It's clever, but better options exist
A very capable electric toothbrush that does a superb job of cleaning the teeth, whilst being supplied with value added extras.
5 different cleaning modes
4 cleaning mode icons, but 5 modes
Good box contents including travel case
Position detection requires habit change
Bluetooth connectivity for pairing with smartphone
Bulky smartphone holder
Position detection for real-time tracking
Consider these other brushes
It will cost, but the newer iO Series 6 is essentially a couple of generations on from the Genius 8000. The result is a more refined daily user experience. You can make improvements in your oral care, if committed.
But, you don't need all this tech, if you learn how to brush correctly.
The Pro 2 2000 is a considerably more affordable toothbrush, but it lacks real-time tracking, in favour of the essentials you need.
How the Oral-B Genius 8000 looks, feels and works
The 8000 along with the slightly more premium 9000 is the best of what is available in consumer toothbrushes from Oral-B, at the time of review.
There a 5 cleaning modes on this model along with a pretty decent box contents, pressure sensor, multiple brush heads a travel case and built-in timer.
Now you may be thinking that many other brushes from Oral-B or other brands comes with such. Which is fair, but where the 8000 comes into its own needs a little more explanation.
The Genius range of brushes offer Bluetooth connectivity, this is something that has been available from 2014 on select Oral-B brushes, but it has been improved with Genius to take things to the next level.
The app uses the front facing camera on your smartphone to track the actual position of the 8000 power toothbrush inside your mouth when in use. It takes this data and displays this on the smartphone screen, giving instant feedback to highlight and direct you to where you have missed and where you need to clean next.
The idea and logic behind this is that it is supposed to act like a coach or mentor or be like having a dentist or hygienist looking over your shoulder saying good, bad, brush for longer, you missed a bit.
A study conducted by Oral-B showed that up to 80% of people spend not enough time brushing, particularly spending less time on one zone of the mouth and some 60% did not brush or spent insufficient time brushing their molars (the teeth at the back). Guess which teeth are prone to needing fillings?!
Thus the motion tracking in the Genius range comes from such studies that identify clearly the need for such.
Whilst it is up for question as to whether Oral-B’s implementation is the best route to go, it is a logical one and perhaps to me the most obvious option as more and more of us have our smartphones on us all the time and often pay more attention to what they are telling us more than other humans sometimes.
Such a shift and education process does require more hardware and attitude to the process of brushing your teeth which should be happening twice a day.
Included with the 8000 is a smartphone holder, which is designed to suction to a flat surface like a mirror. The adjustable arms on the holder then accommodate the phone and used the device's front facing camera to watch what goes on during the brushing process.
I mentioned in the pros and cons section of this review, the pressure sensor. Designed to reduce and stop gum and tissue abrasions that are caused by excessive pressure being used when brushing the teeth should you do just this, the triple pressure sensor technology gives a visual notification via the Oral-B app and through the LED SmartRing which illuminates red. The brush will automatically reduce the head speed and stop the pulsation until the pressure is reduced.
Although not new to the Genius range, another noteworthy and easily overlooked design feature, which is actually scientifically inspired, is the rounded brush head. Small and compact you can generally get the brush head into all the hard to reach areas of the mouth, which is not as possible with some other brush heads shaped differently. It is a small but noteworthy thing and only when comparing them side by side and using them will you notice how with an Oral-B brush you get deeper into the mouth and retain a greater level of movement which doing so.
Last and by no means least on the new and different feature is the SmartRing which is a multi colour 360 degree lighting system at the neck of the brush. Featuring 12 different coloured lights, you can customise the illumination via the Oral-B app. So if you like red, blue or pink, the choice of the colour is yours; but it will still flash red if you brush too hard!
Having now covered these key differences, let's’ look in more detail at all of these and more to see what the brush is really like to use on a day to day basis.
Aesthetically the 8000 has seen some improvements in comparison to the Smart Series which it supersedes and there is clearly a link between the design of the Pro and Genius range, it is distinctly Oral-B.
Slimmed down a little in the profile to the older Smart Series, the Genius has a more uniform cylindrical body, that is larger than that of the lesser featured Pro series which sits below the 8000 in the range.
