The New Panasonic Arc 5 (LAMDASH) Revision C: Panasonic’s Best Shaver Yet?

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Panasonic Arc 5 (LAMDASH) Revision C: Panasonic’s Best Shaver Yet?

Panasonic is one of the three major players in the electric shavers industry alongside Braun and Philips Norelco.

Their high-end line is the Arc 5, currently at the third generation. They feature a massive 5 blade shaving unit that exhibits the characteristic arched profile of the foils (hence the Arc in the name).

This third incarnation of the Arc 5 family debuted in September 2015. The international models were the ES-LV6A-S (no cleaning station) and ES-LV9A-S (automatic cleaning station), while the ones for the American market were the ES-LV6N-S (no cleaning station) and ES-LV9-N (automatic cleaning station).

Panasonic Arc 5 ES-LV9N-S/ES-LV9A-S

Just one year after the launch of this third generation, Panasonic rolled out a minor update, the revision B. To differentiate them from the original ones, the international models feature a B instead of an A in their names: ES-LV6B-S, ES-LV9B-S etc.

The updates introduced by the rev. B are:

  • The use of a textured material instead of a smooth finish for the thumb rest
  • An increase in the front-to-back tilt angle of the head (from 17 to 20 degrees)
  • The introduction of a low battery alarm

These new shavers also use the same foils and blades as the previous ones and they look extremely similar overall. As a result, the actual shaving performance remained pretty much the same.

Note: Panasonic uses the term LAMDASH for the shavers sold on the Japanese domestic market. The name is derived from the Greek letter LAMBDA (Λ) which also happens to have the value 30 in the Greek numerals system — corresponding to the bevel angle of Panasonic’s nano-blades.

The new revision C Arc 5 / LAMDASH shavers

In the summer of 2017 Panasonic quietly rolled out yet another revamp of its Arc 5/LAMDASH shavers, the revision C.

At this moment they only appear to be available for the Japanese and European markets but can be ordered from sites like Amazon or ebay.

There’s also no official info regarding the availability of equivalent models specifically for the North American market so far.

Apart from a few presentation pages like the one on Panasonic.jp, the details of this update are pretty scarce.

You can tell the new shavers apart from the previous ones by the letter C in their model names — for example, ES-LV9C-S, ES-LV7C-A etc. These are now available in Asia and will likely become the international models.

The ones currently sold on the European markets follow a different name pattern: ES-LV9Q, ES-LV6Q, ES-CV51.

Here’s a table depicting all the different models in this latest update:

ModelCleaning stationLCD displayMetal bodyTravel case
Panasonic ES-LV9CX-S (silver)
Yes10 stageYesHard travel case
Panasonic ES-LV9C-S (black)
Yes10 stageNoSoft pouch
Panasonic ES-LV7C-T (brown)
Yes3 stageNoSoft pouch
Panasonic ES-LV7C-A (blue)
Yes3 stageNoSoft pouch
Panasonic ES-LV5C-K (black)
No5 stageNoSoft pouch
Panasonic ES-LV5C-R (red)
No5 stageNoSoft pouch
Panasonic ES-CV70-S (silver, compact)
No3 stageYesHard travel case
Panasonic ES-LV9Q (silver)
Yes10 stageYesSoft pouch
Panasonic ES-LV6Q (black)
No10 stageNoSoft pouch
Panasonic ES-CV51 (silver, compact)
No3 stageYesHard travel case

The compact variations are particularly interesting; performance-wise they are fully-fledged Arc 5 shavers, being fitted with the same motors and cutting elements. They’re lighter and the reduced dimensions make them more suitable for traveling.

Here’s a side by side comparison:

Image credits: dime.jp

What are the differences compared to the previous Arc 5 models?

1. New design and colors

I think we can all agree that these new Arc 5 shavers look stunning. In my opinion, Panasonic absolutely nailed the design and construction of its third generation Arc 5 family and this C iteration is the best yet.

Image credits: kakakumag.com

I can’t think of any shavers from the competition that can come close to the new Arc 5/LAMDASH design. They just ooze quality and hi-tech.

