Braun is the leading foil shaver manufacturer in the world and not without a reason. What makes them stand out is their innovation. In 1962, Braun released its Sixtant series and SM31 smashed all previous sales records by selling more than eight million units.
To mark the 50th Anniversary of Sixtant, Braun released Series 5 in 2012 and this too has been a widely popular series. It essentially lies between the entry-level Series 3 and more higher-end series like 7 and 9. However, performance-wise, it is more close to higher-end series than series 3 and this is what makes it a worldwide best-seller.
It is noteworthy that before this new addition, Series 5 was divided into an old and newer series. In this, older models used the 50 suffix and newer models had names starting with 51. You can’t find older 50** models on Braun’s official website but they can still be found on various online market places. Interestingly, the old series 5 also had a shaver named 5020s and was a dry-only shaver, but lately has been discontinued.
At this moment, the newer Series 5 50 has five shavers and these are essentially different configurations of the same shaver. They differ only in color and which accessories you can get with the shaver.
This series uses the prefix 50 and suffixes like S, CS, and CC. If you have been a Braun user, you would probably be familiar with S and CC configurations which basically indicate the presence or absence of a cleaning station. However, CS is a new addition and this essentially means a charging stand that provides you a platform for charging and has no cleaning function. In this new series, 5049cs and 5050cs are of CS configuration.
In this piece here, we will put this new series in general and 5020s in particular under the microscope.
One obvious change is the new design. The second noteworthy point is the price drop. At a time, we can get the 51** and old 50** models at well over $100, these new models come well under $100. We will see whether this price drop comes at the cost of quality and shaving performance and what else this new shaver has to offer. So, let’s get started and put this new shaver to test.
Table of Contents
Braun Series 5 5020s Review - Does It Deserve Series 5 Tag?
Design and Construction
When we talk about design, the older Series 5 models had a rectangular shape and were mostly black in color. They had blue, red or black accents on the sides of the front fascia and underneath the head. The design itself was rather dull and subdued.
In this newer iteration, we see a trendier design. The body of the shaver is roundish and slimmer. Aesthetically, the new design is definitely a pleasant change, but it still is nowhere near some of the better-looking Panasonic shavers such as ES-LT3N-K.
In 5020s, we see blue accents that run on the sides and also makes up the underside of the head.
Ergonomically, I like the textured rubber inserts on the back and slightly curved shaft in the middle. This is further enhanced by its lightweight and big thumb insert on the front.
In the newer shavers, we see a similar shaving head which has three blades. However, the older shaving head was more nimble than the newer. The newer shaving head has a sort of half-oval shaped than a straight shape of the older shaving head.
In the 5020s, the shaving head lies on a stalk which starts after a kind of dead-end to the shaft of the shaver. In older models, we see a continuity of the whole structure.
One of the upgradations is the new LED display. This display has some useful information. It shows indicators such as different battery levels by three dots. In addition, it shows if the blades need cleaning, travel lock enabled or not, and if you need blade replacement.
Shaving Performance of Braun Series 5 5020s
As said, the 5020s essentially has the same shaving head with three shaving elements. Therefore, we can expect similar performance. Nonetheless, on closer inspection, we see a few differences.
The new shaving elements are enclosed and separated by plastic frames. In older series 5, the outer two shaving elements were enclosed in stainless steel frames, but the middle trimmer was enclosed in a plastic frame. However, in another cost-cutting move, we see that all of the cutting elements are enclosed in plastic frames.
First of all, I like it for the fact that it has more protruded cutting elements. This provides better contact and requires a relatively lighter touch. However, this led me to sometimes applying more force than needed and this is where I noticed some heating up of the cutting elements. However, over the last week, since coming to terms with this fact I have not noticed any heating up.
As far as the closeness of shave is concerned, the Braun series provide a close enough shave which is adequate for most men. This is not what Braun shavers are famous for but they do the job pretty well. As the newer 5020s incorporates a similar shaving head, the results were at part with my previous Series 5 shaver. The blades are sharp enough to ensure you don’t have to make multiple passes over any given part.
