I'm always surprised at how quickly electronic products go from hot item to off the market. With the Philips QC5040 this was no exception. Here's an excellent item that does exactly what its supposed to do with no fuss. But this 2008 model has already been replaced by Philips with a fancier model. Still, I've seen this on eBay for around the £20 mark, so I'm sure you can still get hold of one. The question is, would you want one.
If you ask me, yes, I'd say you might very well. I've been cutting my sons hair for many years now, and after using a cheap no-name one and then graduating to one by Babyliss (whose battery refused to be recharged after only about 18 months of infrequent use), I decided I'd try Philips. As my men have always been happy with their shavers, I figured I couldn't go too wrong here, and I believe I was right.
First of all, the biggest drawback for this product is that you have to charge it up for 8 hours to get 35 minutes of cutting time. What makes this not such a huge drawback is that once you've charged it up the first time to full, that 35 minutes is a whole lot longer than you might think. I was able to give four haircuts over the span of about 2 months, with only needing to put it back onto the mains about half way through the last one. And yes, you can use this plugged in as well, which means you'll never really have to worry about it being fully charged or not. By the way, the cord is quite long, so I didn't find it any problem using it that way, either.
Another drawback is that this has only 8 different lengths you can cut to. Again, this isn't so terrible since if you're cutting a man's hair, you'll probably only use one of the shorter lengths. My younger son uses the shortest one, and my older son uses one a bit longer. That I can see, I can't imagine using any of the other settings, so this is no problem for me at all. I'm sure, however, that for someone who is more adept and wants to do something fancier than a simple one-length haircut, this might be a reason to look for a newer, more adjustable model. By the way, it comes with accessories (which they call a "barber set") such as a comb and scissors as well as a booklet to help you learn how to cut hair. I did give that a gander, but since my boys need really basic cuts, I haven't actually tried any of the tips they give you (although I was tempted, but my sons refused to be my guinea pigs).
The only other drawback is that there's no indicator to tell you if the battery is low - you just have to turn it on and if it doesn't sound like it did when you had it fully charged, then you know it needs to be recharged or used with the mains. Of course, because you can use it plugged in this isn't really such a huge drawback, either.
But what I like about these clippers is that they're really strong, except when the battery gets a bit low. My younger son has very thick hair and these just cut through it like a hot knife through butter. Moreover, even when it isn't completely charged, it doesn't seem to pull on the hair - which happened with my Babyliss one. And it may be my imagination, but it seems like this cuts hair very evenly and doesn't seem to leave stray long hairs. It also feels lighter in my hand than my previous one, and the comb is on a spring which seems to just glide over my sons heads. Finally, it really is easy to clean and the hair doesn't seem to get trapped inside the comb - which also makes it easier to do a whole head without stopping in the middle of the cut.
I can highly recommend this hair clipper and if you can't find this particular model, the newer one looks just as good - if not better. It also seems pretty reasonably priced, and just think of all the money you'll save if you start cutting hair at home. I'll give it four stars out of five, due to those few drawbacks I mentioned.
Davida Chazan © January, 2010
The official web page for this product can be found at http://tinyurl.com/ychv5s3 and from the link above, it seems you can buy this for about £23.