05-02-2014, 09:43 AM
#1
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For 7 Days I have been testing a Double Edged Razor that was brought to light by a member of another forum who goes by the user name Misphit. He had seen what appeared to be a heavy handled razor with an price of 9.99 U.S.D. at Amazon.com. That price included free shipping (within CONUS) and a pack of 10 Orange Derby blades from a seller going by the name Utopia Deals. He bought one and discussed on the forum that he had purchased it and like it, so I went ahead and bought one for myself to try.

When the razor arrived it came in a slender black box with an open cellophane window showing the head. The front of the box (below the cellophane) was printed in the center in nice grey faced font, “UTOPIA Double Edge Safety Razor.” At the bottom of the front of the box was additional printing, “A Luxury Shaving Necessity” and on one side was printed “Made In Pakistan.” Overall a surprising nice presentation. The packet of 10 Derby blades was included in the shipping box.

I did some research on the seller of the razor Utopia Care which is also listed in Amazon as Utopia Deals and Utopia Towels. I found that the company is a New York City based distributor with the primary emphasis of towels, terry cloth products, sheets, scissors, and personal grooming items. It appears that the products being distributed all have the commonality of being produced in Pakistan so it would be a logical step to introduce this razor as an additional product line. After receiving an email from Utopia-towels requesting me to a product review on Amazon, I decided to look a little further into the background of the company before making any product review. Here are the links that discuss the company in further detail..

http://www.manta.com/c/mwz2jk1/utopia-towels-inc

http://www.nycompaniesindex.com/utopia-towels-inc-28y7u

This, along with the Amazon links provided a good overview, of the distribution company and the products they sell.

When I opened the box I found a very heavy handled razor. The handle was very well plated in Chrome and was made of solid Brass. The handle measured almost 4 inches long, ½ inch in diameter at the grip, with a slightly larger diameter end for weight and appearance. The handle alone was well worth the price of the purchase. I tried a few of the usual heads that would be fitted such as the Edwin Jagger 89, the Mühle R41 2013, the Gillette Tech and all of them fit this particular handle. There will be combinations that will not match up (some FaTips come to mind) but if the head will configure to the original handles of these three razors, then they will configure to this handle as well. The handle is well balanced and has moderately deep knurling which makes it attractive and also very efficient in gripping while wet.

Next came the head. It is a clone of the Edwin Jagger 89 / Mühle R89 style head. It is made of Zamak. Zamak is a family of metal alloys with a base metal of zinc and elements of aluminum, magnesium, and copper, at varying mixtures depending on the specific standard class rating of Zamak. Zamak goes by many different names based on the alloy standard and / or the country of manufacture. Unlike the Mühle R89, and especially the Edwin Jagger DE89, that have exceptionally well plated Zamak heads made to very high mechanical tolerances, the head on the Utopia is not as precise in tolerances. The plating is more spotty in places, especially the inside of the head where it is not seen when assembled. At the price of this razor I am not expecting that the head be the same tolerances as an EJ or Mühle even at twice the purchase price.

Now what is important to note is that this head, as with all the heads I have experienced of this price range and source of manufacture has some slight to even major blade alignment issues. Now this one fortunately has only a small amount of misalignment. That was remedied by making sure when the head was loaded with a blade and the head was being tightened to the handle, that the non cutting sides of the head were held very securely using the thumbs so that the blade was parallel with the guard. That will for many cases eliminate the issue of misalignment. If it cannot align up truly parallel with the guard nicks and scraping will occur and that head should simply be discarded for a replacement such as one from an EJ, Mühle, vintage Gillette DE. Most people will opt to replace the head in normal use. For this product the handle is obviously the item of greatest interest.

