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Our Norelco 3500 Review: Old Faithful or No Longer Relevant?

Like most companies that make electric shavers, Norelco has a LOT of models in their line-up. We’ve reviewed a lot of them—in fact, we have an entire post where we discuss our favorite Norelco shavers—so we like to think of ourselves as experts.

So how does the Norelco 3500 hold up, you might ask? It’s an older model, so is it still worth your time?

Here we’ll go into all the details, and share what we like and what we don’t like.

That said, if you’re in a rush, here’s a quick summary of our Norelco 3500 review:

The model holds up SURPRISINGLY well. It’s got a few less-than-perfect features, and it doesn’t have all the add-ons that some of the newer, more expensive versions include, but in terms of deliver a close, comfortable shave—which is the main job of an electric shaver!—it’s still really excellent.

Alright, let’s get to the details:

Philips Norelco Shaver 3500, Rechargeable Wet & Dry Electric Shaver with Pop-Up Trimmer and Storage…Buy on Amazon

Last update on 2023-08-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Norelco 3500: What We Love

All in all, we really like the Norelco 3500. It has a lot of features that make it one of the better electric shavers currently on the market and one of our overall favorite Norelco shavers. These also make it good for a number of different applications.

The 5D Pivot Contours to Your Face

Our favorite feature is probably the 5D pivot and flex heads, a big advance in the rotary shaver design. What this means is that the three rotary shaving heads bend and adjust to the contours of the face. Your face isn’t flat—it has a lot of curves, so if the shaving heads stay flat, they won’t get as close to the skin, meaning they won’t shave as close.

The 5D pivot means that the flex heads can bend in five different directions, more than many other electric shavers you’ll find. This makes it especially good for the tough angles on your neck and jawline.

The Blades Stay Sharp

Altogether, the Norelco 3500 has 27 blades. What we like best about them is that they’re “self-sharpening.” In other words, they stay sharp longer without having to be replaced.

This is great because as blades begin to get dull, your shave gets a lot less comfortable. This is simply because dull blades don’t cut as well and therefore need more force. Sometimes this means they pull or yank the hairs a bit before finally cutting them. This is uncomfortable in the moment and can lead to razor burn and skin irritation afterwards.

As a result of the Norelco 3500’s self-sharpening blades, we found that it provided one of the smoother and less irritating shaves you can get with an electric razor. 

There’s a Pop-Up Trimmer for Styling

These days, this is a common feature on electric shavers, but we were still glad to see Norelco included it on the 3500. A pop-up trimmer is a little clipper blade you can use to trim down hair without cutting it all the way down to the skin.

You can use it on more sensitive areas or, more likely, you can use it to trim parts of your beard you don’t want to shave fully. Simply put, you can use the pop-up trimmer to create beard styles like goatees, Van Dykes, etc. and keep them looking neat and well-groomed.

The Battery Charges Pretty Quickly

The 3500’s battery is a great improvement on past models. It has an hour of runtime on a full charge which is around 20 shaves and reaches a full charge after an hour of charging. More importantly, you can get enough juice for a single shave after just five minutes. This means if you wake up for an important meeting and find you forgot to charge your razor, you’ll still be able to get a shave in.

The 3500 also has a three-level battery indicator that lets you know when you’re getting low and should plug it in. This is a lot better than a lot of shavers where you just have to guess. It prevents you from running out of power mid-shave and yanking a hair.

It’s Waterproof and Easy to Clean

Most standard rotary and foil shavers cannot be placed under running water. Aside from causing the blades to corrode, it damages the internal electronics. The Norelco 3500, on the other hand, is designed to be waterproof. You can rinse it out under the faucet.

Not only that, though, but you can actually open the shaver head with a single button. This lets you remove hair clippings as well as run the underside of the shaver heads under water. This way you have a clean shaver that’s less likely to cause skin irritation.

You Can Use It with or Without Shaving Cream

Another advantage of the 3500’s waterproof design is you can use it to wet shave as well as dry shave. For those with sensitive skin, this can be a big plus. Shaving cream provides a smooth barrier that helps keep the blades from scraping and irritating the skin. It also helps lift up and hold the hairs straight so you get a close shave without having to press into the skin.

The Grip Is Covered with Rubber

We love the grip on the Norelco 3500. It’s one of our all-time favorites on shavers, clippers, you name it. Made of a textured rubber, it’s really easy to hold even if you’re shaving in the shower or with shaving cream.

