It’s a very clever brush, but you don’t necessarily need these features
The Oral-B Genius AI is an extremely good electric toothbrush that encourages and enables you to achieve the best brushing results.
Smart features add to the price and benefit only the most committed.
It gets my vote of confidence for sure, but in reality, it is a more feature rich and expensive toothbrush than you necessarily need. There are cheaper brushes that clean the teeth just as well.
- Multiple cleaning modes
- Grippy handle
- Real-time tracking via Bluetooth can be valuable to the most committed users
- Icons for only 4 of the 5 cleaning modes
- Bluetooth connectivity isn’t essential and adds to the cost
- Proprietary power adapter for travel case is frustrating
Save or spend more, it’s up to you
If I were buying a brush today, the Oral-B Pro 3 3500 would be my choice.
It’s affordable with the features you need. It is our number 1 choice for the best electric toothbrush.
Should you be looking for a feature rich brush like the Genius X, the iO Series 9 is too worth serious consideration. It is essentially a newer version of the X. But, the iO6 is far more affordable, with limited sacrifices.
You get a more refined user experience and a quieter brush handle complete with display built-in. Brushing results are comparable.
|Oral-B iO Series 6 - Grey||2,355 Reviews||£299.99 £130.00||View on Amazon|
Design, usability, clean & general use
The box of the Genius X does catch the eye.
I have the luxe edition which benefits from a slightly enhanced box design to the standard model, but the use of rich blues and blacks gives the impression of premium.
The brush is clearly presented and includes text and images to help sell the features and benefits of the toothbrush.
Coming packaged in a larger box than you might imagine, this is in part because of the number of items included.
This bold and colourful sleeve covers a fairly simplistic, but sturdy black coloured inner box that has nothing other than a large silver Oral-B logo on it. Together this gives one of the best unboxing experiences I have had from Oral-B.
Primarily all cardboard, it pleasing to see is that Oral-B has not opted for the polystyrene trays which are common on some of their cheaper models. In today’s world, there is no need for polystyrene.
The items you get in the box is determined by which variant you opt for. You get more brush heads with the luxe variant.
You actually get less with this Genius X than you did with the Genius 9000.
The 9000 required the smartphone holder, whereas the X doesn’t (more on that shortly), but you don’t get the brush headstand/storage option either, which is a shame, yet you pay more. Inflation? Profiteering? I will let you decide.
Essentially you have the choice of 4 different colour options when buying the Genius X 20000.
Black, anthracite grey blush pink or rose gold.
The rose gold is available as a standard and luxe variant, whilst the black and blush pink are only available in the standard option and anthracite grey, luxe only.
The rose gold colour options come with white coloured brush heads and travel cases whereas the black and grey come with black coloured brush heads and cases. The luxe variants do have a pattern printed onto the case to give an, even more, premium/different appeal.
It is nice to see this level of choice, rather than perhaps the more default and typical dental colour of white.
The Genius X, is, in my opinion, the best looking toothbrushes that Oral-B have produced to date. This is in part helped I believe, by the colour choices that add a premium and classy look.
When I reviewed the predecessor to this toothbrush in 2016, the Genius 9000, they offered a black coloured variant. All well and good you might think, but it came with a white coloured brush head. Whilst black and white might be a classic colour combination, at the time, Sonicare offered their black coloured DiamondClean with a colour matched brush head.
I am pleased to report that since launching the 9000, Oral-B has listened and been sensible enough to introduce black coloured brush heads that now give a more complete and polished look to the overall toothbrush, notably on the black and grey coloured models.
If you have seen, handled or own the Smart 6 6000, Genius 8000 or 9000, this new 20,0000 model, better known as the Genius X is styled exactly the same. Feature-wise it is pretty much identical to.
The brush handle is rounded with no rough or squared edges.
It is made primarily from plastic. In this instance a gloss black plastic, but the rose gold options have a gloss white plastic body.
On the front of the brush handle is the main panel that is home to the power and cleaning mode buttons as well as the cleaning mode icons and battery status information.
A long oval shape, the panel runs almost the entirety of the brush handle, top to bottom.
It is within this panel that the primary colour accents of each brush are placed.
As I have purchased the anthracite grey model, the panel is grey. Buy the black, blush pink or rose gold options, and that panel would be that chosen colour.
At the top of the panel is a smaller oval shape that contains 2 buttons.
The first is the main power button that turns the toothbrush on and off. It has a power icon on it, which is backlit when pressed. Convexed in its design, it is noticeable to the fingertip.
The button itself is made or coated with a silicone/rubber material, which is not only a bit grippy to the touch, but the button itself provides a nice level of resistance, meaning the brush cannot too easily be activated, but when done intentionally you get a satisfying amount of feedback.
Below this sits the second slightly smaller cleaning mode button.
Labelled with a downward-facing arrow, it is this button that allows you to cycle through the 6 available cleaning modes.
It is backlit once pressed and has a convex design and satisfying feedback to it also.
On the black and grey models, the silicone/rubber material that coats these buttons is black in colour, but white on the rose gold coloured brushes.
Below the buttons sit 5 icons.
