BMW, Audi, Jaguar, Mercedes… they all make superb saloon cars. They are well made, refined, smooth and drive well.
So when these top marques then bring out a sport model (be it an AMG, S, M etc), then they improve on the already great basic saloon car model.
They improve the handling, they tighten up the feedback, driver involvement, road holding. They tweak the chassis, engine and suspension. They end up with the same saloon car… but different – better – each part honed to a higher level.
What they don’t do is stick on some gaudy graphics, a big exhaust pipe and a huge spoiler and then try to palm it off as a sports car…
Where is this leading then?
For the past 2 weeks I have had the pleasure of test driving an aluminium bodied (hand finished in the UK no less), tweaked and more responsive version of an engineering marvel that I have blogged about before.
Will King (King of Shaves) hasn’t sat on his backside and let the already great award winning Azor (and Azor S – Sensitive) blow away the competition, oh no, he’s been working on improving perfection.
Well, that’s a bit strong. Azor had it’s bad points for some users, and a few quirks that first time users weren’t ready for… so maybe not improving on perfection, but most definitely improving on the Azor, the best multiblade shaving hardware since the Gillette Mach 3.
The trouble some people had with the Azor is they expected it to be the same as any previous razor – but it isn’t. For one it is sharper and more responsive.
Like all things different you need to get used to it – so a couple of shaves really won’t give you the real benefit of the Azors great shave. Try it, stick with it for a month and then see how you feel. You wouldn’t expect to get into a new car and have everything be in just the right place straight away, as each driver adjusts and gets used to their new car – so you should adjust and get used to the Azor.
So anyway today, the official launch of the Azor M…. I wasn’t expecting a great improvement leap, as the first Azor was already a benchmark product.
For the two weeks prior to today’s launch I have been a tester using the Azor M and the new slimline blade cartridge. The M stands for metal – an aluminium body hand finished in the UK. The slimline cartridge is an improved version of the original, already incredible Azor blade.
The heft is good – this is down to the extra weight of the metal over the previous Azor models. It feels more controlled & has a certain quality feel about it (Azor 1 & S have great quality & design, but to some people a light razor is seen as cheap & tatty). Azor M nicely addresses that & more.
The 3 colour look… it sounds a bit dicey, but when I saw it I was immediately impressed. No tarty chrome look like Gillette use. A subtle, almost Audi-ish brushed Aluminium that wasn’t pretending to be anything else, because it is what it is. Very stylish.
The shave… Okay, I was surprised at how different it was. Doing my head really showed the improvements. That weight made for more control & a smoother glide.
Better still – and this shocked me….the blade life is longer! I thought the first Azor blade was good, but this is still as blisteringly sharp now after two weeks of full head and beard shaves as when I first used it. This surely is the KoS standard now – Cheaper, longer lasting and far, far sharper blades.
The new cartridge design seems to be more than meets the eye. The trimmed & squared off lube section made for a more accurate trim around my goatee. Now there is a definitive squared end across the head of the cartridge that is parallel to the blades, which actually gave more confidence around the beard and that just worked better – I didn’t need to think about it so much as I knew exactly where I was shaving.
I managed to shave several areas around my ears that the previous cartridge wouldn’t touch due to the old larger cartridge – so a marked improvement there.
The reduced top end section also appeared to pull/tighten my skin slightly more than the Azor S (not in a bad way). It felt taut & controlled – referring back to my car analogy I’d say the Azor M is the sports saloon of the range – tweaked to give a firmer, more accurate & closer ride. It’s all a bit more “together”, which is amazing, seeing as the previous Azor danced over the competition without bothering to even take it’s shoes off!
Even though Azor has one of the narrower side walls on the cartridge than other brands, I personally would like to see even thinner side walls with the blades as close to the edge as possible – but that’s a wish list thing & no complaint against any Azor.
I don’t know how many of the above improvements were intentional or just a by product of the new M design, but I can say that King of Shaves have improved on something that was near perfect anyway, and improved it more than I could imagine!
As for Gillette and the Fusion range…. remember the comment about sticking on a big spoiler (more blades) a big exhaust (shove a battery in it) and gaudy graphics (oranges, blues, greens, and chrome)……Well… there’s an old saying…
You can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig
Gillette were great in the Mach 3 days, in the same way the old 1980’s BMW M3 series was great… but times have moved on and things have improved.
Look at the modern designs we are seeing in cars, mobile phones, computers etc…. it’s all smooth, simple, no fuss, functional and thought out (much like the early days or race cars, aircraft etc… smooth and flowing).
Gone are the days of angular brash and loud designs that were definitely more show than go… It’s easy to see which of the two camps the Azor and the Mach 3 belong to.