Review Summary Editor's choice
Pros: top notch performance, very comfortable and close shaves, great performance on longer facial hair, brushed aluminum body, premium build quality, feature packed, very useful display, wet & dry use, click on trimmer attachment, premium travel case
Cons: expensive, no cleaning station, no cleaning brush or protective cap, QI models can only be charged wireless, underwhelming performance of the trimmer, a thorough cleaning is fiddly and time-consuming
The Series 9000 Prestige represents Philips Norelco’s latest addition to their high-end range of electric shavers.
Launched in August 2018 at the IFA, the Prestige models complement the existing Series 9000 shavers like the 9300 and 9700.
However, with a new design and new shaving heads, the S9000 Prestige is an entirely new shaver and not just a cosmetic makeover of the existing Series 9000 razors.
Philips is so confident about the performance of their new flagship shaver that they call it their best shaver to date and also make some very bold claims, like its ability to shave a 7-day beard.
Unsurprisingly, there’s a lot of hype surrounding the Prestige models, but a lot of confusion and questions as well.
In this review of the Philips Series 9000 Prestige, we’ll put the shaver through its paces and test it in a variety of scenarios to find out just how good it really is.
We’ll also compare it to the regular Series 9000 models and see how it stacks up against some of the razors from the competition.
Let’s get started.
Table of Contents
- Features overview
- Included accessories
- Build quality and ergonomics
- Battery life and charging
- Philips S9000 Prestige review: Shaving performance
- Cleaning and maintenance
- Replacement parts availability
- Wrapup — Who should buy the S9000 Prestige?
- Alternative shavers
The new Philips Series 9000 Prestige shavers come in several variations, some of the model names being region-specific.
The shavers themselves are identical and the only differences between the models are related to the included accessories and how you charge the shavers.
Here’s a quick summary of that:
|SP9820/87||Travel case, SmartClick Precision trimmer||Amazon|
|SP9820/88||Travel case, SmartClick Precision trimmer, cleansing brush|
|SP9860/86||Travel case, SmartClick Precision trimmer, QI charging pad|
|SP9861/13||Travel case, SmartClick Beard styler, QI charging pad||Amazon|
|SP9860/13||Travel case, SmartClick Precision trimmer, QI charging pad|
|SP9863/14, SP9862/14, SP9860/14||Travel case, SmartClick Beard styler, cleansing brush, QI charging pad||Amazon|
At the moment of writing, the SP9860/13, SP9863/14 and SP9862/14 models aren’t officially available in the USA.
However, you can still get the wireless SP9861 and SP9836 on sites like Amazon.
My review unit is the SP9820/87 variation and I guess you could call it the base model since it comes with the fewest extras.
I’ll simply refer to it as SP9820 throughout this post for the sake of brevity. After all, the only difference between the SP9820/87 and SP9820/88 is the inclusion of the cleansing brush in the case of the latter.
In terms of shaving performance, all the shavers are absolutely identical.
The S9000 Prestige models that come with the wireless charging technology (SP9860, SP9863, SP9862) have a cover over the charging port at the bottom and in theory, they can only be charged via the pad.
And since those models cost more and charging takes three times longer (approximately three hours), I would actually suggest you avoid them and go for one of the other two instead.
You may also have noticed that among the accessories there are two types of trimmer attachments:
- A SmartClick precision trimmer
- A SmartClick beard styler
The first one is a simple trimmer that you can use for basic grooming, while the latter comes with an adjustable comb, allowing you to choose between 5 length settings.
Again, the actual shavers are identical in terms of performance, so the differences only come down to charging (wired vs wireless) and included accessories.
Let’s now take a very brief look at the highlights of the Series 9000 Prestige shavers.
I will skip the marketing fluff and only list the really important features.
New metal body
While the previous Series 9000 models had really good build quality, the S9000 Prestige comes in a brushed aluminum finish that looks and feels exquisite (more details later on).
New shaving heads
The Series 9000 Prestige doesn’t use the SH90 shaving heads of the 9300/9700 or 8900 models. Instead, it comes with brand new cutters called SH98.
In my opinion this is the change that had the biggest impact on the performance of this shaver. I will go into more detail in the performance section of the review.
