Oral-B Genius 9000/8000 full review
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The Oral-B Genius 9000 (available in three colours: White, Black and Rose Gold) boasts what it calls a 3D Cleaning Action, which oscillates, rotates and pulsates. Like the best electric toothbrushes it includes a pressure sensor, plus modes for sensitive teeth and for whitening (with 3D White brush head).
The Oral-B Genius 8000 is available in white only, and lacks the 9000's Deep Clean Mode and Tongue-Cleaning modes.
Oral-B claims that its Deep Clean Mode removes “up to 99.7 percent of hard-to-reach” plaque.
The Genius 9000 features the following brushing modes: 3D Daily Clean, Gum Care (massaging for gentle stimulation of gums), lower-speed Sensitive, Whitening (alternates between speeds for a gentle polishing to remove surface stains), Tongue Cleaning and Pro-Clean (faster 3D movement). The 8000 has 3D Daily Clean, Gum Care, Sensitive, Whitening, and Pro-Clean.
The Genius 9000 has an recommended retail price (RRP) of £279.99, which is a frightening amount to pay for a toothbrush – but you’ll find it with considerable discounts from online retailers such as Boots, Argos and Superdrug – and of course Amazon. And compare this one-off outlay to a few visits to the dentist!
The Genius 8000’s RRP is £259.99 or US$274.98. Again this is much cheaper via Amazon and others.
We've seen both for £100/$100 cheaper online.
The smart bit is the compatible Oral-B app (iOS and Android), which works when you pair your phone with your brush over Bluetooth.
The Oral-B app gives you real-time feedback while you clean for improved brushing habits, and you can share your oral care activity with your dentist to track your progress.
The built-in two-minute timer helps you brush just the right amount, with a timer for each zone of your mouth. You need to allow the app to access your phone’s microphone as this is used to listen for your power brush to automatically start and stop the timer.
Oral-B uses “advanced Position Detection technology” so you can see where you’re brushing. This is important so you can adjust your technique to never miss a zone. It can be used for self-tracking and personal statistics, has a game mode, and encourages you to maintain good techniques.
You need to attach a special phone holder (included) to the surface in front of your bathroom basin, and manoeuvre the phone’s camera so that your face is in the right place, then set to the front camera. At the end you get a score out of 100 on how you’ve performed.
The app is well designed and simple to set up and use, but we found the Position Detection tricky to get right. I had multiple requests from the app to tell me to get my face in the right place, and moving back or to the side to get my face in the right place for the phone’s camera resulted more than once in dripped toothpaste waste on the floor or my clothes – which is not ideal.
Even when my face was apparently in view the app’s dynamic imaging of which areas of my mouth I was cleaning was at times inaccurate. Supposedly sophisticated sensors in the toothbrush help detect the position in the mouth, but if the camera isn’t aligned perfectly with your face its results are often off.
If the phone's camera loses sight of you (despite standing directly in front of it) for more than 30 seconds during the brushing it won’t record the results.
The company used to also provide a Wireless SmartGuide countdown – indeed it still does with the SmartSeries 6000 and 6500. This was a small wall-mounted timer that synced with your brushing to count you down and suggest mouth quarter changes. This isn’t as smart as the app – hence it being phasing out – but in a way it was a simpler solution. I ended up un-pairing my 9000 handle from the app so I could go back to using the SmartGuide.
The app is great for telling you to reduce the pressure of your brushing, but the brush’s SmartRing will do that anyway, as will the old SmartGuide if you have one.
The 30-second timer isn’t engaged if you’re using the Position Detection feature. Call me old fashioned – or just after a simpler life – but I preferred the 30-second timer and basic mouth-quadrant graphic over the app’s Position Detection feature. I’m happy to spend two minutes brushing my teeth, but setting up my smartphone in the holder (which entailed taking it out of its case) and keeping my face aligned for the detection was just too much to fit into my morning or evening routine.
I’m also wary about having my phone suspended above a hard and wet sink, although the holder appeared strong enough to stop any possible drops.
If you have more time than me, and/or a more static head then maybe Oral-B’s Position Detection will work better for you.
You can use the app for the simpler 30-second, mouth quadrant system, without the hassle of the phone holder or head position. After the teeth the app prompts you to floss, clean your tongue and rinse.
You can actually use the Oral-B app with any Oral-B electric toothbrush, as it uses the microphone in your smartphone to detect the sound – so you don’t need a Bluetooth-compliant brush for the basic timer.
We really like the idea of the Oral-B app and the Position Detection, but the implementation and everyday use of it isn’t ideal. We stuck with the SmartGuide. If you don’t have one, you can use the app for the same simpler use. See also our Philips Sonicare FlexCare Platinum electric toothbrush review.
Design, battery life and travel case
According to independent dental tests both the Genius 8000 and 9000 performed excellently at removing plaque, and their simple instructions make a proper cleaning routine easy to learn.
To help you keep brushing for the recommended two minutes the brush vibrates every 30 seconds, which is your cue to move on to the next quarter of your mouth. Don’t forget to add on a little time for brushing your tongue at the end – brush from the back to the front of the tongue.
At the top of the brush is the 360° SmartRing, visible from every angle while brushing. The SmartRing illuminates and pulsations slow and then stop when you brush too hard. Via the Oral-B app you can even programme it to illuminate with your choice of 12 colours as you brush.
The 8000 and 9000 brushes are comfortable, and easy to use, including changing heads. It’s slightly annoying that you need to have the brush on to change the modes as this can cause messy splashes when altering the mode.
Lithium-ion battery life was excellent – a real improvement on the SmartSeries 6000/6500 that run out of juice much quicker.
The brush handle saves the data from your past 20 sessions, so you can keep track of progress when you’re not connected to the app.
The Genius 9000 comes with a very smart, rigid travel case that can charge both your toothbrush and smartphone using just the one outlet. Anyone who travels and stays in hotels will know the benefit of using just one power point for more than one device. The case can stand both vertically and horizontally. The 8000 has a much simpler plastic case.
Oral-B Genius 9000 vs Genius 8000
The Genius 8000 is similar to the Genius 9000, but lacks the 9000’s Deep Clean Mode and Tongue-Cleaning mode.
Do you really need a special, gentler Tongue-Cleaning mode? We suspect not. Tongue cleaning is definitely worthwhile, but you can use the normal brushing speed for this without harming the tongue. The 8000 also doesn’t come with the 9000’s lovely charging travel case, but if you don’t travel a lot or just pack a manual toothbrush when going away this won’t matter too much. The 8000 is available in White only.
But as the 8000 is only a little cheaper than the 9000 we think the 9000 offers better value for money. Remember to look for the best online prices, which should offer a significant discount on these set retail prices.
Oral-B Genius 9000 vs SmartSeries 6000/6500
Oral-B also sells the SmartSeries 6000 (RRP £230) and SmartSeries 6500 (RRP £190) electric toothbrushes. Again look for cheaper prices online.
The SmartSeries was Oral-B’s original smart toothbrush range, and ship with the handy wireless SmartGuide mentioned above.
The 6000 features five modes: 5 modes: Daily Clean, Gum Care, Sensitive, Whitening, and Deep Clean. The 6500 adds a Tongue Clean mode.
While we like the simplicity of the SmartGuide you can sync either SmartSeries brush to the Oral-B app, although (as mentioned above) we’re not sure the app adds a great deal to your brushing system except for storing data on how you’ve cleaned over time. Read our Oral-B SmartSeries 6000 review.
What we did prefer about the Genius 9000 is its slimmer design, SmartRing, and much longer battery life.
We were impressed with the Oral-B Genius 8000 and 9000 for many reasons: excellent plaque cleaning, comfortable brush and handle, brush-head options, travel case, and long battery life.
However, we found the app’s functionality didn’t live up to its promise. The Position Detection is a great idea, but we found it tricky to get right. When used just to advise and monitor mouth-quadrant brushing it was more successful but not as sophisticated as it thinks it is.
But as a premium electric toothbrush both the Genius 8000 and 9000 certainly live up to the hype. Neither is cheap but you can find significant discounts online, and, compared to the cost of a visit to the dentist, using a quality toothbrush is a wise financial as well as healthy decision.
Oral-B Genius 9000/8000: Specs
- Genius 8000: Daily Clean, Gum Care, Sensitive, Whitening, and Pro-Clean
- Genius 9000: Daily Clean, Gum Care, Sensitive, Whitening, Tongue Cleaning and Pro-Clean.
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