The physical size is as a result primarily of the larger battery, which will last up to 16 days.
Considering the size and weight of a brush might not be your first thought, but you will likely be surprised by what impact it can have on your overall use and comfort of the brush. If it is too heavy or awkward to hold then it will leave you less likely to use the brush for the desired time or longer, often cutting short the cleaning cycle. The 8000 measures and weighs and ergonomically comfortable 24cm tall with the brush head attached and 2.7cm wide and 3.2cm deep and weighs 140 grams.
Made from a robust plastic, the 8000 comes in a white colour finish option only. The plastic is resilient to the water, bacteria and toothpaste that it will come into contact with.
A fully sealed brush it can be used in the shower, rinsed off under a tap etc without issue. Don’t go taking the brush for a swim, but it is designed to resist water.
The front of the brush is less clinical looking than models before it, with an increased number of icons that actually makes the brush more practical as icons which become illuminated in use actually show which cleaning mode is activated and running on the brush, although daily clean, the standard cleaning mode is missing.
A break in the plastic body makes way for a tall, essentially rounded rectangle shaped panel. Within this is a similarly shaped yet smaller rubber pannel in the upper third that has the power button and cleaning mode button.
Below this are icons for the different cleaning modes (well 4 of the 5 available anyway) which is silver or technically platinum in colour which contrasts well with the white that forms the rest of the brush.
What I can’t really get my head around is why there is no icon for the Daily Clean mode. OK, it is the default mode but why exclude it from the icons and have one for every other mode?
To get going and start using the brush you need to press the power button (the one at the top) and to turn it off for 2 seconds to turn the brush off. The button requires a firm push, meaning it is difficult to accidentally power on or off.
To change the cleaning mode it is a case of pressing the cleaning mode button (downwards facing arrow) under the power button and continuing to press until the desired cleaning mode is reached and the indicator illuminated.
In the lower third of the panel is a Bluetooth icon, a battery icon made up of 3 bars and then finally the Oral-B and Braun logos in black colour.
On the rear of the brush is a contoured rubber grip which assists when holding the brush for grip, especially when wet. It is generally smooth to the touch but grippy with a series of indented dots. Many other models have raised lines on the back here, but the 8000 has a smoother finish which gives it a cleaner and less rough to touch feel.
The base of the brush is sealed, but has a recess into which the prong on the charging stand fits to charge the brush.
On the neck of the brush is where you find the LED SmartRing, the component that can be customised via that app to one of 12 colour options. My personal favourite is blue. It illuminates when in use and should the pressure sensor be activated it will illuminate red. You can see the SmartRing in action in this video.
If using the app at the same time as brushing, the screen on the app will also illuminate red and tell you to reduce the pressure should you apply too much to the teeth. Therefore when using the brush you have up to 3 signals to tell you too much pressure is being applied. You have the red SmartRing, the message on-screen in the app and the sound change as the motor reduces the power delivery.
Whilst the 9000 is available in 3 colours, the 8000 is available in just 1, white.
All of the accessories provided with the Oral-B Genius 8000 power toothbrush are also white, that includes the smartphone holder, charging stand and brush head compartment.
The cleaning modes available on the 8000 are:
- Daily Clean
- Gum Care
All these modes, with the exception of Pro Clean are standard cleaning modes found on previous/other Oral-B models, although not all models have every mode.
The Pro-Clean mode replaces what was known as Deep Clean mode that is available on older models. Pro-Clean provides an intense clean feeling with 3,000 more movements per minute than the more standard Daily Clean mode.
To find out more about each cleaning mode and the best brush head to use with it, read this post which explains the Oral-B modes available.
Typically the cleaning modes last for 2 minutes each and this ties in with what is recommended by Dentists. The built-in timer has 2 modes, the standard 2 minute or professional.
With the 2 minute timer it signals with a long stuttering sound and a flashing light of the smart ring that the 2 minute brushing time has come to an end.
With the professional mode (came preset out of the box) the quadpacer on the 8000 kicks in. A short stuttering sound and flashing light of the Smart Ring at 30 second intervals to move to the next quadrant of your mouth. A long stuttering sound and flashing light indicate the end of the professionally recommended 2 minute clean.
