Pros: very comfortable and close shaves, powerful, suitable for sensitive skin, great for shaving less often, excellent battery life, good ergonomics, IPX7 waterproof, easy to clean
Cons: pricey, poor trimmer attachment, some quirks with the Qi charging models
Almost 5 years after the introduction of the original S9000 Prestige, Philips released the next generation, informally referred to as the NEW Prestige.
Being essentially a more premium version of the Series 9000, the S9000 Prestige is the most advanced (and expensive) Philips rotary shaver.
And at least in theory, it should also be the best.
The new S9000 Prestige is now available worldwide in several variations, with different accessories and in different colors.
I finally managed to buy one and in this review, I will share everything you need to know about the 2023 Philips S9000 Prestige after testing it extensively for almost a month.
Since I also own the original Prestige and Philips’ latest Series 9000 (the vanilla, non-Prestige series), I will also compare them and let you know whether it’s worth the upgrade and the extra money.
My review unit is the Philips Norelco S9000 Prestige SP9872/86.
This is a USA model that comes with a Qi induction charging pad but without the Quick Clean Pod.
Other variations include a cleaning pod (SP9841/84, SP9840/31) or both the pod and the Qi pad (SP9886/89).
However, the shaving performance of all new Philips Prestige models (including the European ones) is identical, so the review will still be relevant.
With that out of the way, let’s see what the new S9000 Prestige is all about.
Table of Contents
- Features overview
- Included accessories
- Build quality and ergonomics
- Battery life and charging
- Shaving performance
- Replacement parts availability
- Cleaning and maintenance
- Wrap-up — Should you buy the new Philips Prestige?
I normally avoid listing specs from the product page but here I think it’s necessary to dissect some of the marketing copy as some of it can be confusing or misleading.
1. The 3-blade shaving head
Just like most other Philips rotary razors, the S9000 Prestige features 3 cutting heads.
Each head has two rows of rotary blades that spin behind a metal guard (or comb).
For the S9000 Prestige (and the latest Series 9000), Philips went with wide slots on the outer track and small holes on the inner one.
This arrangement should capture both longer, flat-lying hairs and short stubble.
On the manufacturer’s site, you’ll see that they claim to use a Lift&Cut system that supposedly allows the blades to first lift and then cut the hair for a skin-level closeness.
For this, they actually use two blade edges: the first one would lift the hair and the second one would do the actual cutting.
Here’s a closeup image I took. If you look carefully you will see the two overlayed blade edges.
This Lift&Cut system appears to be a refinement of the old Super Lift&Cut which Philips dropped in favor of more comfortable single-blade designs for most of their current shavers.
However, they brought it back for the new Series 9000 and the new Prestige.
Interestingly, the old S9000 Prestige used a single-blade edge, so at least in theory, the new one should have a slight advantage in terms of closeness.
But there’s also the risk of making the shave less comfortable since these double-edge blades have a tendency to constantly tug the hairs.
It’s one of the reasons why I liked the old Prestige as it was very gentle and forgiving.
So we’ll see how the comfort is later on, but I know from shaving with the new non-Prestige Series 9000 (same blades) that they somehow still managed to preserve the comfort.
Important: A single or double blade edge is not to be confused with the number of blade rows or tracks (two in the case of the Series 9000 and S9000 Prestige).
The three cutters are covered with what Philips calls a Hydro SkinGlide Coating. It should make them glide effortlessly over the skin.
At first, I thought they meant the plastic holders in which the actual cutters sit. But no, this refers to the surface of the metal guards.
So it’s not specific to the Prestige line, but rather to the SH91 cutters, also present on the regular Series 9000 (like the Shaver 9500 or 9800).
2. New pentagonal heads
The biggest difference between the new Prestige compared to the old one has to be the shape of the three cutting heads.
With the new Prestige, Philips switched to its new angular heads that made their way from the lower-end models (like the new Series 5000 or 7000) to the range-topping S9000.
The old Prestige used the more conventional round design which I personally think was better from an ergonomic perspective.
The new angular heads are needed in order to make the Prestige compatible with Quick Clean Pod, Philips’ new solution for an automatic cleaner (more on that later on).
But the new heads are larger and thicker; most users aren’t bothered by them, but I also wouldn’t say it’s an improvement.
Rotary shavers often use at least one flexing system to ensure optimum contact with the skin.
The new Prestige is identical in that regard to the previous one, using independently flexing shaving head holders plus a flexible head unit.
The three holders can tilt inward independently; on lower-end rotaries like the Series 3000 the three cradles are interlinked and can’t flex independently.
Philips calls this an Ultraflex Suspension System.
In addition to that, the head unit is mounted on a flexible strut.
The entire shaving head can tilt freely in any direction, but the range of motion is rather limited and I don’t think it’s that useful in real life.
4. Hair density sensor
The new Prestige is fitted with a so-called Power Adapt Sensor that modulates the power output of the motor in accordance with the beard density.
It supposedly evaluates the density 500 times a second. I don’t recall seeing any specs for the previous generation, so I can’t say if it’s the same.
But in practice, I never noticed any variation in motor speed except when I shaved with shaving cream.
What does indeed modify the speed is the rocker located below the power button, allowing you to choose between 3 power settings (called Personal Comfort Settings).
