by Garrick Dee
Updated April 10th, 2019
Yes you heard that right this electric shaver has a TurboMode.
This feature cranks up the power by 10% to help shave off denser beard areas like facial hair on the chin or mustache.
As with most Norelco shavers this baby has 3 rotary shaving heads and each of these heads flex five directions to match whatever contour your face has so it won’t matter if you have an angular face or a more rounded one, this razor can get it done.
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It does not have the cleaning base that the Norelco 9000 series has but cleaning is very easy because the head pops open and you just clean it with running water.
A quick look at the features
- Has a TurboMode that increases power by 10% to help shave denser hair growth
- Each of the three cutting heads have 5-direction Flex Heads for a close shave
- Wet and Dry shaving functionality
- Easy open head for easy cleaning
- Comes with a precision trimmer that you can attach to the motor base for mustache and sideburn trimming
- Fully LED display
- Lithium ion battery
- No cleaning base
- 45 minute run time
- 1 hour recharge with an optional 1 minute quick charge
- Easy to clean
- Ergonomic design – not too bulky and easy to maneuver around the face
- Easy to remove head
- Trimmer is compact which makes it easy to use especially on the beard area
- Clear LED display
- Not so expensive
- No pouch for the trimmer or shaver
- No cleaning brush included
This mid-priced razor does not have a lot of add-ons but in terms of functionality it does perform pretty well. Remember that when it comes to rotary shavers Philips is a market-leader and is the equivalent to Braun in the foil shaver niche.
The best feature in my opinion is the TurboMode that increases the power by 10%. While it helps in terms of giving you a close shave, it won’t match the 9700 in terms of closeness but remember that the 550 costs only a third of the price.
The 5500 is virtually the same as the 5700 minus the cleaning station. For me I don’t mind not having the cleaning station because you can easily clean this without one.
Unlike the Braun foil that uses a four blade system, this Norelco uses only 3 rounded blades. Each of these blades independently flexes in 5 directions and allows it to adjust to the shape of your face.
When you combine that with the Turbo Mode, it does help in giving a close shave especially in problem areas – the chin and mustache area.
The beauty of wet and dry shavers is the flexibility it gives you. If you prefer to pamper yourself and exfoliate using a shaving brush then by all means since you can use this to wet shave but if you’re not used to wet shaving and prefer to dry shave then this razor allows you to do it.
Just remember to follow principles to give you the best shave possible, that means having a hot shower or at least washing your face to get rid of excess oil and dead skin.
A hot towel also helps soften whiskers so the blades have an easier time cutting them.
Precision Trimmer Attachment
Unlike other shavers I’ve reviewed so far the trimmer in this Norelco and the subsequent models utilize a different approach.
Instead of integrating the trimmer within the body, they’ve made it in to a separate piece that you can attach on the shaver body itself.
In essence it is a separate attachment. I like this because it gives you more freedom of movement since the shaver head is out of the way. You have more room to work with an you’ll be able to trim your sideburns and goatee better.
The downside is there is a better chance of misplacing this because it does not come with any bag nor you can store it inside the shaver.
Easy to Clean
You really don’t need the fancy cleaning base to clean the head. Since it pops open easily you can just rinse this part under running water. Just make sure to dry it well.
I sure wish they included a cleaning brush so you have a tool to pry lose any hair that may be wedged on nooks and crannies.
Even as a mid-priced razor this has a bright and easy to read LED display that shows you how much battery power is left.
Charging and Run Time
It will only take one hour to fully charge this razor which gives you roughly 45 minutes of shaving. If you’re in a hurry just plug it in for 5 minutes and you can get one shave with it.
|Run time||45 minutes|
|Mustache / Sideburn Trimmer|
For the most part, most men who used this shaver liked how it performs. Take note that some of them received a free product in exchange for an honest review so you can take it with a grain of salt though some of the men who’ve given reviews didn’t hold back and were pretty honest.
One said that it didn’t give him as close a shave as he’d hoped for. He also said that it didn’t fully shave his trouble spot – the area below the chin area even with the turbo mode on.
Others had a different take. One African American consumer said that this razor gave him a pretty good shave minus the irritation. Several other men who had sensitive skin also said the same thing.
Another thing mentioned in the reviews is how quiet this razor is, almost too quiet according to some that it lacked feedback while shaving.
Consumers also shared my concerns about misplacing the very small trimmer since it is a separate attachment.
Unlike trimmers in other brands that are connected, you don’t have to worry about misplacing anything.
Some didn’t like the turbo mode because it didn’t make any sense to them adding a variable speed feature with a difference of only 10%. They’ve got a point.
Still a majority of men liked how this product shaved some even went as far as using this on their heads. Whether you like the 5500 or not will boil down to your facial hair type, skin type and technique. Again, your mileage may vary.
Where can you buy this?
You can buy this in Amazon for less than $150.
For a mid-priced electric shaver the Philips Norelco 5500 provides a lot of value for money. It does not have the cleaning station that the 5700 but I think you don’t really need it because you will do as good job cleaning the head that pops open under running water.
I don’t think the extra $40 would justify the cost of a cleaning station plus the subsequent expenses incurred because of the cartridge refills.
The TurboMode is a great addition because it allows you to get a close enough shave even with tough stubble and some men said that they’d wish that Philips made the Turbo Mode as the default power option because it was effective.
You will also like the trimmer that you can attach separately on the base. This reduces the clutter and allows you to focus on trimming with the shaving head out of the way.
There are a couple of downsides I see – first you can misplace this since it is such a small piece and second, if you push too hard you may knock it out of place and drop it on the floor.
Overall if you prefer rotary shavers over foil then why not go with the brand that’s a market leader. This will be a great travel buddy because of the 45 minute run time and quick charge option.