Stacked on top of each other these icons are not the most obvious to the eye. Only when the brush is switched on and each icon becomes backlit with a white light, are they more visible.
Each icon represents a cleaning mode on the brush handle.
I don’t understand why, but the Genius X has 6 cleaning modes, but there are only 5 cleaning mode icons. The default Daily Clean mode has no icon. I find this a bit misleading and confusing if I am honest.
I do also think the icons are slightly more confusing than simply the name of the cleaning mode.
You need to remember that the picture of the diamond is the whitening mode for example.
Most other brands simply print the name of the mode. A much more logical approach don’t you think?
I will explain the modes and how they differ shortly.
Below the cleaning mode icons sits the Bluetooth icon and the battery power status lights.
The Bluetooth icon is backlit with a white light like the others.
The battery icon is a little different in that is has 3 illuminated bars to show you how much power remains. Roughly speaking each bar represents about 33% power.
Beneath this, is the Oral-B and Braun logo in black.
Wrapping around the back of the handle and most of the right and left side is a large rubber grip. It runs virtually top to bottom on the handle and makes holding the brush in hand much easier. It provides the resistance needed to retain a good hold and not to let the brush slip out of hand even when wet. There are many dimples within the rubber panel that aid with this grippy design.
This grip is black in colour on my grey model, but white on the rose gold and blush pink options.
Right at the bottom on the back of the handle is a small rubber notch, that may look odd, but lay the brush flat and it helps to stop the brush rolling around on a surface.
The toothbrush will stand upright, but the base is not all flat. A rubber rim runs around the base to act kind of like a grippy foot. In the middle of the base is a recess into which the prong on the top of the charging stand fits.
At the top of the brush handle, sitting just below the attachment point for the brush head is the LED Smart Ring.
Running around the top of the brush handle, the 360 degree ring lights up 1 of 12 colours. You can select the colour you prefer from the smartphone app (download for Android here and iOS here).
This ring remains lit as you use the toothbrush but also doubles up as the visible pressure sensor. I will explain this in more detail shortly also.
At the top of the brush handle is where the brush head sits.
Each brush head simply pulls off and pushes back on, securely connecting to the metal shaft.
You do not need to twist or lock the heads into place.
Securely sealed inside the brush handle is the rechargeable lithium-ion battery, motor and all the electronics needed to make this toothbrush function.
None of the parts inside are user accessible, unless you want to invalidate the warranty and potentially break the toothbrush.
The brush is water-resistant, so the electronics are protected. You can use this toothbrush in the shower if you so choose and it will certainly survive a rinse under the tap as well as toothpaste and muck it might be exposed to during its life as a toothbrush.
In hand, the brush feels reassuringly weighty and robust. It doesn’t look or feel cheap, but I do think the Sonicare design touches whilst perhaps not as grippy in hand look a bit smarter.
So, with the design covered let’s look at some of the more important functions of this toothbrush then.
Starting with one of, if not the most important features of an electric toothbrush, the 2 minute timer
Dental professionals will generally recommend (unless special circumstances apply) to brush your teeth for 2 minutes twice a day.
The Genius X has a timer built into the brush handle. As the 2 minutes elapse, the Genius X pauses the brush head motion, which causes a stuttering sound and the LED smart ring flashes. You can now stop brushing if you want.
Too many brush for less than 2 minutes, not giving enough time to remove the plaque on their teeth and gums. In fact, statistics show that 4% of adults brush their teeth for 30 seconds of less.
Most toothbrushes, the Genius X included have an additional feature to the timer, known as the 30 second timer or quadpacer.
In the interest of being different, Oral-B refers to this as the professional timer.
With the professional mode activated (the default setting out of the box) the quadpacer on the 20000 kicks in. A pause of the brush head motion causes a short stuttering sound and the light of the smart ring flashes at 30 second intervals.
It is these 3 things that act as your cue to move to the next quadrant of your mouth. A long stuttering sound and flashing light indicates the end of the 2 minute clean.
The principle behind this professional timer is to ensure you clean the teeth in your mouth evenly.
It’s all very well brushing for 2 minutes, but no good if you only brush your front teeth for all that time.
The idea is you break the mouth up into 4 quadrants, upper right, upper left, lower right and lower left. You spend 30 seconds cleaning each.
As the 30 second pacer kicks in you move from 1 quadrant to the next, until you have brushed all 4 during the 2 minute cycle.
The Genius X 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.
A small point to note here is that the professional timer/30 second pacer is disabled if you are using the smartphone app in real-time. More on that later.
It seems prudent to mention that how you brush your teeth with an electric toothbrush is different to a manual toothbrush. The technique is also different between Oral-B and Sonicare.
Many of us have never been shown how to brush our teeth correctly and if we were, there is a good chance it was wrong.
Do you know to hold the toothbrush at a 45 degree angle to the gumline? My guide on how to brush with an electric toothbrush should explain all you need to know.
I touched briefly on the pressure sensor that the Genius X has. This is another really useful element to this electric toothbrush in my mind, particularly for first-time electric toothbrush users.
