The good: very good build quality, fully waterproof, excellent built-in trimmer with adjustable comb
The bad: a few design flaws add up to a very annoying experience, foil and cutters assembly difficult to remove, not the best shaving performance and comfort, expensive
Table of Contents
Alongside a quality electric shaver, a decent body trimmer should be a staple in every man’s personal care arsenal. The Series 7100 (BG2040) is one of Norelco’s best selling models and addresses some of the major shortcomings of earlier products in the Bodygroom family (like the BG2020), but also brings along its own downsides. We take an in-depth look at all the important bits after a thorough testing in our Philips Norelco Bodygroom 7100 Review.
The Philips Norelco Bodygroom Series 7100 (or BG2040) is a body trimmer intended to be used exclusively below the neck. In typical Philips Norelco fashion, it features a foil and cutters combo for the shaving head; the novelty comes in the form of a built-in trimmer with an adjustable comb at the other end of the shaver.
The head also has a pivoting function, allowing it to closely follow your body’s contour – at least that’s what we’re told. More on that later on in the review.
Being fully waterproof, it can also be used safely in the shower or with a shaving cream. The operation is cordless only.
Upon first holding the shaver in your hand, you’ll notice that is has a decent amount of heft to it and feels very solidly built. It’s definitely a step in the right direction when compared to the older, but equally popular BG2040 that we reviewed here.
The materials also look and feel very nice, with silver plastic that resembles metal and very grippy rubber inserts on the sides. The curved design also contribute to the ergonomics of the product, making it very easy to maneuver.
The integrated trimmer with adjustable comb is one of the best design decisions in my opinion; I never liked the brittle, click-on combs that break easily and come off during use. Not to mention that it’s easy to misplace them.
Another improvement is the charging stand; it doesn’t feel cheap and flimsy and the two charging plates are now spring loaded, ensuring contact with the two metal prongs from the sides of the shaver. The small rubber feet are also a nice touch as they provide plenty of grip when placed on a slippery surface.
As for the downsides, the foil and cutters assembly is annoyingly difficult to remove (for cleaning) and to put back on; it takes quite a bit of force to get it out and the fact that there isn’t much to hold on to doesn’t help either. You also have to pay attention not to deform the cutters when pulling it out if you grip it too tightly. Snapping it back in place also requires serious pressure and this is made worse by the pivoting of the head.
Battery life and charging
The Li-Ion battery inside the shaver should provide enough power for 50 minutes of use. In practice, I found this claim to be pretty accurate and battery life was very solid. Charging takes around one hour (a huge improvement over BG2020’s 8 hour charging time) and can only be carried out with the included stand. You cannot simply plug the cord into the shaver.
When the battery is low, the charging light will light up orange; basically this means that you only have approximately 10 minutes of operating time left. The LED will blink green during charging and will light up continuously to indicate when the groomer is fully charged. Unfortunately, there isn’t a quick charge feature.
Cleaning and maintenance
It is highly recommended to clean a personal hygiene product like this one after every use. Luckily, the Bodygroom 7100 is very easy to clean. Being completely waterproof, the cleaning process involves removing the shaving head (as we saw earlier that isn’t exactly easy) and rinsing it under running tap water. There is also a cleaning brush included in the package that you can use to clean the hair chamber before rinsing it as well.
For the trimming unit located at the other end of the groomer, you first have to detach the comb and push the middle part of the trimming unit until it pops open. You can then remove the hairs and debris from the hair chamber with the cleaning brush and also rinse it with warm water.
Do not use a towel or cloth to dry the foil assembly as it can be easily damaged; just let it air dry completely before reattaching it to the groomer.
The performance of the Bodygroom Series 7100 was a bit of a mixed bag for me. I will start off with the good bits.
The groomer seems adequately capable for anything you throw at it, regardless if you’re shaving, trimming or just keeping things nice and tidy.
The shaving head features rounded, self-sharpening cutters that make nicks and pinches very unlikely. The foil also works very well most of time, even though some hairs may be left behind and requiring additional passes.
One of the best features however has to be the built-in trimmer with the adjustable comb. It works excellent for areas where you just want to trim the hair, like on your chest. The comb has 5 settings for the length of the hair after trimming, ranging from 3 mm to 11 mm, making it very versatile. You can also remove the comb completely, but I would advise against doing so as it doesn’t feature the same tapered cutters as the shaving head, so it will pinch your skin like any regular hair trimmer.
My main (and only) gripe with this particular product is with regards to the pivoting function of the shaving head: it is unnecessary for a body groomer and detrimental to the performance and comfort. I will further explain this issue.
When using the foil and cutters end of the Series 7100, the shaving head will rotate once you start dragging it over the area that needs to be shaved, meaning that the angle relative to the skin will change, needing constant readjusting. If you don’t do it, the cutters will be almost perpendicular to the skin, a position that will likely cause some pulling and dragging sensation. Moreover, the head tends to skip over the skin, leaving hair behind and causing some discomfort or even some painful pinching. All these facts add up to a pretty annoying experience, as you constantly have to pay attention to the position of the shaving head. I also noticed that shaving takes more time with this product, again the culprit being the pivoting of the head.
Things are even worse when shaving sensitive parts, like your groin area or under your arms. You must really take your time and be extra careful.
All these shortcomings could have been easily avoided by using a fixed shaving head. Or by having a switch that locks it in place.
Upon opening the retail box you’ll be greeted by the following items:
- Philips Norelco BG2040 groomer
- Charging stand
- Charging adapter
- Cleaning brush
You can also check out our short unboxing video below:
Replacement parts availability
Philips Norelco recommends changing the shaving foil head once a year. Depending on how often you use it, you can get away with more than that. The part for the 7100 is the Bodygroom Replacement Head BG200040 and can be found at a very reasonable price.
Wrapup – who should buy it?
The Norelco Bodygroom 7100 is a prime example of a product with a feature that exists only for the sake of it and is detrimental to the product’s performance. A body groomer is different than an electric shaver and should be designed accordingly. If you’re a DIY person, I guess you could improvise something or mod the shaving head, but the warranty will be void. It’s a real shame as this groomer had the potential to be an excellent product.
Considering my overall experience with the Series 7100, I can only recommend it if you will use it primarily for the trimming feature as it really is excellent on this particular shaver. As for the foil and cutters, I think there are better options as you’ll see in the next section.
If you don’t mind having separate click-on combs, the Philips Norelco Bodygroom 5100 BG2038/41 is cheaper and features a basic, fixed shaving head that simply works great. Moreover, it comes with an extra-long back attachment so you can shave hard to reach areas like your back.
Another even more budget friendly alternative is the Bodygroom Series 3100 BG2034. It’s very similar to the above mentioned Series 5100, comes with the same back attachment, but requires a charging time of a whooping 8 hours. In my opinion the money you’ll be saving by choosing this one is not worth the 8 hours waiting time.