After a weeks worth of shaving, I can attest that the Gillette Fusion is the closest, smoothest shave ever! And even I'm surprised!
When I purchased the Gillette Fusion, I was prepared to announce what I already assumed. Of course, going into a product review with preconcieved notions is a big no-no. But since when does that matter to me?
The idea behind the Fusion is that five blades is for some reason better than three blades. Ever since the Schick Quattro was released, Gillette has been running a distant second in the number of blades squeezed into a disposable cartridge. Gillette has fixed that by spacing the blades closer together, allowing them to fit FIVE BLADES on one side of the razor. And get this, just because five isn't enough, and because they don't want Schick to be able to come out with a six-blade razor, they've got ANOTHER blade on the back side.
So does it work better? Well, initially I couldn't tell the difference. In fact, I found myself preferring the Mach 3 to the Fusion, at least in the handle department. The Fusion handle is larger, and more ergonomic, so it doesn't allow for the kind of diverse twisting and twirling needed for my challenging face.
But after a while, I got used to the Fusion. The Mach 3 seemed downright flimsy. Actually, it WAS flimsy. I don't know if it's just because it has a couple years of use and abuse, but I noticed the cartridge wobbled slightly on the Mach 3.
Where the Fusion really shines is the WIFE test. Using new cartridges on each, I randomly shaved one side of my face with the Fusion, and the other with the Mach 3. Surprisingly, my wife picked the Fusion side every time. She could even tell when I shaved BOTH sides with the Fusion.
And the Fusion really is less irritating. I hate to say it, but the Gillette Fusion really IS a better razor.
But... it's not THAT much better.
On a price/performance basis, I'm not sure I can really recommend the Fusion. If you are need of a new razor, you might as well get one. But if you recently got a Mach 3 or Quattro, you're not going to notice a considerable difference shaving with the Fusion. It's just not worth the money. Only buy it if you need it, or you like to waste money on the latest thing. Not that there's anything wrong with that.