Philips Norelco SensoTouch 3D 1280X/42 Review

Last updated on December 5th, 2018 by Garrick Dee

Some men prefer wet shaving while others prefer dry shaving because of the time savings it brings.

The bottom line is that it is a personal preference.

Philips Norelco SensoTouch 3D 1280X/42 Review

And with that let me introduce to you one of the best options if you prefer to wet shaving.

The Philips SensoTouch 3D – in this review we will focus on the 1280X variant.

Note: Amazon says the S8950/90 is the newer version of this. And interestingly enough it is cheaper even if you buy it with the charging base.

You will notice that the new 8900 series has around six different variants – the 1290X, 1280X, 1280XCC, 1260X, 1250X and 1250XCC.

All these variants will have the same shaving head that features the Gyroflex 2D contouring technology that moves around like a gyroscope to help the shaving head maintain contact with the different contours on your face.

Biggest difference would be the interface. To be more specific, the battery status indicator up front.

For the 1280X it is fully digital with a numeric battery indicator, charge indicator, low battery indicator, cleaning indicator. And it even tells you when to replace the shaving head.

Philips also stretched the run time – from 50 to 60 mins.

There are two options – the first is buying this without the JetClean system that will cost around $130 less.

A quick look at the features

  • Head is fully flexible thanks to the GyroFlex 3D system
  • Optional JetStream cleaning base that automatically charges, deep clean and dry the shaver
  • UltraTrack shaving head has three shaving tracks that capture longer strands of facial hair as well as short stubble in just a few strokes
  • 60 minute run time
  • 1 hour recharge
  • Each of the three shaving heads tilt inward and outward following the contours of your face for the ultimate shaving experience
  • Wet and dry shaving
  • Shaving head has a smooth surface that minimizes irritation
  • Comes with a separate beard trimmer to help you sculpt your beard or sideburns
  • Fully 2 year warranty

Pros

  • The fully flexible gyroscopic-like head is fully flexible and the 3 rotary heads move independently inward and outward for maximum coverage
  • Fully digital control panel lets you know when it’s time to recharge, clean the head or replace it – really convenient
  • Cleaning/charging base does not use cartridge but only liquid which in a way minimizes the expense of refills
  • Built-in pop-up trimmer
  • Great for wet shaving according to some reviews
  • You have the option buying this with or without the cleaning station which is a nice touch by Philips
  • Easy to clean with or without the cleaning station

Cons

  • If you buy this with the cleaning station you will have to pay an extra $130++
  • Very expensive
  • May not be as good for dry shaving
  • You cannot plug the charger directly on the razor – you need to use the charging stand which adds a lot to the space used

What to Expect from the Norelco 1280X/42?

The 1280X/42 is one of 6 variants in the 8000 series. This is also known as the SensoTouch 3D.

What’s the difference between the SensoTouch 2D and 3D?

Both these variants have flexible heads the pivot 360 degrees.

Biggest difference would be the cutting elements. In the 3D each cutting element pivots inward and outward.

This helps in terms of traction as each of the blades flex to adapt to the peaks and valleys of our face.

The SensoTouch 2D has the same GyroFlex head but the cutting head only flexes inward.

Another different would be the control panel.

The 3D has is fully digital panel that alerts you when to…

  • Charge
  • Change the cutting elements and
  • When to clean

UltraTrack Shaving Head

This features refer to the inner and outer tracks that make up the 3 cutting heads of this shaver. These tracks are design to capture both short and long strands of hair.

Cutting Head

Even flat laying ones on your neck area.

Wet and dry shaving

All SensoTouch 3D shavers allow you to shave wet or dry depending on your preference.

Since this is fully waterproof, you can even take this with you inside the shower or even shave underwater.

GyroFlex 3D

This term refers not only to the fully flexible head that flexes 360 degrees. But also the cutting tracks itself that pivot inward and outward.

Contour-following shaver

It keeps as much of the tracks on the face as possible cutting down the shaving time but still give you a close a shave as possible.

Built-in Trimmer

Unlike the 2D that comes waith a separate trimmer that you attach in place of the shaving head, this one’s trimmer is built-in. And it solves the issue that a lot of men have in terms of misplacing it because it is such a small part and there is not storage for it.

Men who travel a lot have complained about this. And they liked that Philips addressed this by making the trimmer part of the shaver itself.

