The good: very good build quality, fully waterproof, excellent built-in trimmer with adjustable comb, inexpensive replacement heads that last a long time
The bad: can only be charged via the stand, very basic battery level indicator, the flexing of the shaving head is annoying during use, pricey
Alongside a quality electric shaver, a decent body groomer should be a staple in every man’s personal care arsenal.
The Series 7100 BG2040/49 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 aspects after a thorough testing in our Philips Norelco Bodygroom BG2040 Review.
Table of Contents
The Philips Norelco Bodygroom Series 7100 (or simply BG2040) is a body trimmer and shaver intended to be used exclusively below the neck.
In typical Philips fashion, it features a shaving head comprised of a foil flanked by two cutters:
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.
The novelty comes in the form of a built-in trimmer with an adjustable comb at the other end of the shaver:
So the BG2040 is basically a 2 in 1 machine that can shave and also trim body hair.
Being fully waterproof, it can also be used in the shower or with shaving cream. The operation is cordless only as a safety precaution.
Build quality and ergonomics
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 BG2020 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 that extend on the entire length of the groomer.
The curved design also contributes to the ergonomics of the product, making it very easy to maneuver.
The integrated trimmer with the adjustable comb is one of the best design decisions in my opinion; I never liked the brittle, flimsy click-on combs that break easily and come off during use that we saw with other Norelco trimmers. 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 studs on 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.
Also, because the teeth of the adjustable comb aren’t joined at the top makes them flex very easily, but I can see this being a problem only if you apply excessive force during use.
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:
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 solid.
However, I didn’t find it to be quite enough to get you through a complete body grooming session. That means everything — legs, arms, chest, abdomen, armpits and of course some manscaping.
Depending on how fast you are and how many areas of the body are you trying to shave or trim, you may very well be able to do it from a single charge.
While I am not a very hairy individual, I am very thorough and it takes me quite a lot of time to trim and shave everything.
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 as there is no charging port.
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.
Personally, I would have liked a bigger battery (there is a better alternative to this groomer as you’ll see later on in the review) and a more useful battery indicator. The one on this Norelco BG2040 is as basic as it gets.
Cleaning and maintenance
It’s highly recommended to clean a personal hygiene product like this one after every use.
Luckily, the Bodygroom 7100 BG2040 is very easy to clean.
Being completely waterproof, the cleaning process involves removing the shaving head and rinsing it with warm tap water.
There is also a cleaning brush included in the package that you can use to clean the hair chamber before rinsing that one as well.
For the trimming unit located at the other end of the groomer, you first have to detach the comb and press down on the blades 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 BG2040 was good for the most part, but also a bit of a mixed bag. I will start off with the good parts.
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. If you are really sloppy and careless they will pinch the skin, particularly when you’re shaving your genitals.
The foil also works very well most of time, even though some flat-lying hairs may be left behind and will require 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 or legs.
The comb has 5 settings for the length of the hair after trimming, ranging from 3 mm to 11 mm, making it very versatile.
3mm is a bit too long for my liking, but it is what it is.
The only complain I have with the trimmer is that the glossy plastic makes it stick to the skin if it’s just a bit damp.
When the skin is perfectly dry, it works fine. However, once you start sweating a bit or there’s very high humidity in the air, it will start skipping and hopping. Baby powder does help, but since it’s mineral based, it will wear the cutter faster.
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 second gripe with the Series 7100 BG2040 has to be 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 shaver end of the BG2040/49, the 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 pull some of the hairs and it will feel like you’re dragging the shaver over the skin.
Moreover, the head tends to skip and hop, leaving hairs behind and causing some discomfort or even some painful pinching.
All these facts can add up to a pretty annoying experience at first, as you constantly have to pay attention to the position of the shaving head. I got used to it, but I can’t help thinking that this could have been a non-issue without the gimmicky pivoting function.
I also noticed that shaving takes a bit more time with the BG2040, 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 where you must 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.
Replacement parts availability
Philips Norelco recommends changing the shaving foil head once a year. Depending on how often you use it, you’ll probably get away with more than that.
From previous experience, I can confirm that it will last for years of normal use.
The head for the 7100 BG2040 is the same used on other Norelco groomers and has the part number BG2000 (in the USA) or TT2000 (international).
Wrapup — who should buy the BG2040?
The Norelco Bodygroom 7100 (BG2040) is a prime example of a product with a feature that exists only for the sake of it and one that 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. But despite that, it is one of the more capable body groomers out there.
Considering my overall experience with the BG2040/49, I would still recommend it if for some reason you cannot get the groomer in the next section.
A newer iteration of the Series 7100 BG2040 was recently launched and it addresses pretty much all the shortcomings mentioned throughout the review.
The model is BG7030 and you can also check out my review of it here.
Basically, it’s a refinement of the BG2040, with small improvements that add up to make it pretty much the best out there right now.
The battery is bigger and you’ll get more than 90 minutes of use from a single charge. That should be plenty for anyone’s needs.
Secondly, while the shaving head is still flexible, the range of motion is limited and for some reason, it’s just much more compliant and doesn’t exhibit the problems of the BG2040.
Finally, the adjustable comb is made out of matte plastic that works a lot better on wet skin and is also more sturdy.
For these reasons, I think it’s definitely a better product than the older Series 7100 BG2040 and I would recommend to anyone looking for a reliable and powerful body groomer.