The new colors look classy and suit the overall aesthetics of the shavers perfectly. You can tell that a lot of thought was put into the color schemes and I particularly like the gold accents around the shaving heads and the pearly metallic finish.

The blue and brown variations look spectacular in my opinion.

The man behind this is Panasonic’s brilliant product designer, Tomoaki Ino.

He is also responsible for the design of the new Panasonic LT Arc 3 razors.

Here’s a side-by-side photo of an ES-LV9A Arc 5 (left) and the new ES-LV9CX (right):

Image credits: higesori-club.com

It’s also worth mentioning that not all models in this lineup have a metal body (you can refer to the comparison table above to see which ones have it).

2. Advanced flexing of the shaving head

With this new update, I think Panasonic currently has the most advanced flexing shaving unit ever made.

The A and B revisions featured a shaving head that was able to move in 3 planes: left to right (20 degrees), back and forth  (17 or 20 degrees tilt), up and down (2.5mm).

With the new C revision, the shaving head can also twist (10 degrees) and slide back and forward (1mm). Here are two pictures that illustrate this:

Panasonic calls this Multi-flex 5-D and it allows superior contact with the skin, especially when shaving under the chin and the neck area. While I will only be able to confirm this claims after I review one, it is nevertheless an impressive technical achievement.

The compact models, namely the ES-CV70-S and the ES-CV51 appear to have a fixed head. The 5 shaving elements can still move independently.

3. New smart lock function

This is another novelty feature that is likely to wow you. Available only with the ES-LV9CX and ES-LV9C variations, this function automatically detects when you’re grasping the shaver in your hand and unlocks it, allowing you to turn it on and shave.

The mechanism also locks the shaver 60 seconds after you have released it to prevent erroneous operation. This is basically a smart travel lock. Not entirely necessary, but quite the feat of engineering.

The rest of the shavers have a classic travel lock that is activated by pressing and holding the ON/OFF button.

4. New outer foils

The C revision LAMDASH / Arc 5 shavers use a new outer foil with the part number WES9177 (ES9177). It replaces the older WES9175 (ES9175) foil used by the previous A and B Arc 5 models.

Finishing foils (1 and 5), Reverse tapered foils (2 and 4), Power Quick Lift Trimmer (3)

It looks extremely similar to the older one (5 shaving elements, 2 comfort rollers) and at this point I cannot say with certainty what are the actual differences and improvements. The motor is the same punchy 14 000 CPM linear-drive unit.

The novelty seems to be the Power Quick Lift middle trimmer that captures longer hairs, by far the Achilles’ heel of all Panasonic shavers.

This trimmer is supposedly an improved version of the one found on the previous A and B Arc 5 models (called a Quick Lift Foil on those models). Right now I cannot tell if that’s really the case or is just a marketing gimmick.

The two inner blades however are the same used by all the other Arc 5 shavers, including the very first generation (part no WES9170).

As usual, a foil & inner blades combo is also available and has the part no WES9036 (ES9036).

5. New travel cases

The ES-LV9CX-S and ES-CV70-S come with new hard storage cases. These look great and also offer excellent protection in the case of mechanical shocks.

Unfortunately the rest of the models only include Panasonic’s usual soft pouch.

The hard cases are also available separately (part no ES-2L13).

6. New LCD displays

The newest Arc 5 models are available with three different LCD displays.

The range-topping versions — ES-LV9CX, ES-LV9C, ES-LV9Q, ES-LV6Q — feature a 10 stage multifunction display, while the ES-LV5C comes with a 5 stage display that shows the remaining battery in increments of 20%.

The rest of the shavers in the lineup feature a 3 stage indicator that only shows a High, Mid or Low charge status.

7. Automatic cleaning stations

Available only with the ES-LV9CX-S, ES-LV9C-S, ES-LV9Q, ES-LV7C-T and ES-LV7C-A, the cleaning stations seem to be the same ones included with the A and B Arc 5 revisions.

While I don’t think you absolutely need one, Panasonic’s cleaning stations are arguably the best in business.