I will talk more about its use and effectiveness in the performance section.
5. Cordless, wet/dry operation
Just like the previous generation, the new Philips Prestige shavers will only work cordless.
The Li-ion battery provides up to 60 minutes of use.
Philips says that the battery (and motor) has a 7-year lifetime which is really impressive. It does not however imply a 7-year warranty for those parts.
Normally, the stated lifetime for a rechargeable battery is 3 years (Panasonic mentions it explicitly, even though in practice the battery lasts way past that).
Being IPX7 waterproof, all the Prestige shavers are suitable for dry or wet shaving, including in the shower.
But the most important benefit is that you can simply rinse the shaver clean after using it.
The new Philips S9000 Prestige comes with a standard 2-year warranty.
If you register the product within 90 days of purchase you will get an extra 6 months which is not a lot, to be honest.
Braun usually offers one year extra after registering the product or, in the case of the Series 9 PRO+, 3 years of extended warranty for a total of 5 years (this Braun promotion is country-specific).
As mentioned earlier, the kit will be different for the various models in this 2023 S9000 Prestige series.
Here’s what came with my SP9872/86:
- Qi wireless charging pad
- USB-A charger (for the pad)
- Hair trimmer attachment
- Cleaning brush
- Premium travel case
- User manual and leaflet
The models that don’t feature wireless charging will come with a standard Philips charger.
None of them however includes a protective cover for the shaving head.
The reason behind this is probably that the travel case is thought to provide enough protection against mechanical shocks.
As a side note, the premium case is the same one included with the old Prestige generation.
The case looks and feels nice and there’s enough room inside for the shaver, trimmer, brush and maybe a couple of travel-size toiletries.
With the non-wireless Prestige shavers, you could squeeze in the rather compact Philips wired charger as well.
The downside of having this generous volume is that the case is quite bulky, a lot larger than the hard fabric case of the non-Prestige Series 9000.
Build quality and ergonomics
The Prestige line of shavers from Philips was intended to be a posh, premium Series 9000.
The first generation was a massive jump in build quality, materials and overall feel when compared to the Series 9000 of that time.
When I first saw the official renders of this 2023 new Prestige, it looked stunning.
And it appeared to be rather a refinement or an evolution of the old one, which wasn’t at all a bad thing.
My old Prestige is still one of the nicest electric razors I’ve ever held in hand.
Its brushed metal body is probably the one thing that contributes the most to the premium feel of the razor.
But when I first took my new Prestige SP9872/86 out of the box, something was different.
Metal has a very distinct cool feel to it and I immediately noticed that this shaver didn’t have it.
And that’s because it now comes with a plastic body instead of metal.
It has a nice texture and feels and looks like good-quality plastic, but it’s still a downgrade in my book.
The official images of the new Prestige had me convinced that it would still feature a metal build.
But to my surprise, it doesn’t.
The only metal part on my shaver carried over from the old Prestige seems to be that piece of trim right below the shaving head with the very nice knurling.
Everything else is plastic.
So it’s a bit disappointing as the metal body really made the old Prestige feel a cut above all other Philips models.
In fact, only Panasonic’s metal Arc 5 models (like the ES-LV9Q or ES-CV70) could compete with it.
One would argue that because the Prestige I got uses inductive charging (which doesn’t work through metal), Philips had no other solution but to use plastic.
However, that’s not the case.
The old Prestige (SP9860) that also charged wirelessly came with a metal body.
Only the back of the shaver that actually comes into contact with the pad needs to be made out of a different material for the charging to work.
So the decision to use plastic on the new Prestige was likely about cutting costs.
However, it doesn’t feel or look cheap, it’s just not as luxurious as the old one.
The plastic used for the body has a matte, powdery finish which feels nice to the touch, but doesn’t offer a lot of grip.
UPDATE: After some initial info suggested that some models in the new Prestige series do come with a metal body, it appears it was not accurate.
All models in the new lineup have a plastic body, including the fully specced SP9883/35 and SP9886/89.
Thanks to Miki for the info.
We have the same soft plastic/rubber-like inserts on the sides and back which do help and make holding the shaver very secure.
The shaving head of the new Prestige is the biggest change compared to the old generation.
Precisely, instead of the rounded heads, we now get these slab-like angular heads which are wider, thicker and don’t taper toward the edge.
I personally found it a bit more cumbersome to use.
With the old one, I could always tell exactly where the metal guard was when shaving a certain area, but now it is obscured by the larger pentagonal holder.
I will get into more detail on how this affected my shave in the performance section of the review.
But I will say that Philips made the switch to this head (which made its way into the lower-end series as well) in order to make the new Prestige compatible with the Quick Clean pods.
And it probably helps with production costs since the same design is used on other series as well.
At the center of this head, you’ll notice a tiny metal piece that spins when the shaver is switched on.
That is actually what makes the cleaning pod work — this metal piece splines to a tiny shaft inside the pod which turns an impaler and pushes the cleaning fluid from the cartridge into the cleaning chamber of the pod.
The front side of the new Prestige is basically unchanged from the previous models.
The power button has good tactile feedback and doubles as a travel lock.
You can activate it by pressing and holding it for 3 seconds. A padlock icon will appear on the display and confirm that the power button is now locked.
