The good: provides a close and irritation free shave, suitable for sensitive skin, great for wet shaving, excellent trimmer, quiet, slick design, solid build quality
The bad: can’t be used while charging, lacks some of the features of more expensive Series 5 and Series 7, doesn't shave as close as a Panasonic Arc 3
Braun boldly states that its Series 3 shavers are tough on the beard and smooth on the skin.
The Series 3 380s-4 is one of the best-selling razors of this product line and should be a worthy representative. Read our review to see if there really aren’t any compromises.
Table of Contents
- New SensoFoil design of the protective screens
- Triple Action FreeFloat System
- Wet & Dry operation
- Precision long hair trimmer
- Fully washable for easy cleaning
- Precision head lock
- 3-stage LED display for low charge & battery status
- Replacement light for the cutting block
- Cordless use for up to 45 minutes
- Quick charge option
That is quite an extensive list of features for an entry-level razor, but the ones we’re especially interested are the first two, as everything else is pretty much what you’d expect from a decent electric shaver.
Here is a breakdown of what the gimmicky terms really mean:
Braun opted for a different type of foil perforations instead of going with the usual pattern that other manufacturers use.
According to them this should capture short hairs more efficiently and ensure less skin irritation. Although it is difficult for anyone to accurately confirm this, the new design does seem more effective with the honeycomb-like shape of the holes.
You can check out a 3D animation of the SensoFoil here.
Triple Action FreeFloat System
The Series 3 380s-4 has two foils for shaving short hairs and one middle trimmer for cutting long hairs. The three cutting elements move independently, so it should be easier to adapt to the contours of your face. See them in action here.
Build quality and ergonomics
This Braun Series 3 feels weighty and solid in hand, without being too heavy. It has a nice hefty feel to it that just oozes quality.
There are rubbery areas on the sides that ensure a very secure grip. On the visual side, the blue and black color scheme doesn’t look half bad.
The shaving head is not as bulky as on Panasonic foil shavers, making it more comfortable to maneuver.
Another nice touch in the ergonomics department is the Precision setting switch (see the image on the right).
Basically, when you slide the switch to the right, the central trimmer and one of the foils will be lowered, allowing for precise handling in hard to shave areas—like under the nose.
Battery life and charging
The battery life for this razor is very good. On average, the 45 minutes promised by Braun should be enough for a couple of weeks, depending on your shaving routine.
Charging can be done with or without the stand as the power cord can be plugged directly into the shaver. There is also a 5 minutes Quick Charge option that will provide enough power for one shave.
Having an automatic worldwide voltage adjustment, it will adapt to any voltage between 100-240v, so you can use it when traveling abroad.
Unfortunately it can’t be used while charging. Braun didn’t allow this type of functionality to its wet/dry shavers as a safety precaution when using it in the shower.
Cleaning and maintenance
Cleaning the razor is dead easy: just turn the shaver on and rinse the shaver head under running warm water. You can also use liquid soap for a more thorough cleaning. After that, just turn it off, remove the foil and cutter block and let it dry.
There is a cleaning brush that can be used to clean the inner area of the shaver head. Just don’t use it on the foil and cutter as they can be damaged easily.
You won’t get a Clean & Renew System with this shaver though. If you really want one check out the alternative shavers section at the end of this review.
Every once in while you should use the included tube of light machine oil to lubricate the foil and central trimmer for optimal performance.
The Braun 380s-4 works great with moderate and even heavier beards, providing reasonably close and irritation free shaves. It is also very effective in cutting the stray hairs, especially on the neck area.
It also works well when used with shaving cream or in the shower, but to be perfectly honest it didn’t improve the closeness to a significant degree, so you’ll probably want to stick to a quick dry shave.
While the closeness will be good enough for most men, it won’t shave as close as Panasonic’s entry-level shavers from the Arc 3 family.
The pop-up trimmer is a welcome addition, very handy for all-around grooming and trims.
The positioning is really good as the shaving head doesn’t get in the way. I wish more manufacturers would use this layout (yes, I’m talking to you, Panasonic).
- Protective travel case for shaver; sadly the power cord won’t fit in it
- Charging stand
- Power cord
- Small bottle of light machine oil
- Cleaning brush
Unfortunately there isn’t a protective cap for the foils, but the case pretty much makes up for that.
Replacement parts availability
The replacement parts for this razor come in the form of cassettes. This is actually a shaving block containing both the cutters and the foil. It is available in two flavors:
Braun says that you should change them every 18 months, which is longer than other manufacturers recommend.
Usually the cutter block and foil last longer than that, so that’s another bonus point for this shaver.
You will be notified by a light when it is time to replace them, but you can reset it by pressing the ON/OFF switch for 5 seconds. Or just wait for the next 7 shaves and it will reset automatically.
Wrap-up. Who should buy it?
Braun has come a long way with this Series 3 range of shavers. It really is a massive improvement in quality and performance over the old generation.
Braun Series 3 380s-4 is a great all around shaver that I would highly recommend to anyone. Electric wet shavers will absolutely love it. If shaving in the shower is your thing, you can’t go wrong with this one.
It’s also better with longer hair than most foil shavers in this price range, so if you shave every 2 days or so definitely give this one a try.
It’s also a great choice for beginners, especially if you can find it at a discount.
If you’re more into gadgets, you can go for a slightly more expensive Braun Series 3 390cc-4
which comes with a Clean & Renew System. Keep in mind though that you won’t be able to use it for wet shaving.