Philips Sonicare FlexCare Platinum Electric Toothbrush full review

The Philips Sonicare FlexCare Platinum electric toothbrush syncs with the Sonicare app for a smart tooth-brushing routine. Read our best electric toothbrush round up to find out about other alternatives and see how the FlexCare Platinum stacks up against the competition.

Available in White the FlexCare Platinum features three cleaning modes – Clean, White or Deep Clean – and three intensity settings – Low, Medium or High – to create a custom brushing experience.

If you’re set to White mode an extra 40 seconds is added to the regulation two minutes so you can focus on the visible front teeth to remove stains. Deep Clean mode takes three minutes. (Strangely the app introduces itself at first use by stating that the Clean mode takes three minutes rather than the two it actually does take.)

In independent dental tests the Philips Sonicare FlexCare Platinum performed excellently at removing plaque, which for all the connected-app smartness is what a toothbrush is supposed to do.

Sonicare's dynamic cleaning action drives fluid between teeth, which Philips claims gently and effectively removes plaque interdentally and along the gum line. However it’s done, it works very well.

The brush features a pressure sensor to alert you when you are brushing too hard – a mistake many of us make, little knowing that we are actually harming our teeth with too much pressure. Over-brushing runs the risk of permanently damaging the protective enamel layer on teeth and harming gums. The handle gently vibrates to let you know when you're applying too much pressure.

There’s no specific tongue-cleaning mode, but you can simply switch to a less intensive speed when cleaning your tongue. With as much as half a mouth’s bacteria being found on the tongue this is not something you should ignore in your dental hygiene routine.

Philips Sonicare app brush

Philips Sonicare app review

What makes this electric toothbrush “smart” is the Philips Sonicare app.

The Philips app is more sophisticated than Oral-B’s tooth-brushing app, with a more extensive mouth map. Smart sensors in the brush supposedly understand where you are brushing in your mouth, and then send that data to your smartphone via Bluetooth – so theoretically you will then know (and indeed see in almost real time) how long you are brushing each section of your teeth.

After your brush the app tells you where you should go back to complete a thorough clean via its TouchUp instructions.

In reality we found that these sensors weren’t so smart, and often mistook the area we were brushing with another – rendering the exercise fairly pointless. If Philips could perfect this sensor-driven monitoring the app would be great. Right now, we don’t think it is.

Philips Sonicare app scrub

You’ll be (rightly) told off by the app if you apply too much pressure, and are also mildly scolded for excessive scrubbing. The handle and brush head are meant to do all the work, not you. You’re just there to move the toothbrush around the mouth as instructed by the app.

The app doesn’t divide the mouth into quarters like most of us are taught to clean our teeth. Philips divides the mouth into six sections, and expects you to spend 20 seconds in each. An interval timer buzzes to tell you when to start brushing the next section of your mouth.

I can see the point in spending a little more time on the visible front of the top and bottom teeth, but I worry that taking that time off the less-visible teeth might result in a lesser clean – unless you switch to Deep Clean mode, where you’ll make up the time. That said for some reason the app doesn’t work in Deep Clean mode.

Apps like this should be fairly straightforward, and I found the Sonicare app rather confusing at times. I liked what it’s trying to do, but got turned off from using it each time because of its oddities.

Philips FlexCare Platinum smart toothbrush

Philips Sonicare FlexCare Platinum review: comfort and battery life

We were impressed by this toothbrush’s long battery life – it kept going on one charge for over three weeks, better than any other electric toothbrush we have tested. It also means you should be able to take the brush away on a two-week holiday and not worry about bringing a charger.

In terms of brushing comfort I preferred Oral-B’s rounded brush heads, but I know many a Philips brush fan who thinks the opposite, so this is probably a matter of personal taste. See our Oral-B Genius 8000/9000 toothbrush review.

The box includes a UV light sanitiser – a smallish chamber where you can place the brush for an intensive clean. There’s also a neat plastic travel case – although this is not as functional as the Oral-B Genius 9000 charging travel case. That said, with the FlexCare Platinum’s extended battery life you shouldn’t need to charge for around three weeks anyway.

Philips Sonicare FlexCare Platinum review: price

Like other premium electric toothbrushes the FlexCare Platinum comes with a hefty price tag: its recommended retail price (RRP) is a whopping £250 or US$199.99. But you’ll find it much cheaper than this at online retailers such as Boots, Argos and Superdrug – and of course Amazon. We’ve seen this brush on sale for well under £150/$150.

We have seen a Grey model on sale and a cheaper White version – neither of which appear to boast the Bluetooth connection required for the app, so check that the brush you are buying has what you require of it. If you don't want to use the app you can make huge savings by buying these less expensive models of the FlexCare Platinum.

Philips Sonicare FlexCare Platinum Electric Toothbrush: Specs

  • Three cleaning modes: Clean, White or Deep Clean
  • Three intensity settings: Low, Medium or High.
  • Three cleaning modes: Clean, White or Deep Clean
  • Three intensity settings: Low, Medium or High.