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Oral-B Triumph with Smart Guide 

I was more than a little skeptical when a toothbrush priced at over £130 arrived here for review. At first I thought there must be some mistake in the pricing - but no. This is the most advanced toothbrush in the Oral-B range.

Orab-B Triumph toothbrush with Smart Guide from Braun

I've been a fan of electric toothbrushes for a number of years now, but have been generally let down by the quality of the product, which often fails after a few months. Although not expensive in money terms - the sheer waste gets to me. Each of those (and I won't mention names) probably cost between £10 and £20 - often on special offer.

The Orab-B Triumph is in a different class. Opening the package you'll find inside the toothbrush, rechargining 'station', a 'smart-guide' device that I'll come onto in a moment and two brush heads.

The toothbrush

It's a fairly hefty unit compared with cheaper models, but that is no bad thing. The handle provides a good grip and the whole device feels solid to use. The weight comes primarily from the integrated rechargable battery. A full charge is claimed to give around two weeks usage, which seems to be reasonable given my experience. There are two control buttons on the handle and a small LCD display giving you a clear indication of remaining charge.

You are provided with two different brush heads in the package : a 'floss action' head for every day use and a 'ProBright' polishing head for occassional use.

Being full of electronic wizardry, the Triumph has more than a simple on-off control. A second button allows you to select a brushing 'mode'. There are four to choose from :

  • Clean - the default standard cleaning mode providing 40,000 pulsations per minute
  • Sensitive which just seemed to be a slower speed
  • Massage which is ideal for gums. This mode has a start-stop action
  • Polish which starts slow - ramps up the speed then repeats

One personal annoyance I found the mode button to be exactly where I rest my thumb and I was forever accidently changing modes!

In use I found the Triumph felt much better than the cheaper devices I had been using and seemd to give more consistent operation. Although a little subjective my teeth did feel better afterwards!

Charging Unit

The charging station snaps together easily and the toothbrush sits within a cradle. There are no exposed electrical connections so the charging appears to be via some inductive loop system. This has the advantage of allowing the toothbrush to be a completely sealed unit - no opportunity for water to leak into the internals! You can leave the toothbrush in the holder to maintain charge.

If you plug everything together then you have a charging and storage unit that will hold four brush heads. The charging part is actually separate and can be used in isolation, which is ideal for when you're on your travels. The outer shell of the unit contains no electrical elements is diswasher safe (great idea!). The shell can get messy and can be cleaned, the lack of direct electrical connection with the toothbrush means the shell actually protects the charger from getting messy. The attention to little details like this are always good to find, and shows the designers are actually thinking about the wider issues.

Smart Guide

Personally I think this is a bit of a gimmick, but some people will undoubtedly appreciate the functionality. Luckily for those that don't require this part of the package the Triumph can be bought without Smart Guide!

So... what is it. A small LCD panel measuring 11x6x3cm (WxHxD). There are no external buttons of any kind. The display (wait for it) communicates wirelessly with your toothbrush. I really have seen everything now! When not in operation the Smart Guide can show the time if you take the effort to set the time initially, something I have to admit to having not done.

The real purpose of the display is to help you stick to a dentist recommended cleaning regime, which comprises a two minute brushing periond, which you spend 30 seconds on each of the four quadrants of your mouth. In this respect it is actually useful, with hindsight and a busy day I probably seldomely managed a full two minutes.

As soon as you start the brush a time counter starts ticking away the two minutes. Every 30 seconds a quarter of a circle is filled, and the toothbrush gives a 'judder' indicating you should proceed to the next area of your mouth.

As well as timer there are icons to show which of the four modes you're currently using (see above) and a 'pressure' alarm icon. This is backlit and comes on if you are pressing the brush head too hard against your teeth.

The Smart Guide comes complete with a wall mounting bracket and will work with up to two separate brush units (obviously not simulataneously!). Is it a gimmick? I'll leave that up to you to decide, but if you have an opinion then please comment down below!

30 Day Challenge and Performance Gaurantee

The box the Tiumph came in proudly announces a 30-day challenge that allows you to return your Triumph purchase within 30 days if in that time you are not completely satisfied.

Reading the user guide that comes with the product however offers UK residents what appears to be exactly the same gaurantee, but for 2 years. To quote : "Improved oral care does not happen overnight. At Oral-B, we recognize that fact. That's why we offer you 24 months to adjust to the new Oral-B Triumph with Smart Guide..."

