Top positive review
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THE APPLE ELECTRIC TOOTHBRUSH
on April 20, 2012
UPDATE 5/2014: After two years of use, the power button on the handle had become so unresponsive to operate, that it required a very forceful two-thumb push to turn on my toothbrush. I contacted Philips via their website, using their online assistant, and a replacement handle was shipped to me the same day. I simply had to return mine in the same box as the replacement, and Philips paid the return shipping. How easy was that?! My two year warranty had actually expired one month prior (isn't that always the way it goes?) but it turns out that because I registered my toothbrush--which I didn't even remember doing--the warranty got extended by an additional six months. Great customer service, Philips!
ORIGINAL REVIEW: Funny, i don't remember reading that Jonny Ive was moonlighting over at Philips. But this is their second new dental product in a row--the first being the AirFloss--that might lead you to think that Sonicare design was now being done by Apple. And I mean that in the most complimentary way. This is, without question, the most modern and elegantly designed electric toothbrush on the market today, and I can only compare holding it to the feeling you get when you hold an Apple product. But is it worth the premium price being charged for it?
THE ANSWER IS YES, IF...
1) You have money to splurge a bit and value great design very highly. The ceramic feel of the power handle (though not actually ceramic), the hidden areas that illuminate to indicate mode and battery status, the brilliance of a travel case that both closes magnetically and charges the power handle via USB cable from your computer or the included USB power adapter--the whole package has just been thought through with incredible attention to detail. There's even an alternative to the one feature I didn't like, which was the charging glass--it looked too big and clunky in photos, which is exactly how it looks when you actually see it. Plus, do we really need to mimic the old, unsanitary practice of standing wet toothbrushes up in a glass to store them? Fortunately, there's a much smaller and more elegant charging stand included that can be used instead of the glass. You never see that in photos of this toothbrush, and I was very pleased.
2) You don't care if the premium price buys you no functional or performance advantage of any type over cheaper models in the Sonicare line. You know you're paying for the design, and you're fine with it. (Yes, I agree that the DiamondClean brush heads ARE a notable improvement, but they can be used on other, less expensive Sonicare models. See below.)
THE ANSWER IS NO, IF...
1) You expect a premium price to buy you better functionality and performance over less expensive models. The DiamondClean toothbrush doesn't, trust me. Ignore most of the five star review hype that you read about this brush ("Cleanest Teeth EVER!") and focus on these facts:
a) The power handle, which is the heart of any electric toothbrush, is just the FlexCare+ handle with a different skin on it. Specs are identical and--if you go to a store and hold them side by side--you'll see that size, shape and weight are the same. Only the elegant, ceramic-like skin on the DiamondClean model, with it's hidden lights, is different.
b) While the DiamondClean brushes DO clean somewhat better than older Sonicare brush heads, you can use DiamondClean brushes on some of the older, cheaper Sonicare models like FlexCare. Since the power handles are essentially no different, the cleaning you get will be the same.
2) It drives you crazy to pay more and actually get less for your money. As others have pointed out, the DiamondClean doesn't have the UV sanitizer of the less expensive FlexCare models. And I just saw a Costco special that included two Sonicare power handles, two chargers, two travel cases, plus four brush heads that included two DiamondClean ones... all for $120.
3) Design just isn't that important to you.
The value of great design is very much a personal decision. While I decided that the DiamondClean was worth it for me, it might not be for you, depending on your priorities. But either way, I thank you for taking the time to read my review. and I hope you found it "helpful" in making your purchasing decision!
UPDATES: The longer you use a product, the better you get to know it. The section below contains more on the pros and cons I've experienced since I wrote the above review after extended use of the DiamondClean:
PROS: 1) The ceramic-like power handle, which I thought might get slippery during usage when wet, actually maintains a nice grip to it.
CONS: 1) No vent holes in the travel case, made worse by its form-fitting plastic interior. So if you pack the brush head while damp--which often happens when traveling--it stays damp, in a dark, tightly enclosed space--the perfect conditions for promoting bacteria and mold growth. 2) When a second family member recently joined me in using the DiamondClean, I suddenly realized that there's no storage for multiple brush heads. (Except in the travel case.) Plus, there's no system for color-coding the heads for different family members. Bottom line: you have to store multiple brush heads in a medicine cabinet or elsewhere and somehow color code them yourself.