This is getting more and more unfair to the Gillette boys. Last time I reviewed one of their flagship 5 bladed products I pitted it against the Dorco Pace 6 plus, and while the shave from the Pro Shield was amazing, it didn’t quite hit the lofty heights of the Dorco blade. Here again with one of the Pro five blade variants, to compare it to the true Dorco flagship razor, the Pace 7.
Gillette is one of the power houses of the industry. Between them and Schick they account for the vast majority of razor sales not only in the United States, but world wide. There is a good reason for it, Gillette are responsible for an awful lot of design innovations, going back 100 years. They pioneered the many bladed razor, and their Mach 3 was the first three blade design on the market. We owe them a debt of gratitude, they opened the gates for my favorite razor builds today.
Dorco are no slouch though. You may have only recently heard of the firm, but they have been operating for more than fifty years in their native Korea. They have a few innovations under their belts as well, but the most impressive one is the seven bladed Pace 7, which I will be comparing the Pro Glide to today. They are tackling the big boys head on, eschewing the popular subscription service that the other young upstarts are going for, in favor of a more old school business model, storefront and cartridge refills. They have a very simple trick up their sleeves. They actually charge a decent price.
Both firms have a similar business model, with Gillette and Dorco both selling their products on an individual basis primarily. Dorco supply Dollar Shave Club, and Gillette are in the process of diversifying their services, but the core is still the same. Gillette have one thing in their favor, their product line, but I’ll go into detail on that later.
I have been reviewing these razors for only a few weeks, but I have been shaving for coming up to two decades now. I have always favored a clean shaven face, and so I have developed my own to the bone style shaving method. I have used it in all of my reviews.
So let’s get to shaving, see which of these blades is the better.
The Fresh Blade – Gillette Pro Glide
The Pro Glide is very similar to the Pro Shield, they share the top spot at Gillette. The tech behind each is very similar too. The overall design of the handle is a work of art. I talked about the heft inherent to Schick’s Hydro 5, and the Pro Glide is on par with that. The handle fits well, and the groves are in all the right places. The most impressive aspect of the build is the flex ball tech. Most razors have around 90 degrees of pivot to the head, and for the most part that works well. The flex ball goes one step beyond in terms of contour conforming. No other blade moves like this, and once you get used to it you are hard pressed to want to switch, if only for the utility. The main difference here is the size of the bottom block. Shaving with the glide is faster, but leads to slightly more irritation if you’re not careful.
As to the shave itself, well, it was good. I found the first pass to be smooth as silk, and for most of us that is great. I’m not certain how many folk shave against the grain, and I am well aware that common consensus is to not do this. But I feel that a truly close shave is impossible without going against, and I have also found that if one is careful and precise you don’t end up with inflamed skin and boils. Which is why the Pro Glide was merely good. That final pass was less enjoyable than the Pro Shield, the smaller size of the bottom blocker really hindered me, it forced me to slow down. And all the gains I made with that wonderfully quick first pass were lost at the final hurdle.
There is also a trimmer here, and while I have found them to be hit and miss across all of razordom, here it did well enough. I was not quite as satisfied with it as I was with the trimmer on the Hydro 5, but with a little care I was able to shave under the nose and Adam’s apple to my satisfaction, if not to my elation.
Overall, an excellent single pass shave, and that flex ball is a work of art. It’s a pity they have it patented, would love to see more firms able to adopt the tech.
The Fresh Blade – Dorco Pace 7
The Pace 7 is one of the finest blades on the market, without a doubt. I have shaved my way through all the razors available today, even a few non branded models, and they aren’t bad folks give them a try when you’re broke. But the Pace 7 in terms of raw shave might be the best of them. The handle is wonderful, but I tend to count it as one of the downsides. I like a bit more heft to a handle, and here, while it fits well and there was never any worry about it slipping, it still feels a bit light. The lubricating strip is amazing though. While with Gillette I was left bereft of knowledge in this department, with the Pace 7 I know exactly what they put in it. Argan oil and Calendula extract. Argan oil is for the smooth stroke, doesn’t take a genius to see that, but the Calendula Extract is different. It has anti inflammatory properties, exactly what you need in case of an errant stroke. At the base of the blase is a honeycomb guard, keeps the blade level and goes a long way to making that final against the grain pass far less damaging that it could be.
