model of Remington’s Hyper Series electric shavers. The rotary model of this range is the HyperFlex.
The Hyper-Series shavers are the best that Remington has to offer. But how do they compare to the competition? We answer this question and more in our detailed review of the XF8700 Smart Edge
Remington Smart Edge XF8700
What’s in the box?
Upon opening up your brand new Smart Edge box you will be greeted with the following:
Let’s break each item down, piece by piece.
Starting with the instruction manual:
While I prefer my instruction manuals to come in a book rather than large fold up sheet the manual is very well set out and easy to read (not like those manuals that come with Braun shavers).
Next up is the star of the box!
I will look at this in detail further down the review, but for now, I am going to continue showing you all the other bits that come in the box.
Annoyingly, Remington has decided to go with a fabridrawstringng bag rather than a travel case:
What can I say, it’s ugly, it has a strong chemical smell and it won’t stay closed when the string is pulled tight.
Cheap and nasty.
But if you exclusively use your shaver in your own bathroom then this won’t bother you in the slightest. Just don’t expect to be able to rely on it as a travel case.
If you travel with your electric shaver, then you are also going to need to use the included foil guard protector:
Unlike a hard travel case, the soft drawstring bag is not going to keep your shaver head safe while traveling.
To overcome this, Remington have included a plastic protector to keep the foil guard safe while sitting at the bottom of your luggage
The guard simply clips over the shaver head. I found the fit to be rather loose, falling off with the lightest of touches.
Included in the box is a double sided cleaning brush:
The cleaning brush is no larger than your thumb.
On one end of the brush are long bristles to help you sweep away hairs in hard to reach places. On the other side are short coarse bristles to scrub away stubborn stuck-on hair clippings.
This odd looking contraption is the charging dock:
When the Smart Edge shaver finally runs flat you simply sit it in the stand and it will charge away.
Of course, without the charger, the charging stand is just a stand:
That covers everything you will find inside your Smart Edge Shaver box. It’s now time that we took a closer look at the electric shaver itself.
The first thing that hits you is the smart edges design. This thing is UGLY.
90’s stereo ugly.
The Smart Edge’s direct competition is the Braun Series 3 (review here) and the Philips Norelco 6000 series. And both of these look gorgeous compared to the ugly block of black plastic that is the Smart Edge.
The front of the shaver is quite simple. A rubber grip borders a single silver button. This is the power button.
Two basic shaver functions can be achieved with the power button:
1. On/Off: you have to turn the shaver on somehow, right?
2. Travel Lock Holding down the power button for 3 seconds activates travel lock.
If you find yourself traveling often then travel lock is a must-havehas feature on any electric shaver.
With travel lock activated your electric shaver won’t turn on at the bottom of your bag, no matter how much junk you pile on top of it.
No more explaining what that odd vibrating sound is coming from the bottom of your suitcase. Better still, no flat battery when you reach your destination.
Just below the power button is the display screen.
When the shaver is switched on; the display screen shows a number from 1-60 (representing minutes left before the battery runs dead).
With the front of the shaver covered it’s time to flip the Smart Edge over and take a closer look at the back:
This is the first electric shaver I have reviewed so far where the back is more exciting than the front.
The majority of the rear is covered with a rubber grip.
But tucked away towards the top of the shaver is a recessed trimmer:
If you look closely you can make out a button just below the teeth trimmer’s teeth.
This is the trimmer release. Pressing it sees the trimmer pop-up, ready for action.
The trimmer is very similar to that found on the Panasonic arc 5 (Review here) and is much easier to use than the Braun pop-up trimmers that sit too close to the shaver head.
The trimmer performs remarkably well, slaying any hairs that come near. But before you get too excited, it definitely won’t replace your everydaywith shaver.
The pop-up trimmer works best when detailing fine areas such as your goatee, sideburns our mustache. The trimmer really struggled when it came to trimming bushy beards and denser sections of hair.
If you glance at the base of the shaver you will see something a little disappointing.
Now it’s not that China can’t make a quality product (they can since we know the iphone is currently manufactured there) but for the same price point the Braun is made in Germany, Philips in Netherlands and Panasonic in Japan.
So it is very apparent that the cost savings Remington made from having the Smart Edge manufactured in China were not necessary.
Just below the printing, you can see two little metal studs. When these make contact with the charging stand, your shaver will begin to charge.
Annoyingly, Remington has not included a charging socket on the shaver, meaning that you MUST use the charging stand to charge the Smart Edge. This wouldn’t be so bad if the charging dock wasn’t an annoying piece of crap but I will cover that further down.
Sitting at the very top of the Smart Edge is the shaving head:
Now Remington has taken a very unusual approach to the shaver head.
They have decided to include two outer foils for cutting hairs and only a single foil in the middle to capture shorter stubble, providing the finishing shave.
So what’s wrong with this ratio of long hair to stubble foils?
Let me put it this way: If you are using your electric shaver regularly, your hairs will never be longer than a stubble. And only the center foil is designed for stubble.