Pressing and holding it again for 3 seconds will unlock the shaver.
Right below we have the Prestige Comfort settings.
There are 3 shaving modes you can select via the -/+ rocker: Comfort, Dynamic, and Efficiency.
Again I will cover this feature and its effectiveness in the performance section.
The display of the new Philips Prestige seems to be unchanged from the previous generation.
While the backlighting is stronger, the edges of the text and graphics are still a bit fuzzy.
The new non-Prestige Series 9000 for example with its OLED display has sharper text.
That said, it is pretty useful, displaying the battery charge in 1% increments.
The back of the shaver is completely barren, with no integrated hair trimmer.
With the Prestige, we still get the separate trimmer attachment that must be fitted in place of the rotary head unit.
On the bottom of the shaver there’s the typical Philips charging port.
The models that don’t have wireless charging will have the port exposed, while the ones that come with the Qi pad (like my SP9872/86) will have it covered by a round flap that can be removed.
But as you’ll see later on, there’s an issue with that.
The ergonomics of the new Philips Norelco Prestige are quite good, especially thanks to the shape of the shaver’s body.
Holding it is very comfortable and natural and feels more secure compared to the large, boxy body of the new standard Series 9000.
But I personally still prefer the old Prestige from an ergonomic standpoint — the smaller size of the heads makes it nimbler and easier to use.
My new Prestige is a bit heavier than the old one (198g vs 189g) despite the body being made of plastic instead of metal.
However, that’s likely because of the extra hardware needed for the wireless charging feature.
It’s still a surprisingly light shaver, definitely lighter than the high-end models from the competition.
Finally, apart from the move from metal to plastic, there’s another feature that seems to be missing on the new Prestige generation.
My old Prestige had this lift-to-wake feature (like you get on some smartphones) — basically, the display would show the battery level when I lifted the shaver without turning it on.
It was extremely sensitive and would be triggered by the slightest movement. Even touching the desk with the shaver sitting on it would cause the display to light up.
Again this feature seems to only be available with the full option Prestige versions.
For example, the SP9872/86 I’m using doesn’t have it.
Apparently, Philips disabled it because it caused significant battery drain by keeping the display active (but oddly they still kept it on a few models).
Again we can think of this feature as the always-on display on some smartphones, even though in this case it wasn’t always on.
This was particularly a problem when traveling as the constant moving would cause the display to light up.
However, at least on my old Prestige unit, the lift-to-wake feature seems to be disabled after a period of inactivity.
UPDATE: The Lift-to-wake feature is only present on the new S9000 Prestige models that include a Quick Clean Pod. As we’ll see in the cleaning section, this actually makes sense.
Overall, the build quality of the new Prestige is quite good, the materials feel nice and the fit is very good.
However, it probably won’t wow you like the old generation used to.
Battery life and charging
Philips electric razors are in my experience among the best when it comes to battery life and battery lifespan.
For the new S9000 Prestige, they even go as far as promising a 7-year lifetime.
Only time will tell if that’s true, but what I can confirm is that the Prestige battery life on a single charge is excellent.
Philips says 60 minutes of cordless operation and it definitely lives up to that claim.
My Prestige loses around 8% battery per shave, so I will get at least 10 shaves from a single charge which is excellent.
When the charge drops below 10% you will see a red battery icon on the display prompting you to charge the razor.
So battery life and the expected reliability for the new Philips Prestige are class-leading.
The problem is with charging the shaver.
The SP9872 that I got, as well as the other models that come with a Qi pad apparently can only be charged wireless.
And that takes just under 3 hours which is quite a lot compared to the standard 1-hour wired charging.
You also get a fast charging function, but for the Qi models that takes 18 minutes which isn’t exactly fast.
With a normal charger that would be 5 minutes or less.
So it can be an inconvenience if you’re caught off guard and the battery is completely depleted.
With most devices fitted with inductive charging, you usually get a fallback wired charging option.
And in theory, you have that with the new Prestige as well.
At the bottom of the shaver there’s normally a two-prong Philips charging port.
On my unit this port is hidden behind a removable cover.
You can simply pop it out using a tiny flat screwdriver or a paperclip which must be inserted in the cutout and gently pressed down.
Once removed, you will see the charging port.
I grabbed a standard Philips charger, plugged it into a wall socket and connected the wire to the shaver.
And at first, it started charging normally and everything worked as expected.
I even managed to snap a photo:
But to my surprise, after around 2 minutes, the charging simply stopped. It just wouldn’t work anymore.
I tried disconnecting and connecting the cord again, I tried several different Philips chargers, both European and USA models, but nothing worked anymore.
The display would remain black and the shaver would even turn on when pressing the power button — just like the charger wasn’t even connected.
So apparently the new wireless Prestige models cannot be charged with a wired charger.
This is a massive disappointment and I honestly can’t understand why Philips would deliberately disable it.
It’s a really petty move that basically forces the user to always depend on a slow-charging wireless pad.
I know most of us will simply put the shaver on the pad and leave it there all the time, so the battery will always be full.
But in some cases being able to quickly charge the shaver using a wired connection is really useful.
For example if you’re on vacation and don’t want to bring along the large pad or when you want to quickly get some power into the battery for a quick shave.