It’s also worth noting that the rings surrounding the three cutters now have an anti-friction coating that should help the head glide easily over the skin.
Three personalization settings
Just like the current Series 9000 shavers, the Prestige models allow you to choose between three different shaving modes.
This basically alters the power output of the motor depending on your needs. For example, you could be shaving a portion with very coarse hair or a sensitive area like your neck.
In my experience, this implementation doesn’t really work as it should, but again we’ll test it later on in the review.
Other noteworthy features include:
- Travel lock
- SmartClick precision trimmer
- Facial Cleansing brush (only the SP9820/88 and SP9863/14 models)
- Premium travel case
- 5-minute quick charge function
- LED display
My Philips S9000 Prestige SP9820 came in a nice looking retail package and the whole unboxing experience really made me feel like I’m getting a premium product; so definitely a big step-up from other Philips models in this regard.
Apart from the shaver itself, you’ll be getting the following items:
- Premium travel case
- SmartClick Precision trimmer
- Charging cord
- User Guide Booklet, leaflets and extended warranty card
If you think this is pretty disappointing considering the premium price tag of the shaver, you’d be right. The included accessories are a real letdown.
First of all, there’s no cleaning station. You won’t be getting one with any of the S9000 Prestige models, so that’s a real bummer. After all, this is Philips Norelco’s top of the line shaver and it costs a pretty penny as well.
Still related to cleaning, there’s not even a cleaning brush included. Not a huge deal, but still it would have been nice to get one. Also, there’s no plastic cap and no lubricant either.
On the bright side, the travel case is awesome. It has a very premium look and feel, it’s very sturdy and just oozes quality.
My favorite part about the case is that it can accommodate the shaver along with the beard trimmer and the charging cord, so we can overlook the rather large size.
All of them fit very neatly inside:
Regarding the 1-year extended warranty, I tried registering my product using the link on the card, but that proved to be futile as the only S9000 Prestige I could select on Philips’ website was the SP9863.
So if you bought the SP9820 as I did and you live in a country where that model isn’t officially available, well, you’re out of luck.
I hope this is just temporary and they will eventually add the rest of the models as well. I will try again later on and update the post if anything changes. However, this offer is only available as long as you register your shaver within 90 days from the time of the purchase.
Lastly, the user guide included with this shaver has to be the worst I’ve ever come across. There are no words, just pictures. And some of them aren’t particularly helpful.
Fortunately, the user manual you can find online on Philips’ website is a lot better, so I highly recommend downloading that one instead.
Build quality and ergonomics
If you thought the Series 9000 Prestige looked good in press images, I’m glad to say that it looks at least as good in reality.
Starting with the unboxing experience, it definitely feels like an upmarket product.
The highlight of the shaver is of course the new metal body.
Precisely, the front part of the shaver (that extends to the sides as well) features a brushed aluminum finish.
The area on the top, right below the shaving head has some really nice executed knurling that adds some visual interest and I think it looks great.
The ON/OFF switch is also made out of metal and has this texture that makes it more grippy and easier to press.
The rest of the glossy silver parts are made out of plastic, like the area surrounding the power button or the charging port.
The front part of the shaver is where all the action happens.
There’s a very prominent power button that also doubles as a travel lock switch.
In order to activate it, you must press and hold it for 3 seconds. The display will even show a 3-second countdown, so that’s a really nice touch.
Once the travel lock is on, a small padlock will be displayed on the screen whenever you try to turn the razor on.
To deactivate it you must obviously press and hold for 3 seconds, with the same countdown timer being displayed on the screen.
Right below the power button there’s the +/- rocker that allows you to choose between three power settings.
Unlike the ON/OFF button, this one is made out of plastic.
The selected power mode will be shown on the display right above the battery charge percentage.
The display occupies quite a bit of real estate on the front part of the S9000 Prestige, but it is nicely integrated from an aesthetic perspective.
I was very pleasantly surprised to see that the display has this lift to wake feature, something similar to what some smartphones have.
You can check it out in this animation I made:
Yes, it’s maybe a bit gimmicky, but it’s also nice to know your shaver’s battery charge without turning it on.
It’s a small touch that has quite a bit of impact and it’s genuinely useful.
