I like to pack light when I travel. If possible, I even try to only bring a carry-on bag on flights. Therefore, I welcome anything that allows me to carry less stuff. The ShaveTech USB-powered razor is just such an item – it has most of the functionality of a full-sized electric razor, yet it’s about the size of a smartphone. Over the past several days, I’ve had the chance to try the thing out.

The ShaveTech is recharged via a built-in folding dongle that plugs into the USB port of a laptop or tablet. It’s actually not the only travel razor out there that offers this feature, although it’s certainly one of the smallest, sleekest and most popular. Its USB charge-ability means that no overseas outlet adapters are necessary – although you’ll still need one for your computer. A US$7 USB-to-mains adapter plug is available for users traveling without a computer, although it would have been nice if that was included in the basic package.

I started by charging my razor for a minimum of 12 hours, as is suggested for its first charge. Subsequent recharges take four hours.

When I first used it, I was surprised at just how powerful it is. It’s on par with my plug-in Braun, and far less “toy-like” than the AA battery-powered travel razor I unwisely bought years ago. It did a nice, quick job on my face, although it was considerably more challenged by some of the inward-curving, longer hairs on my neck. This was because it lacks a trimmer, which would ordinarily be used on such offenders. That lack of a trimmer also puts it out of the running for the beard-and-mustache crowd.

Battery life is rated at approximately 30 minutes, which is pretty much what I got out of mine. That first charge kept it going strong for six daily five-minute-ish shaves – a side benefit of doing this review was that it got me to shave every day. On the seventh shave, it let me know its battery was getting low by suddenly yanking on some of my whiskers and shutting itself off.

Lesson learned: after six shaves, recharge. This could be particularly important for traveling businessmen, who wouldn’t want to find themselves partly-shaven with no way of finishing the job.

One alternative would be to simply plug it in every night, although the manual recommends completely running the battery out before recharging. This means that you either have to do the whisker-yanking unfinished shave thing, or turn it on and set it aside to run its battery down on its own, once every five or six days. The latter is something that I could see a lot of guys either not remembering or not bothering to do, especially if they were distracted by matters more important than their razor.

Overall, I thought the ShaveTech did a good job, given the limitations of its small form factor. If you’re traveling for only a few days, the battery recharging issue shouldn’t be a problem. For longer trips, I’d suggest just running it down and recharging it once every two or three days, so you don’t lose track or forget. Keeping a back-up disposable manual razor tucked away in your bag might also be a good idea.

The ShaveTech travel razor is available online and in select stores, in black or white, for US$29.99.

Product page: ShaveTech

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