A smartphone that can only be charged wirelessly for example is not the most practical.
Philips says you must only use the provided pad to charge the shaver. However, I tried using a third-party Qi charger and it worked just fine.
I also tried charging other devices on the Philips pad and it works, so there’s no proprietary limitation of some sort.
If you don’t care for the wireless charging feature there are variations of the Philips Prestige that come with standard wired charging like the SP9841/84.
The pad can be appealing to users with various set-ups and space on the countertop.
But if that’s not something you can take advantage of, then getting a wired charging Prestige model (for less money) is probably a better option.
How an electric razor shaves is what matters the most and will ultimately be the decisive buying factor.
I’ve tested the new Philips Norelco Prestige for several weeks on various beard lengths and I almost always switched back and forth between it and the old model.
I also threw in the new Series 9000 9500 as I think these three can easily compete against each other and are more similar than different.
Since all of them are still available and the price differences between the standard S9000 and the Prestige series can be significant, the comparison should be useful for someone looking to buy a very capable (Philips) rotary.
With that out of the way, let’s see how good the new Prestige really is.
Comfort of the shave
For me personally, the thing that impressed me the most about this shaver was the comfort.
The new Philips S9000 Prestige is a very gentle and forgiving rotary shaver that managed to consistently provide a comfortable, irritation-free shave for most of the time.
I have very sensitive, dry skin on my neck which is the reason why I didn’t get along too well with the rotaries of the past.
When Philips dropped the Super Lift&Cut blades for the high-end Prestige line, I called the old generation a game changer.
The same can be said about the new Prestige — it is the most comfortable rotary shaver I’ve ever used, just as good as the old one.
And that is despite the fact that the blades of the new Prestige use double-edge Lift&Cut blades, but they somehow managed to keep them just as comfortable.
In fact, I’d say it’s a perfectly suitable choice for men with very sensitive skin. And before the Prestige I would be very reluctant to recommend a rotary in this case.
The SH91 cutters that are fitted to the new S9000 Prestige are now the most advanced in Philips’ lineup and in my opinion the best.
They’re identical (performance-wise) to the discontinued SH98 of the old Prestige and are also backward compatible (in case you already own the old one).
Another aspect that made the new Prestige so enjoyable and comfortable is the way it glides over the skin.
Rotaries, especially the ones with large heads can be very jittery when you move them over the skin, even more so if it’s a bit damp.
But somehow they managed to overcome this and it was a real joy shaving with it.
In fact, the Prestige glided easier than my Shaver 9500 which uses an apparently identical head unit and the same SH91 cutters.
So the outer surface/coating of the three plastic holders could be the reason why the new Prestige just glides easier on the skin.
It was even better when I used a pre-shave lotion and that made the shave even more comfortable and pleasant.
I only had one minor issue when shaving my neck with the new Philips Prestige.
If I moved the head too fast, occasionally one or two hairs would get pulled a bit before getting cut which did result in some stinging or a very tiny nick.
But this was a rare occurrence and again, it wasn’t a problem provided my technique wasn’t sloppy and I used a controlled and slower motion.
I could even get away with applying a bit more pressure.
With some of the old Norelcos like the Series 9000 (with the aggressive SH90 cutters), that would have resulted in major discomfort and some bleeding.
Let’s now see what’s the deal with the Personal Comfort Settings.
In addition to the Power Adapt Sensor that adjusts the motor speed automatically, Philips fitted the Prestige line with some user-adjustable settings.
Precisely, you can choose between 3 modes depending on your preferences: Comfort, Dynamic, and Efficiency.
These will actually alter the power of the shaver’s motor and you can feel and hear it.
The lowest power mode (Comfort) is supposed to make the shaver suitable for very sensitive skin and you would choose it by pressing the Minus side of the rocker once or twice until that mode is selected on the display.
And while it did seem to make it a tad gentler during a faster stroke, this slow-power comfort mode just ended up increasing the time it took me to complete my shave.
The same happened with the middle (Dynamic) setting, only to a lesser degree.
So my setting of choice was actually the high power mode (Efficiency) in which the shaver was still very comfortable and the performance was the best.
As a side note, my review reflects the performance of the Prestige in that high-power mode — I just didn’t find a compelling reason to use the other two.
Also, the shaver will always select the mode you last used when turning it on which is in my opinion the right way of handling this.
In conclusion, I think for most users the comfort settings are of little to no use and you should just stick to the high-power mode to get the best performance out of the new Prestige.
It stays perfectly comfortable and having the motor at full power makes a big difference to the shaver’s effectiveness and it’s just more enjoyable to use.
I have to mention again that adding a good pre-shave lotion will likely be beneficial.
My favorite one is from a brand called Speick, but you can of course use whichever works best for you.
Philips set up some high expectations regarding the closeness of its premium shavers.
For the S9000 Prestige, the product page says Up to 0.00mm skin-level closeness with our Lift & Cut System.
As we now know, that Lift&Cut thing is a refinement of the old double-edge blades (Super Lift&Cut).
Basically, the first blade would pull and raise the hair shaft while the second would actually cut it.
But from what I can tell, the gap between the two blades is now smaller than in the past, so the first blade doesn’t yank the hair as much and it’s one of the reasons why the comfort is excellent.