Despite what some may think, you don’t need to scrub your teeth. Rough and aggressive brushing will do more damage than good. The bristles of the brush head need only skim the surface of the teeth.
The pressure sensor is a piece of tech that alerts you when you brush too hard.
When the sensor inside the brush handle detects excess force being applied it does a number of things.
The pulsations of the brush head are stopped, the motor slows down the number of movements per minute and the LED smart ring is illuminated a red colour to act as a warning. If you are using the smartphone app, you will also get a ‘reduce pressure’ warning on screen.
Once the pressure has been reduced, normal service will resume.
The pressure sensor will kick in as many times as is necessary.
You fairly quickly learn how much pressure is too much, but it is a really handy tool, knowing it is always there to alert you just in case.
Now to the cleaning modes.
The Genius X has 6 cleaning modes.
They are all different, and each mode is potentially better for one person than another.
In truth you don’t need all 6 modes, just 1 is fine.
Manufactures, not just Oral-B often overstate the benefits of the additional modes. That is not to say they can’t be beneficial, but more beneficial is using the correct brushing technique and brushing for the right amount of time over which mode to use.
You might find benefit from the slower and more gentle sensitive mode or like the shorter tongue brushing mode.
The modes available on the Genius X and a brief explanation of what they do are as follows:
- Daily Clean
- The default mode for brushing lasting 2 minutes.
- Pro Clean
- A powerful cleaning mode that lasts 3 minutes.
- A slower more gentle mode that lasts for 2 minutes.
- Lasting 2 minutes and 20 seconds the varying speed helps to polish the tooth surfaces.
- Gum Care
- Ideal for those with bleeding or inflamed gums, it’s a slower 2 minute cleaning mode.
- Tongue Clean
- A 20 second mode for cleaning the tongue and inside of the cheeks.
An extended explanation of the modes can be found in my article Oral-B cleaning modes explained.
You can use as few or as many modes as you like.
You may choose to brush twice a day with Daily Clean mode, followed by the Tongue Brushing mode. Perhaps once a week, opt for the ProClean or Whitening mode to achieve that thorough cleaning and polished tooth look and feel.
To change the cleaning modes on the Genius X, you first have to switch the toothbrush on. You cannot change the mode prior to switching it on. Most other brands allow you to do this.
Press the smaller of the 2 buttons on the handle once the brush is on and you can cycle through the modes.
You can change the cleaning mode as often as you like.
If you complete a full cleaning cycle and turn the brush off, it will remember the last mode used and default to this the next time you switch the brush on.
Because you essentially need to switch modes whilst the brush is in the mouth, you need to try and remember the brushing mode order, as listed above.
You might be able to glimpse the icons on the handle, but then you have to remember what icon relates to which mode, hence my earlier recommendation of just labelling each mode with text.
For your benefit, the following graphic shows which icon relates to which brushing mode.
A noteworthy point is that if you are using the smartphone app in real-time, it will show you on screen the mode you have selected. You can if you like actually change the order of the brushing modes from within the app.
You should also know that unlike some toothbrushes, notably those from Sonicare, the Oral-B Genius, does not automatically turn itself off at the end of each cleaning cycle, you need to turn it off manually.
The oscillating-rotating and pulsating cleaning action that the small round brush heads deliver is proven (in clinical trials) to be the best and most effective cleaning action.
Sonicare’s sonic cleaning action is still extremely good, just different and requires a fraction more work from you, the user, than an Oral-B brush does.
The cleaning action from Oral-B brushes can feel a little more aggressive, whereas the Sonicare movements can feel a bit more gentle. That is my opinion though, everyone feels differently. Many prefer Sonicare and I would happily use either over a manual brush.
Depending on which variant you opt for will depend on the brush head supplied. It will either be a CrossAction or the Sensi UltraThin brush heads.
There are the 2 go to brush head styles from a range of brush heads that Oral-B offer.
The CrossAction has slightly firmer bristles, whereas the Sensi UltraThin as the name implies are softer and more gentle. Ideal for those with sensitive teeth and gums, it is these sensitive style brush heads that are usually most often recommended by dentists.
The brush heads simply push onto the brush handle, clipping into place and can easily be pulled off again.
In total there are 6 main styles of brush head, with a few extra, more specialist brush heads available.
All heads fit to the Oral-B Genius X and can, in theory, be used on any of the cleaning modes.
You do not have to use the same brush head style that came in the box with the brush you bought.
My recommendation is to opt for the Sensi UltraThin or CrossAction style head, but you may want to consult my guide to Oral-B brush heads to learn if there is another head beast suited to you.
An electric toothbrush can be used if you have implants, crowns and veneers as well as braces and dentures. But, brush heads like the Ortho and Interspace, in particular, will be best suited to brace wearers and those with bridges or implants respectively.
Toothbrush heads should be replaced on average every 3 months.
After 3 months of use the bristles begin to wear out and potentially can do more damage to the teeth and gums than good.
Place a reminder in your calendar, add a sticky note to your mirror or tell the Oral-B app when you last replaced the brush head.
Cleverly, Oral-B brush heads have blue bristles that fade over time. As the bristles fade to an almost translucent colour, this is your cue and reminder to replace.
