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Screw Everything, We're Doing Six Blades

The Panasonic Arc6's flexible head can move in 22 directions to match the contours of any face.

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Image: Panasonic

Getting a close shave with an electric razor isn’t impossible, but it requires some fierce engineering to match the effectiveness of a razor-sharp metal blade and a lathered-up face. With the new Arc6, Panasonic has defied the laws of our universe, and probably many others, with a cutting head packed with six moving blades in total, promising cleaner results in a single pass.

Imagine tackling an overgrown lawn by strapping pruning shears, a trimmer, scissors, a sickle, and a lawnmower to a riding mower, and you get the general idea of what it’s like to drag the Panasonic Arc6 across your face.

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The shaver’s head features two titanium-coated blades for thick stubble that work alongside two lifting blades, and two finishing blades, to slice and dice all other types of facial hair, including the troublesome whiskers that set up shop on the jawline and on the neck. According to Panasonic, all six of the blades are made from “Panasonic’s advanced Japanese blade technology that is renowned for its strength, sharpness and durability.” The blades are also “forged from the same highest-grade stainless steel used for Japanese sword making...” If you’ve ever fantasized about shaving with a Samurai sword, this might be as close as you can get to realizing that dream. (Please never try shaving with a sword, no matter what its historical significance may be.)

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To reduce the number of times the shaver needs to be dragged across a user’s face to trim every last hair, the Arc6 also includes a floating trimmer head that, along with the six blades that can pivot up and down, provides 22 different directions of movement so that the cutting surfaces stay as close to the surface of the skin as possible. This added flexibility also ensures the shaver is effective for a wider range of faces, and Panasonic claims the new Arc6 also cuts a larger swath than its predecessor, the Arc5, whose five blades seem so primitive now.

Every second the Arc6's electric motor delivers 1,400 cross-cutting movements and to maximize battery life a built-in beard sensor measures the thickness and density of the stubble 220 times per second and automatically adjusts the motor’s power 14 times every second so that it’s only running at full power when needed. As shavers go, it sounds like something born from Tony Stark’s private R&D laboratory, which also helps explain the Arc6's $400 price tag—or $500 if you buy it with a cleaning and charging station—when it becomes available in the U.S. starting in April.