Now to the shave. And I have a go to word to describe my experience with the Pace 7. Sublime. Truly,. From the moment the seven bladed monster touched my cheek it was smooth sailing. I tend to find the more blades the better, contrary to the weirdly popular rhetoric regarding razor design. The first pass left me with a very smooth face. To the point that the subsequent passes were almost not required. Not quite though, but they were very easy. In the end, I had the fastest shave of my life, and technically tied for the closest, as my style tends to make most blades equal in the closeness department.
For the simple one pass shave enthusiast out there this is the blade to get. It provides unprecedented closeness, and the overall design leads to very little irritation. The one thing to bear in mind when using any razor is shaving is like golf. You want as few strokes as possible, especially when you’re in the rough.
The Dull Blade – Dorco Pace 7 Vs Gillette Pro Glide
I am both a fan and not a fan of the dull blade section. A fan in that I feel it is important to test the longevity of the products in question, and not a fan in that some of the products really shouldn’t be reused. Thankfully the more blades a build has the easier the dull blade shave tends to be, and here we have two flagship many bladed designs from two industry giants.
The Gillette Pro Glide provided an excellent shave, and here, several days after it had been used, it continues to provide a shave that I am satisfied with. The first pass was the least smooth, a little minor tug, but not enough for me to write the whole thing off, as I did with the Mach 3. To really extend the life of the build you may wish to invest in a holder to protect it from the elements.
The Pace 7 provided me with as good a shave the last time as the first. I found that after a few days the Pace 7 could be used with near reckless abandon, quick strokes, getting through the passes in record time. In the end I had a perfectly smooth face.
Overall, both of these blades will stand the test of time, and when you are shelling out a decent sum of money for the privilege of shaving with them, it is nice to know that they will last.
Conclusion & Pricing – Dorco Pace 7 Vs Gillette Pro Glide
The price of razors is the sticking point for me. I have thought for the longest time that we were all getting gouged by the big firms, and it turns out I was right. The price you pay for the likes of Harry’s and Dollar Shave Club prove that the bigger firms must be making bank. The Pro Glide will cost you $21.50 for the handle and two cartridges. Not a bad price, sure, but the price of keeping up your Gillette habit will cost you $22 for eight cartridges. If we average at one cartridge every six days that is around $170, give or take a little for the Christmas pricing. The Pace 7, handle and 2 cartridges, is $8. 16 cartridges will cost you $41.80, and at one cartridge every six days you are looking at a yearly cost of $160, again give or take a little depending on the holidays.
These are the tippy top products from each of these firms, and the sad thing is the Pace 7 provides a much better shave than the Pro Glide. Making things worse for Gillette, the Pace 6 Plus provides a shave that surpasses it too, while the older Pace 6 is on par at the very least. The Gillette Pro variants all fit the handle, but not the lower bladed counterparts. With Dorco, all the cartridges fit al the handles, so if you find yourself not quite able to make the Pace 7 purchase, they have options that are both more affordable and better than the core shaving experience offered by Gillette.
There is one area that Gillette wins by a landslide. The accoutrements department. They offer a wide range of shaving accessories, and as I am sure you know by now, I love me some shaving accessories. Creams, gels, foams and general skin care, they have everything. And I have to assume that they are tested together, why else would they provide them all? So a collection of products that work in tandem to give you great looking skin, in spite of the harsh shave. Certainly something to consider. Dorco have partnered with a few companies that do provide the more bespoke skin care experience, Dollar Shave Club, who I mentioned earlier, have a wonderful range of package options in this area, and the Lucky Tiger brand recently started selling their own variant of the Pace 7, combined with their range of balms it’s a good buy.
At the end of the review there is one thing that is quite clear. The price of razors needs to come down across the board. I feel that companies like Dorco, Dollar Shave Club and Harry’s have already proved that we are being fleeced. They provide excellent products at excellent prices, and the Dorco Pace 7 is the best of the best. If you are after a good quick easy shave, you can’t do much better than this.