The creatively named Panasonic EH-NA65 hair dryer is the most expensive of the 4 hair dryers we reviewed. Panasonic is a rather old-school brand, and is indubitably not as sexy as some of the other brands on the market. So we were understandably curious why this particular hair dryer cost more than most in its category. Let's see how it compares.
APPEARANCE & BUILD QUALITY
We were impressed by the Panasonic EH-NA65 out of the box. While official product pictures gave the hair dryer a shiny look, we were presently surprised and pleased with the satin finish on the actual product which felt smooth to the touch. The unit looked and felt solidly built in our hands.
The unit that we bought from an online retailer comes with a standard 3-pin plug. Panasonic lists the weight of the Panasonic EH-NA65 at 600g. Our unit weighed in at 720g with the cord and 3-pin plug, and at 560g with just the product itself, the cord and 3-pin plug off the scale. This puts it slightly lighter than the Braun Satin Hair 7 that we tested. We also felt that the weight of the Panasonic EH-NA65 was more balanced and evenly distributed than the Braun Satin Hair 7 which felt a little top heavy at the part where the motor and fan is situated.
Similar to the Braun Satin Hair 7 and the Philips Drycare Prestige, the unit also comes with a removable protective filter for the air inlet grill. Pressing onto the latch at the bottom of the filter detaches the filter for cleaning, although unlike the Braun that instruct users to wash the filter under running water, the Panasonic EH-NA65's manual advises to clean the filter with a vacuum cleaner or toothbrush. It was disappointing, though, that the filter piece is not securely attached to the body of the unit, causing a rattling noise. The protective filter of the Philips Drycare Prestige that used a similar locking mechanism did not have any rattling noise. While this is little cause for concern as you are unlikely to be able to hear the rattling when the hair dryer is in operation, it feels shoddily made compared the the rest of the hair dryer which felt incredibly well built.
COMFORT & USABILITY
While the Panasonic EH-NA65 does not list it's operating temperature, in our review process, we found the highest heat setting to be much closer to the SOOCAS H5's 57°C than the Braun Satin Hair 7's 130°C. Consequently the Panasonic EH-NA65 passed our touch test with flying colours. We ran it on it's hottest setting for 10 minutes and touched the surface of the hairdryer. We were surprised that both the handle and the head of the hair dryer still felt cool to the touch after 10 minutes.
A solitary blue LED indicator sits on the left side of the unit, facing the user when held in the right hand. The LED lights up when the hair dryer is in operation. Left-handed users, however, are left to stare at an empty black void.
We didn't comment on the noise level in our other reviews as hair dryers, being what they are, all tend to be pretty loud. While the Panasonic EH-NA65 is not appreciable quieter than the others we tested, it sounded a little... less angry. It sounded more like a modern stick vacuum cleaner rather than a hair dryer.
HEAT & SPEED CONTROL
The Panasonic EH-NA65 comes with 3 speed and 4 heat settings, in addition to a cool-shot function, making it the most number of options among the 4 hair dryers we tested. A pair of slider switches running parallel to each other controls the speed and heat setting. A single button triggers the cool-shot function.
The slider switches performed reasonably well, but like most slider switches, there is a tendency for the user to miss the setting you are going for by pushing the slider too hard or too gently. Our testers generally preferred the buttons and rocker switches on the other hair dryers we tested.
The cool-shot setting here is similar to the Philips Drycare Prestige and the SOOCAS H5, in that it does not actually cool the air, but emits a slightly-higher-than-room-temperature air. The Braun Satin Hair 7 was the only product we tested where the cool setting actually generates cool air. Another disappointing detail our testers noted is that like the Philips Drycare Prestige, the cool-shot button on the Panasonic EH-NA65 doesn't actually stay depressed. Hence, you will need to hold on to the button in order to use the cool-shot function.
The Panasonic EH-NA65 was the only hair dryer that came with 3 attachments out of the box, instead of 2 attachments. In addition to the nozzle and diffuser, Panasonic included a quick-dry nozzle.
The hair dryer nozzle is a rather standard accessory in most modern hair dryers. Use of the nozzle creates a more directed airflow, leading to more precision. However the opening of the nozzle included was pretty wide at 2.0cm, limiting it's ability to direct the airflow. In comparison, the Braun Satin Hair 7 has a nozzle opening that is measure at just 0.8cm wide.
The diffuser attachment comes packed with bristles, with a total of 32 bristles each averaging around 4cm in length, making it more bristle-packed than any of the other hair dryers we tested.
The Quick-dry Nozzle is a unique attachment by Panasonic. Panasonic claims that the attachment helps the hair dryer "emit alternating strong and weak airflow which separate hair strands to dry hair efficiently and rapidly". Our testers were initially puzzled by the claim as the nozzle had no moving parts. However, after referring to the graphic from Panasonic's website and our own testing, we figured that it works by directing the majority of the airflow towards the middle of the nozzle, resulting in less airflow along the sides. The alternating flow is achieved as the user moves the hair dryer across her hair.
The Panasonic EH-NA65 wowed us during the unboxing. It is solidly built all round (with the exception of the removable filter cover), and provides the most adjustment options with 3 speeds and 4 heat settings. However, it narrowly lost out to our BEST OVERALL hair dryer, the Braun Satin Hair 7 which packed more punch, with a much higher max heat setting and a true cool shot mode that blew it's competitors out of the water.
The Panasonic EH-NA65 is available from online platforms such as Lazada and Shopee for $159 at the time of writing.