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Hands on: Oral-B Genius X review

Shaping up to be electric tooth(brush) pick of 2019

What is a hands on review?

Early Verdict

Oral-B Genius X is shaping up to be the most advanced electric toothbrush to date, with powerful deep cleaning motors combined with AI-learning behaviors. Really, the AI layer is the only thing that differentiates this toothbrush from Oral-B's other cheaper Bluetooth-connected smart brushes. But letting you know 'you missed a spot' could change your brushing habits enough to make your smile better – or at least make your next dentist appointment cheaper.

For

  • Intelligent brushing feedback
  • Same great brushing motors
  • New, sleeker travel case

Against

  • Most expensive brush yet
  • No USB-C charging

Update: The Oral-B Genius X toothbrush release will be in September, just in time to pair with your new iPhone 11, and the price will be $279 (about £220, AU$397).

Don't bristle at the Oral-B Genius X toothbrush we tested out at CES 2019. It just may help your smile sparkle more brightly through its intelligent brushing tips.

Yes, it's an AI-equipped electric toothbrush, meaning it tracks where you're brushing (and not brushing enough) in your mouth. It then details where you need the most attention on a phone app via Bluetooth, so you can clean up that brushing technique of yours.

Is Oral-B's 'AI toothbrush' label a little overblown? Perhaps. But you shouldn't get too gummed up as to whether or not this counts as true AI. It's smart enough to learn which quadrant you spend the least time in, and then it compares your habits to thousands of different pre-programmed brushing styles.

The promise here is that it'll coach you on your individual brushing technique – as unique as a fingerprint, according to Oral-B – enough to actually change your oral health. We'll have to spend more time reviewing it to ensure it does just that.

Oral-B's previous smartphone-connected toothbrushes (ones that lacked the AI layer), did help us become more aware of our brushing shortfalls. To that point, the company says that the average person brushes between 30 and 60 seconds, thinking they do a full two minutes. With the phone app, the average brushing time is over the two-minute mark, says Oral-B.

There are five different Oral-B Genius X colors at launch: white, black, rose gold, orchid purple and anthracite grey. And the company promises to include a new, sleek and modern travel case. That's highly needed. Previous Oral-B cases were too big to be worth the toiletries bag space. We'll have to see how this case looks once it launches. Bonus: the case has a USB port so you can charge a smartphone.

If the proposed $279 Oral-B Genius X price is too steep, the company sells its current top-of-the-line toothbrush, the Oral-B Genius Pro 8000, for $150 (about £118, AU$209) through Amazon.

Early verdict

There are a lot of smartphone-connected Oral-B toothbrush options on sale today and the motors are just as powerful. But this forthcoming fifth-generation version actually adds a second helpful layer with its use of AI. It sounds legitimately useful.

It doesn't just time your overall brushing, but breaks it down by quadrant. Right-handed brushers, for example, are told by their dentists all of the time that they underbrush their right side (and vice versa for left-handed brushers).

Toothbrush apps and timers have helped people go from 60 seconds of brushing time (thinking they did two minutes) to a full two minutes. This brush could have the same effect on how evenly you brush inside your mouth.

The term AI gets thrown around a lot these days, though. But if the Oral-B Genius X works as advertised, it'll be smart enough to make this our electric tooth(brush) pick.

What is a hands on review?

Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.