Here’s a macro shot I took of the old SH90 (Super Lift&Cut) and the new SH91 (Lift&Cut) of the S9000 Prestige:
I always considered comfort a limiting factor in achieving a very close shave for the old double-edge blades.
But since the ones on the new Prestige are a lot more comfortable, I personally am able to get a closer shave than before.
That may not always be the case for seasoned rotary users who had no issue shaving with the more aggressive Norelcos of the past.
But for me (and I think for most men), the new ones are better.
The new Prestige is currently the closest shaving Philips razor, but I would say it’s still on par with the previous generation (no double-edge Lift&Cut) and the new Series 9000.
I would maybe give the new Prestige a slight advantage, but it could very well be the result of my Prestige being brand new with unworn blades, whereas I’ve been using the other one for a while.
The closeness on the cheeks and even on my neck was excellent, on par with a Braun Series 9/9 Pro for example.
But on the chin and below the nose it could have been better.
Based on how the skin looks and if there are any rough patches when I run my hand against the hair grain, I would say that it’s not quite at the same level as other high-end shavers like the Panasonic Arc 5/Arc 6 or the Braun Series 9 (any variation).
Again, I am referring strictly to the chin and the area above the upper lip and those are always tricky for me as the hair is very thick and dense and I have to put in more effort for a smooth shave.
I would rate the new Prestige the highest for closeness from a rotary, but I think most users will get a closer shave with the aforementioned high-end foil shavers.
I also wouldn’t say it’s a noticeable improvement over the old generation or the Series 9000.
It has other pros compared to those but strictly with regards to closeness, it’s quite similar.
I am always skeptical about 0.00mm claims because there are a lot of variables when using a shaver in the real world vs a test bench.
Braun for example says its latest Series 9 PRO+ will cut the hairs at 0.05mm and at least in my case, it actually shaves a bit closer than the new Prestige.
The takeaway is that while the new Philips Prestige shaves close enough and it’s quite impressive for a rotary that is this comfortable, I didn’t find it to be much better than the current high-end Philips models.
If you’ve used rotaries before and you were happy with the closeness, I think you will be at least as happy with the Prestige.
Shaving longer hairs
If you prefer to shave less often, like twice a week, rotaries are generally a good option, as most foil razors struggle with longer stubble.
As expected, the new Prestige is just stellar with this type of hair.
Philips says it can shave a 7-day beard and I think it’s borderline reasonable (depending also on how fast the hair grows).
The most I’ve gone was 4 days and the shave was really good even with the completely flat-lying hairs on the neck.
This didn’t come as a surprise given the excellent performance of the old Prestige and the current Series 9000 (which uses the same heads).
However, I would say I liked the new Prestige a bit more because the head just floats on the skin with minimal friction and you can execute all the circular and straight strokes in perfect control.
I find it quite a bit more enjoyable than let’s say the Shaver 9500/9800 which uses the same head, but it feels bulkier because it’s larger and heavier.
And for some reason, the head is a bit draggier on the skin.
It only takes a few swirls with the Prestige to capture most of those difficult flat-lying hairs and even if they grow in different directions the shaver is still very efficient at catching them.
And it never yanked or snagged any hairs which can happen when shaving a long beard (4 days or more).
The new Philips Norelco Prestige is without a doubt one of the more capable out there when shaving longer stubble, easily at the same level as a Braun Series 9 Pro/PRO+.
It will work fine on short beards as well, but so will a much more reasonably priced foil shaver which is why I think the Prestige is particularly well-suited for users who shave less often.
Otherwise the price difference is not really justified in my opinion.
Even though I’m still not a fan of the larger angular heads of the new Prestige vs the old one, I didn’t have any major issues with it and I got used to the proportions.
Generally, Philips rotaries work great with shaving cream or gel.
In the case of some shavers, the extra prep work and cleaning is not always worth it, but with the new Prestige, I think it is.
I tried it with my favorite shaving cream from Speick and I got a fantastic shave every time.
It just makes everything a bit better, from comfort to closeness to how long it takes me to complete the shave — not including the prep with warm water, lathering and cleaning — those do take time.
But because shaving cream will soften the beard and provide a slick surface for the large head to glide on, shaving was a breeze.
It worked effortlessly and I could barely notice the hairs getting cut — it felt more like a gentle massage.
Interestingly, this was the only time when I actually noticed the beard density sensor doing its thing.
My guess is that the lather simply confused it and made the sensor crank up the speed. The sound got a bit more metallic and louder compared to when I shaved dry.
Overall, wet shaving with the new Philips Prestige was a great experience and I would highly recommend it.
You should give it a try or simply shave this way when you need an extra close shave, like prior to an event.
But it is absolutely vital to use a shaving cream or gel that is very slick and keep it well hydrated throughout the shave.
Otherwise, the shaving head can get stuck.
A rotary is more prone to doing that than a foil shaver since the surface of the head is larger with those three plastic slabs.
The new Philips S9000 Prestige is one of the quietest electric razors I’ve used so far.
The motor has a higher-pitched whirring sound compared to the Series 9000 but it is a bit quieter overall, even in the highest speed setting.
It also sounds a bit more refined and less rattly.