This feature was however a bit inconsistent on my shaver as it wouldn’t always activate the display, but most of the time it worked just fine.
The back and the lateral sides are covered in this matte rubber-like material that provides a very secure grip.
The shaver is very lightweight and despite having a substantial size, it fits really comfortable in the hand and the sculpted back allows you to wrap your hand securely around it.
On the bottom we have the usual Philips charging port. As mentioned previously, the models that come with the inductive charging technology have a plastic flap that covers the port, but it can be removed.
Overall, the build quality of the Philips S9000 Prestige is top-notch. Now it’s time for some nitpicking.
The plastic shaving unit feels a bit flimsy in comparison to the rest of the body. It’s not by any means worse than the ones on other high-end Philips models, but I was expecting a bit more.
For example, with the Prestige series, they could have made the frame that holds the three shaving heads out of metal. Or maybe just the bottom half of the shaving head.
I wouldn’t even mention this in the case of less expensive Philips razors, but with this Prestige range, I don’t think it’s asking too much.
Another minor complaint is related to the SmartClick trimmer. It is still not integrated into the shaver itself and you must first remove the shaving head, then snap it in its place.
It is a bit of a hassle and you can of course misplace it or leave it in some hotel bathroom.
Also, there’s a notch on the trimmer that must be aligned with a cutout in the shaver, so you can only insert it in one way.
Same goes for the shaving unit, so definitely keep that in mind as you may damage the parts if you try to force them the wrong way.
Finally, the trimmer looks and feels a bit cheap. I know I’m being petty, but there’s really not much to fault the Series 9000 Prestige with regard to build quality.
Battery life and charging
All the Philips S9000 Prestige shavers are suitable for wet & dry use and as a result, they can only work cordless.
If you try to turn on the SP9820 while it’s charging, you’ll hear a short beep and the shaver will prompt you to disconnect the cord by flashing a symbol on the display.
Philips states that the rechargeable Li-ion battery can hold enough charge for approximately one hour worth of shaving time.
In real-life usage, this number tends to be a bit less. During my tests, I got approximately 50 minutes from a fully charged battery, which is actually perfectly in line with the rest of high-end razors from the competition.
A typical shaving session will eat around 12% battery charge, at least in my case. This will of course vary depending on how coarse your beard is and how long it takes you to complete a shave.
The battery charge status is probably the most useful I’ve seen on any electric razor. It shows the remaining battery in increments of 1%, which is way better compared to the 3 or 5 bar indicators found on other shavers.
When the battery is almost empty, the indicator will turn orange and the shaver will beep when you turn it on.
My review unit, the SP9820, came with a common charging cord and it takes approximately one hour to charge it from 0 to 100%.
The models that come with the QI charging pad require a whopping 3-hour charging time and, again, they can only be charged wireless as they lack a physical charging port.
This is highly inconvenient in my opinion. Yes, wireless charging can be useful, but only as a complementary method of charging a device.
Imagine a smartphone that could only be charged wireless, I don’t think anyone would want that and for obvious reasons.
You’re also giving up the 5-minute quick charge feature that requires the cord. This will allow you to complete one shave when you’re in a hurry and your S9000 is out of juice.
Factor in the higher price as well and I think we can conclude that SP9820 is probably the best pick of the Prestige series.
Philips S9000 Prestige review: Shaving performance
The user reviews for the Prestige line on various websites have been overwhelmingly positive, which is a bit unusual for Philips’ top of the line shavers as they tend to generate very polarizing opinions.
I was of course very eager to test one myself and see if it really is that good.
So I bought the SP9820 and used it exclusively for three weeks, making sure to cover all the possible scenarios.
The SP9820 model will likely be the most popular variation of the S9000 Prestige range due to its availability and lower price.
Since the rest of the shavers are identical with regards to performance, this review will be relevant for those as well.
There are a lot of important aspects to be covered here, so I’ll try to address everything, including comparisons with other models and hopefully help you decide if this shaver is right for you.
Spoiler: the Philips S9000 Prestige is a fantastic performer and I can say without hesitation that it is the best rotary razor I have ever used.
