They have progressed. Like you, I tried one some years ago and hated it. Then about six months ago I fell under the spell of TV advertising and decided to pick up a Panasonic "Sonic-3" wet/dry rechargable. So for me it's not an "alternative to wet shaving," because I still use "the actual foam," as Shakil put it.
It's great, too, on those days when I'm in a real hurry and just to clean up a little, because I can use it "dry" and in about 90 seconds look not quite so unkempt. But even for a regular shave, for me, I can finish in about half the time using it than using a regular razor... but, in fact, when I want a completely close shave I sometimes still use the Gillette to put a little extra smooth finish on the Panasonic's shave. So, it's not perfect I guess, but certainly much improved over what they were years ago.