Here’s why:

  • You have the option to use just the dry function of the station without a cleaning cycle
  • The detergent-based solution lasts more in comparison to Braun’s alcohol-based fluid
  • The price of the detergent sachets is reasonable
  • The stations are compact and look very slick

As expected, the models that include the cleaning station are more expensive than the ones that don’t.

Final word on the new Arc 5/LAMDASH shavers

I am going to be perfectly honest and upfront and tell you that I am very intrigued by these new models and I am looking forward to reviewing one.

I’ve always appreciated the quality, performance and what is basically Panasonic’s take on electric shavers. And this C revision of the Arc 5 family looks very impressive.

I am skeptical about their availability and success on the American and European markets, especially since the previous A and B models didn’t do too well either. The price was (and still is) too high in my opinion and older generation Arc 5 shavers like the ES-LV65-S still offer great performance at bargain prices.

However, this shouldn’t stop you from getting one if you really want too. But keep in mind that at least at this moment you would have to pay a premium price for one and the replacement foils and blades are also very expensive.

It’s up to you to decide if it’s worth getting what looks (at least on paper) to be the most advanced electric shaver out there right now.

31 comments on “The New Panasonic Arc 5 (LAMDASH) Revision C: Panasonic’s Best Shaver Yet?

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  1. Peter

    Many thanks for this post!

    I ordered the European version of the ES-LV9CX-S , the ES-LV9Q, on Amazon.de
    (i’m living in the Netherlands) and have great expectations of it based on my initial impressions of the compact version ES-CV51 which i bought last week: great design, great performance, and which i plan to use as my travel Panasonic instead of the ES3831K

    Will receive the ES-LV9Q by the end of april and looking eagerly forward to it…:)

    regards, Peter

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Peter,

      Thank you so much for your comment. I actually wasn’t aware of the European versions until now, so I really appreciate you mentioning them. I will update the article and include those models as well. I hope you’ll enjoy your new ES-LV9Q, it should be at least as good as the compact model.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
      1. Peter

        Hi Ovidiu,

        Thank you very much for this quick update!
        Remarkable that the European version of the ES-LV9CX-S comes with a soft pouch instead of a hard travel case….one wonders what the philosophy of Panasonic is behind this….

        But then again there is the EV-CV70-S/ES-CV51 compact meant/suitable for travelling which does have a hard travel case…:-)

        Peter

        Reply
        1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

          Hey Peter,

          You are very welcome. I was also pretty surprised to find out that they’ll only be including the flimsy bag with that particular model. After all, it’s a premium product with a premium price tag. But it is what it is I guess.

          Best,
          Ovidiu

          Reply
  2. Markus

    Which of the new models have a premium metall finish?? Is on only the LV9CX silver!!!
    Its a shame, and not understandable, why Panasonic did not include a hardcase by all new modells!!

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      As far as I know, all the models have a metal finish. And I agree, it’s a shame Panasonic didn’ include the hard case with every version.

      Reply
  3. Jean Landa

    HI. I enjoy your reviews very much. Any idea when you might be reviewing the newest “c” models. I am looking at the ES-LV5C-R LAMDASH and will probably wait to see what you have to say about it before possibly getting one. Thanks. Regards jean l

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Jean,

      Thank you for your comment and for being a reader of this website. Unfortunately I couldn’t tell you when that will happen as I am yet to buy one and have a few other reviews in the works at this moment.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  4. Ali Poor Aiyoubi

    Hi
    I am really confused … i was going to order ES-LV9N and thought that is the latest model of panasonic , then i came to this page.
    which model is the latest model of panasonic ? what about the ES-LV9Q ? what is the difference ?
    i appreciate if you help me
    regards

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Ali,

      Unfortunately the new, current and old releases can get really confusing when it comes to electric shavers. The ES-LV9N isn’t the latest model anymore; the latest are the ones presented in this article. The ES-LV9Q is the latest Arc 5 model sold on the European markets. You can check out the table above to see exactly what are the differences between the various models.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
  5. Zezito Martins

    Is there any version of the Panasonic Men’s Shaver “LAMDASH” ES-LV9CX-S without the cleaning station? I do want o buy it but the cleaning station is useless for me.

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      If you mean an identical shaver, with metal body, 10 stage LCD display and all, but without the cleaning base, then the answer is no. Your only option would be an ES-LV5C model or the European ES-LV6Q.

      Reply
  6. Shad

    Ovidiu, thank you so much for the write up! Greatly appreciated. I’ve been looking to switch from my Norelco 1290x to try a foil shaver and I’ve been traveling more lately. The 1290x is particularly painful to take on an extended trip due to requiring the stand to charge it.

    I’m trying to determine the difference between the two travel models ES-CV70-S and the ES-CV51. It seems in the excellent table above that they share the same base attributes and are both current generation travel models.

    In the one comparison photo I saw between full and compact models it appears that the length difference between the full and compact model is roughly the length of the head unit, does that sound about right? Sorry I was trying to determine which full and which compact model was side-by-side in that photo. Unfortunately in my local stores most didn’t have any Panasonic models and the one store that did had an older generation full size ARC5 and an ARC3.

    Do you have experience using either of the compact models and how they do with hair on the neck/under chin since they don’t have as many degrees of movement compared to the full models?

    Not sure if it is a consideration but at times I also shave my head with the 1290x, Are these foil razors able to do a decent job on the head?

    The only other two thoughts I had are that one, the razor head seems so much larger/bulkier than I’m used to and two, I’ve not used cleaning stations and don’t have a desire to due to the subscription nature of them and the linked review on cleaning stations seems to indicate for Panasonic in particular they aren’t required.

    Thanks so much in advance for any light you can shed on these questions!

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Shad,

      Thank you for your comment, I’m glad you found the article useful.

      The two compact models (ES-CV70-S and ES-CV51) are identical. Compared to the fully-fledged model, the body of the compact shaver is a bit shorter and wider, but as you said, the main difference between them is the lack of the complex flexing mechanism that takes quite a lot of space. This allows the shaving head itself to be recessed into the body of the shaver and achieve that compact form factor. I haven’t used it yet, but from the feedback of other users, its performance seems to be top-notch. The flexing head is indeed impressive, but in real life it doesn’t make that much of a difference. If that’s your only concern with regards to the compact models, I wouldn’t worry too much about it.

      The 5 blade shaving head can be an issue for first-time users, but coming from a Norelco 1290x I think you’ll get used to it right away. I personally find an Arc 5 easier to use compared to any other large rotary shaver.

      I do not shave my head, but I consider rotary shavers to be more practical in this regard. The way they work is just more suitable for shaving a large spherical area. That doesn’t mean that you can’t do it with a high-quality foil-based shaver — you certainly can.

      Regarding the station, I can confidently tell you that you don’t need one with any Panasonic shaver. They’re nice to have, but definitely not a must-have.

      Hope this helps.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
      1. Shad

        Ovidiu, I really appreciate your prompt response and additional details. I’m looking forward to trying the ES-CV70-S/ES-CV51. It looks like I can get an ES-CV70-S imported on Amazon. I don’t even see the ES-CV51 listed there, but I am in North America so it seems there are a few less options for these models here.

        From your followup it appears I should be fine with the compact model and with some experimentation, probably okay shaving my head as well with it. I’m really looking forward to the change. The Norelco 1290x was by far the largest rotary I owned and felt considerably larger than past models. Plus the aforementioned pain traveling with it since you had to have the stand to charge it and the stand and charging cable do not fit in the travel pouch at the same time as the shaver.

        Thank you,
        Shad

        Reply
        1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

          You are very welcome, Shad. I’m glad I could help and I hope you’ll enjoy shaving with your new Arc 5.