Philips Series 9000 Prestige
Without further ado, here’s my Philips 9000 Prestige review of the shaver’s performance. I structured all my findings into 6 relevant categories.
Closeness of the shave
How close an electric razor can shave is probably what interests the potential buyer the most.
I have to admit that it’s one of the reasons why I always favored foil shavers over rotary. I just never managed to get satisfactory shaves despite my efforts, even with the Series 9000 shavers like the 9300.
The new Philips Series 9000 Prestige is a big improvement in this regard. Using it dry for the first time was a pleasant surprise and the following shaves got even better.
The closeness of the shave is subjective and also depends on your expectations and on previous experience with other shavers.
But again, the difference would be marginal and the SP9820 is clearly better than any other rotary shavers you can currently buy.
If you’ve used rotary shavers before and you weren’t particularly happy with the results, I am pretty confident that this razor will not disappoint.
It’s particularly good on the cheeks and on the neck as well, which is almost never the case for me when using rotary razors.
On the chin and above the upper lip I could still feel a bit of stubble after a dry shave, but that’s again something that would happen with most other shavers as I have very thick hair on those areas.
Overall, I’d say that the closeness of the shave is very good and will easily satisfy most users.
For me the most surprising thing about the SP9820 has to be the comfort of the shave.
The improvement over the previous S9000 models is massive. It is the most comfortable and enjoyable rotary shaver I have used so far.
I have very sensitive skin on the neck and shaving dry with any rotary razor would always result in irritation and rashes.
But that wasn’t the case with this one except for some minor stinging immediately after the shave.
When used together with a pre-shave lotion (Freelette or Speick are my personal favorites), the experience was actually great.
For me, the main problem with other rotary shavers was the constant stinging and pinching I would get during the shave. I blame this on Philips’ double blade design that would pull and then cut the hairs.
It wasn’t particularly efficient for closeness and definitely affected the comfort of the shave.
That was the case with shavers like the 9300, 9700 or 8900 (and of course other entry-level models).
With the Prestige line, Philips introduced new shaving heads that don’t feature the double-blade design anymore.
Here’s a closeup shot of the circular blades on the SP9820:
There are two concentric rows of blades (corresponding to the slots and the tracks on the combs), but this time around there’s no double edge per blade.
The improvement in comfort is obvious. Compared side by side with the Philips 8900 for example, the S9000 Prestige is a lot better. There’s just no comparison between the two.
And because the comfort was vastly improved, this can indirectly affect the closeness as well. For example, I am able to be more thorough and even press just a bit harder and get a really smooth shave.
Doing anything like that was out of the question with any other rotary shaver.
I can even recommend the SP9820 to men with sensitive skin, especially when used with a pre-shave or a quality shaving cream.
I would personally still choose a Braun Series 7 or 9 as those are the most comfortable electric shavers out there, but again, the Prestige line is now miles ahead of any other rotary shavers when it comes to comfort.
Shaving longer hairs
Philips touted on numerous occasions that the Series 9000 Prestige models can shave a 7-day beard, which is a very bold claim.
I initially didn’t think this would be possible without significant compromises to one’s overall shaving experience.
Most electric shavers work best on short facial hair. Trying to shave a long beard will almost always cause the razor to pull and yank the hairs and to miss a lot of them, resulting in a very poor and lengthy shave.
Yes, rotary shavers are generally better than foil-based machines at shaving long whiskers, but 7 days would really be pushing it.
Well, I’m glad to say that it’s definitely doable with the Philips Prestige models.
I was able to shave a 5-day beard with my SP9820 without much trouble. I only experienced a couple of hairs being yanked, but that was mostly my fault as my strokes were a bit too fast.
My beard grows back pretty fast and if I could get a very good shave after 5 days, I can definitely see someone pulling it off on a 7-day beard.
The Philips S9000 Prestige is therefore very impressive at shaving long, flat-lying hairs. It will also work great for African American men that have very wiry hairs.
The combs of the SH98 shaving heads feature very wide tracks and this makes them very efficient at capturing long hairs.
For someone that shaves irregularly, this electric razor would be a fantastic choice.
Philips Series 9000 Prestige
The flexing of the three independent heads helps maintain contact with the skin and the shaver is very effective at capturing the hairs, even those that grow in different directions.
