Panasonic Shaver with Stubble Detector: Face Time

Since the calendar just hit 11/1, prepare yourself for the annual deluge of electric razor ads. Yes, the holiday season always brings on this phenomenon, and this year, Panasonic’s new ES-LV65-S is aiming to win the shaver war by more than a whisker. Loaded with a 5-blade cutting system, this waterproof device also boasts a stubble detector. The built-in sensor promises to gauge the density of your 5:00 shadow and automatically adjust the motor’s speed accordingly. We’re hearing the ES-LV65-S will cost $450, so you use this Movember thing as a chance to save up.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5

Easy is good. Whether it’s opening a jar or opening up your pants after having that 7th stuffed cabbage, “with ease” is your preferred way of doing things. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5 ($600) keeps that philosophy intact with its intelligent auto mode which gives pop-up scene suggestions and tips on how to make certain kinds of photos look better. The GF5 has a new 12.1MP Live MOS sensor and processor combination, and it shoots 1080p at 30fps in MP4 and 1080i at 60fps in AVCHD. It’s all very easy, though we admit, not quite as easy as your ex.

Panasonic ES-LV81-K

When it comes to electric shavers, few have been able to get it right. Dry shaving just plain sucks (so I hear), and who wants to deal with a razor that sounds like a blender when it touches your face. Ouch.  But the new Panasonic ES-LV81-K ($455 @ Amazon) has left no stone unturned with their new electric razor…including most letters of the alphabet in its name.

This wet/dry razor allows you to decide where you want to shave. In the shower, by the sink, over the toilet while you take care of your morning “biz”.  Even the cleaning mechanism is pretty simple. It uses a refillable water tank that mixes with a concentrated cleaning solution, which is inexpensive, long-lasting and easy to install. But the big question is, how does it shave?

You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how close the five thin foil blades shave. The head pivots in all directions, so it glides easily over the curves of your face and won’t tug at your whiskers. The black design is simple and modern with blue LCD displays on the front. And if you’re not the most observant of men, the digital battery readout on the front will keep track of your charge and use for you, and its equipped with an automatic cleaning system. Finally, to avoid any embarrassing “what’s that sound coming from your bag” moments at the airport, a simple twist of a switch prevents the razor from turning on by accident. Travel pouch included.

Panasonic Lumix GF3

With an eye towards the point and shoot crowd, Panasonic releases the Lumix GF3 to the masses in July. Now both 16% lighter and smaller than the GF2, the GF3 positions itself in between those needing a little more than a basic point and shoot, but less than a DSLR. The GF3 relies on the micro four thirds system, allowing many of the DSLR benefits with the compact body of a point and shoot.

Image quality remains high with the 12.1 megapixel resolution. With Panasonic’s 3D lens, not only can you take high quality stills and 1080/60i hi def video, but 3D photos can now be part of your repertoire. 3D slide shows at the family dinners, imagine the excitement. For the nighttime shots, its Venus Engine FHD image processor captures in great quality low-lit, high ISO  settings.

For those seeking intuitive controls, its 3” touch LCD screen allows a variety of functions. Among them, tap your subject in the viewfinder, and the auto tracking locks on. Tap again and the shutter releases. Can it get easier?

Sony just released the Alpha NEX-C3, which will be the chief competitor to the GF3. Both have their pros and cons. The biggest probably is NEX-C3’s 50% greater sensor area compared to the GF3. On the downside, you only get 720p. You also get 16 megapixels with the NEX-C3 versus 12.1 on the GF3. Each have very specific functions tailored to the user, so as always, consider when you will be using either camera. Retails for $700 at Amazon.