If the bristles appeared frayed, splayed worn or generally damaged sooner than 3 months you should replace the brush head sooner.
If you opt for the luxe variant of this brush you will get 4 brush heads included in the box. That is a years supply for one user.
Unlike the Genius 9000, the Genius X does not come with a brush head storage compartment to stow spare or alternative heads. I think this is a shame.
You can actually share this toothbrush handle with another user, say your husband, wife or the kids.
Oral-B brush heads come with coloured rings, these act as identifiers as to whose brush head is whose. Learn more about these here.
Sharing the brush handle is also a great way to extend a little value from the toothbrush.
Do be aware though, sharing a toothbrush can have implications if you want to make use of the app. Whilst I explain the app in detail below, this article explains more about multiple users.
Sharing the toothbrush can also impact battery life. You still get the same usage time, but the built-in lithium-ion battery may require more frequent recharges.
Let me now explain what makes this brush so Genius.
The Oral-B Genius X 20000 has Bluetooth connectivity with Artificial Intelligence.
Built into the toothbrush handle is a gyroscope, accelerometer and 6 axis sensors.
That basically means electronics that can track the exact position of the brush in the mouth at any time.
When the brush is paired with the smartphone application, which is available for Android and iOS (download for Android here and iOS here), the brush can take this data and log it within the application for an accurate record of your brushing.
Please note. Your mobile device must have Bluetooth 4.0 to pair with the Genius X. You must also enable/allow the location permission settings if requested by the app for it to work correctly.
The AI part of all of this is that the software learns and adapts to you.
It takes the data from the sensors in the Genius X as well as a massive bank of data it holds from thousands of other Oral-B brush owners, to help you achieve the best standards of oral health care at home.
The best way I can describe it would be like having a dental professional watching you intently as you brush all the time, and they then give feedback. However, in this case, the feedback comes via the app and not a dental professional.
AI is a term widely used in a lot of technology products at present, it is very on-trend. Many manufacturers, of many different products, use it as a bit of a marketing ploy.
When the Genius 9000 launched in 2016, position detection technology was a new element to the smartphone app that attempted to enhance the accuracy of the brush tracking technology, by using the front-facing camera on your smartphone. However, this coupled with the need for the phone to be mounted in the suction cup smartphone holder made the whole process a bit clunky and over-complicated brushing the teeth.
The Genius X and the AI technology does away with the need for you to be stood in front of your smartphone camera and the need to mount the phone in a docking station.
Whilst there is a degree of clever AI software engineering going on here, being a cynic, this isn’t quite the AI that the likes of IBM Watson is employing.
Over the weeks I have been using it, the tracking did appear to get a bit more accurate, but it was far from perfect.
It rated my coverage when brushing in addition to data such as brushing time and pressure applied.
In practice how it works is you connect your Genius X to your smartphone and begin brushing. As you do, the on-screen graphics, a set of teeth, gradually turn from blue to a white colour as you brush all areas of the mouth. Essentially when all the teeth are white you have brushed correctly, hitting all areas.
If you stop your brushing session and not all the teeth are white, parts of the teeth remain blue. The parts that remain blue are the parts that you have not cleaned correctly.
From looking at the graphic, you can then see where you need to brush better next time or as the data is in real-time you can essentially be fixing your mistakes as you make them.
It is this graphic, along with some prefabricated text that is the primary feedback mechanism for telling you how you brushed.
On many occasions, there was a noticeable lag in it detecting where the brush was or it was simply wrong.
The brush appears to struggle at times to identify if you are brushing the inside, outside or biting surfaces of the teeth.
With Sonicare, their app identifies for you to brush certain areas and seems to track and log these specific areas with more accuracy.
For example, I can tell if I need to focus on just the inside surface of the upper right teeth, whereas the Oral-B graphics are not quite as specific.
I would suggest my brushing technique is above average, and I certainly managed to achieve a 100% coverage many times. But, in the first week to 10 days of testing, more often than not I had to brush for a little over 2 minutes and 30 seconds, rather than the normal 2 minutes.
Often, if I stopped brushing at 2 minutes the resulting feedback implied I had not brushed all areas correctly, therefore not achieving full coverage, but I would argue that I had.
By about 2 weeks, I just about managed (according to the app) to achieve 100% coverage in 2 minutes. It was I guess learning and the AI was adapting to my style. But my style didn’t really change I don’t think so I am not sure why it took so long to learn. It got there in the end!
Ultimately this setup does what it needs to do. It does show you areas you have missed and even if it is not quite as accurate as I would like, requiring you to brush for a little while longer, this is only going to help your oral health.
I do think Oral-B could enhance the app a little more. Better graphics, more specific text or vocal feedback.
Can the AI learn how to better demonstrate brushing errors to users?!
All the marketing spiel aside, the core aim here is to help you and I brush better at home, and it does this.
If we can brush our teeth better and generally achieve greater standards of oral health we should have less need for dental work, which can be costly and inconvenient.
Whether you think the idea of a smartphone app to help brush your teeth is a good idea or not, the intentions here are honourable.