The timer memorises the elapsed brushing time, even when the handle is briefly switched off during brushing. Anything longer than 30 seconds paused and the timer resets
You can change which timer profile you have enabled. To change this, press and hold the mode button for 2 seconds. Toggle between timer selection by pressing the on/off button. Confirm the selection by pressing the mode button. 2 LED’s illuminated indicate 2 minute timer and 4 LED’s illuminated indicate Professional timer. More advanced timer options come via the app.
The mouth is made up of 4 quadrants, so you spend 30 seconds cleaning each. If you are using the app and the tracking, the app will signal to you it is time to move on and where to focus next.
The brush heads provided with the 8000, use an oscillating rotating and pulsating motion as shown in the following animated image.
This is a proprietary technology that helps clean tooth by tooth reaching areas that are often missed.
The dynamic 3D movement helps adapt to your teeth as it oscillates, rotates and pulsates to break up and remove up to 100% more plaque than a manual toothbrush.
Although 3 brush heads are supplied, they are interchangeable and it is advisable to use the appropriate brush head with the appropriate cleaning mode, although any cleaning mode can be used with any brush head.
You need not be limited to the brush heads in the box and you can use any one of the 6 brush heads that Oral B offer as suitable for this brush. You may need to purchase these separately.
- Gum Care
- Precision Clean
- CrossAction (Supplied)
- 3D White (Supplied)
- FlossAction (Supplied)
The CrossAction brush head relies on hundreds of bristles that are angled in different directions. It has been scientifically engineered, to ensure the bristles cross over different parts of the tooth surface more effectively than those brush heads that have standard straight bristles.
The FlossAction brush head bristles are not angled, but there yellow are microbristles which are focused on getting deep between the teeth, for a floss like clean.
The 3D White brush head has a polishing cup in the centre of it which helps buff teeth up to give them the dentist shine. It is worth noting the colour of the bristles on the 3D White brush head has changed for the Genius range and may on first glance not look familiar if you are used to the look of these brush heads.
Remember to replace your brush head at least once every 3 months or 90 days if not sooner. You can have the app remind you of this.
An Oral-B brush head will actually fade in colour as it ages giving you another visual indicator that it is time to replace the brush head.
For the best advice on which brush head is right for you we advise speaking to your dentist.
Included in the box with the 8000 is a charging stand, but also a moulded piece of plastic complete with a lid which offers a home to additional brush heads. This protects them from dirt and dust and gives a safe place to keep them. Ideal if you use different brush heads or have brush heads for different users.
When the brush requires a charge the last battery bar within the translucent battery icon on the lower third of the brush handle will flash red. It will then light up when charging.
If the power in the handle is extremely low, the battery will require at least a 30 minute charge.
So to the app and the facilities that it offer.
Version 4.1 is the earliest version of the Oral-B app to support the Genius range of electric toothbrushes. It brings to the app the position detection technology, improved professional guidance, dental care journey and brushing challenges.
The app will run on most Android or iOS devices. And uses Bluetooth on your phone and the 8000 brush to pair. Your smartphone must have Bluetooth 4.0 as a minimum for compatibility.
There is no app for the desktop computer, for Windows phone or other platforms, so do bear this in mind.
The app is very comprehensive with lots of options, too many to go through completely in this review. It gives you all you need though to not only effectively brush your teeth, but to log the cleans and motivate you.
There are features like integration with your calendar so you can see your days agenda, news, tips and tricks, so you stay interested when cleaning your teeth. Although for me, on occasions it can be a bit distracting from you ensuring you brush correctly and you may want to customise the settings to avoid some notifications.
Of course the big part of this is the Position Detection Technology which uses the smartphones camera, the app and the brush to show on screen visually where you have and have not cleaned and shows you how to brush all zones in the mouth evenly and equally. Anyone of any age can use and learn from the feedback it gives.
Whilst a toothbrush plays a vital role in oral hygiene the routine and way in which you clean does too. This app makes it easy to see and represent in real-time just how good, or bad you are doing.
Challenges are presented to you allowing you to obtain a score based on how well you brush and improve your habits. Brush better and for longer and you ate on the road to success. Gain badges for achievements and share socially if you chose.