When you turn the S9000 Prestige on, it will always make this short, sudden screeching sound as the motor starts turning.
Don’t worry, there’s nothing wrong with it and the old generation did the same thing.
It clearly has a lot of torque, you even feel the shaver twitching a bit right when you press the power button.
Subjectively, I think the Prestige probably has the most powerful and quietest Philips motor right now.
So far the shaving performance of the new Philips Norelco Prestige has been really good.
I can’t however say the same about the hair trimmer attachment.
It’s just not good enough and feels like an afterthought.
First of all, you will need to constantly swap between it and the rotary head unit.
You just pull one out and press the other one in, but this constant swapping may take a toll on that plastic fitting.
I think it’s perfectly robust and sturdy for occasional swapping, but I would not be totally at ease doing it all the time.
And then there’s the trimmer head itself.
It’s very bulky, you can see how unnecessarily thick the plastic edge is and it’s wonky and cumbersome to use for precision stuff like edging and tweaking sideburns.
And the blade isn’t that effective and requires many passes to cut the hairs and it just can’t cut them close enough to the skin.
I prefer an integrated solution like a pop-up trimmer, but for the Prestige and its design compatible with the Qi pad, that probably wasn’t an option.
But even Philips integrated trimmers are mediocre at best.
I personally use these trimmers a lot for my sideburns and the one that comes with the Prestige is just poor.
Panasonic makes by far the best integrated trimmers, there’s really no comparison.
I actually used the trimmer of an Arc 5 while reviewing the Prestige because I just couldn’t get it done with its attachment.
It will however be pretty good at pre-trimming the entire beard if you haven’t shaved in a long while.
Not as good as a dedicated beard trimmer of course, but more suitable than a pop-up trimmer.
Also, some models like the S9000 Prestige SP9883/35 come with an upgraded trimmer that has an adjustable comb if you just want to trim down your beard to a certain length.
But the rest of the negatives mentioned above are still there.
Replacement parts availability
The 2023 Philips Prestige shavers use the SH91 replacement shaving heads.
These cutters are now the most advanced Philips rotary cutters and replace the discontinued SH98 of the old Prestige.
Philips SH91 Replacement Heads
However, the performance is very similar and the SH91 are also backward compatible with the first Prestige series.
According to Philips, they should be replaced every two years.
In practice, rotary cutters tend to be quite durable and sometimes they can outlast the two years timeframe.
But this will also depend on several factors (shaving frequency, coarseness of the beard, cleaning, and so on).
The SH91 heads are pricey but in line with the replacement parts of other high-end shavers from Braun or Panasonic.
The good part is that they will likely outlast those, that’s one of the pros of using a rotary.
Cleaning and maintenance
When it comes to cleaning, there are two ways you can go about it in the case of the new S9000 Prestige.
We have of course the usual manual cleaning which is generally straightforward and quick.
But we also have the option of automatic cleaning with the Quick Clean Pod.
My unit didn’t come with a pod, but I already had a couple at hand from other Philips razors, so I was able to try one with my shaver.
And it didn’t go as smoothly as I thought it would, but we’ll get to that as well.
Let’s first quickly check out how to clean the shaver manually.
All Philips Prestige models are IPX7 waterproof, so we can safely rinse the shaver clean after each use.
Once I finish my shave, I turn off the shaver, pop open the head, and rinse everything generously with warm tap water.
Having a flip-open hinged head is very handy. With the old generation, you would pry off the top part of the shaving head with your fingernails.
Performing this simple routine after every shave should remove most of the clipped hairs from a dry shave.
If you use shaving cream or gel to shave, I would strongly recommend cleaning the shaving head with a bit of liquid soap as well.
After rinsing the head as described above, close the head unit, pour some liquid hand soap on the outside of the cutters then turn the shaver on.
Use your finger to evenly spread the soap over the three cutters and let it run for around 20 seconds.
Rinse the shaving head with warm water (while the shaver is still running).
After that, turn it off, open the head unit again and give everything one final rinse under the tap.
Gently shake off the excess water and let the shaver air dry with the head open.
If you only shave dry, rinsing the shaving head with just water (no soap) should suffice.
In time, some grime and dirt might build up inside the three cutters and in that case you would need to remove and clean each guard and blade individually.
It’s very important not to intermix the guards and blades because they are matching pairs.
Mixing them will likely affect the cutting performance and it will take a while until it’s restored. The lifespan of the blades can also decrease, so again it’s best not to mix them.
The best way to prevent that from happening is to clean the three cutters one by one.
First, remove the hinged cutting unit by pulling it straight off the shaver.
It should come out easily.
Next, remove the blue locking ring of a cutter by twisting it counterclockwise. It should pop right out.
You can now remove the blade and guard pair and clean it.
Rinse both with warm tap water and if there’s still some hardened grime you can very gently use a wooden toothpick to remove it.
Once everything is clean, put the guard and blade back in the holder and lock the ring in place by pressing and turning it clockwise.
You should hear a click as it snaps in place and locks the cutter.
Repeat the process for the other two cutters.
Normally this deep cleaning shouldn’t be necessary if you do the simple cleaning routine above after each shave.
It also should never be needed if you clean your Prestige with the Quick Clean Pod.
So let’s see what that is like.