I decided to use the head that came with the package for testing purposes. Overall the razor with the head weighed slightly more than 4 ounces so it is a heavier combination than many razors. The razor was well balanced and had a good solid grip and feel in the hand. The razor from the exterior only had one small blemish that was really noticeable to the camera so visually it remained attractive. The first blade chosen was the Big Ben Stainless for the first two days of testing to get accustomed to the razor. In my experience the Big Ben Stainless is not noted for its absolute sharpness but is a very smooth razor which fits well when I test a new razor that I am not accustomed to or with a very aggressive razor to allow a good shave without cause me to have weepers due to an overly aggressive/sharp combination.

[Image: 14014768504_630ce81b42_h.jpg]

The first day brought a highly efficient shave with the mild smooth Big Ben. A 2 pass BBS was achieved to the face and a 2 pass DFS was achieved on the head. The weight of the handle and head combination was excellent and allowed for the razor to do the work without needing any extra pressure outside of the razor weight. All in all that was a very good maiden voyage of the UTOPIA.

[Image: 14022515832_e9d4bf880a_b.jpg]

The second day brought an equally efficient shave with the mild smooth Big Ben. A 2 pass BBS was achieved to the face and a 2 pass DFS was achieved on the head. So for day three a change to a much sharper blade which would determine whether the combination would be usable as is, or was a different head required.

[Image: 14017609846_cfa175b502_h.jpg]

The third day brought an even more efficient shave with the Rapira Swedish SuperSteel blade. The shaves were now more aggressive but still smooth with no issues with weepers that can come with a blade that has a bad edge or a blade that is so sharp that the head will cause a mismatch. The first pass in places was BBS and only a light second pass was needed to make a 2 pass BBS shave that lasted well into the evening with a level of stubble that suggested another shave would be in order to be acceptable for an evening activity. The head shave was also a 2 pass BBS. Very smooth and efficient.

[Image: 14057323544_465d9d4068_h.jpg]

The fourth day brought almost a carbon copy shave as day 3. It was 2 passes to get BBS on the face and 2 passes to get BBS on the head.

[Image: 14089677103_c995a87ec9_h.jpg]

Day number five was a different shave not due to the razor or the blade but due to the lack of protection provided by the Portman Square Cream. I was pulling back somewhat on my neck area and I had to go over it again to get the final BBS due to a lather that felt inadequate. The shave was a 2 ½ pass BBS on the face a 2 pass DFS on the head. I enjoy the scent of the Portman Square Cream, but I have never really gotten great shaves using it.

[Image: 13890848117_d09974f3d0_h.jpg]

The sixth day found me using one of my favorite soaps in stick form. The Wilkinson Sword Stick handled magnificently as usual and produced an excellent lather that allowed for great protection and slickness. I had a solid 2 pass BBS and a solid 2 pass DFS on the head.

[Image: 13898186699_715ed6f990_h.jpg]

The seventh and final day found the Rapira beginning to fade slightly. I was still able to get a 2 pass BBS on the face and 2 pass DFS on the head. I could have extended the blade another day and more than likely could have gotten a DFS shave all the way around but there was no need to go any further. Another wonderful shave and the blade was disposed of and the UTOPIA cleaned and ready for the next use and at this point I considered the testing complete.

My overall impressions of this razor is that it is a very good purchase for the dollar. The razor and head are heavy enough that the razor can do the work of shaving very efficiently. The head is sightly more aggressive than an EJ89 or an R89 but much less aggressive than the R41 2013 version. The problem is I cannot recommend the razor head as a stand alone item due to the variability of tolerances as I could a product from EJ, Mühle or Merkur. Now as an overall package it is an absolute great deal for the handle alone. So much demand was made that as of the date of this review the razor has completely sold out on Amazon. The product also has 30 reviews so I decided to do more in-depth reviews on forums instead of placing one on Amazon. With all that being stated, I have a question as to how this distributor could continue to price this product at the initial pricing level. In fact this razor as offered seems to me to be a classic loss leader product, or loss leader promotion, in which the first round of sales produces a large amount of interest and then the price goes back to levels that could support a reasonable return. Shipping cost alone and a pack of blades would render the price of the razor itself around at best 5 U.S.D. So if this returns to Amazon I do not know whether or not it can be at the 9.99 U.S.D. price, but for those who took advantage of this promotion got an incredible deal on a very nice razor. At the present time it is available on e-Bay at the same price (Buy It Now) as it was on Amazon but for how long is anyones guess.

