With the ES8243A, Panasonic has taken their popular 3 bladed shaver, the ES8103S Arc3, and transformed it into a 4 blade shaving powerhouse, with an upgraded and more powerful motor, updated battery, and all the modern technology Panasonic fans have come to expect from their shavers.
This wet/dry foil shaver is a blast to use, while offering significant savings to the user by omitting the expensive cleaning/charging station offered on other Arc4 shavers on the market.
Let’s start by looking at a few of the key features offered on the ES8243A:
• Powerful 13,000 CPM motor
• Use wet or dry with your favorite shave lotion or gel
• 30-degree hypoallergenic Nanotech blades
• Flexible pivoting triple layer foil head
• 10-stage LCD display
• Pop up trimmer
• 100% waterproof
• 5-minute quick charge option
• Very lightweight at just 6.2 ounces
• Power button twists easily to enable travel lock
• Universal voltage charging adapter for international travel
Many of these features are pretty much standard on most modern shavers, while the powerful 13,000 CPM motor, patented Nanotech blades, wet/dry shaving ability, and 5-minute fast charge option are all unique to this Panasonic shaver.
Aesthetics & Ergonomics
The Panasonic ES8243A Arc4 is designed to look as futuristic and fancy as possible. While its looks will never match up to a top-line ($$$) Norelco shaver, Panasonic has managed to make this one look contemporary, while keeping its use uncomplicated.
The streamlined blue body is made of a rubberized material that makes it very easy to hold on to, the display is black backlit with sharp red text, and the power button is placed right where most men will want it.
Cleaning & Maintenance
As mentioned, you’re not going to get a cleaning station with the ES8243A set at such a low price point. After all, you are getting an Arc4 shaver for just a hair over $100 USD! Still, cleaning is a cinch with this waterproof foil shaver.
Panasonic has been including a turbo cleaning mode on their shavers for the last several years. Simply push and hold the power button for two full seconds and the motor will automatically kick up the RPMs to 17,000 so you can rinse the heads fully under running water. Do note that you’ll never be able to shave with the motor set at this speed, as the shaver automatically shuts down after 20 seconds in turbo mode to protect the battery life.
Battery Life and Charging Details
The battery life on the ES8243A is approximately 45 – 60 minutes, which works out to 5 – 7 shaves for most men. This is pretty much the industry standard for most shavers with a lithium-ion battery inside, but it’s important to note that the ES8243A does use plenty of juice to power its 13,000 CPM motor, so the battery may be a better version of what you’ll find in lesser electric shavers. The 10-stage LCD display shows the charge level 10% increments.
Normal charging takes around an hour to complete, but if you’re in a hurry Panasonic has included a 5-minute quick charge option which will get you one solid 10-minute shave, if you suddenly realize your battery’s dead and you don’t have time to wait for the standard charge to complete. It’s tough to say whether this feature will affect the long-term life of the LIon battery, as quick charges were notorious for eating up the old NiCd and NiMH battery types of old.
The shave’s pretty much what one would expect with such a powerful motor, advanced foil technology, and the Japanese ninja-inspired Nanotech blades. The ES8243A does an excellent job shaving hair of all thicknesses and can handle up to 5 days of beard growth without yanking your hairs straight out by the roots.
Panasonic claims this shaver, like all their Arc4 and Arc5 shavers, to be a “one pass” shaver. While much fewer passes are required with a high end foil shaver like this, one pass will always be an unrealistic expectation for most men. Differences in beard density, length, and growth patterns all determine just how short or long each shaving session will take.
Taking these differences into consideration, the ES8243A still gives one of the best electric shaves out there. Not just in this price range, but in all price ranges. The Arc5 models, retailing for hundreds more, may give you a faster shave, but not necessarily a better one. Same goes for high-end Norelco and Braun shavers; there’s only so much that can be improved upon when the best foil designs, the sharpest blades, and most powerful motors are involved.
The ES8243A shaves really close, not below the skin, but right at skin level. If you use a good pre-shave lotion and/or apply some shaving gel to your face prior to shaving, you’ll not only get the closest shave possible in an electric, but also the most comfortable.
Closing Thoughts on the Panasonic ES8243A Arc4
If you’re in the market for a durable shaver, with all the latest in foil, blade, motor and charging technology included, you needn’t look any further than the ES8243A. The shave quality is on-par with all modern shavers, while the lack of the expensive ($100+) cleaning/charging stand makes this foil shaver one of the best deals out there in terms of price and value.