Automatic cleaning: the Quick Clean Pod
Philips first introduced the Quick Clean Pod with the new Series 7000 and it marked a shift in their approach to automatic cleaning systems.
Precisely, they dropped the old, full-fledged stations (called SmartClean).
Those were completely automatic systems that charged, cleaned and dried the shaver.
The new Quick Clean Pod is a very basic device that doesn’t run on electricity, doesn’t charge the shaver and has no electronic logic built in.
Instead, it actually uses power from the shaver to do its thing.
The pod is essentially a plastic container with a cleaning cartridge inside.
The cartridge contains a detergent solution which cleans and lubricates the cutting heads.
Once the cartridge is placed inside the tub, you can put the pod lid on and twist it clockwise to secure it.
The pod lid is a key component of the system as it’s fitted with an impeller that spins inside a protruding tube and draws liquid from the cartridge.
This impeller is mounted on a shaft that splines into that tiny metal piece in the center of the shaver.
When the shaver is on, that piece will spin and turn the impeller, causing the fluid to be sucked from the cartridge and flushed into the cleaning chamber where the shaving head sits.
It’s a simple and quite smart system, its portability and compact form being the main pros of the new cleaning pod.
But it does have some limitations.
First of all, it will not charge or dry the shaver (since it’s not electrically powered).
Secondly, the cartridge doesn’t have a filter, so any clipped hairs from a previous cleaning can get sucked from the cartridge.
I would often find some on the shaving head which isn’t something you’d expect after an automatic cleaning that should do a better job than me.
But let’s see how it actually works.
Once the cartridge is inside and the pod lid is in place, you would place the shaver with the front facing you and press the power button.
Now, with the Prestige models that include the pod (like the SP9841/84), doing this will cause the shavers to enter a cleaning mode.
The shaver knows it’s placed inside the pod and instead of running continuously, it would turn itself on and off during the cycle.
After one minute the shaver will turn off completely by itself.
But how does the shaver know when it’s placed inside the Pod since it doesn’t have any electronics built-in whatsoever?
Well, the new Prestige (and other Philips shavers that include a Pod) are fitted with an accelerometer. (Props to Allan for the explanation).
This accelerometer detects when the shaver is upside down and still, assuming that it must be placed inside the Pod.
As a result, when you press the power button it would automatically enter the cleaning mode (even if the shaver is not inside the Pod and you just hold it still, upside-down).
Side note: the accelerometer also detects when you grab the shaver, so that’s why the Lift-to-wake feature only works on the Prestige models that came with a pod.
During the cleaning mode, the fluid will be pushed through the shaving head and will clean it quite effectively, despite the occasional hair clippings.
There will be quite a bit of foam, especially on the inside of the shaving head, so you will definitely need to let it air dry after that (with the head flipped open).
My shaver didn’t come with a cleaning Pod, but I expected it would be fully compatible with one.
And why wouldn’t it be — after all, it even came with that tiny metal piece that’s made specifically for the pod.
However, this was the second unpleasant surprise with this new Prestige model (alongside the charging issue).
For some reason, Philips did not include an accelerometer and my shaver doesn’t enter the cleaning mode when placed inside a Pod.
When I pressed the power button, the shaver would just run continuously.
So you will need to turn it off yourself after around 1 minute.
Here’s a video I took that shows this behavior:
The cleaning still works though — the fluid is still being pushed through the shaving head and seems to be just as effective.
But it’s again a very petty move to deliberately skimp on including a basic accelerometer with the Prestige models that don’t come with a Pod.
For comparison, here’s how the cleaning cycle goes for a fully compatible shaver (in this case my Series 9000 Shaver 9500):
To my surprise, the cleaning solution didn’t foam too much. I thought it would be a lot worse since the shaver runs continuously, but it wasn’t.
So if you choose to buy a Philips Prestige without a pod — maybe you already have one or decide to get one later on — it will still work.
But it won’t be fully compatible, in the sense that it will run continuously inside the pod and you will need to turn it off yourself.
The cleaning fluid lasts a lot, especially if you remove the cartridge and put the screw lid back on.
Since the pod is a very basic device, it can’t signal an empty cartridge or an over-contaminated solution, so you will have to decide for yourself when it’s time for a new one.
I personally wouldn’t use it for more than 3 months though (for hygiene considerations).
You can buy a new pod cartridge or use some Philips JetClean fluid which is the same stuff.
I still have a bottle from back in the day so I simply empty the cartridge, give it a quick rinse and fill it with some JetClean solution.
I think this can be a more economical solution. You can also buy third-party solutions like the one from Shaver Shebang.
Overall, I’d say the Quick Clean Pod is a decent solution if you don’t want to clean the shaver manually.
I would however suggest removing the hair clippings from the shaver’s head unit (using the small brush) before cleaning it in the pod.
As already mentioned, it doesn’t have a mesh filter so you definitely don’t want all of those clipped hairs ending up in the cartridge.
The pod is clearly not as capable as a full-fledged station, but it’s practical, compact and economical.
The cleaning solution is very effective and if you use the pod regularly you shouldn’t have any issues with dirt buildups.
I wouldn’t say the Quick Clean Pod is a must-have for the new Prestige but it’s a decent solution if we factor in its effectiveness, costs and ease of use.
