The Philips Norelco 9000 series represents the top tier in terms of shave quality, features, and design. But like most modern shavers, there’s always more than one version to choose from.
The 9000 line can be particularly difficult to suss out the differences between models. And recently, I’ve received a lot of questions on two specific models, the 9300 and the 9700. The web images and promotional copy render them nearly identical. But are they?
I think the only way to know for sure is to compare them side by side. So, in this head-to-head I give you detailed reviews of both products including my hands-on shaving experience.
By the end of this review, you’ll know exactly what sets the Philips Norelco 9300 vs 9700 apart and which one is worth buying. Because even though you’re choosing between the best Philips offers, there is always one that comes out on top. And why would you want the second best?
Continue below to find out which one comes out on top.
Table Of Contents
Reviewing the Philips Norelco 9300 and 9700
|Features||Philips Norelco 9300||Philips Norelco 9700|
|Running time||50 min||50 min|
|Charge time||1 Hr||1 Hr|
Detailed Comparison Table of the Philips Norelco 9300 vs 9700
The Philips Norelco 9000 line was released in 2013 to wide acclaim. It won a consumer product design award from the renown International Forum of Design. And I can see why.
It’s a good-looking shaver. The steel gray, chrome, and black design stands out the moment you open the packaging. It’s not a heavy shaver, and the rubber grips and handle design on the back of the device form to my hand nicely.
The innovation advertised on the packaging and the impressive first impression isn’t all the 9000 offers. The product also boasts that it can cut up to 20% more hair per pass than other models of shaver.
That’s because of the improved V-Track blades inside all three of the rotary heads. Each head comes with two tracks, and dozens of small, precise blades that self sharpen as they cut. The tracks are designed for different purposes. The outer track for small hairs and the inside track for longer hairs.
This is an important update to the Norelco line. Many of the lower end models only have on track. While they work fine, the 7000 series and below take much longer to complete a shave.
Most of the magic from the 9000 series originates in the rotary heads. The 8-directional contouring system is a combination of cross pivoting platforms.
That means Norelco stacked separate tilting plates on top of one another in an engineering feat unseen in other shavers. Four cross-pivoting plates were added for the most contouring detection out of any Philips shaver.
In my experience with the 9300 shavers, I noticed the 8-directional heads the most. It reminded me of a little robot palm hugging my face as I shaved. I hardly had to go over areas more than twice because the shaver rarely missed hairs.
The 9300 comes with a lot of added features over other lines in the Philips Norelco series. For example, I enjoyed the addition of personal comfort settings. With a press of a button, you can change the speed of the shaver’s motor three times: Gentle, Normal, and Fast. This is perfect for those with sensitive skin or that require a quick shave before going out at night.
The shaver’s indicators also go beyond your average product. Philips doesn’t even call them indicators. They call it a digital user interface. You get lots of information about your shaver here, like battery life, when to clean or replace the shaver head, and a travel lock notice.
The package rounds out with a trimmer attachment and cleaning station. The trimmer attachment works well. It provides a better trim than shavers with a flip-up trimmer. But the downside is you must switch out the shaver head to use it. While not a huge deal, if you’re in the shower switching heads can be annoying.
The cleaning station works as advertised. It’s a sleek-looking piece of tech and very convenient. You just holster the shaver onto the device once a week and it’ll clean, sanitize, charge, and dry your shaver within a few hours.
Last, there’s a charger and a great travel case with a hard shell that’s worth using on the road to protect your investment.
The Philips 9700 boasts a near identical set of features as that of the 9300. Considering they’re part of the same 9000 lineup that’s not a huge surprise. But what exactly does the 9700 offer you? Let’s find out.
Holding the 9700, I’ll admit that I like the color scheme more than the 9300. It’s a starker chrome on black that would be especially impressive in a white themed bathroom.
The ergonomic grip placement remains just as well executed as the previous model, too. Holding the 9700 could not be a more comfortable an experience. It fits securely in my hand and I never once thought I’d drop it. This is particularly important for those that like to shave in the shower.
Inside the shaving head there’s a lot of complex engineering. More than any other series that Norelco produces, the 9000 line packs in everything they have learned about shaving to deliver a refreshing, irritation-free shave.
To start, the rotary foils contain two separate tracks and blades. That’s double what the lower end models offer because they stick with one set of blades and tracks.
The second track allows the 9700 to better capture both long and short hairs. Having an inner track specifically for long hair puts less stress on the self-sharpening blades so they last longer and cut better.
I think the Philips 9700 is a great shaver. I tested both the wet and dry shaving experiences and it performed well. The head is big enough that a wet shave with foam doesn’t clog up the rotary heads. And the addition of a three-speed motor lets me choose the aggressiveness of the 9700’s dry shave.
Maneuvering the shaver around my face is effortless thanks to the 8-directional contouring system. This product has double the tilt and pivot action of the 4000 line of shavers, and a quarter more than the 7000 series.
I noticed the extra contouring components most when shaving my chin and jawline. Never once did the rotary heads leave my skin.
If you dislike electric shaving because of the constant need to make extra passes, then the 9700 is a great choice. The sharp V-Track precision blades whip away hair effortlessly in 20% less time than other electric shavers.
