Philips Aquatouch Plus AT890 – As Smooth As It Gets, But Is That Enough?

The Aquatouch range was introduced by Philips to bring an alternative ‘wet shave’ to the market. It is still a fact that the majority of men, particularly in their 20s or 30s that wet shave, do so with a standard powerless razor but in doing so, risk skin burn, cuts and damage. Philips aim to redress this by proving that you can get as good a wet shave with their fully waterproof Aquatouch shavers, than you can with a traditional razor. The key to achieving this is in the smoothness of the shave, and in this regard the AT890 – which is second from the top of the range – is a clear achiever; but can smoothness alone really be enough to convert people to the electric wet shave?

Defining Features

What is Aquatouch and what does it bring to the shave?
The Aquatech technology on this shaver is essentially the design element that makes it waterproof. It is effectively the seal that keeps all the water-sensitive parts safe. It’s very effective in this regard and after several uses in the shower, with and without gel or foam it works a charm.

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Design –
The shape of the AT890 is standard and distinctive of the Aquatouch range. The head has three dual precision blades that incorporate the Philips patented ‘Super Lift And Cut’ technology. The sleek body is seamless and has a nice ribbed rubber grip that fits comfortably in your hand. The grip really is a blessing, particularly with wet shaving as it prevents any slippage or ‘over compensating’ allowing to shave smoothly in all places. It’ s little things like this that turn something potentially average into potentially great.

How Close Is The Shave?

For a dry shave, the AT890 is remarkably close, but for a wet shave you really see the shaver come alive. Although I prefer not to use gels or foams, when you do use them they work remarkably well with the AT890 and the smoothness speaks for itself.
What About Sensitive Skin? – It’s remarkably soft for sensitive skin, benefiting greatly from the caps that cover the cutters, preventing the rotary blades from damaging skin.

The heads also adjust automatically to the curves of your face and this again prevents skin damage. The heads also make use of the patented ‘Super Lift And Cut’ technology, that actively lifts hairs before trimming below skin level. This again improves the fight against irritation. It would be hard to find a better shave for sensitive skin.
The Pop Up Trimmer – It’s not the best trimmer attachment I’ve ever used, but it’s good. It incorporates slots in the blades to catch longer hair and holes in the blades to shave short stubble. It’s quick to use, but I found it best to use out of the shower with good vie win the mirror. Which, if you’ve done the rest in the shower, means waiting for the mirror to de-steam and that in itself is a bit of a time eater. A feature best used when dry shaving or at least before your shower.

Keeping it Squeaky Clean And Well Maintained

Cleaning – The head is washable, it simply pops up with a gentle click allowing you to clean and rinse under the tap. It’s recommended to do this every couple of months but I find no effort in doing this every week or so. The heads are also replaceable, but are likely to last around 18 months with regular use.
Shower hanger pouch – You do get a shower hanging pouch that comes with the AT890, which doubles up as a great protective travel pouch, light and compact and shaped perfectly to the shaver.

The shaver will work cordless, and from a 1 hour charge you can expect 50 minutes of shave time. This should get you an average of 14-15 shaves between charges, which is again handy for travelling. The next model up in the range – the AT918/16 does give you a full 60 minutes charge time, but also comes with a greater price tag. In some cases I would argue that this extra time is worth the money – particularly where a clunky charging station is involved but with the AT890 charging is as simple as plugging in the supplied adapter directly into the shaver itself.

Overall Verdict From

The AT890 is good. Its smooth and it is a real time saver when used in the shower. But I’ve always been a fan of the traditional razor when having a wet shave. It’s almost ritualistic. But to get a shave as good, as sensitive and as nip/cut free as the Aquatouch AT890 would require an expensive blade, like a Mach 4 or 5 and over the course of a year the AT890 might not only give you better performance on your face, but also in your wallet.

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