Oh and one last thing. Thank you Misphit for the tip on this razor it was a very good one.





Edit to review 5-3-2014: As stated in a later post, the distributor has raised his price on e-Bay today to $99.99 BIN. What was the highest value razor on the market in one day has become the lowest value razor on the market. Incredible!





Edit to review 5-10-2014: The vendor updated the original posting on Amazon instead of creating a new one. How do I know this for sure, I called up my original order, clicked on the original byline, and it carried me to the current Gold razor at $14.99 rather than showing me what I purchased which was Chrome $9.99.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00CCGK...UTF8&psc=1


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 05-02-2014, 10:07 AM
#2
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Thanks for the excellent review. I had to go ahead and order one of these on eBay just to see how the heavy handle works with my Goodfella, Weber DLC, and Standard heads, since I like how they perform with UFO handles.

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 05-02-2014, 10:48 AM
#3
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As usual a wonderful and concise review with fantastic pictures. I love the way the base of the handle expands out.

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 05-02-2014, 02:55 PM
#4
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(05-02-2014, 10:07 AM)churchilllafemme Wrote: Thanks for the excellent review. I had to go ahead and order one of these on eBay just to see how the heavy handle works with my Goodfella, Weber DLC, and Standard heads, since I like how they perform with UFO handles.

(05-02-2014, 10:48 AM)slantman Wrote: As usual a wonderful and concise review with fantastic pictures. I love the way the base of the handle expands out.

Thanks Gents! The handle and the price are really major drivers behind this.

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 05-02-2014, 03:23 PM
#5
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I really should have bought one of these when I had the chance. Great review!

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 05-02-2014, 03:31 PM
#6
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(05-02-2014, 03:23 PM)59Bassman Wrote: I really should have bought one of these when I had the chance. Great review!

You still can for now but who knows for how long. Amazon is not the only source.

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 05-02-2014, 03:50 PM
#7
  • Giorgio
  • Senior Member
  • Pennsylvania, US
User Info
I stumbled on this same razor on Amazon while at work and ordered it just for the price... Should be waiting for me in my mail box right now. Although I have found it hard to reach for my DEs lately after acquiring the Cobra, I figured I'd find some use for it Smile

Thanks for the great review... At the very least I know the handle may find use Biggrin

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 05-02-2014, 04:03 PM
#8
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(05-02-2014, 03:31 PM)GDCarrington Wrote:
(05-02-2014, 03:23 PM)59Bassman Wrote: I really should have bought one of these when I had the chance. Great review!

You still can for now but who knows for how long. Amazon is not the only source.

Got it, thanks. INCOMING!

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 05-02-2014, 04:27 PM
#9
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Thanks for the review, Gary! Glad to hear you enjoyed the razor. Smile

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 05-03-2014, 01:49 AM
#10
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(05-02-2014, 04:03 PM)59Bassman Wrote:
(05-02-2014, 03:31 PM)GDCarrington Wrote:
(05-02-2014, 03:23 PM)59Bassman Wrote: I really should have bought one of these when I had the chance. Great review!

You still can for now but who knows for how long. Amazon is not the only source.

Got it, thanks. INCOMING!

....or not. Utopia Towels refunded my money this morning, claimed they just sold out, and has now raised their prices to $99.99 per razor. Hopefully that's not the price they're going to try to sell them at long term....

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 05-03-2014, 04:06 AM
#11
  • Elendil
  • Raggedy man, good night
  • The snow's back.
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Great, thorough review, Gary!

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 05-03-2014, 04:10 AM
#12
  • Coyote
  • Senior Member
  • Hondo, TX USA
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Thanks Gary! Great review as always!