You definitely don’t want to drop your shaver while you’re using it. Not only could it damage the device, but it may yank or pull a hair or even scrape you on the way down.

Plus, being able to hold the shaver even when it’s wet lets you move it precisely so you get a closer and neater shave.

The Norelco 3500: What We Didn’t Love

It’s probably pretty obvious that we love the Norelco 3500, but that doesn’t mean it’s all roses, and it would be dishonest of us not to include all that in our Norelco 3500 review. Like any shaver, it has its downsides.

You Can’t Use It Plugged In

This is definitely our least favorite aspect of the 3500. Despite having a great battery that charges quickly, you can’t actually use it while it’s plugged in! If you wake up late for that meeting and realize you forgot to charge it, you can do the quick charge which will give you enough juice for a full shave in just five minutes.

Still, you’ll have to wait those five minutes. You can only use the shaver when it’s unplugged.

The Blade Caps Are a Bit Thick

The Norelco 3500 uses rounded blade caps. Overall this is a good thing because they protect your skin from the sharp blades while still letting them cut through hair. They’re also pretty smooth so you can glide the shaver over your skin without it bunching up.

That said, we found that the blade caps were a bit thick. The result is that some may find that the 3500 doesn’t shave quite as close as other shavers. Usually it feels pretty smooth at first, but if your hair is particularly thick or grows especially fast, you may notice that you have visible stubble sooner than otherwise.

On the other hand, if you have especially sensitive skin or are an elderly rough-and-tumble gentleman and have loose skin that easily gets caught in shaver blades, the thick blade caps can be an upside. They provide more of a protective barrier to keep the blades from irritating the skin.

Who Should Consider the Norelco 3500?

As a high-quality model, the Norelco 3500 is a good choice for most men in need of an electric shaver. However, due to its specific features, we specifically recommend it for the following people:

Frequent Travelers and Road Folks

First of all, we suggest the Norelco 3500 for travelers because it comes with a soft-shell traveling case. This makes it easy to pack. It doesn’t take up a lot of room, but it’s still protected from all the sliding around that inevitably happens in airplane luggage compartments.

Additionally, it’s a good travel model because of the strong battery. With 60 minutes of runtime, you potentially don’t even need the charging cord for short trips. 

By the way, we got you covered if you’re interested in other electric shavers that are great for travel.

Guys With Sensitive Skin

The Norelco 3500 is good for those with sensitive skin for a number of reasons. First, you can use it with shaving cream, a huge plus. Additionally, the blades come sharp and stay sharp, meaning they cut more cleanly and cause less irritation. Finally, it’s easy to keep clean to minimize microbial build up that contributes to razor burn and irritation.

Oh yeah, and one more thing: the thicker blade caps provide more skin protection for those who otherwise have trouble with electric shavers. In this way, one of the 3500’s downsides is actually a big plus if you have sensitive skin.

Busy Professionals

Lastly, we consider the Norelco 3500 to be a good model for anyone who’s busy, especially in the mornings. This is primarily because of how quickly it charges and how many shaves you get out of a single charge. We definitely know how easy it is to forget to keep your shaver charged, so the quick charge option and long battery life mean one less thing to worry about.

On top of that, the 3500 is just a quick shave in general thanks to the sharp blades and 5D flex heads. This way you have time for more important things.

Wrapping Up the 3500

During our Norelco 3500 review, we were impressed by its advanced flex head design, strong lithium-ion battery, and waterproof design. As a result, we recommend it for frequent travelers, those with sensitive skin, and busy professionals.

Even if you don’t fall into one of these groups, though, we’re comfortable recommending the model to most guys looking for an electric shaver. It’s not the newest model on the market—and there are, most definitely, plenty of models that are far flashier—but in terms of a good, comfortable shave, it’s still better than most other shavers out there.

So, yes—we think this earns its “Old Faithful” status, and that’s not true for all older models. Some of them are no longer worth it—but we think this one still deserves it’s bona fides. We hope that helps—thanks for reading, and happy shaving!

Philips Norelco Shaver 3500, Rechargeable Wet & Dry Electric Shaver with Pop-Up Trimmer and Storage…Buy on Amazon

Michael Morris is the head writer here at Rough and Tumble Gentleman. He's got a ducktail beard and loves Brazilian jiu-jitsu. He's married to the woman of his dreams and lives in Brooklyn, NY.

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