The £160 spent on a toothbrush that alerts you to a poor brushing technique could be a lot cheaper than the necessary fillings, sealants and crowns you might need if you did not become aware or it.
You don’t have to use the app, it is optional. In fact, you can turn the Bluetooth element off entirely.
If you want to use the app, you can use it all the time or as and when you like. The more you use it, the more potential value you will get from it.
If you just want to check in and monitor your performance every so often that is perfectly fine.
The brush retains the last 30 brushing sessions worth of data and syncs when you open the app. In fact, the Genius X can even be scheduled to sync at certain times.
Despite having personally used the Genius 9000 daily for the last 3 years, I rarely refer to the app. In part, because I know I am brushing right, and in part, because I find it a little cumbersome.
I will be the first to admit, that the approach with the Genius X is better and much less hassle.
Although, Oral-B, a nice stand to hold my phone would have been useful. With no stand, you have to hold the phone in front of you so you can see the timer etc.
The younger cool kids may find things like this a bit more natural and get the most value from it.
The app is actually very comprehensive, with lots of parts to it, more than just live tracking.
I won’t go into every feature here, but as part of the app you have the ability to look back at all of your past brushing sessions to see how frequently you have brushed, see how accurate you were, how much pressure was applied and generally see if you have improved.
You can sign in or create an Oral-B Me account to backup your data to the Oral-B system for syncing to app should you change phones etc.
You can change the settings of the brush, from the colour of the LED smart ring, through to resetting the brush handle.
You can set brush head replacement reminders, change the length of the brushing time, set specific journeys to help you achieve personalised goals such as dealing with bad breath or fighting plaque.
There are customisable reminders to floss, use mouthwash or brush the tongue.
For those who like rewards, if you achieve certain streaks such as brushing for x days in a row, flossing for x days you unlock trophies.
Another noteworthy point is about how the use of the 2 minute timer and 30 second pacer differs when using the app. Essentially they are disabled.
At 30 second intervals, you get no visual indications on the screen to change quadrant. At 2 minutes you get no notification to end the clean. This is because you have the on-screen timer, but I am not sure how I feel about this.
Essentially you are left to brush your teeth for as little or long as you like.
Of course, the blue teeth that change colour are giving you the visual clues you need to spend time cleaning each section of the mouth, but I would have preferred the option to enable the timer and pacer when using the app, even if I continued to brush longer because I had missed areas.
For the record, there is also a separate Oral-B Fun Zone app, which in Oral-B’s words is ‘a gamification and social sharing experience that makes brushing fun’.
The Fun Zone app is not quite as feature-rich as the main app. It uses the front-facing camera to make you part of an onscreen routine, such as being part of a jungle, tracking your movements etc. If you want to share short clips to social media of you brushing your teeth, then go for it. I think I am a bit too old for that.
I do really like what Oral-B have done with the Genius X and the smartphone app. It certainly works, it certainly learns your brushing style and gives you the data to make more informed decisions and take more effective action when it comes to brushing your teeth, but a few tweaks and it could be even better.
For anyone who has spent years brushing their teeth not considering where their smartphone is, then adding this to your twice daily routine will take some practice, but it is not impossible.
Even if you are not sold on the idea, investing in it just for a few weeks, coupled with periodic check-in’s can be a really valuable means to check you are doing the best you can for your teeth.
As you can tell there is a lot to say about this brush and I have talked about most things now, but there are a couple of other quick things to touch upon.
The brush comes with a charging stand. I explain this more in the battery life section of the review, but what I don’t quite get is why it is white in colour?
White is the default colour of the Oral-B charging stand for all brushes, but it doesn’t look as great with the grey/black handle. How hard is it to produce a colour matched charging stand? Sonicare do.
A travel case is a really handy accessory for transporting your toothbrush, protecting it from damage and accidental activation in transit. The Genius X comes with a travel case, a premium travel case that holds the brush handle and up to 2 brush heads.
A thicker, better quality case, it has this smooth, yet slightly grippy coating to it and opens up like a book.
Once opened, there is even a place to sit your smartphone, so you can conveniently place it and use the app when travelling.
Why does the case have a smartphone holder, but there isn’t a separate one in the box for use when you are not travelling?!
Unlike most other travel cases you can actually charge the Genius X whilst it is in the case.
I reiterate this in the battery life section of this review, but the implementation of the in case charging is inferior to Sonicare.
The case is referred to by many as a USB charging travel case, but it does not charge via USB!
Instead of a USB cable being hard-wired into the case and accepting charge via a USB socket or power adapter like Sonicare do, you are instead supplied with an Oral-B proprietary power adapter.
This is a 2 pin (UK shaver socket) power adapter with a small 2 pin connector at the other end that fits to the travel case.
You have to use this power adapter. It means an extra thing to carry when travelling. Therefore bulkier and less convenient than Sonicare’s option.
Granted, there is a USB socket on the case, but this is for passthrough power only. You can’t charge the brush via this port.
The idea is you charge the likes of a smartphone via this USB connector.
You need to supply your own USB cable and the Oral-B power adapter must be connected to the mains to pass this power through.
Now, this might be even more nerdy and picky, but I will say it.
