I have used Norelco shavers for a long time, and the one I was using last year as the holiday season rolled around, a model 5885XL, was showing its age. This shaver looks quite similar to the current Norelco product line, but was hindered by several significant problems: it has a nickel cadmium battery and it is not waterproof. I started looking for a new Norleco when my 5885 couldn't hold a charge anymore.
The Norelco Spectra series including the 8894XL, 8890XL, 8880XL, 8865XL, 8845XL, and 8825XL don't look like a huge improvement over the previous Norelco shaver lines, but they are. Each of these shavers is substantially quieter than Norelco's previous top-of-the-line models. This is apparently because the heads rotate at a slower rate. In spite of this, I have experienced better shaves with my 8890XL than I did with my old Norelco shaver.
Each of these shavers is also "aquagenic," Norelco's term for shavers that can be cleaned with water. If you had an old Norleco shaver, you might remember that periodic cleaning invoved complete head disassembly and use of an ultrasonic cleaner. Not anymore.
I've used the 8890XL for about a year, and I am really pleased with it. It is a bit cheaper than the 8894XL that was briefly seen in the last James Bond movie, but the biggest differences between the two units are the finish of the razor, the display, and the battery. I honestly couldn't see spending the extra $20-40 for a lithium ion battery and a polymer display. These are the major features of the 8894XL.
I did prefer the 8890XL to less expensive models in the line. I like the display that estimates the total number of minutes left before the next charge. It lets me determine whether I need to bring my charging cord when I am on a trip. I also like the silver finish more than the purple, red, and green colors of the other models.
Amazon.com has good deals on these shavers now. You can get free shipping. You also get a Norelco Personal Groomer G250 (by mail) if you order between now and December 31, 2003. Finally, Amazon will give you $20 for future purchases if you spend at least $99 in their Kitchen and Housewares area.