In the 5020s, one major downgrade is the flexibility of the head. Earlier models had flexible cutting elements and head. However, in the 5020s, we see that only foils move up and down and the head itself is fixed. This flexibility adds to the contour adaptability of the shaver and this is kind of a bummer in the newer shaver.
Dealing with flat-lying and long hair has been a strong suit for Braun shavers. This is because of the middle trimmer. Outwardly, the newer shaver has a similar shaving system. However, we see that the middle trimmer in this shaver has relatively narrow apertures than the previous models. Although it uses the same plastic micro-combs which surround the middle trimmer, the narrower apertures make it less apt at dealing with flat-lying hair. Although it got the job done, it required multiple passes to deal with flat-lying and long hair on my neck.
The wet and dry utility of the shaver also adds to its suitability for people of sensitive skin. You can use 5020s with shaving cream, gel or foam and even in the shower. Pre-hydrating the skin and hair ensure easy shaving and cause no bumps.
In another first in this new series, we see different attachments that you can attach to a shaving head for your various grooming needs. Essentially, we see a drop of pop-up trimmer. As said, different configurations come with different attachments. In the 5020s, we see a precision trimmer and five of beard guide attachments.
You can attach these by removing the cutting block. Braun calls them EasyClick because they attach snap and don’t rattle when in use. I personally never liked the pop-up trimmer because of its awkward position and relatively flimsy construction. I like the newer attachments from the point of view of easy usage. However, they do carry the risk of getting lost.
Battery Life and Charging
Braun 5020s incorporates a lithium-ion battery as has become the standard in most modern-day shavers. It consumes roughly one hour of charge and provides 50 minutes of runtime. This runtime is also on or around the pretty much standards these days.
However, if you get caught up, you can charge it for 5 minutes which can give you enough battery for one shave.
As you can tell, the 5020s carries the suffix “S” which means solo. This suffix shows that shaver comes without a charging station.
The biggest marketing point Braun utilizes for this new Braun 5 series is the new EasyClean system. This new series and 5020s utilize a new design change to ensure easy cleaning.
There is a fingertip-sized hole on the underside of the head where you need water to hit by placing it under a running tap. The pressure of the water then opens two flaps in the shaving head and this allows the rinsing of the blade.
In the package you get:
- One Braun Series 5 5020s shaver
- A cleaning brush
- A precision trimmer
- Five beard guide attachments
- A travel case
- A power cord
Braun Series 5 5020s Vs 5050cs Vs 5018s
When we compare the 5020s with some of its siblings, there is not much to talk about.
All of these configurations incorporate a similar shaver and therefore you can expect similar performance. However, they differ in the color of the accents which run on the sides of the shaver. The same color makes the underside of the shaving head. In 5020S and 5018S, this color is blue, however, in 5050cs it is white.
5050cs is unique in the fact that it comes with a charging stand. You can basically place your shaver on this charging stand for its charge, however, you can also charge it without the charger. The other two shavers, 5020s, and 5018s do not come with any such stations.
All these models also differ in the attachments that they come with. Depending on the model you can get a precision trimmer, a stubble beard trimmer, a body groomer, and a cleansing brush.
Over the years, Braun has received criticism for its higher price when compared to its competitors. In this newer series, we see a price drop which definitely is a pleasant change.
5020s has a much-needed newer design which competes pretty well with some of the better-looking Panasonic models. Although the construction of the shaver is not quite as robust as previous models, it looks well built and can last you some time. The ergonomics have received the major uplift with a roundish body and non-slip textured rubber inserts.
Shaving performance is defined by its three-cutting-element shaving head which has some subtle changes from previous models. These subtle changes manifest in some subtle performance change but overall the performance is what you can expect from Braun Series 5.
The new EasyClean system gives you the ability to clean without removing the shaving head and this would be quite a relief for some people.