The head glides smoothly on the skin as long as it’s perfectly dry.
As soon as there’s any moisture or sweat present, it will start to hop and stick to the skin, despite the manufacturer’s claim of using some fancy metallic pigments on the rings surrounding the metal guards.
In my case a pre-shave lotion reduced this problem to a minimum, so if you live in a humid or hot area or your skin tends to be greasier, I highly recommend using one.
The trend with the latest electric shavers, especially the high-end models, is to include some technology that adjusts the speed of the motor, be it automatically (for example, the latest Panasonic Arc 3 and Arc 5) or manually (Braun Series 7).
The idea behind this is to make the razor more comfortable when shaving sensitive areas and also to deliver full power when needed.
Conceptually, this sounds really good. But in reality, we are yet to see this work as it should.
And it’s the case with the Series 9000 Prestige as well.
There are three speed settings: low, medium and high. Using the low and medium modes will just make the S9000 feel a bit slower, without actually improving the comfort in any significant way.
Therefore I only shaved in high power mode and the results of this review were obtained using the shaver with the high power setting selected.
When cycling through the three modes you will clearly notice a change in the tonality of the shaver.
The high power mode produces a higher-pitched whine, while the other two cause the razor to produce a lower frequency noise. The intensity of the sound remains pretty much the same for all three modes.
Speaking of which, compared to other rotary shavers, the Philips S9000 Prestige is a bit louder.
The sound is more whiny and metallic, but it’s still nowhere near as loud as a foil shaver. In my opinion it remains adequately quiet even during use.
In conclusion, the speed settings are more of a gimmick, but that’s hardly a surprise.
Wet shaving performance
The Series 9000 Prestige from Philips has an IPX7 rating, meaning the razors can be submerged in water up to 1m deep.
This makes them suitable for shaving in the shower or optionally with shaving cream or gel.
I never really fancied shaving in the shower, so I only tried my SP9820 with shaving cream.
And it works really well overall, as long as the lather is properly hydrated. As soon as it starts to dry, the shaver will just get stuck. So make sure to keep it slick and watery.
I simply wet my free hand and just run it over the area that I’m currently shaving.
Using this shaver with cream will likely be better than a dry shave — at least for me it was, but the results were very similar to a dry shave with a pre-shave lotion. And this latter method was actually my favorite way of using the S9000 Prestige.
One thing worth mentioning is the so-called BeardAdapt sensor that according to Philips checks the hair density 15 times per second and adapts the shaver to your hair.
I actually haven’t noticed it at work until I shaved with cream and the razor would change its speed on the fly. This feature is different from the 3 modes that you can set yourself the way you want.
I never noticed it during a dry shave, so my guess is that the cream/lather confuses the sensor and doesn’t really know what to do. I’ve seen the exact same behavior with Panasonic shavers, also during a wet shave.
This didn’t affect the performance, but I thought it was worth mentioning. To me it’s just another gimmicky feature that never seems to work as it should.
The attachment included with the SP9820 model from the Series 9000 Prestige is the basic precision trimmer and not the beard styler that comes with the more expensive models.
In order to use it, you must first remove the shaving unit and insert the trimmer in its place.
I very much prefer the integrated trimmers, but Philips only uses them on their lower-end models.
As for the performance of the SmartClick Precision trimmer, well, it’s pretty average at best. It’s very thick, which makes it uncomfortable to use, but most importantly, it just doesn’t seem to cut the hairs efficiently.
I had to do lots of passes just to straighten and adjust my sideburns and I still had to finish up with a different trimmer.
If you really try hard enough and hold the trimmer at a sharp angle relative to your skin you will eventually manage to get a somewhat decent result.
But overall, this particular trimmer is mediocre at best. It’s nowhere near Panasonic pop-up trimmers which are in my opinion the best.
The beard styler that comes with the other Philips Prestige models is more useful and also includes an adjustable comb. My Philips 8900 came with such a trimmer and that one was pretty good.
Cleaning and maintenance
I’ll be perfectly honest and tell you that the lack of a cleaning station was the biggest bummer for me with the Series 9000 Prestige.
I know that in certain situations — for example, Panasonic shavers are dead easy to clean — a station is not really necessary.
