"An excellent upgrade from an already great shaver"5.0 starson by vara411
Pros: Great, close shave. 13,000 rpms, baby! Vortex cleaner is vastly improved and leaves my shaver bone dry and smelling fresh.
Cons: Irritated my skin a little in the beginning, but it was due to my technique (I was used to pushing too hard from my older shavers).
Summary: After going through many different electric shavers (from the Remington and Norelco lines), I finally purchased a Panasonic 7056S with the Vortex Hydraclean system. It was the best shaver I had ever owned... until now.
The 7056S was a great shaver, but had four things I did not like: first, it could not cut my neck hairs at all. No matter how many passes I took, the hairs would just stand defiantly. Second, the Vortex Hydracleaner was great, but only had a heating element to dry my shaver after the cleaning cycle. My shaver would still be wet and sometimes have a mildewy smell to it. This was easily remedied by replacing the cleaning cartridge, but was still annoying. I'd wonder why Panasonic hadn't simply installed a fan in the cleaner to really dry the shaver off. Third, the shaver used a NiMH battery, which over time can be overcharged and die on you. After a while my shaver just couldn't hold a charge anymore. Finally, the little stem on the Vortex Hydracleaner would come loose mid-cycle and interrupt the cleaning process. Battery issues aside, these were all minor complaints and overall the shaver performed like a champ for over two years.
Enter the new 8109S. Cool looks (I like the battery and "needs cleaning" indicators!), and a very decent price, especially compared to the ripoff Pulsonic from Braun. The 8109S also had very crucial updates, all addressing my previous complaints: 1) Contoured blade for easier cutting in the neck region. 2) A built-in fan and heating element in the Vortex Hydracleaner to really dry my shaver after cleaning. 3) A LITHIUM ION battery that would last longer and not overcharge. 4) Updated Vortex Hydraclean design that won't disconnect during the cleaning cycle.
In addition, there were several other new updates: a 13,000 rpm motor (my previous shaver was 10,000 rpm, which was still plenty fast... but this is faster!). A 17,000 rpm option for cleaning your shaver on the road.
I've owned the shaver for two months now and absolutely love it. I highly recommend using it wet with a glycerin-based shaving gel (I use Nivea). Awesome results. I have not had a shaver, including my previous beloved 7056S when it was NEW cut me this close.
I had only one issue with irritation when I first got the 8109S. These blades are plenty sharp (maybe the whole "Nanotech blades" has some truth to it), and they can really cut. I've been used to pushing pretty hard with my shaver to get a close shave, and trust me when I say there's no need to do it with this shaver. Just take it easy: mild to moderate pressure is all you need!
I hope that sums it up enough for you. If you already have a Panasonic shaver and are considering an upgrade, I highly recommend doing it, because it's worth it. If you own any other brand of shaver, you need to make the switch to this one. Because next to a professional barber shave, this is the best it's gonna get!