The travel case has a place to mount your smartphone. It has a place to connect a power cable to it also. Most phones have their power connector on the bottom. Therefore if you want to charge your phone whilst in the stand on the case, you will need to sit it in landscape orientation. All good.
However, suppose you want to use the Oral-B app at the same time as you charge your phone, you can, but you sort of can’t.
You see the Oral-B app does not orient landscape on a smartphone. It is fixed to portrait. So to use the app effectively, you need to stop charging the phone, sit it in portrait mode and then use it.
Argh, this is really frustrating. Oral-B’s own promotional video for this brush demos the smartphone connected and sat in place within the case, but conveniently doesn’t mention you can’t use the app at the same time!
I can’t help think whilst this solution works, it is a bit of a fail. It could have been executed better and I think many will be disappointed with how it works. Do you agree?
Given the brushes battery life, if you are not travelling for long, maybe you won’t need the charger. But, it is a feature so you want to at least try to use it.
Finally, the brush does come with a 2 year warranty that can be extended at no cost to 3 years and you do also have the option of trying the brush and returning it if you are not happy. Oral-B has and clearly state that there is a 30 day risk free trial/money back guarantee.
Summary of design, usability, clean & general use
- Anthracite grey, black, blush pink or rose gold colour options
- Solid well-constructed brush handle
- Grippy rubber on the rear ensures the brush remains in hand
- White illumination for cleaning modes, power indicator etc
- Dedicated power and cleaning mode buttons
- 6 cleaning modes (Daily Clean, Pro Clean, Sensitive, Whitening, Gum Care, Tongue Clean)
- Icons for only 5 of the 6 modes on the brush handle
- 1 or 4 brush heads included subject to variant
- CrossAction or Sensi UltraThin brush heads supplied, others available separately
- Built-in 2 minute timer and 30 second pacer
- LED smart ring can be set 1 of 12 colours
- Pressure sensor to alert you when brushing with excess force
- No brush head storage compartment supplied
- No smartphone holder supplied
- Bluetooth connectivity to record your brushing history via app for Android and iOS
- AI technology intelligently tracks, records and suggests improvements to your cleaning and can be customised and programmed to your needs and goals
- The implementation is improved over previous iterations
- The app could still do with some work to improve the accuracy of tracking and quality of feedback
- The travel case that hold the Genius X and 2 brush heads
- The brush can be charged in the case whilst charging a USB device also
- Travel case requires a dedicated power adapter
- Case does not charge via a USB cable
- Water-resistant and can be used in the shower
- 3 year warranty if you register online for a free additional year over the 2 included as standard
- 30 day money back guarantee
If you asked me what the average battery life from an electric toothbrush was today, my response would be 2 weeks (14 days).
However, many manufacturers are pushing the boundaries, 3-5 weeks, even a couple of months is now not uncommon.
Of the major brands, it is Philips Sonicare that lead the charge (no pun intended), with many of their brushes outperforming the claimed battery life and more often than not achieving 3+ weeks usage on a full charge.
Oral-B claim that the Genius X offers ‘over 2 weeks’ of battery life on a single charge.
My initial reaction to this is disappointment, particularly when many of Oral-B’s own cheaper models have a claimed (and tested) battery life of 16 days.
You would expect like me, that the more expensive and more feature-rich brush would offer the best battery life right?
To be fair, there are more features to drain the battery on the X than there are other models, but when the claimed life is virtually what I deem average today the Genius X is not off to a great start.
I should also state at this point that the luxe editions of the Genius X gain no technical or better battery performance than the standard model.
Naturally, I put the Genius X through its paces to see just how long I could get on a full charge.
After several tests, the average battery life I achieved from the fully charged Genius X was 66 minutes.
This equates to 16.5 days of battery life, based on 2 cleans per day, each at the standard 2 minutes of brushing time.
So, it is a bit of a thumbs up here in that the battery does last ‘over 2 weeks’.
But, there is a bit of a catch.
As the battery power gets below roughly 20%, the battery indicator begins to flash red, to alert you to low remaining battery power. This is the point you really want to get it back on the charging stand.
At this point, there is a drop in the power of the toothbrush and this gets worse as you really seek out the remaining power from the battery.
14 days or 2 weeks or brushing is fine, the last 2 days (day 15 and 16), you would notice the less powerful motion of the brush head.
Therefore, the Genius X, just about achieves what I consider average battery life.
Whilst acceptable, I don’t think Oral-B is really giving you and I the value we deserve.
Sonicare’s DiamondClean Smart achieved 25 days of use on a single charge in my hands-on testing, that is an extra 11 days. And no, the brush handle is not really any thicker or larger.
Despite my pleas for Oral-B to offer a longer battery life, the habits of users generally mean it is not necessary. Most people will actually pop their brush back onto the charging stand when they are done brushing, topping up the battery in between uses.
It is perfectly safe to leave the brush on the charging stand, connected to power and always on charge.
The Genius X has technology inside which automatically stops the brush charging once it is fully charged.
Supplied in the box is a charging stand. It is white in colour and has a protuberance on the top, which fits into the recess on the base of the toothbrush handle.