Each shaving foil is individually sprung and designed to bend to contoured sections of your face…
… At least in theory. In practice, the two outer foils are way too stiff and if you can get them to bend to your face then you are definitely pushing too hard.
Oddly enough the center foil flexes perfectly so I don’t see how Remington managed to stuff up so badly on the outer two.
At the sides of the shaving head are two plastic buttons. Squeezing these at the same time will let you remove the shaving head from the body:
The shaving part I have just removed can be replaced when the blades begin to dull.
Straight form the instruction manual:
We recommend you they [head and cutters] be replaced every 6 months
All the other major shaving brands recommend you change the shaving head yearly.
These replacement parts are not cheap coming in at $30 dollars each. So in a year will have spent half the Smart Edges value on replacement parts.
I was very unimpressed with what seems like little more than a cash grab by Remington.
Unlike all the other rechargeable electric shavers I have shipped, the Remington Smart Edge ships fully charged.
While Remington recommend you still charge the shaver for 60 minutes before it’s first use, you could use the shaver straight out of the box if you really wanted.
The Smart Edge Charger works on 100-240v meaning you can use the shaver anywhere in the world. But if you are looking for a travel shaver then this really isn’t for you since you also have to bring along the XF8700’s awful charging stand.
Now to call this thing a stand is being generous. If someone was to ask what I thought the main function of a stand should be I would reply:
Remington must have missed the memo, because their “stand” cannot do that. It appears that the shaving stand in my box was faulty because it simply would not twist into a stand.
So for the duration of my use of the Smart Edge XF8700 I used the charging stand in the same position as the above photo, laying flat.
Update: Upon complaining, I was able to get a charging stand that worked from Remington’s customer service.
However, when I set it up I quickly became aware that even when the stand works correctly it is poorly designed. The Shaver is top heavy and the stand will topple over at the slightest bump. It is not something I would want to permanently set up on my bathroom counter.
I will be honest, the charging stand is a piece of crap. If you want a good example of how this type of charging stand should work, check out our review of the Philips Norelco 6100.
If you can get the charging stand to work for you then you will be rewarded for 60 minutes of shave time for 90 minutes of charge.
If the Smart Edge battery runs flat, a 5 minute charge is all it takes to give you enough battery juice for a 3 minute shave.
Now I would put all my complaints aside if the Remington’s XF8700 Smart Edge could give you a decent shave for the price.
But I am not going to lie to you. It can’t.
The boxy outer coils seem to snag on all but the flattest section of skin. This was particularly noticeable on the undersides of the jaw and skin.
The leading corner of the foils seemed to love tilting away from the skin, resulting in the shaving head catching.
It is very clear that Remington’s marketing department never used this shaver. They claim the XF8700’s…
Seamless pivoting action allows the shaver head to stay close to your face around the chin, neck, and jawline.
The amount of pressure required to get the head to pivot is ridiculous. Hardly seamless.
In fact, I had to rely on my own wrist movement instead of the shaver to satisfactorily shave my jawline.
It is a shame that Remington only chose to include a single foil shaving head on the shaver. It actually shaves quite well and is miles better than the foil of the Braun series 1 that we also reviewed . But the two poor-performing outer cutters stop you from seeing center foil’s true potential.
But how does it cut wet?
Remington advertises this as a wet/dry shaver. And you can use it with shaving cream or water for added lubrication.
The result was that the XF8700 definitely glided across my skin smoother than a dry shave.
But the trade-off was that the effectiveness of the cut was reduced on each pass. So while I was getting a smoother shave, I needed many more passes to do the same job.
If you have super sensitive skin then you will know that each pass will leave your skin feeling worse and worse. So the XF8700 is not really a viable option for a wet shave.
The thing is you can get a decent shave out of this thing. It just takes a LOT more effort than you would expect from an electric shaver of this price.
It’s like you can cut bread with a butter knife but it’s much easier to cut bread with a bread knife, so why would you bother?
The XF8700 is a butter knife in this case. There are shavers that will do a much better job for the same price point.
If you can make it through the shave then the Smart Edge is very easy to clean.
Simply rinse the head under running water. You can add hand soap if you like to help flush out any caught hair clippings.
Remove the shaving head and repeat the same on the cutters.
Remington recommends you apply a lubricating oil to the blades after each and every wash to ensure that you get the maximum use out of your shaving head (a paltry 6 months).
The Remington XF8700 Smart Edge seems deliberately designed to be as cheap as possible to manufacture. While there is nothing wrong with this (that’s how capitalism works) trying to pass it off as a premium priced electric shaver is where I draw the line.
The XF8700 over promises and under delivers. And with other major brands offering a superior shave at a similar price, the XF8700 is very poor value for your money.
It’s a shame. I was really looking forward to testing a premium shaver that wasn’t made by Braun, Panasonic or Philips; the heavy hitters of the industry.
But Like with Remington’s crappy nose hair trimmer range, they prove once again they do not care about you, the user.
Avoid this one.
If you have read through this entire guide and still want to give this monstrosity a try, buy it from Amazon: