On Sunday, Oral-B wen ahead with their product launch in Barcelona which should have been part of the now-cancelled MWC.

The new Oral-B iO has some big claims behind it, it has been 6 years in the making with over 250 patents and a first of its kind smooth magnetic system for an almost silent brushing experience. Impressive stuff, but what does all that mean?

At MWC 2019 I was demoed the new Oral-B Genius X, which at the time also had many big claims of how great it was and the fact it was the first AI toothbrush, it had a big price tag too, £340 at launch, now being sold for £169.99.

The Oral-B Genius X was basically the same as the Oral-B Genius 9000 which preceded it, both being app control including a 2-minute professional brush timer. The Genius X just took things a little further by feedbacking its position to your mouth indicating the area and pressure. It uses the data and AI technology to track where you are actually brushing in your mouth and offers personalized feedback on the areas that require additional attention, for better oral health.

So what does the Oral-B iO add that justifies 6 years of development and 250 patents?

Oral-B iO vs Oral-B Genius X – Does electric toothbrush tech progress enough for yearly product launches? And is it worth £340+? 1

From the press release:

  • Key features of Oral-B’s iOTM include an interactive screen display, a visual timer, AI brushing recognition technology via the Oral-B app, smart pressure sensor technology for optimal cleaning and a sleek magnetic charger. Oral-B has re-imagined, re-engineered and redefined what a toothbrush can be, transforming brushing your teeth from something you have to do, into something you want to do.
  • The Interactive Display enables easy navigation through the brush features and personalization: welcoming greetings, choice of brushing modes, language settings and reminders to change the brush head.
  • The Smart Pressure Sensor guides users to apply optimal cleaning pressure. The sensor warns of overpressure with a red light and indicates in green when users are applying the optimal cleaning pressure, maximizing the effectiveness of Oral-B iO’s™ iconic round brush head, inspired by dentist tools.
  • The sleek magnetic charger provides a fast full charge in just ~three hours. The brush display provides an easy-to-read battery strength indicator.
  • The new Oral-B app provides 3D graphics and the AI Brushing Recognition technology with artificial intelligence, recognizes all areas within the mouth, guiding users toward 100 percent brushing area completion.
  • The Visual Timer provides personalized guidance for users to reach their best clean yet. The timer tracks each brushing session duration, so users know when they have brushed for the dentist-recommended two minutes. Smiley icons on the display lets users know if they have achieved their goal.

Oscillation rotation with NEW revolutionary micro-vibrations.

When I originally posted this article, the press release and information about the new Oral-B iO was a little vague about how it was better than the existing app-controlled, AI-powered Genius X.

They have now kindly provided some clarification. A first for brushing technology, the iO clean combines oscillation rotation with NEW revolutionary micro-vibrations.

The traditional back and forth cleaning motion of oscillation rotation with the up-and-down motion of micro-vibrations guides the iconic, dentist-inspired, round brush head gently from tooth to tooth, ensuring maximum coverage of teeth and gums in every direction to achieve iO clean.

Traditional gear based drives feature a mechanical gear and a turning motor creating friction, energy losses and noise. While traditional Sonic technologies also feature magnets in the drive system, the movement energy is not always focused and the movement is also more limited (lower amplitude). Oral-B iO has a direct energy transfer to the bristle tips and a larger movement range to drive the oscillating-rotating head.

The micro-vibrations are produced by the high frequency (145Hz) direction changes of the brush head, and the toothbrush bristles sweeping across the tooth surface. This produces fine vibrations, synchronized with the head oscillation/rotation motion – which allow the brush to smoothly glide tooth by tooth.

Apparently this allows the toothbrush to achieve the lowest ever plaque scores during their testing.

So what else is different compared to the Oral-B Genius X?

Oral-B iO vs Oral-B Genius X – Does electric toothbrush tech progress enough for yearly product launches? And is it worth £340+? 2

The above photo indicates the Genius X and 9000 are basically the same, but the X has AI.

Now that Oral B has clarified what the magnetic iO drive system is, it would seem that's where most of the work went into when developing this toothbrush.

Apart from that, the new Oral-B iO offers 7 brushing modes vs 6 of the previous two models. You also get a small interactive display which provides information such as what mode you are in and a smiley face when you are done. Very useful.

Oral-B iO vs Oral-B Genius X – Does electric toothbrush tech progress enough for yearly product launches? And is it worth £340+? 3

How much does it cost and where can I buy it?

The technology in this toothbrush is so advanced they have been unable to announce a price or a release date.

The existing Genius X launched sometime in summer for £340 with its first listing on Amazon early June, by late June it dropped to £160, it has dropped as low as £110.50 and typically sits around £160.

From what I can tell the Oral-B Genius 9000 is practically archaic being launched sometime in 2016 for around £300 and now sells for around £120.

So I would expect this new toothbrush to launch for at least £340, likely higher, then drop by around 50% within a month.

Is it any good?

I don't want this post to be overly negative, So I think it is worth pointing out that Oral-B products are incredibly well-reviewed on Amazon and by all accounts are superior to the Philips Sonicare DiamondClean which is probably the main premium alternative.

I can't personally comment on the performance of the Genius X, as I never reviewed it.

When I did a comparison of Oral B and Philips Sonicare, the Oral-B Genius 9000 had vastly superior reviews than the DiamondClean which was plagued 1-star reviews.

Last update on 2020-09-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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