First, a note. As I lack the requisite facial hair to try it out myself, I enlisted a test subject replete with lockdown beard to test the Remington Barba MB320C for a couple of weeks.
The beard had been growing unruly. The moustache was, frankly, out of control and starting to interfere with the processes of talking and eating. Post-testing period, while the man behind the facial hair is much the same, the facial hair in front of the man is in a much more sophisticated state.
Design and build
The Remington MB 320C is a light, ergonomic trimmer with a matt black body and a silver grip that fits perfectly into the hand. Its shape is one of the best things about it: there’s no sliding around when you use it and it’s comfortable to hold.
The buttons are thoughtfully positioned. One of the trimmer’s nice features is its ‘zoom’ wheel, which allows you to choose the guard length setting by rolling the wheel against the ball of your thumb. The position of the On/Off switch and the wheel means you can turn it on and change the guard length mid-use, while holding it in one hand.
Let’s get its main limitation out of the way. It’s for dry use only, so it shouldn’t be used in the shower. In any case, as it’s solely a beard trimmer, it’s probably not the sort of general shaver you’d take into the shower with you. It’s geared towards long, lingering looks at yourself in the bathroom mirror while you thoughtfully sculpt your sideburns and meticulously hone your moustache.
Features and performance
That doesn’t mean that it can’t cope with longer facial hair. It has 11 length settings, from 0.4 to 18mm, which gives you more scope than most trimmers. Settings 1-9 are controlled by the zoom wheel. You can also remove the guard for a closer shave. The blades are ceramic-edged, which means that they should stay cooler than steel and retain their sharpness for longer. It’s an effective trimmer. As the test subject said: “It gets the job done.”
As a bonus, on the underside of the trimmer, there’s a second, miniature, steel-bladed head for precisely defining the edges of your beard. It flips out with the pressing of a handy little button. Now, this Kinder Surprise trimmer sounds pretty useful but it has a bit of a design flaw: it’s not fixed in place.
As long as you use it in small, downward strokes, all is well, but if you catch or press the top of it against your skin at all (and you will), it moves on its hinge. The test subject found this to be a bit distracting and unnerving, which didn’t exactly help with the precision aspect of the shaving.
The trimmer needs to charge for 16 hours to get the manufacturer’s claimed 40 minutes of use. However, the battery life is actually better than advertised, with the trimmer giving closer to an hour of use per charge. In a crisis, you could also use it plugged in, although as it has a standard three-pin plug, rather than a shaver socket, it probably won’t reach your bathroom sink, so you’ll get hair all over the place.
There are two display lights: one to let you know the device is successfully charging, the other to let you know when the battery is low. This second light is not particularly useful as, by the time it begins to glow red, the trimmer itself is audibly running down. So you’ll get very little warning before it conks out.
Price & availability
The Barba MB320C is widely available in the UK, at the very reasonable price of £29.99. If you’re shopping in the US, the extremely similar (if not identical) MB200 Titanium Mustache and Beard Trimmer will set you back a bargain $22.82 from Amazon US.
The Barba MB320C doesn’t have premium features like an LED screen, a USB charger or travel case but it also doesn’t have a premium price tag. And while the additional precision trimmer is a bit of a disappointment, the main trimmer does its job well and has an excellent range of guard lengths.
To see more options, have a look at our round-up of the best electric shavers we’ve tested.
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