If you have perfected your technique you may have less to gain than others, but I was impressed at just how well the app works and monitors you clean, it still had areas where I could improve!
The app is deeper and more intelligent too. You can customise the brush and personal goals through the app gaining more suitable tips and advice along with product suggestions. For example, if you wish to whiten your teeth the app will advise and amend your routine to achieve the goal. You can choose from the Fresh Breath Gum Health, Plaque FIghter, Whitening and Ortho Care journeys.
The Professional Guidance feature allows you and your dental professional to work together. Actually share and discuss improvement areas and have your dentist actually program into the app extra brushing time and adjustments to your cleaning modes.
Online backup is another new feature. With an Oral-B account you can never lose data and even share with compatible services for additional insights and benefits. As the app logs data over the days and weeks, it is impressive to see through the logs how your habits and brushing time changes.
Whilst you need to launch the app each time to use it the brush itself can store the data for up to 20 cleans meaning you do not need to always have the app to hand.
The connection and transfer is fairly reliable and I have yet to run into any real problems. Here's a gallery of screenshots from the app for those that are interested:
Now we have spoken about all the magic that is the Oral-B app for tracking the clean, you need to hold your smartphone at face height to actually do the tracking. Easier said than done.
You could hold it in your hand, but unless you have some super power that means you can hold your phone perfectly positioned for 2+ minutes and clean your teeth, then the provided smartphone holder will come in use.
Best described as a smartphone holder you would use in a car and attach to the windshiled, used in the home and attached to a mirror!
It is a more clinical and perhaps suitable in white; more fitting for the bathroom scene. The suction cup will attach to mirrors and in some cases tiles. Do make sure it is secure before mounting your phone! There is a lever to lock it in place and unlock the hold along with a tab on the suction cup to further release the holder.
The universal holder can be adjusted to fit many smartphones of varying sizes from 58mm wide through to 83mm wide. If you are using a Samsung Galaxy S series or an Apple iPhone 6S Plus even, it will fit. There is then a full 360 degree rotation option. For some phones the button placement may interfere with the adjustable arms to do consider this when docking the phone.
It is a practical addition and can move with you. That said, you are likely to mount it and leave it as I assume you generally speaking brush your teeth in the same location each time.
The particularly house proud may not like the holder on show and I certainly wonder are there other or better options?!
Due to my mirror position and my height, during use the only practical position was virtually in the middle of the mirror, which is a bit daft when you want to use the mirror for other things such as looking at yourself whilst doing your hair. You have a smartphone holder in the way unless you move it.
It is also worth noting, whilst it is perfectly possible to share a brush handle, the handle can not differentiate between 2 users, so your data synced to the app will be wrong. There is a workaround, but it is a bit of a fudge.
If you want the modern technology but want to keep your own logs, this is where the dual handled Genius 8000 comes in.
The dual handle version comes with 2 handles, but it does not come with 2 travel cases or charging stands. You do get an additional brush head (1 x CrossAction) included in the box.
Even for me, even as someone writing about toothbrushes, I find it hard work and difficult to make set up the smartphone in the holder with the app, a bit of a chore and although it may take 15-30 seconds, that's around 25% of the time I would spend cleaning my teeth.
It is not to say I have not found a routine, but I have not perfected it and am finding that I may use the app more in the evenings than the morning and probably in total using it 50-60% of the time.
But even with a commitment to use it in the evenings, the app needs to work and to a point it does, but I feel the position detection technology and the overall experience is not there yet that everyone will take the time to use it.
There are silly quirks, like the smartphone holder having full tilt and swivel capabilities, but the phone must be perfectly upright for the position detection to track, making the holder mobility almost redundant, but I guess everyone's mounting locations will be different.
You need to be almost statue still for the app to track effectively.
I found it unable to accurately track where I was in the mouth. It was close but often registered in the wrong area. I think this was in part by me tilting my head, opening and closing my mouth more or less as I moved around my mouth.
Practice will allow me to get better but how much practice and how ‘still’ should I stay.
As you brush there are fading blue sections on-screen that do act for encouragement and at times the app gets it right, encouraging you to spend more time here and there with a mix of praise and positive feedback.
