I recently got my hands on the new Personna M5 Magnum Razor and was impressed. The design similarities of this razor are so close to the Gillette Fusion, I'm surprised Gillette's lawyers haven't swooped in and turned the company into Personna Non Grata (sorry, I couldn't resist). This new razor offered a similar shave to the Fusion at a substantial savings.
Like the Fusion, the M5 has five blades on the shaving surface and a single blade on the back of the head for trimming sideburns. The M5 also has the same pivoting 'paintbrush' style head, a push button release to change the cartridges, and a lubricating strip. The M5's lubrication strip (which are virtually pointless, in my opinion) doesn't include the blue strip (also pointless) that tells you when to change the blade, but that's the only big difference. My biggest disappointment is that Personna doesn't currently offer a powered version of the M5.
I didn't notice any significant difference in the quality of the shave I received with the M5 versus the Fusion, except that the Fusion does seem to glide a bit more smoothly over the face. The razor is comfortable to hold and feels appropriately weighted. One thing I did like about this razor over the Fusion is the trimmer blade on the back side has a small guard to help prevent nicks and the blades were a bit farther apart which made rinsing easier. While I won't choose this razor over the Gillette Fusion Power
razor, it's performance is similar enough to consider. If Personna creates a powered version of the M5 I might consider it more strongly.
The one area where the Personna M5 razor is the winner is in the price category. Both the Fusion and the M5 handle will cost you around 8 bucks, but the real price difference is in the blades. An eight pack of M5 blades averages about $15, while an eight pack of Fusion blades is over $20. Of course, price is not a big concern for me because I can stretch the use of a single blade for months by extending the life of my blades
If you like the Gillette Fusion razor, but price is a big concern, give the Personna M5 a try. The design and performance of the razors are so similar, price can be the main determining factor in deciding which one to purchase. Keep in mind that the M5 blades will not fit the Fusion (and vice versa)