          Sincerely,
          Ovidiu

          Reply
  7. Peter

    From my experience in the past weeks i can say that both Panasonics, ie the compact travel model
    ES-CV51 and its big brother the ES-LV9Q give me a BBS shave without the least irritation. However i must say that i’ll have to use my Gillette Fusion for a touch up of a few spots that refuse to get BBS no matter what i do….:-)
    After shaving for nearly 16 years with Str8, DE and cartridge razors this is the best way for me to get a BBS shave with absolutely zero irritation/100% comfort.
    PS: i only use both razors wet with Proraso shaving cream applied with my fingers. I haven’t used them dry and probably never will…
    I use the cleaning station once per week and find it an easy way to keep my razor in perfect condition…

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Thank you again for the extensive feedback, Peter. Greatly appreciated.

      I only use Panasonic shavers dry when I have to test them for a review; otherwise shaving cream is the way to go. Apart from Proraso, I also use Nivea (original mild shaving cream) and Speick, these two are brands are fantastic and I highly recommend them if you want to give them a try. They’re inexpensive and the performance is stellar.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
    2. Shad

      Hello Peter,

      I also appreciate these details as I am considering the ES-CV51/ES-CV70-S. Interestingly I also use Proraso though despite the wet/dry operation of my current Norelco 1290x I tend to use it dry and only use the Proraso when I shave wet with my Gillette Fushion in the shower.

      Do you use a pre-shave cream for your Panasonics?

      I’m probably terrible here but I’ve never lubricated my 1290x… Is that a change I’ll need to make if I switch to rotaries?

      Cheers,

      Shad

      Reply
      1. Peter

        Hi Shad,

        i only make my beard wet with lukewarm water and subsequently apply a very tiny bit of Proraso cream to get a very thin slick layer that covers my stubbles.
        I use no preshave.
        As after shave i use Trumpers coral skinfood.

        Peter

        Reply
        1. Dale

          Hello Peter, how is the LV9Q? I may import from Germany too. Have you used any Braun products for comparison?

          Reply
          1. Peter

            The ES-LV9Q gives me a BBS shave within 2-3 minutes without the least irritation when used wet with Proraso cream.
            I’ve been using a Panasonic wet dry from around 1992 until 2002 but switched to classic wetshaving since i was not satisfied about the result and the quality of the shave with the Panasonic ES8068 at that time.
            But technology has improved tremendously since those days….apparently….:)

            I have never used a Braun and i never even considered trying one since i was fully convinced about the quality of the newest Panasonics particularly after having read the extremely thorough reviews as written by Ovidiu at this place….

            Peter

  8. Dale

    Hello, just wanted to say I love your website. It has been very help full. I bought a Braun Series 9 but for me it is not the best so I am switching to the ES-LV9Q, I can either import from Germany or wait until UK release but there have been no updates or information on the release dates or pricing in the UK since February. I am afraid that I will order from Germany and soon after they will release for the UK lol oh what to do.

    Reply
    1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

      Hi Dale,

      Thank you for your comment, I’m glad to hear that! So far Amazon.de seems to be the only option for the European buyers. You could also try contacting Panasonic UK and see if they can point you to other retailers that carry the ES-LV9Q.

      Sincerely,
      Ovidiu

      Reply
      1. Dale

        I have ordered from Amazon.de paid a hefty price but should be a very good razor that should last me a few years. I will also try some pre electric shave lotion this time and may even get a shaving brush and cream.
        Do you happen to know if with these new editions the replacement sachets for the cleaning liquid are the same as the older revisions?

        Reply
        1. Ovidiu Nicolae Post author

          Hi Dale,

          Yes, they use the same detergent packs as the previous models (Panasonic WES4L03). And I agree, at least at this moment the price is very high, but as you said, it should last for years. I’ve been using Panasonic shavers for more than 15 years and they can take a serious beating.

          Sincerely,
          Ovidiu

          Reply
  9. Shad

    Ovidiu, Peter, thank you for the additional comments.

    I have to echo Dale in that these seem somewhat hard to get our hands on. I’m in California and went to several stores with no luck at all, and the one Panasonic Arc 5 I saw was an older model. It seems like there have been several revisions since.

    Admittedly I have a little more luck searching Amazon but even then it seems that quite a few of the newer models/revisions are missing.

    Reply

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