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 05-03-2014, 04:29 AM
#13
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(05-03-2014, 01:49 AM)59Bassman Wrote:
(05-02-2014, 04:03 PM)59Bassman Wrote:
(05-02-2014, 03:31 PM)GDCarrington Wrote: You still can for now but who knows for how long. Amazon is not the only source.

Got it, thanks. INCOMING!

....or not. Utopia Towels refunded my money this morning, claimed they just sold out, and has now raised their prices to $99.99 per razor. Hopefully that's not the price they're going to try to sell them at long term....

What was the highest value razor on the market in one day has become the lowest value razor on the market. Incredible!

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 05-03-2014, 05:23 AM
#14
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Gary, thank you for a very thorough and well written review. Since the seller now values the razor at $99.99 your review will be my only exposure to Utopia.

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 05-03-2014, 08:17 AM
#15
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(05-03-2014, 05:23 AM)ridgerunner Wrote: Since the seller now values the razor at $99.99 your review will be my only exposure to Utopia.

My money was refunded too. What a ripoff. Raising the price because they "ran out?" I will never buy anything from that seller.

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 05-03-2014, 10:06 AM
#16
  • Giorgio
  • Senior Member
  • Pennsylvania, US
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Might just be Amazon's pricing algorithm... I've seen some pretty weird stuff there in that regard.

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 05-03-2014, 10:14 AM
#17
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(05-03-2014, 08:17 AM)churchilllafemme Wrote:
(05-03-2014, 05:23 AM)ridgerunner Wrote: Since the seller now values the razor at $99.99 your review will be my only exposure to Utopia.

My money was refunded too. What a ripoff. Raising the price because they "ran out?" I will never buy anything from that seller.

(05-03-2014, 10:06 AM)Giorgio Wrote: Might just be Amazon's pricing algorithm... I've seen some pretty weird stuff there in that regard.

That was the e-Bay listing that went and stated out of stock and then increased the price to $99.99.

Amazon at least in this instance did the right thing and pulled the listing. I went back to look at my order and the record now shows:

Quote:Currently unavailable.
We don't know when or if this item will be back in stock.


Now this seller is more than likely trying to hold his e-Bay listing open until he gets more stock to keep from paying e-Bay another round of fees.

As to the seller, please note the listings I gave in the review about towels, scissors and other stuff as well. If you want to avoid the seller, then be aware of those items as well.

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 05-03-2014, 10:20 AM
#18
  • Giorgio
  • Senior Member
  • Pennsylvania, US
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Ah, thanks for the clarification Smile

I received mine yesterday and your write up is spot on and I agree with everything you said. The weight of the razor is impressive, and the overall quality is good for the $9.99 price. As you said, the best part of this purchase was the handle. Overall I think it is an excellent economical option.

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 05-03-2014, 10:41 AM
#19
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Thanks to everyone for reading this review. The turn of events has made it even more interesting. I now wonder if the distributor really thinks he has gold on his hands and will price according to that concept (MASSIVE FAILURE ALERT) or will he set a correct price point for this razor. This individual distributor has never dealt with razors before from the earlier email I received stating that it was a new product line. Utopia Cares, Utopia Deals, Utopia Towels, pick a name they are all the same, has sold scissors, some beauty products and towels, but not a specialized product to a specialized market like this one. I am interested to see what comes out of this in the future if anything at all.

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 05-03-2014, 11:08 AM
#20
  • Codfish
  • Product Tester
  • Connecticut Shoreline
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I just got mine. Nice handle. Very nice weight and grip.

I can't say much that's positive about the head:

[Image: 20140503_144840_RetreatAve_zps570997ec.jpg]

Base plate width: 25.15 mm side A. 25.32 side B.

Top cap width: 18.47 mm side A. 18.25 mm side B.

Pin displacement: 11.16 mm side A. 11.45 mm side B.

Conclusion: Keep the handle. Throw away the rest.

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