Easy to clean

You have two options to clean this. First and the easier option would be to use the JetClean system that automatically does this for you. But you will have to wait for it to clean, lubricate and dry the razors.

Since this uses up cleaning fluid and this fluid will cost money, you have another option which is to rinse it under water.

You can open the shaving tracks individually, brush off excess hair then rinse.

This can extend the time you need to buy cleaning fluid (this costs around $5 per bottle) to two or even three months. Plus it is much faster than using the JetClean system.

This manual cleaning option is great to use when travelling since the cleaning base is bulky and heavy.

2 options

If you buy this in Amazon, you will have two options.

First option is the buy this without the charging base / cleaning station which will save you around $130++.

If you’re really after the savings this is a great option because the shaver itself is easy to clean even without the automatic cleaning station.

But you’re missing out on the goodies you’ll get when you only buy the shaver…

Along with the cleaning / charging base, you’ll also get a travelling pouch and a month’s supply of cleaning fluid.

Run time

A full charge will last around 60 minutes. And since this uses a lithium ion battery, that power will be constant and there will be very minimal power fade.

Charging time

It will take roughly an hour to fully charge the 1280X but just in case you’re in a hurry there is an optional 3 minute quick charge that charges this in 3 minutes – good enough for a single shave.

Charging stand

Even though this comes with a charging plug, you cannot directly plug it on the shaver itself, you will need to charge this using the charging stand that the manufacturer provides.

Philips does provide you with a smaller charging stand to go along the large JetClean system just in case you travel a lot.

Consumer Reviews

When you compare this to its top rival Braun, consumers who have used both said that this is much lighter and quieter. And it does give you a more uniform shave on your face. It also does better in areas like the chin and neck area.

While consumers are pretty happy with the overall performance of this product, there are some potential issues that you will need to know before purchasing this item.

First is the cleaning station that does not clean and flashes a red light (which means you need to refill it with cleaning solution) even though it still has enough. This happens after around 2 years or so and it happened to multiple consumers so it does raise a red flag on the longevity of this product.

One consumer said that registering this product adds around 6 months to the warranty so make sure to do this just in case you buy.

Second potential issue would be the replacement head that you will need to replace every year. According to reviews, even Philips made replacement heads aren’t as good as the blades that came from the factory.

In terms of the shave, the product gave pretty good results both for wet shaving and dry shaving. As with all electric shavers, this will not work on all types of beards. There are some men who said that this worked well on their cheek area but when it came to shaving the neck, it gave them some irritation.

But for others they claimed that this is a great razor and allowed them to shave really close.

The built in trimmer was also a great addition because there is nothing to misplace since it is part of the body but it was too short and didn’t cut as well.

Product Specifications

ModelNorelco 8900 1280X/42
BatteryLithium Ion
Run time60 minutes
TypeRotary
Mustache / Sideburn TrimmerYes
Wet ShavingYes
Dry ShavingYes
Water proofYes
Charging/cleaning standOptional
Travel pouchYes
Length9.1 inches
Weight1.2 lbs.
Warranty2 years

Where can I buy this?

You can buy this from Amazon but it’ll be expensive at just under $400!

A better deal in my opinion would be the Norelco 8900 S8950/90 that would cost just under $140. And it comes with free 2-day shipping if you join Prime.

Extended warranties are also available of up to 3 years if you want that extra peace of mind.

To Wrap Up

This razor is a good option for executives and professionals who like to travel because of the 60 minute run time and since this uses a newer lithium ion battery, power will be linear and there will be minimal fade in the charge cycle.

It is lighter than the Braun because of the overall design and the lithium battery.

Biggest downside for me is the need to bring the bulky charging stand because you can’t charge this with just the plug.

For short trips that only last a few days it should’t be a problem. But for extended trips of more than a week it will be.

At least based on reviews, this is a great option that will give you a pretty good shave if you have normal beards but men who have thicker more substantial beards may have to look at a foil shaver like a Braun.

Another concern is the charging base that seems to break down towards the end of the warranty period. But only a few complained about this so it seems to be an anomaly.

Overall this is a good product that is lighter and quieter than the Braun. But in the long term a lack of a reliable replacement for the cutting head worries me a little.

Garrick spends his days researching and writing about grooming. When he’s not in front of his computer, you can find him hanging around with his wife and son.

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