This claim doesn't appear on the box, but is worth bearing in mind.

Summary

A toothbrush for over £100? Frankly I expected to be disappointed. In fact I've been pleasantly surprised. Despite my doubts about the usefulness of the Smart Guide, the brush itself is actually very good and a huge improvement over the cheaper brushes I've been used in the past.

The good news is that since this brush arrived many places have reduced the price to £68.99 and at that price, assuming it lasts the 24 months of the guarantee, is actually very good value.

For other sceptics of the SmartGuide, you can buy the Triumph toothbrush by itself although you don't save a lot of money. Without Smart Guide then Triumph 9500 is priced at around £54.99.

You'll also have to buy new brush heads periodically. Braun appear to be pushing this brush quite hard at the moment so you can buy a pack of 8 heads for £12.49 (RRP £24.99). Each head should be good for 3 months use at the recommended twice daily 2 minute regime. A pack of 8 will therefore last you two years. Not bad!

You can find more information and details of the various options on the Braun/Oral-B web-site.

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Rating:

Comment by Phil, Sep 9, 2011 13:31

Very happy with the end results. Landfill? NO! If you're handy with a soldering iron (or you know someone who is) there are plenty of on-line videos demonstrating how to change the integral battery. I paid £2 for a battery which was a breeze to replace.
Rating:

Comment by Gillian McLees, May 19, 2010 13:23

I was given a Smart Oral B as a gift and i loved it.  Apart from spending a fortune on all the different kinds of heads, it can become a little compulsive.  
However, all that changed when just a little over the 2 year guarantee, my tooth brush died, it just no longer charges.  I have spoken to customer services and apparently it seems my battery has come to the end of it's life expectancy.  Once this happens, the whole unit is defunct.  The dead battery can't be replaced, nor can you buy just a new hand held unit to use with your current smart system.  Apparently they expect the battery to last for 3 years, but this depends on how often you brush your teeth, three years is based on brushing for 2 min twice a day.  Naughty me must have brushed my teeth more than that since mine only lasted just over two years.  
So just be aware the unit will only last 3 years at the very most.  Then it will become landfill.
I think they should tell people this when you are looking to buy it.  Does the British Dental Health Foundation, who recommend it, know that the more you brush your teeth with this product the more you reduce it's working life.  Not the brush heads, that makes sense, but the whole unit becomes defunct!    
Rating:

Comment by erik electric toothbrush ratings, Mar 28, 2009 0:35

I used this toothbrush with great success and absolutely love it!  The pressure sensor and reminder to replace the brush heads really come in handy.  If you wanna, http://www.electrictoothbrushratingsonline.com is where I wrote my complete personal review and ratings of my experience with this electric toothbrush.
Rating:

Comment by AndersR, Mar 17, 2009 11:37

@ barcar: If you have two of these they won't interfere with each other - There's a manual included in the box that tells you how to set it up properly. If you're not living in the UK or the US you can't buy from Amazon, but http://www.mailmedental.com has them as well and at a price almost similar to the Amazon price.
@angelbiker: 8 heads for 12.95 sounds very cheap - even for precision cleans on sale. Be very careful, as there's a lot of copies out there and they won't brush your teeth the way they are supposed to be brushed. Only shop a stores with original Oral-B products.
Rating:

Comment by barcar, Jan 30, 2009 7:36

Has anybody got two of these in their home? Do they interfere with each other when communicating with their own SmartGuide if both are being used at the same time?
Rating:

Comment by Angelbiker, Nov 20, 2008 10:24

I've been thinking of getting one of these toothbrushes and found your report very useful. Can you tell me though where you would get the pack of 8 replacement heads for the £12.49 price you quoted? Thanks!!
Rating:

Comment by petew, Dec 26, 2007 10:22

Hi Carl, the excess pressure indicator was the most useful aspect of the smart guide - although it could have been integrated into the main toothbrush.

That said - Amazon now have the 9900 (with smart display) for £49.99. That makes it £5 cheaper than the 9500 that doesn't have the display. That makes the decision a little easier!
Rating:

Comment by Carl Whitford, Dec 23, 2007 0:26

Personally i found the smart guide very usefull. My dentist has been telling me for ages that i'm brushing too hard, but until now no toothbrush has ever been able to tell me if i am or when i am. Also the display on screen also reminds you of which cleaning function the brush is set on enabling you to check without having to stop brushing and check.

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