I’m gonna come out and say it: you’d be a fool to brush your teeth with a manual toothbrush. Not only do the best electric toothbrushes clean at a much more efficient rate, they promote gum care, help remove stains and make brushing a consistent and easy process. But alas, brushing your teeth is still a chore. It’s fairly infrequent that I look forward to brushing my teeth, unless of course it’s been one of those days that includes sweets, coffee and everything in between. But that has changed, albeit marginally, thanks to the Philips Sonicare FlexCare Platinum Connected.
Price: $200 on Amazon
Model: Flexcare Platinum Connected
Summary: An electric, connected toothbrush that does ALMOST everything right except for when it comes to traveling.
What We Liked
- Connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth to keep track of brushing habits
- Smartphone app senses and tells you where to brush
- Long lasting battery; over 1 month if used twice a day
What We Didn’t
- No inductive charging case for travel like the Diamondclean
- Pricey for an electric toothbrush
- Sensors lose position tracking if you’re looking down at your phone
Much like the DiamondClean from Philips, the Sonicare Flexcare Platinum boasts a similar look, but offers a few different buttons. For one, there is a rocker switch to control intensity, and there are just three modes: clean, white and deep clean. I think we can all echo a collective question to whether either of those settings truly make a difference over the other, but i’ll take it.
Unlike the DiamondClean, the Sonicare Flexcare Platinum ships with a base station that includes a countertop storage container for two brush heads. But it’s no ordinary storage container. It’s in fact a sanitizer thanks to the built-in UV light that emits for 30+ seconds at the push of a button. Toothbrush head cleanliness has never been a problem for me (or so I think), but I like the idea, and I could imagine it will bring some relief to those that are particularly concerned about the germs floating around in their bathroom.
To charge the Sonicare Flexcare Platinum you just need to place it on the base station’s knob, which inserts into the base of the handle. This means there is a slightly recessed area for dirt, water and anything else to lurk at the base of the handle. The base of the toothbrush is also not completely sealed, which is what I greatly appreciated about the Diamondclean; it is almost one smooth piece. All together, the Sonicare Flexcare Platinum doesn’t feel as opulent as the DiamondClean but it does offer a bit more for your money in light of the connectivity and the UV storage box.
Using the Sonicare Flexcare Platinum is pretty straight forward. Just hit the button and go. If you exercise too much pressure while brushing, the toothbrush will provide haptic feedback to let you know you’re doing things wrong.
There is a built-in timer that vibrates every 20 seconds. Why 20 seconds? Sonicare is trying to get you to brush in up to 6 different areas, or 12 if you count the the front and back of the teeth separately. If you happen to connect this toothbrush with your iOS or Android handset you’ll also see a visual representation of your teeth. Because it has a host of sensors built-in, it knows where you’re brushing and will show “your teeth” turning from yellow to white. Brush too little some where and the image of the teeth won’t turn completely white and the app will have you return to that area. More on that below.
For those with sensitive teeth, you can turn down the intensity, as well as select a whitening mode, which slightly alters the frequency of the toothbrush. Again, I’m not sure this has really any impact on how your teeth would be cleaned and I would like to think my teeth would get cleaned equally well in any setting.
It’s a bit odd to think an app is necessary to complete your brushing routine. Ok, truth be told, it’s not necessary, but it does add some motivation and believe it or not sped up the brushing process, or perceivably so. You see, since you see an image of your teeth – top view or 3d view – you’ll be distracted an in turn focus on achieving “white” in all areas. And before you know it, if you’re like me, you’ll be done with brushing and suddenly those 2 minutes, which felt like 5 minutes, will actually, well, feel like two minutes.
When you set up the app you can set goals and the app will instruct you what to do to achieve those. This could include whitening or even flossing more often. It all includes prompts during and after brushing. You can also of course track the history of your brushing habits.
However, I had a hard time pulling out my phone every time I brushed. Why? My phone goes with me every where I go. And to me that means dirtiness. We all know how dirty phones can be. So the last thing I want to do is touch my phone before I brush my teeth. So there is the rub. Often I would want to connect my toothbrush to the my phone but wouldn’t because, maybe just maybe I’m a bit of a germaphobe. I suppose a solution would be to connect to my iPad, but that things massive and not practical in the bathroom. That in mind, I’m surprised Sonicare doesn’t include a suction cup mount for the mirror such that you can mount your phone while you brush.
That being said, when I did brush, I laid my phone on my counter and looked down to keep track of my progress. The problem with this, is that the sensors in the toothbrush couldn’t understand where I was and wouldn’t properly show me my process, thus defeating its purpose.
On paper, the Sonicare Flexcare Platinum is a great idea. But as I’ve demonstrated there are some inherent flaws. I love that I was motivated by the visual representation of my brushing, but couldn’t overcome my germaphobic tendencies and instead opted for the lesser of two evils; tolerate the agonizing two minute brush time that I experience twice a day. Lastly, compared to the DiamondClean, also a Sonicare toothbrush, there isn’t a travel case with a built-in charger thanks to the required knob.
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