There are several different model numbers: SP9863/14 , SP9862/14 , SP9861/16 , SP9860/86, SP9860/13 , SP9820/87, SP9820/12
Something that I have observed when dealing with different electric shavers is the sheer amount of marketing b*llsh’t in this industry. Sorry if this made you wince, but it is the truth. You can have the same feature on both the old and the new model, but it is named differently in each of these models. This makes you think that you are getting something very cutting edge, never seen before, but in truth, you will often pay extra for minor changes.
So what about S9000 Prestige, the newest Philips 9th series model? Well, there is some of this marketing gimmick that I told you about. But it is so rampant in this industry that it can be expected. But truth to be told there are also general improvements that make this model stand out.
+ Solid feel and beautiful design
+ Cuts longer growth well
+ Wet and dry use
+ Very nice travel pouch
+ Smart click system
– No stand / cleaning station
– Cleaning is tedious
– Comes with few accessories
- Superb SkinComfort rings – The circular caps covering the cutters in the shaving head are surrounded with anti-friction coating for superb gliding. Less friction means more comfortable shave
- BeardAdapt Sensor – It measures your beard density and adjusts the power usage accordingly. You won’t really notice this feature while shaving.
- Personal Comfort Settings – This means that you can manually adjust the shaving speed. It has three speed options: sensitive, normal and fast
- Excellent Skin Comfort System – Behind this fancy name is actually a quite simple solution. The caps covering the cutters have wider, rounder openings that catch more hair per pass
- Multi-direction ContourDetect – This is one of the examples of that marketing crap I was writing about in the beginning. The head has the same movement range as the older model, but the feature is renamed to present it as a new innovation
- Click-on trimmer – You need to remove the shaving head to replace it with the trimmer.
- Wet and Dry Use – This means that you can besides dry shave also use it with shaving foams/gels and under the shower
- Fully washable – You can put the whole thing under running tap water to clean it
- Quick Charge – This feature is only available for models that charge with power cord
- Wireless Charging – Some of the Prestige models have this feature. This enables you to charge the shaver cordlessly. For this, you need the Qi pad that comes with a premium price
- Travel lock – By holding the button, you can turn on the travel lock to avoid accidentally turning the shaver on in your travel bag
- Travel Pouch – Has a very sturdy travel case that also accommodates the power plug inside
- LCD – Calling LCD a feature feels like saying the windshield wipers on a car are a bonus. But I mentioned this because besides showing the general useful information like battery level etc., it also has a “lift to wake” feature. So that when you pick up the razor, the LCD light will turn on showing the remaining battery for example
- SmartClick System – This allows you to use different accessories on the shaver. There is, for instance, face washing brush that is great for your skincare
1. Shaving element. Philips electric shavers have usually three 2. The new SkinComfort rings that reduce friction 3. New Shaving cap with wider holes
Let’s look at the shaving performance first. After all, this is the most crucial aspect of an electric shaver and rotary shavers are known to be excellent with longer growth. So how can the Philips S9000 Prestige handle the thick and long beard? We will look at three things: the way Prestige cuts longer hair, the closeness of the shave and finally how comfortable it feels.
Cutting Longer Hair
Philips S9000 Prestige doesn’t disappoint when cutting longer growth. The efficient motor, combined with the new shaver head SH98, can handle the longer growth nicely. One of the reasons is also that rotary shavers are generally better handling curly and long hair. This is in part due to the shaving technique, by this I mean the circular motions when shaving. But also the rotary motion of the cutting blades themselves play a role here.
How does it compare to other high-end models like Braun Series 9 and Panasonic Arc 5? Braun Series 9 with its four cutting elements handles longer growth very well but is less efficient with curly hair. Panasonic Arc5 actually has five cutting elements so you might logically deduce that it is even better. But you would be wrong. Arc5 is excellent with shorter hair but less so with longer growth. Philips S9000 Prestige goes neck and neck with these two but has an edge when dealing with curly hair.
Verdict: Great with longer hair. 7-days worth of growth is a little bit far fetched in my humble opinion as men have very different hair growth. 3-5 days is more realistic. I happen to know men who can grow a staggering beard in that time. You would need a trimmer first to cut it into a more manageable length.
The Closeness Of the Shave
I am more used to foil shavers myself, so this could be my inexperience with this type of shavers, but I would rate this below Braun S9 and Panasonic Arc5 – both the best foil shavers out there. Don’t get me wrong – it shaves close. But I also regularly shave with safety, and straight razors and my standards might be a tad too high.