However, I would very much rather have one with a Philips Norelco shaver.
And I could have overlooked the omission of the cleaning base if it wasn’t for the hefty price tag of the S9000 Prestige.
But it is what it is. No cleaning station means that you’ll have to resort to manually cleaning your Prestige shaver after every use.
There are two ways you can go about this.
First, there’s the regular cleaning operation that only involves rinsing the shaving head under tap water without taking it apart completely.
Once you’ve finished shaving, rinse the head of the razor under warm tap water.
Remove the frame that holds the three cutters and rinse the inner part of it. Do the same with the hair chamber (the bottom part of the shaving unit).
Shake off any excess water and let the parts air dry completely before putting the head back together. You may also very gently pat them dry with a paper towel.
That’s pretty much it and in the case of using the shaver dry, you can get away with this quick cleaning routine for up to a month before the need of a thorough cleaning.
Also, the shaver will remind you to clean it after every use by flashing a faucet symbol on the display.
If you also use shaving cream or gel, I would strongly suggest using a bit of liquid soap: apply some water on the shaving head, then pour a few drops of liquid soap over the three cutters and let the shaver run for 10 to 15 seconds.
Rinse it thoroughly under tap water, then remove the front part of the shaving assembly and rinse the inside as well.
This is necessary because hardened shaving cream and lather can accumulate inside the shaving unit and it’s a real pain to remove later on.
An alternative to liquid soap would be to use a cleaning and lubricating spray like the Remington Shaver Saver or any other brand that was specifically formulated for electric shavers.
This would sum up the quick cleaning of your Philips Series 9000 Prestige.
Every month or so, Philips recommends performing a more thorough cleaning.
This operation implies taking apart each of the three cutting heads.
First, remove the top part of the shaving unit that houses the cutters.
Rotate the blue retaining rings counterclockwise to gain access to the cutting blades and combs. I highly suggest performing this action one cutter at a time.
This is very important as the blades and combs are matching pairs and mixing them will likely affect the performance of the razor.
After you’ve removed the circular blade and the metal comb, rinse them thoroughly under warm tap water.
You can also apply some lubricating spray after the parts have dried.
You can now place the guards and blades back into the socket and secure them by turning the retaining ring clockwise until it locks into place.
Repeat this process for the other two cutting heads.
As you can see, this operation is kinda fiddly and time-consuming and a cleaning station would have been a welcome addition. And you can’t really skip cleaning your electric razor because dirt, dead skin cells and fine hair clippings will remain trapped inside the cutters.
If you fail to perform this in-depth cleaning at least once a month, it will eventually affect the performance of the razor and it will be bad for hygiene as well.
Overall, cleaning the Philips Series 9000 Prestige is pretty much the same as cleaning any other Philips razor that doesn’t come with a station. The only difference is that in this case the price simply doesn’t justify leaving the station out.
Replacement parts availability
The Philips Series 9000 Prestige uses new shaving heads that were specifically designed for this series.
The new cutters have the part number SH98 and as it’s usually the case with newly released electric shavers, they are pretty difficult to find, at least at the moment of writing this review.
Philips Norelco Shaver 9000 Prestige SH98
They appear in the listings of several online stores, but seem to be out of stock.
I wouldn’t worry too much about it as this situation is pretty common and the replacement heads will eventually be available, probably sooner than later.
The price should be slightly higher than Philips Norelco’s other premium shaving heads, so not exactly cheap.
The good part is that they appear to last a lot longer than most other heads. Philips even recommends changing them every two years, which is twice the industry average.
There is some conflicting information about this though; according to the user’s manual, you should replace the cutters once a year, while the product page on Philips’ website states that they must be changed every two years.
I tend to think that the latter is the correct one, but I guess only time will tell.
This will of course depend on many factors like the frequency of use and the coarseness of your beard.
As mentioned in the performance section, I think these new cutters are largely responsible for the excellent shaving performance of the SP9820.
The reliability of the blades is a different story though and it’s too early to draw a conclusion. But the signs are nevertheless encouraging.
Wrapup — Who should buy the S9000 Prestige?
As far as rotary shavers go, the Philips Series 9000 Prestige is a beast and arguably the best you can buy right now.