I found myself at times, spending more time cleaning my teeth (this is a good thing to a point) to try and ensure I got all areas of the mouth. However, in doing so, due to the app not registering the areas quite correctly, ended up spending more time in certain areas of the mouth than others. This resulted in the app thinking I had done a splendid job when I know I had not.
For those who know they have bad habits could use this combination for a few weeks to learn, understand and perfect their clean, but I see very few really committing to this and using everyday.
Even with my desire to make it work it has taken over a week to get close and I still don't find it perfect. From that I feel that for most the effort for the reward is too high.
This is perhaps not how Oral-B envisaged or planned the usage, but there is only advantage to be gained from using it occasionally than not at all. Even a few times a week it reminds you and helps perfect your brushing habits.
The travel case included with the 8000 is said to be premium. Yes, it is a bit better than the ones I have seen from Oral-B before but it is still a cheap piece of moulded plastic compared to the very desirable travel case that comes with the Genius 9000.
Best described as a white, branded plastic box that holds the brush and two brush heads, is all that is needed but is not as heavy nor does it have the soft touch premium feeling of that supplied with the 9000.
Summary of design, usability, clean & general use
As most of us are generally close to some sort of charging facility for our toothbrush we do not necessarily need them to last a long time, but it can be a hassle or annoyance you do not need or want so if the life of the battery can be extended it is good as it makes everyday use just that little bit more convenient.
Oral-B has and still does fall behind the competition here with Philips somehow managing 3 weeks or 21 days of usage time compared to the improved 16 days on the Genius 8000. That means that Philips offers getting on for nearly double the battery life from brushes which do not instantly appear larger or heavier to accommodate a bigger battery.
To date, the maximum battery life from an Oral-B brush that I am aware of, has been up to 10 days or 20 cleans or put another way, 40 minutes of usage time.
The 8000 now offers up to 16 days of life, if using the standard 2 minute daily clean twice a day. That is 32 toothbrushing sessions or 64 minutes of cleaning.
Frequent travellers may demand longer battery life and if this is a must take a look at Philips Sonicare DiamondClean, but if 16 days is ample then great.
Included in the box is the traditional charging stand that you can leave the 8000 sat on when not in use. The charging dock itself is white in colour and has a small prong on the top which aligns with a recess in the bottom of the brush handle and will charge the brush fully in about 8-12 hours. I tend to leave it on charge overnight. When charging the battery charging icon pulses with a white light.
When power is low the battery status icon will flash and you will likely feel the decrease in brush power. When depleted completely the motor will power down and the battery icon flash red.
A bit of a bug bare on the Genius and other models too is that you never know quite how much power is left, is it 20%, 15% or 7% left?
The battery status icons flashes when low. The flashing helps but a percentage guide would be useful, but I have yet to see a brush that offers this. I would have thought that the partnership with the app would have allowed this, but sadly no evidence of this. An idea for a future update?
The battery is built-in and is not user replaceable unless you want to invalidate your warranty and are confident with electronics and soldering.
The charging dock has a 2 pin Australian power adapter hard wired into it.
To ensure that the battery holds its maximum capacity, at least once every six months, charge the battery fully and then let it discharge until it no longer functions.
Summary of battery life
Price & where to buy
The 8000 has a recommended retail price of $299.
It is not worth paying this price.
You should be able to get it at around 50% off, some $150.
Although there is no guarantee, it is quite common for Oral-B brushes to be sold at a discounted price, of up to 50%, meaning significant savings over retail.
It is not for me to tell you what to pay, but I would not be doing a justice to you if I did not tell you what cost you should expect to be able to get it at.
This brush like every other requires replacement brush heads for each user every 3 months. Replacement heads can be purchased in various pack sizes, but typically work out at around $7 per head.
We like to offer up a figure for what we believe to be an average cost of ownership of this toothbrush. So I present 2 examples here, one at the full RRP and one at half price.
Using the average cost (based on one user) and ownership over 3 years , the 8000 will cost $362 or $0.33 per day to own, if purchased at full price.
When purchased at a more likely $150 (half price) the cost will be $213 and $0.19 per day.