You don’t physically connect a power cable to the brush handle. It essentially charges wirelessly.
The stand is a little wider and deeper than the brush handle itself and is a few centimetres tall.
Hardwired into the charging stand is a power cable that has a 2 pin plug on the end.
This 2 pin plug is suitable for the power/shaver sockets found in bathrooms in the UK. It is not a 2 pin European (EU) plug.
The 2 pin connector works on 220-240v and can be connected to a 3 pin UK socket with the use of an adapter.
Wondering how this works and what adapter you would need? I have written a separate article that explains 2 pin plug adapter in more detail, if you are interested.
For those who are interested, the power cord on the charging stand is about 90cm (3 feet) in length.
It takes up to 12 hours to fully re-charge the lithium-Ion battery built inside the toothbrush handle.
When on the charging stand, the LED’s on the brush handle will usually illuminate and then the battery icon on the handle flash a white light as the battery is replenished.
If the battery is completely flat, it can take up to 30 minutes on charge before any lights come on or the toothbrush is usable again.
The battery icon lights will continue to flash until the battery is fully charged. Once fully charged the lights will go out.
You don’t have to have the brush fully charged to use it, you can take it off the charging stand at any point in the charging cycle.
Of course, one of the unique features of the Genius X is the charging travel case. It is similar in its operation to the charging stand, but the brush lays in the case rather than standing upright on the stand.
To charge the brush in the case, you need to use the proprietary (Oral-B specific) power adapter.
This power adapter connects to a 2 pin shaver socket, just like the charging stand does, but the cable which is approximately 180cm (6ft) long can be detached from the travel case itself.
This does mean that should you travel outside the UK, to the likes of the USA or the EU, you still need a plug adapter for the travel cases power adapter. You do not need a voltage adapter as the plug is rated for 100-240v.
Whilst you are most likely to take the travel case with you when going overseas, you could take the charging stand, but you would need to consider the destination countries voltages and power adapters. My article on travelling with an electric toothbrush, tells you all you need to know.
When on charge, the lights on the brush handle will act in the same way as they would on the charging stand, but there is also a green LED on the bottom edge of the case, so you can see the charging status when the case is closed.
There is a USB port on the travel case, and often sellers of the Genius X, both online and offline refer to as a USB charging travel case.
Let me make this clear because the sales patter and marketing is not all that obvious…
You cannot connect the Genius X travel case to a USB socket or power adapter and charge the brush inside the case.
The USB port allows you to connect up a USB device, such as your smartphone and charge that at the same time as your toothbrush, providing you have the Oral-B power adapter connected to the travel case.
The USB socket on the case is for passthrough power only.
No USB cables are provided in the box with the Genius.
The case itself also does not have a battery inside to charge the toothbrush. The brush will only be charged in the case when the power adapter is connected.
This is where the Sonicare USB charging cases are much more appealing. They have a hardwired or detachable USB cables that allow the toothbrush to be charged in the case, from a USB port/power adapter, without the need for a proprietary plug adapter.
So, the Genius X just about scrapes through with a pass mark on battery life. Neither poor nor great, I think most would agree, it could do better here.
Summary of battery life
- Claimed ‘over 2 weeks’ of battery life
- Achieves up to 16 days usage (66 minutes) based on 2 cleans a day
- Cleaning power drops considerably at 14 days due to low power
- Battery flashes red when power is approx 20% or less
- Battery icons flash white when on charge
- Battery icons will stop flashing when fully charged
- It takes up to 12 hours to fully charge
- It can be left on the charger
- A charging stand is included in the box
- Charging stand works on 220-240 volts
- Travel case allows the brush to be charged whilst inside
- Oral-B specific power adapter required for the travel case
- USB passthrough power to charge the likes of a smartphone
- The brush cannot be charged via a USB cable whilst in the travel case
- Competition offers better battery life and USB charging travel cases
Price & where to buy
I have included links to buying options here at the start of the review.
In the section below, I discuss the price more generally and in relation to similar products.
The recommended retail price (RRP) of the Genius X depends on exactly which variant you opt for.
The ‘luxe’ editions have a £20 price premium over the standard model.
You do get 3 extra brush heads and more artistic flares on the travel case, so this premium is somewhat justified.
However, the luxe model or not the £339.99 and £359.99 price tags are ones that I imagine you would take one look at and say ‘no thank you’ to.
Thankfully, electric toothbrushes in the UK, particularly Oral-B typically sell at 50% of the retail price.
Why? I am not entirely sure. Something to do with marketing and buyer psychology I imagine.
It sounds better if you purchased it with 50% off the price, doesn’t it? That said, it is less of a deal when the reality is that 50% off is actually the ‘normal’ price.
I purchased this Oral-B Genius X Bluetooth and AI enabled toothbrush I am reviewing. I did not receive it as a sample or for free from Oral-B.
I should make you aware I pre-ordered it before the product launched and received it the day it launched.
I paid £169.99 for this luxe variant. That is actually 53% off the RRP.
51% is the discount on the standard model, selling at £164.99.