Philips Series 9000 Prestige
And I’m referring strictly to shaving performance as value for money is a pretty different story as you probably guessed by now.
But getting back to the performance part, out of all the Philips razors I’ve used, this one exhibits the fewest rotary-specific problems.
The comfort is more than adequate and it shaved closer than I was expecting it to.
It’s very impressive at shaving longer beards and almost in a class of its own. The Braun Series 9 is the only foil razor that can try to match it in this regard.
And I think this is when you would benefit from this razor the most: if you tend to shave less often, like every 5 days, you will really appreciate it.
The Philips S9000 Prestige still wouldn’t be my first option for someone with very sensitive skin, but I think most users will be fine.
Also, if you want the closest possible shave, the Panasonic Arc 5 is still the one to have.
But keep in mind that the Panasonic is nowhere near as good at shaving longer, flat-lying hairs. So only consider it if you’ll be shaving often (every two days at most).
If you’ve used rotary shavers in the past, this one will likely be a worthy upgrade from your current shaver.
Philips Series 9000 (9300, 9700, 9800) vs Series 9000 Prestige
This is a very obvious comparison. The regular Series 9000 offers much better value for money; they’re cheaper and also come with a cleaning station.
So should you get those instead? Also, if you already own a Series 9000, should you upgrade to a Prestige model?
Well, the main difference between a Philips 9000 and the newer Prestige is in my opinion the comfort. The models in the Prestige line are a lot more comfortable and mainly due to the new blades.
The closeness is pretty similar, but again you could get a closer shave with the Prestige razors simply because they’re more comfortable (this was actually my experience).
If you already own a 9300 or a 9700 and you don’t have any major issues with skin irritation or discomfort during the shave, I think you shouldn’t upgrade.
If you’re looking to buy your first high-end rotary shaver, the S9000 Prestige is the best out there right now, but the price is also very high.
I would personally choose a Prestige model since I have sensitive skin and in my case it’s worth paying more (even though I won’t be getting a cleaning station). If that sounds like you, consider the Prestige line.
Otherwise, stick to the regular Series 9000.
Which brings us to the alternatives section.
Philips Norelco Series 9000 9300
As stated previously, the regular Series 9000 shavers are cheaper and offer better value for money.
The 9300 model is usually the best pick due to its lower price. You’re really not getting any significant benefits from the 9700, so only consider that one if you can get it for the same money.
If you don’t have sensitive skin, the 9300 or even the cheaper 8900 will probably be good enough.
UPDATE: the old Series 9000 is getting more difficult to find as of 2023 and the price has spiked as well.
Philips Norelco Series 9000 9500
This is the new Series 9000, a major update to the older generation (with models like the 9300 above, 9700 and so on).
Apart from a much sleeker design, the main novelty of the newer generation is actually a new shaving head with new cutters (called SH91).
Just like the SH98 on the Prestige, the SH91 (also compatible with the older Series 9000 generation) dropped the Lift&Cut blade in favor of a single-blade design.
As a result, the Norelco 9500 (and the new Series 9000) is a lot more comfortable compared to the older generation.
The S9000 Prestige still has the edge and I would still pick it over the Norelco 9500 (money aside). It’s just a bit more comfortable and maybe even slightly faster. The differences are however very small.
I also prefer the rounded heads of the Prestige since it makes the shaving head thinner and easier to use.
Nevertheless, the new Norelco 9500 is a vast improvement over the older Series 9000 in terms of comfort.
Factor in the lower price and it makes a lot of sense to get the new one over the older generation.
The Norelco 9500 also comes with a very basic cleaning unit called a Quick Clean Pod. It’s nowhere near as effective as a full-fledged station, but it’s an interesting concept nevertheless.
For more info, I wrote a comprehensive review of the new Philips Series 9000 9500 where I also compare it to the Prestige in greater detail.
Braun Series 9 9390cc
The Series 9 9390cc usually costs less, it’s more comfortable and in my opinion shaves a bit closer than the Series 9000 Prestige.
It’s also really good at shaving longer, flat hairs and comes with an excellent cleaning station.
If you’re not set on getting a rotary razor, I think the Series 9 will be a safer choice for most users.