March 30, 2006

Gillette Fusion Razors - 8 for $14.99

fusion_razors.jpgPrices are starting to drop! An 8-pack of Gillette Fusion razor cartridges has fallen to $14.99 at Amazon, for a limited time. That's less than 2 bucks a piece, or about 31 cents a blade if you count that sixth little guy. It's also about half the price of the Fusion Power razors, which we thought shaved as well as the regular blades, and even cheaper than RazorsDirect, which is usually the cheapest place on the net. Any way you look at it it's the lowest price we've seen by far. Snatch these bad boys up before Amazon comes to their senses. Buy two and get free shipping!

Russell Neufeld at Permalink | Comments (4) | social bookmarking

March 1, 2006

Gillette vs. Schick - Why Must They Fight?

boxingGloves.jpegA while back we reported on the lawsuit between Gillette and Schick over the number of blades in a razor. Seems Gillette filed a patent for a ''progressive blade geometry" razor system which they claim covers three or more blades, so that when Schick came out with the four-bladed Quattro, Gillette sued them for patent infringement. Hmm.... Then Schick countersued Gillette on false advertising claims based on Gillette's ads, which say that the shave from a Gillette razor is, questionably, "'The Best a Man Can Get." Oh please...

Well, a couple weeks ago the companies quietly decided to forgo a lengthy trial before the case went to a jury.

''Both companies have resolved the vast majority of litigation between them," said Eric Kraus, a Gillette spokesman. ''While Gillette and Schick will remain competitors, we'll compete in the marketplace, not in the courtroom."

It's kind of like that time when Hulk Hogan and the Iron Sheik decided to stop their verbal sparring and step into the ring. (I think I might be dating myself here.) The upshot is that both companies are placing their bets on the fairness of the pure capitalist marketplace. Letting a jury of your piers decide whether three or four or now even five blades is the right number of blades is ridiculous. Especially because some of the jurists probably had beards and don't shave much. Or some of the jurists are women and don't shave their face with a Quattro. Let's let America decide who has the better razor. Game on!

Read more in this Boston Globe article or this one from Reuters

Russell Neufeld at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

February 20, 2006

Review: Gillette Fusion from Shaving Stuff.com

FusionPowerSm.jpgI know you all have been eagerly awaiting this, so without further ado...

If you've been reading the articles about the new Gillette Fusion you'll know there have been several new innovations with this razor. Five blades for regular shaving and a lone sixth on the back for tough spots like under the nose and sideburns. More densely packed microfins under the blades to help whiskers stand up for a closer shave. And in the powered department, auto-shutoff after eight minutes, a low battery warning light, and an easier opening/closing to the compartment which houses the battery. All of these are truly quality improvements, but in the end all you really care about it is a better shave, right? The new Fusion does shave better than the Mach3, but with some caveats, so keep reading and see if you agree by the end.

FusionUnpowered.jpgFusion vs. Fusion Power:
I don't think there a noticeable difference in the resulting shave between the powered and the non-powered version of the Fusion. Where I do think there is a difference is in the act of shaving. I like power, and if you haven't tried it, I think you're missing out. The powered version vibrates, and that vibration somehow translates into less drag against your face. When you pull the unpowered version of the Fusion across your face, you feel a slight tug against your skin. With the powered Fusion, it's a smooth glide. I suppose it's a matter of personal preference, and the thickness of your beard, but I would strongly recommend trying a powered razor at least once before poopoo-ing it at your next party.

Now the other difference that people always talk about when comparing these razors is the fact that with the unpowered Fusion you get two cartridges along with the razor and with the Fusion Power you only get one. The cartridges are expensive and no doubt there's savings to factor in here, but seriously, the cost of one additional cartridge over the course of a year is really insignificant. I agree Gillette should have packaged the Fusion Power with two cartridges, but they didn't. End of story.

FusionPowerSm.jpgFusion Power vs. Mach3 Power:
Sounds like I'm repeating myself here but I don't think there's a noticeable difference in the resulting shave between the Mach3 Power and the Fusion Power. Where I do think there is a difference is in the act of shaving, and in the razor itself. The vibrations on the Fusion Power seem tighter and more powerful. I made sure to replace the battery in my old Mach3 before testing these head to head, and I think there's a slight improvement in the Fusion. Both give a seemingly frictionless shave, and both perform admirably after one, two, and three days' worth of growth, but somehow the Fusion Power's vibrations seem to stack up better. I'm sure they spent quite a bit time on the vibration mechanism and it shows.

Battery replacement on the Fusion is much easier than on the Mach3. With the Fusion it's a simple twist and the compartment locks and unlocks. With the Mach3 you feel like you're going to break the plastic when you're closing it up. Also, the auto-off feature it huge. You can finally travel with this razor and not have to worry about running down your battery accidentally.

Now let's talk about that sixth blade. Here's the most marked improvement in shaving. A return to the single blade. Shaving with the Mach3 can be a challenge in certain areas, such as under your nose and around your sideburns. It's hard to tell when in that paddle of a cartridge the aloe strip stops and the blades begin. You end up shoving this razor head up your nose to hopefully catch those errant hairs. With the single blade on the back, tough to reach spots are a snap. This single feature might just be the real reason to switch.

