Kickstarter – or “Adding shit to razors”

A while ago I learned that yet another safety razor is heading towards crowdfunding. Kickstarter is full of the things. Most are never fully funded, quite a few is existing manufacturers raising cash and awareness on new razors, some are outright scams, and some are… well, like this one. Let us rip it apart, shall we? See what bits makes sense in the context of shaving, and what bits that don’t.

A bit of philosophy

Let me start with a quote. One that wasn’t about razors per see, but which applies to almost everything in life.

Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.

Antoine de Saint Exupéry,

In other words, it’s not an improvement to add shit that don’t do jack when it comes to the function of the device in question. Consider it a philosophical point of view if you like, or a hill to die on if you’re so inclined. With that in mind lets have a first look at the razor:

The “improved razor”, as presented by the people behind it

I have to admit, the razor looks reasonable stylish. The handle is a bit chunkier than I prefer, but many shavers like chunky handles. Until you start reading, it don’t look too bad.

The good

Let us start with the parts of this razor I actually likes. And yes, it isn’t all bad in my eyes.

The good bits of the razor are all in the green box

Being compatible with standard double edged blades – the kind that arose from the Probak – is great. That means the user will have access to a wide range of blades, and won’t be tied to a single source.1 An easy system for changing blades is also good, provided the new system is actually easier than a three piece and at least as durable. So this new razor have two good points – or at least one good and one interesting point.

The bad

Where to even begin… there is so much fluff added to this poor razor.

Unsurprisingly, all the bad and unnecessary things gets a red box

From time to time someone comes up with a vibrating razor.2 For some reason3 they always fails to make much impression on the market. So the vibration motor is a pointless gimmick.

I get that there are various vibration modes and patterns. But since vibration is – in my anything but humble opinion – pointless, a microcontroller to control it is doubly pointless. And it means one more point of failure.

I’ll give a soft pass on the LED light – if you have to cram pointless electronics into your razor, a LED makes sense as an indicator. I guess we just have to be grateful they didn’t opt for an OLED display instead.

Touch sensors have no moving parts, so I can see the appeal. But a razor is often used with wet or damp fingers, and in my experience touch sensors are a complete dog’s breakfast when used with wet fingers. Add to that the fact that you have one sensor which have to work for both turning the razor on and off4 and to select vibration mode, and you have a user interface that is not intuitive.

USB ports are never fully waterproof. User error and wear will ruin the seal, and water will get inside the handle. And when it does, it will not be kind to the electronics that shouldn’t be inside there in the first place.

The water that comes in eventually will short out the battery, which is most likely a Lithium-Ion cell. And they tend to swell up when shorted out – or even catch fire. At least it’s not hooked up to the power outlet…

And the ugly

It is my belief, borne out by comments from fellow shavers both online and offline, that the vibrating feature on a razor is pointless, useless, and ignored as soon as the battery is run down – if not before.

I understand that the people behind this razor needs something to make their razor stand out on Kickstarter – crowd funding isn’t easy, and most projects fails to meet their goals. But by adding unneeded fluff, all they have done is to make the razor more expensive without adding any tangible improvements.

In my opinion – which still is not humble – the best way to improve this razor’s chance for funding on Kickstarter is simple: Keep the head, ditch the rest. At least it’s not a scam or hoax like some Kickstarter razors have been.

1) Walled gardens are bad for the user…
2) As examples see; Stahly Live Blade, the Vibro-Shave electric razor, Gillette’s vibratory Techmatic, and Mr Harry F Partridge patented appliance
3) I.e.: there is no point to vibrating your razor if your blade is sharp
3) Just the fact that you have to turn on a safety razor to use it makes my brain itch

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