One difference I found with the 9700 compared to the 9300 is the digital interface. Philips upgraded the display with a more advanced battery percentage indicator. They also added a clearer system of indicators for travel lock, cleaning, and replacing of the blade.
Packed with the 9700 you get the same well-made trimmer attachment, the SmartClean system, and a SmartClick oil control cleansing brush. The trimmer and cleaning system work well, and I used both every week.
The cleansing brush, on the other hand, I’m not so sure about. It’s supposed to exfoliate your skin. And while it works fine, I found myself just picking up a washcloth and cleaning my face the old-fashioned way.
Phillips Norelco 9300 vs 9700: Point-by-Point Feature Comparison
To better grasp the differences between the two models, I’ve detailed them all by major attribute, from ergonomics to battery life. This way you’ll be able to see what’s the same and what’s different about the 9300 and 9700.
Design and Ergonomics
Just looking at the shavers you can tell that the outer shell has been updated with the 9700 model. This is just a personal preference, but I like the darker palette of the 9700. Neither one is inherently better than the other, so the choice is up to you.
Ergonomically, both the 9300 and 9700 share the 8-Directional contouring system. It’s a well-engineered system supported by an easy to hold shell and comfortable rubberized grip. Both shavers promote excellent arm position and are easy to use.
Having used them side by side, I can safely say they are identical shaving experience.
This isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it’s great news because the shaving experience with the 9300 and 9700 is superb. The high-quality rotary blades and 8-directional head cut and contour to your face incredibly well.
This is one category where the shavers differ slightly. Both products come with a charging cord, attachable trimmer, SmartClean system, and identical travel cases. The 9700, however, ships with an attachable cleansing brush.
I think the trimmer and travel case are quality additions. The hard-shell case will protect your investment on the road with no worries.
But I just don’t understand the usefulness of the cleansing brush. It’s like a car buffer for your skin and seems pointless. I guess what I’m saying is this: I wouldn’t choose between the 9300 and 9700 based solely on the cleansing brush.
Probably the key difference between the shavers is that the 9300 has a different set of indicators than the 9700. Both display the same information, but the 9700 does so a little more precisely. That’s because the 9700 has a battery life percentage indicator while the 9300 has a 5-stage bar for the battery life.
Neither set up is inherently better than the other. But if I were to choose one, I think the 9700’s digital display wins over the 9300. It’s less confusing and gives you a better sense of how much battery life you have left.
Speaking of batteries, the 9300 and 9700 come with identical lithium ion batteries. You get about 50 minutes of run-time per charge. That works out to about a week’s worth of daily shaving.
Unlike some shavers, charging the 9000 series only takes about an hour. You can charge the models with the included plug, or in the SmartClean system.
I’ve heard mixed reports regarding the model of SmartClean system that ships with the 9300 and 9700. Apparently starting in 2019, both models have the updated SmartClean system that displays the cleaning cycle progress. The 9300 I reviewed had the older version that only has a power and start button.
Whichever cleaning system you find with your shaver, it’s basically the same device. You slide the detergent cartridge into the bottom of the system, slip the shaver in place, and the cleaner does the rest.
The detergent should last you about a month or two. The cleaning cycle runs for a little over an hour and the shaver comes out clean, sanitized, and ready for another shave.
Both shavers have the same maintenance requirements. You should run them under warm water after every shave to knock away hair and foam build up. Holstering the shaver into the SmartClean system will give you a deeper clean and keep your shaver smelling fresh.
You need to oil the 9300 and 9700 regularly by placing one drop of blade oil into each rotary head. A deeper clean wouldn’t be a bad idea either. You do that by disassembling the shaver head and rinsing each blade under warm water. The rotary blades will last you approximately 18 months.
How They Are Similar?
- Both shavers perform identically across all shaving tests
- You can use them either wet or dry, depending on your preference
- Both 9000 series models come with a cleaning station to wash and dry your shaver
- The advanced, 8-directional head works identically on both shavers
- Battery life and performance are equally impressive at 50 minutes per charge
- The shaving experience for the 9300 and 9700 is equally superb
- Ergonomically, they are identical as they share the same plastic body
What Are The Differences?
- The 9700 comes with a skin-scrubbing cleansing brush attachment
- The models can ship with different cleaning stations
- The digital display was upgraded in the 9700 model
- You’ll find a refreshed color scheme on the Philips 9700
Having gone over every detail of the Norelco 9300 vs 9700, I can safely say they deliver identical shaving performances.
Yes, you get a slightly different package with the 9700 model. The cleaning station may be the upgraded version, although customers have reported that the station shipped with the 9300 is the same (mine came with the older station). The cleaning stations work the same, it’s just that they have different indicators.
In conclusion, I’d recommend buying the Philips Norelco 9300 because it’s usually cheaper. The 9700 comes with the cleansing brush attachment, but I honestly don’t see the use for it. You can wash your face with a cloth and experience the same result.
If the 9700 is on sale, I don’t see a reason not to get it. But any price difference between the two rotary shavers is based on the 9700 being the newer model. If your main priority is the advanced shave promised by the 9000 line care, then buy whichever one is cheapest.
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