There was one area where the Fusion didn't hold up to its older brother, and that was in the life of the aloe and soap strip on the top of the cartridge. This is supposed to act as an indication of when you need to replace the cartridge, kind of like those toothbrushes with the blue bristles which lose their color with use. I found that the Fusion's aloe/soap strip wore off pretty darn quickly, after only three or four shave, while with the Mach3 I could go to five or six shaves and still have plently of that colored strip. Personally I don't think that strip adds much. As long as you're using a high quality shaving cream the effects of the strip are minimal. Just know that you've got a few more shaves in the cartridge once that strip is worn off.

FusionPowerBlades.jpgRecommendations:
So what should you do? Well, if you're a non-powered Mach3 fanatic who thinks the whole powered razor idea is a gimmick to sell more razors and batteries, stick with what you've got. However if you're at all interested in that sixth blade for the tough to reach spots, it might be worth the ten bucks to see what all the fuss is about. Then you can poopoo with first hand experience.

If you're a Mach3 Power user, I think you should check out the Fusion Power. The cartridges are not compatible, so use up your current stock before switching, but I think you'll be happy with the upgrade. Again, the vibrations are better, the auto-off is a welcome addition, and oh that sixth blade!

FusionBlades.jpgAnd remember, now that the Fusion is the premium brand, the prices on Mach3 blades will likely fall. It's a win win for everyone!

Last check on Amazon the Gillette Fusion unpowered was $7.99, the Gillette Fusion Power was $8.99, an 8-pack of Fusion blades was $24.99, and an 8-pack of Fusion Power blades was $27.69. Oh yeah, and I don't think there's any difference between the two types of blades.

Russell Neufeld at Permalink | Comments (27) | social bookmarking

February 14, 2006

It's The Microfins, Not The Blades

There's no doubt the Fusion cartridge is bigger than the Mach3 cartridge, which was already big to begin with. But what's interesting is that the Fusion isn't big because of the extra blades, it's bigger because of the microfins. You can see in the picture on the right that while the actual razor section of the cartridge is roughly the same size, the razors themselves in the Fusion are smaller. This is how they manage to fit in five razors in virtually the same space as three. Also, notice the aloe/soap strip on the top - again, roughly the same size. It's those blue microfins on the bottom which really make the Fusion cartridge bigger.

The microfins seem to be the unsung hero in the shaving world. While blade count gets all the marketing buzz, the microfin may be the real work-horse. Consider this - when the original Mach3 cartridge came out it have five microfins. When the Mach3 Turbo cartridge came out it had ten microfins. When the Mach3 Power cartridge came out it have 15 microfins. Now the Fusion has roughly twice the space for microfins as the Mach3, so I'm guessing we're somewhere near 30. (My eyes glaze over when I try to count them, and I haven't been able to confirm the exact number.)

So what do these little guys do? From Gillette's Mach3 Grooming Site, they

precede the blades and smooth out the skin, gently lifting even stubborn hairs before the first blade cuts them.

Here's another quote from the Sensor section of Gillette's history:

The microfins gently stretch the skin, causing beard hairs to spring upward so they can be cut more closely, with greater comfort, than ever before.

So they may not be as glamorous as the blades, but I think the microfins are getting the short end of the stick. It's time these little guys got their proper respect. My suggestion - let's start with an Onion article about a new razor with 75 microfins. Or is Gillette already working on that too?

Russell Neufeld at Permalink | Comments (2) | social bookmarking

February 13, 2006

A Parade of Razors

Here's a progression of razor growth throughout the years. On the left we have the Gillette Sensor (1990) with its measily two blades. Who knew back then we'd need more than two? Next we have the Mach3 (1998), shown in unpowered "Turbo" form, followed by it's genre-busting brother the Mach3 Power (2004), each with three blades. Who knew back then we'd need more than three? Next we have the Schick Quattro (2003), four blades of patent-busting leap-frogging fury. Who knew back then we'd need more than four? And lastly on the right we have the new Gillette Fusion and the Fusion Power (2006) - five bold and beautiful blades, with a sixth on the back for good measure.

Update (1/17/2008): Who knew back then we'd need more than six?

Russell Neufeld at Permalink | Comments (2) | social bookmarking

February 7, 2006

The Official Gillette Fusion Website

fusion.jpgI just spent some time on www.gillettefusion.com, Gillette's new site devoted to the Fusion razor. It's a study in Flash - interactive, full motion video and sound, and lots of long "rendering" transitions to hide the fact that Flash is so darn slow.

If you saw the commercials during the Superbowl, you'll know that the Gillette Fusion was developed at a top secret research facility deep in the desert by a bunch of people in white lab coats. And now you can enter that top secret facility with your host, a sexy hologram named Cassandra. Does anyone remember the short-lived 80s TV series Automan, and his trusty sidekick Cursor? Cassandra is what Cursor should have been drawing, not some random brick wall in the middle of a road to stop a bad guy.

cassandra.jpgAnyway, here's a little info about Cassandra from her PDA:

EDUCATION:
PhD in physics, including a published thesis on the distribution of force and its relativity to pressure exerted on smooth surfaces.