One of the reasons I believe why my Braun S9 gets the job done better is the way you use foil shaver. I usually do three passes with my foil electric shavers in the following order: with the grain (WTG), across the grain (XTG) and against the grain (ATG). Just like I would shave with my safety razor. This creates order to the whole shaving routine. I’m able to tell what place I missed, I have better control in tight areas, and I also learn to know some problem areas.
Now with the rotary shaver, you are making these circular motions while you move your shaver around your face. While in essence, this movement provides the same WTG-XTG-ATG in one motion, I still end up having more stray hairs than with my foil. The triangular head is also large and getting under your nose is tricky. It felt like I had better control over the shaving procedure when using foil shaver, but I admit this could be my lack of experience with this type of shaver.
S9000 Prestige, with its multi-direction head, really follows the contours of my face, so getting a clean shave on my neck and cheeks is easy. Where it is somewhat cumbersome is the area right under your nose. That part is hard to shave with foil shavers as well though. Arc5 especially feels bulky as it has a huge shaving head.
Verdict: It gives you one of the closest shaves among electric shavers. Not safety razor close as this is physically impossible but surprisingly close none the less.
S9000 Prestige is designed to feel comfortable when you shave. Very maneuverable shaving head ensures great skin contact and flows on your face. The skin comfort system with its new wider, rounder openings mean less tugging and pulling of longer hair when having few days worth of growth.
Compared to competitors, I would say Philips is as or even better when we discuss purely comfort. This, I believe, stems from the Philips ability to cut longer hair. Now I know this might sound like I’m contradicting myself. Before I just said that I would rank it below foil shavers when we measure closeness and now I am praising how comfortable it is. But those two things are separate.
One is about the machines ability to cut the hair as close as possible to the skin. The other is the way how it feels in your hand, how it follows the angles of your face, and how does it cut the hair. By tugging and pulling and making you cry or smoothly without you even noticing it.
Verdict: very comfortable electric shaver.
Side note: New S9000 Prestige comes with the new shaving head – SH98. The new head features wider holes inside the cap that covers the cutter as already mentioned. This allows more hair to get inside the cutting element hence faster, more efficient shave. The cutting element consist of two rows of blades: inner and outer. Both rows of blades are now covered with nano coating and are self-sharpening. This is to reduce friction and enhance cutting efficiency due to this. The outer ring of blades has also seen another major change – gone is the double blade design shown on the picture. The new design consist of only one V-shaped blade. This reduces pulling and makes the shaver feel a lot more comfortable.
The picture below shows the razor head of a SH90. It illustrates the overall design of the head.
1. Shaving head / cutter 2. Shaving cap 3. Holder assy 4. Lock-ring (retaining plate, holding plate, holder)
Battery And Charging
Philips S9000 Prestige has a Lithium battery that can deliver around 60 minutes of shaving once fully charged. This is the industry standard.
Now, what is interesting and genuinely innovative about S9000 Prestige is that some of the models come with cordless charging capability. Those units have Qi pad that charges the electric shaver once you place it on the pad. The downside is that it takes more time (3h) to charge the shaver this way, and they are more expensive.
Some of the models can be charged with power cord. Unfortunately, there is no stand for these units. And this may add to the bathroom clutter while it’s laying on some surface charging.
You can not use the shaver while it is charging. This is common for all new electric shavers. Fortunately, you have the quick charge function. It takes approximately 5 minutes to charge the shaver for one quick shave. The models that charge wirelessly need 18 minutes though to get you through one quick shave.
Verdict: The cordless function is innovative but rather useless. You are paying more to charge the shaver longer. I would choose the cheaper model with power cord despite the fact that it comes without a stand.
Build Quality and Design
The new Philips S9000 Prestige has brushed aluminum body which makes it stand out. Not only it looks beautiful, but it also feels sturdy. It is done in three different colors: chrome, black and matte. Panasonic Arc 5 newer generation models have this as well, but Braun Series 9 only comes in a plastic body.
The metallic casing gives a very solid feel to the shaver. It somehow makes you believe that it can survive anything. For the price you pay for this unit, you should get the premium quality and feel and Philips doesn’t disappoint.