This price does exclude the cost of water, toothpaste and electric to charge it, but you get a rough idea and is one of if not the cheapest decent electric toothbrushes available at the moment.
There is a good chance the brush will last longer than the 3 year period and using the same brush handle but switching heads with other users in your household will only help bring the cost down and drive more value from it.
If cost is a big factor, whilst the 800
Please note that all prices quoted are approximates and should be used only as a guide during your decision process.
Summary of price & where to buy
My thoughts on reliability and repairability
When you invest in something if it is $5 or $500 you want it to last for a reasonable amount to time relative to its value and the job it is designed to do.
By the very nature of an electric toothbrush it is subjected to conditions that often do not bode well for normal electronics.
Oral-B have many years of experience behind them, so you can be generally assured of a high product quality and reliability. Inevitably sometimes products will fail but the Genius 8000 is backed by a 2 year standard warranty.
The weakest point is the battery. After repeated charges and discharges it can fail and should it, they are not easy to replace. You should get in the routine of depleting and recharging the battery regularly to reduce the chances of failure.
When reviewing any electric toothbrush - the 8000 included - we look for possible weakness areas and highlight you to them.
As we write this review we can see no obvious weaknesses or reasons to feel that the 8000 series will not survive the test of time. Having used the brush for a few weeks, it does not really allows us to give definitive feedback for long term use but we will be using this brush in our team for the foreseeable future and will report any issues that occur over a longer time period if we find any.
A bit of advice we can give to prolong the life of any brush is giving it a rinse and a wipe down to remove grime that builds up as such can affect the brush over the longer term.
With regards to the Genius 8000 specifically; it has an extensive box contents which adds to the overall size of the box and the total weight. Some of these items are potentially not necessary.
As a smart toothbrush it increases the component usage and when the brush eventually fails, it causes more waste.
It has not been designed to be easily repaired by yourself. Trying to replace parts like the battery will likely break the brush. This makes it more likely to be discarded rather than repaired if broken.
While Oral-B has partnered with schemes such as TerraCycle in some countries, it does not yet have its own recycling scheme for used brush heads or faulty products.
Its brush heads are made from petroleum-based plastic, which uses up the planet’s finite resources compared to using plant-based plastics.
Summary of reliability, long term use & sustainability
Few brands really exist in the electric toothbrush space, the dominant players are Oral-B and Philips and for good reason.
Oral-B is perhaps the most widely recognised and promoted brand within this space and ultimately they have the share that they do, due to producing good products that people are happy to use.
When you consider what you really want a toothbrush to do, it is to help you clean your teeth in a way that is superior to a manual brush and can help you avoid long term problems with your oral health.
Your decision to invest in an electric brush may come before or after having healthcare issues but either way the Genius 8000 can help.
Sporting various cleaning modes along with a great design and pretty decent battery life the 8000 ticks the boxes for a lot of people.
No, it is not perfect, but find me something that is for everyone?!
You can get a perfectly functional brush for a lot less but still gain many of the benefits, notably the Pro 2 2000
But, in time the much touted tracking will get better and through habit, you can get used to doing this and there is an improvement in the battery life on the Genius range.
In addition, sometimes it is the bits we do not pay a lot of attention to that really help us and improves our experience.
The small brush head allows us to get deep into the mouth with less restriction, the various cleaning modes help tackle different healthcare problems and the various brush heads included helps with this.
If you can justify the price point, I would urge looking at the newer iO Series 6. It's a more refined version of the 8000.
- Toothbrush height with head - 24cm / 9.45 inches
- Toothbrush height without head - 20.5cm / 8.07 inches
- Width - 2.7cm / 1.06 inches
- Depth/thickness - 3.2cm / 1.26 inches
- Weight with head - 140g / 4.9 ounces
- Weight without head - 134g / 4.73 ounces
Country of manufacture
- Can the 8000 be charged via a USB cable?
- No, this is not possible.
- Is the battery in the 8000 replaceable?
- No, the battery is built-in. Whilst technically it could be replaced it would void the warranty and is not advised.
- What size phone does the smartphone holder take?
- The smartphone holder will accommodate phones from 58-83mm wide, this includes larger phones like the iPhone 6S Plus.