INTERESTS:
Advanced chemistry, baseball, modeling stints in Milan, and martial arts (6 forms).

BIGGEST SECRET:
Her middle name, as well as the top secret dossier on her desk at the lab. Any rumors about either will be promptly denied.

MORE IRRITATING TURN-OFF:
One word: Scruff.

MOST EXCITING TURN-ON:
Wouldn't you like to know?

Quote from ShavingStuff wife as I spend entirely too much time with Cassandra:

Gillette has discovered that men who have time to read about shaving are under-sexed and in need of this kind of thing. Or that "advanced scientific technology sells razors," but only as long as there's a pair of long legs under that lab coat.

Whatever... Bonus points for figuring out how to get Cassandra to take off her lab coat. (Hint: it's under the Fusion Manual menu.)

Here's something for all you privacy fans. They cookie your browser so the next time you return to the site Cassandra greats you with a "Hi. I'm so glad you stopped by again." Freaky! And yet I like it. Straight out of Minority Report.

So does anyone else think Cassandra is an odd choice of name? I seem to remember Cassandra from Greek mythology as being blessed to see the future and cursed so that no one would believe her. When Gillette's Cassandra says the future of shaving is here, are we supposed to disagree?

Russell Neufeld at Permalink | Comments (3) | social bookmarking

February 6, 2006

Gillette Fusion - What's in the Box?

Got my Gillette Fusion and Gillette Fusion Power yesterday at Target. The Fusion was marked $8.99 and the Fusion Power was $9.99, however I found another display in the store that held something called the Gillette Fusion Starter Kit (pictured, right), which, for $9.99, contained a Gillette Fusion (un-powered), an extra cartridge, a 2.5oz container of the new Gillette Fusion Hydra Gel, a shaving tips pamphlet, and a handy travel case (pictured, left, sans case). For an extra buck, it's a no-brainer. If you live near a Target, hunt around for the display with the starter kit. And if you don't live near a Target, one will be opening near you within the week.

As people have been reporting, the Fusion Power only comes with one cartridge. Kind of lame. If memory serves, the Mach3 Power came with an extra cartridge. There is a $2.00 dollar off coupon in the Fusion Power packaging, and it's easy to miss. It's taped to the clear plastic wrap which holds the razor to the case. Make sure you snag that thing. Blades ain't cheap.

Russell Neufeld at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

January 30, 2006

More Gillette Fusion Reader Reviews

Blog-o-sphere Gillette Fusion update - fellow blogger Terry of TADspot has posted his first experience with the new Gillette Fusion Power, which he bought for only $9 at his local Safeway supermarket.

Can I tell any difference in the quality of the shave? Hell no, but now I do have the sexiest, most powerful, most bladiest razor known to man. Apparently putting all of those blades onto one cartridge has caused some sort of shortage because Gillette didn’t package even one extra cartridge...

OK, that's kind of lame. The Mach3 came with an extra blade, and so did Sensors before that.

Read all of Terry's review, and see the hot shaving action shots, at TADspot.com.

Russell Neufeld at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

January 27, 2006

Gillette Fusion is Available!

fusion_power.jpg

The Gillette Fusion is available in stores as of Thursday January 26th. Readers from around the country are reporting availability in Costco, Walgreen's and CVS. We've even got out first reader review from Greg in Texas:

I got my Fusion last night (1/26/06) in Houston. I used it and I think it's a winner. The blade cartridge is much larger but the individual blades are about 50% smaller than the Mach3 Turbo. The shave feels much different than the M3T. Maybe it was because it was a new cartridge, but the shave seemed closer with less razor burn. The single blade on the back is a great addition too, but I think it will take some practice to get the perfect sideburns.

Huge day in the shaving world. HUGE! 15 and 30 second teaser ads are starting to air now, and then the big media kickoff starts during Super Bowl XL next Sunday. Here's the press release detailing to rollout. Suggested price for the non-powered Fusion is $9.99, while the Fusion Power will retail at $11.99. I have no doubt you'll find them on sale over the next few weeks. A quick check at Amazon shows that the Gillette Fusion Power is down to $9.57.

Gentlemen, start your razors!

Russell Neufeld at Permalink | Comments (11) | social bookmarking

January 26, 2006

Gillette Fusion Available in Chicago

top_costco_logo.gifReader Alert!

ShavingStuff reader Chris has written in to say that the new 5-bladed Gillette Fusion is now available at Costco in Chicago. I was under the impression that the national launch was next Sunday during the Superbowl, but perhaps they're seeding the market early.

Just wanted to see if anyone spotted the Gillette Fusion yet and have tried it. I thought it was going to be out in a week or so. However, I was at Costco in Chicago today and they had a huge crate of them sitting out. I was somewhat surprised.

So, if you want to be the first kid on the block with the cool new tool, head on over to Costco and score yourself some cred.

Russell Neufeld at Permalink | Comments (3) | social bookmarking

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