Another thing that is worth mentioning is the overall gripiness of the shaver. Your shaver getting slippery is less of a worry when you only dry shave. But Philips also supports wet shaving. So when you are under the shower or using lather, the shaver can quickly become very unsafe to use. But Philips has covered the back of the electric shaver partially with rubber so that it stays in your hand even in the wet soapy conditions.
Verdict: Feels great in your hand and has an excellent grip. No flimsiness
Cleaning And Maintenance
Daily cleaning is similar to foil shavers. After use, you just remove the shaving head and rinse it under the water. And clean out the hair chamber. This removes most of the dirt that gets stuck inside your shaver.
Over time though grime starts to build up. Of course, you can manually take the head apart and clean the blades and shaving caps separately. This is actually what Philips recommends you to do occasionally (every 1-2 months).
The whole process is very time-consuming. You have to take out one cleaning element at the time because the blades and the cap are a matched pair. Then reassemble it and repeat this two times more on the other two shaving elements.
This assures that you can wholly clean the shaving head. But I’m fairly certain that most men who use electric shavers appreciate comfort. And nothing beats cleaning station when we talk about a minimal effort in cleaning your shaver. Alas, Prestige has no cleaning station!
Tip: While some of the older S9000 models come with cleaning station, the newer Prestige line models can be cleaned only manually. The S9000 Prestige itself is NOT compatible with any previous cleaning station. But if you happen to have an older S9000 model with the C&C station, then you can still use that one. The new shaving head SH98 is compatible only with the new Prestige series according to the manual, but it does fit on the older S9000 models also. So you can just swap the old shaver head with the new one and use your old cleaning station. Bothersome but effective.
Tip: Activate your shaver before you rinse it under water. The vibration will help you loosen some of the hairs that might get stuck otherwise.
Shaving head must be replaced every 2 years. This is a year more than the other shavers allow. Then again, they are also twice the price compared to competitors, so the overall return on investment is the same. Replacing the new SH98 heads is also easy. Just click on the new head that contains the shaving heads, caps and holder, and you are good to go.
Verdict: You can manually clean it more thoroughly compared to for example Braun Series 9 where you can not remove the foil and clean the blades separately. But it is tedious work. It lacks the cleaning station, so this is the only option you have.
For the price you pay for the Philips S9000 Prestige, the list of accessories that come with the model is rather short.
Travel pouch – THIS is actually very nice. It holds both your shaver and the power cord, and the case itself is made out of thick material protecting your precious shaver inside.
Trimmer – depending on the model you have your eye on there are two types of trimmers. The precision trimmer is the basic version where you can’t adjust the cutting length. The more expensive version Beard styler has a comb that allows you to do this.
Power cord – self-explanatory
Some models also have an extra accessory – the Facial Cleansing Brush. Most men have no clue what to do with this accessory. If they happen to get this model, this feature often gets used by their women. There are sites about men’s skincare so I won’t go too deep into this subject but let me ask you – do you want to look younger as you get older? Well, stop smoking and take care of your skin! The brush exfoliates your skin by removing dead skin and cleans pores. The brush should be replaced every 3 months according to Philips if you use it regularly.
The travel pouch makes traveling with Prestige very comfortable. I especially like that it can house the power cord as well. I hate when my travel bag gets filled with all kinds of charging cables.
The shaver also has a travel lock. This is an unnecessary feature when you keep your shaver inside the travel pouch. The walls of that thing are strong enough to protect your shaver from accidentally activating. But I still like it and find it useful. You might decide not to use your travel pouch to save some room in your travel bag etc. Just push the power button for 3 seconds, and it gets activated. Same if you wish to inactivate it.
The cordless version isn’t great for traveling. The Qi pad takes extra space, and charging takes three hours. The quick charge function is 18 minutes – not that quick. The cheaper Prestige model with the simple power cord makes a lot more sense to be honest.
What it could also include is the head cap to protect the shaver head. Especially if you are considering traveling without your travel bag. But missing this doesn’t really move the needle for most users. It would be nice extra though.
It is the best rotary shaver out there. If you happen to shaver irregularly and have a very curly beard, then this is definitely worth considering.
I did rank it below some of the best foil shavers when comparing shaving closeness but just let me emphasize one last time that it is somewhat subjective. Electric shavers are never as close as manual shavers. So to feel in some areas more growth compared to some competitor doesn’t matter. What is more important is the efficiency and comfort. And in those categories, Prestige shines!