I personally would get it (paired with a fully compatible Prestige model) over the wireless charging feature.
Wrap-up — Should you buy the new Philips Prestige?
I have to admit that I did not expect to enjoy shaving with the new Philips Prestige this much.
In fact, given my previous experience with the rather bulky Series 9000 which uses the same head unit, I thought it would only be a more expensive, nicer Series 9000.
But all the extra little things add up to a very capable and impressive machine.
The very refined and torquey motor, along with the ergonomic body and the effortless gliding of the head make a noticeable difference.
Overall, the new Philips S9000 Prestige is a very comfortable, effective and close shaving razor.
Philips Norelco S9000 Prestige (SP9841/84)
It’s arguably the most gentle rotary I’ve ever used and its effectiveness on longer, flat-lying hairs is among the very best.
For sheer closeness and power, I think most users should still consider a foil shaver like the Panasonic Arc 5 or Arc 6.
But as far as rotaries go, this one is a safe bet for anyone if the budget is not a problem.
I am a bit let down by a few aspects which are mostly specific to the Qi wireless model I got.
Precisely, the limited compatibility with the cleaning pods and the disabled wired charging port.
Those could have easily been rectified by the manufacturer.
And then there’s the price — the new Philips Norelco Prestige costs a premium, especially in Europe.
So in terms of value for money, I don’t think it fares as well as let’s say the Philips Series 9000 (Shaver 9500/9800) or an older Panasonic Arc 5 (ES-LV65, ES-LV67).
So let’s check out a few alternatives, starting with a couple of shavers in Philips’ very own lineup.
Philips Norelco new vs old Prestige vs Series 9000
If you’re looking to buy a high-end Philips rotary, you will most likely have to choose between the old or new Prestige models.
The old one is still available and oftentimes it costs significantly less than the new one, making it a very appealing option.
Philips S9000 Prestige (old model)
So let’s settle that first — old vs new Philips Norelco Prestige comparison.
Here’s a short, on-point summary of the truly important aspects.
- Both have very similar shaving performance; they have the same motor with the same comfort settings and the shape and ergonomics of the handle are identical.
- I find the comfort and closeness to be on the same level, although some users might find the new one to shave a bit closer (thanks to the double-edge blades). You can also upgrade the old Prestige to the double-edge blades (SH91).
- The new Prestige comes with the larger angular heads, which make it a bit more cumbersome to use when shaving below the nose or around the sideburns.
- The head of the new Prestige however seems to glide on the skin easier which sort of makes up for the larger size.
- The new Prestige series comes with a flip-open head which is more practical.
- The old model on the other hand has a premium brushed aluminum body, while the new one comes in plastic.
- The wired charging is disabled on the new Prestige models that come with the Qi charging pad. With the old generation, you had the option of wired charging.
- Both are compatible with the SH91 heads, so you can safely buy the old model if you feel like it’s a good match and you get a great deal on it.
- The old models can usually be bought for less money.
If you already own the previous generation, I don’t think there are enough pros to call the new one a significant upgrade.
In fact, it manages to one-up the new Prestige in several ways (metal body, wireless+wired charging, better value for money).
I think you’d be better off just upgrading the cutters to the SH91 when it’s time to replace them.
If you’re on the fence about which one to buy, both are really good options for a high-end, capable rotary.
So it just comes down to what matters most to you from the above list of pros and cons.
I left the Series 9000 out as that one is in a different price range.
Compared to the two Prestige models, the Series 9000 (Shaver 9400, 9500 or 9800) has a more reasonable price, but doesn’t feel quite as refined.
Despite the even more impressive looks (it gives out a very futuristic, high-tech vibe), it just feels slightly below the Prestige sub-series.
The motor is more rattly, but the biggest drawback is in my opinion the large, bulky body which along with the same angular heads make it feel a bit wonky during use.
But the actual performance isn’t much different if you can put up with its quirks — it’s still powerful, comfortable and shaves close (it comes with the same SH91 heads).
Moreover, it has an integrated trimmer (although it’s not that great), a feature-rich OLED display and a companion smartphone app (which to some is just a gimmick, myself included).
But again, the biggest pros of the Series 9000 over the Prestige sub-series are the price and value for money.
If the Prestige (new or old) is out of your budget, the Series 9000 can be a perfectly fine alternative. You’re just giving up on some of the nice extras — refinement and ergonomics.
If you’ve never used a rotary, but would like a shaver that is gentle and can handle longer hair, the Braun Series 9 would be a safe choice for most men.
I think the basic Series 9 is easily good enough and you don’t need to spend more on the Pro or PRO+ models.
The 5 or 6-blade Panasonic models are also worth considering but keep in mind that those will mainly work best on short stubble, so they’re probably not a perfect match for someone who was considering a rotary like the Prestige.
But if you shave regularly (daily or up to every two days), a 5-blade Arc 5 Panasonic would be a great pick.
For most users, it will provide a closer shave than the Philips Prestige or any other rotary.
The Arc 6 is somewhat more comfortable than the Arc 5, but also costs a lot more, which is why I think the latter will be a better buy.
And that pretty much concludes my evaluation of the latest Philips (Norelco) Prestige.
If you have any questions or you’d like to share your experience with it, please leave a comment below.