As you can tell, that higher RRP wasn’t even the price I paid on the very day it launched.
Prices are always subject to change and vary from one retailer to another. I know some will stick to and sell the Genius X at the full retail price.
What I am saying, is that you don’t need to be the savviest shopper to save yourself a whole lot of cash.
To contextualise things a little. The Genius 9000 that came before the X has a £299.99 price tag. After 3 years, the average selling price is around about £135.
Thus, although more expensive the Genius X does not actually command a significant premium for the new features it brings, and over time we will likely see another £20-30 shaved off the price.
To me, therefore, the current pricing of £164.99 and £169.99 are realistic and appropriate for a toothbrush as feature-rich as the Genius X.
Assuming the price difference between these two models remains consistent, I see little reason to opt for the standard model, go for the luxe and get an extra 3 brush heads for just £5.
Ultimately, pay a price you deem fair and are happy to pay.
Price is a way to compare toothbrushes, and whilst prices are always subject to change, I like to try and offer a bit of a yardstick to measure each model by, to aid you when making your choice.
Therefore, what I do is price the toothbrush over a 3 year period, working out what it costs you to own, this includes buying the toothbrush handle and replacement brush heads.
In this calculation, I will use the more expensive, but better value luxe edition, that comes with the extra brush heads as the basis for my calculations.
Based on 1 user over a 3 year period, you will require 12 replacement brush heads. It comes with 4 in the box, so you will need to purchase another 8.
On average an Oral-B brush head works out at £3. This adds a cost of £24 onto the purchase price.
If sold at the full £369.99 retail price, the cost over 3 years, including the replacement heads would come to £393.99 or 36p per day.
At the more sensible £169.99, this price drops to £193.99 or 18p per day.
For the sake of comparison, the Genius 9000 at time of launch worked out at 16p per day, so the X is a bit more expensive, but not unsurprisingly really as we are 3 years on.
In fairness to the Genius X, the desirable Sonicare DiamondClean Smart comes in at a massive 37p per day.
The much less feature-rich Pro 3 3500 from Oral-B comes in at 7p per day whilst the mid-range Smart 5 5000 costs on average of 11p.
These price calculations do exclude the cost of water, toothpaste and electric to charge the brush. This price also works on some assumptions, but you get a rough idea.
You can bring the cost down further if you were to share it with other members of your household. All you need do is invest in is extra brush heads.
Please note that all prices quoted are approximates and will vary based on location, supplier and time of purchase. These figures were correct at the time of writing and should not be relied upon as hard fact, but used as a guide during your decision process.
Summary of price & where to buy
- Live price comparison and buying options here
- Recommended retail price of £339.99 and £369.99 for the standard and luxe models
- Generally available with 50% or more off RRP; circa £164.99 and £169.99
- Works out at around 18p per day over 3 years
- Share brush handle with another user to extend value
Reliability & long term use
For nearly 5 years I have been actively testing and reviewing toothbrushes, many of which have been Oral-B.
I have actually used an Oral-B electric toothbrush for much longer, prior to being a ‘toothbrush tester/critic’.
To date, not 1 brush has failed on me or the many I know who also use such products.
I don’t think this is luck, I believe it is a sign of the robust research, design and production standards that Oral-B products have gone through.
The materials, fit and finish and durability of Oral-B products are very good.
But, I would be a fool to imply that their toothbrushes are faultless and last forever, they won’t.
Electrical products, particularly those exposed to water like a toothbrush is will wear out or fail at some point.
The average life of an electric toothbrush tends to be about 3-5 years, although I do believe most Oral-B products are closer to the 5 year mark.
As standard, you get a 2 year (24 month) warranty when you purchase the Genius X from new.
Go online and register the brush with Oral-B (it takes just a couple of minutes) and a third year is provided for free.
For 36 months, you can use the Genius safe in the knowledge that the warranty is there to cover you should the worst happen.
All things considered, the Genius X is an excellent toothbrush.
Your teeth feel fantastically clean after each use. It offers the essential features as well as many ‘nice to have’ options, and ultimately it gets my vote.
The iO Series 9 has been launched and supersedes the X. Yet, it still doesn’t resolve the issue of requiring a proprietary power adapter to charge it in the case.
For the majority of toothbrush users, as good as the Genius X is, it offers features that will be rarely used. Or simply put, are not required.
The Pro 3 3500 is considerably cheaper more and offers what you need.
To get real value from the X, you need to really commit to making use of the smartphone application. If you do, you will not be disappointed, it is ultimately what sets the Genius X apart from the rest.
- Height (without head) – 20.5cm
- Height (with head) – 23.5cm
- Width – 2.7cm
- Thickness – 3.2cm
- Weight (without head) – 133g
- Weight (with head) – 138g
All are approximates
- How do you turn Bluetooth on or off on the Genius X?
- You can turn off/deactivate Bluetooth by pressing the power on/off button at the same time as the cleaning mode button. Press the 2 buttons for 2 seconds until the Bluetooth indicator turns off.
- To turn Bluetooth back on, repeat this procedure, but at the end of 2 seconds, the Bluetooth light will come back on.
- Where can I download the Oral-B app?