The Flexcare Platinum is perhaps Philips Sonicare’s most feature packed electric toothbrush to date. From a well designed travel case to a brush head sterilizer that uses UV light to kill germs, there is no doubt that you are getting a whole lot of electric toothbrush for your cash.
But do these features enhance the Flexcare Platinum? Or are they unnecessary bells and whistles designed to get you to spend more money than is necessary on an electric toothbrush?
Join us as we answer both of these questions and more, allowing you to make the right decision when buying your new electric toothbrush.
Philips Sonicare Flexcare Platinum Unboxing
Curiously, on the front of the box the Flexcare Platinum is referred to as the 8 series, however this is the only mention you will find of 8 Series anywhere on the toothbrush or in the manual.
If you open the box of your new Flexcare Platinum electric toothbrush, this is what you will find inside:
Let’s break it down:
- Philips Sonicare Flexcare Platinum handle
- Adaptive Clean brush head
- Intercare brush head
- Brush head protectors
- Travel case
- Charging base and UV sanitizer
- Travel charger
- Instruction manual
You will also find some paperwork to extend the warranty an additional 6 months by registering online as well as a coupon book offering discounts of replacement brush heads and other Philips Sonicare products.
Philips Sonicare Flexcare Platinum handle
Despite the box containing a lot of contents, the star of the box is almost certainly the Flexcare Platinum handle. Here you will find more bells and whistles than on any other Sonicare model.
Unlike other Sonicare’, the Flexcare Platinum has three separate buttons on the front face of the handle. Working your way from top to bottom, the first button you will come across is the power button:
The power button is made from steel and definitely helps give the Flexcare platinum a premium feel.
As you would expect, the power button does little more than turn the toothbrush on or off.
Moving down the face of the handle you will come across another two buttons, this time made from a hard gray plastic:
If you press the longer of the two buttons you will toggle through the speed settings. There are three speeds to choose from and pressing the plus and minus button toggles between each.
- Low – The equivalent of “sensitive” mode on other Sonicare toothbrushes.
- Medium – A middle ground between fast and slow.
- High – The same as “standard” mode on other Sonicare models
The speed setting has been designed for those of you with sensitive teeth and gums. If you find the high speed a little too aggressive you can slow it down to a gentler setting for a more comfortable brushing experience.
The small round button closest to the base of the toothbrush handle toggles through three brushing modes:
- Clean – The default brushing mode
- White 2 minutes of brushing and 30 seconds of polishing
- Deep Clean 3 minutes alternating between cleaning and massaging.
I’ll be straight up; the White and Deep Clean brushing modes are little more than gimmicks. The vast majority of you will only use the standard Clean mode on one of the three speed settings. If the brushing mode button didn’t exist on the Flexcare Platinum, you would not miss it.
On the base of the handle you will find a small socket:
The charging base slides into the socket and charges the battery of the Flexcare Platinum. I will cover in detail how charging works further down the review.
Around the outside of the socket some specifications are printed including model number (HX9160), the battery inside (Lithium-Ion) and the country the Flexcare Platinum was manufactured in (China).
Flipping toothbrush handle over will reveal the rear:
The entire rear is covered in a hard plastic case. If you look closely at the above picture you will be able to make out small bumps molded into the plastic.
When you hold the toothbrush in your hand your fingers will naturally fall over the bumpy rear, providing extra grip even with wet hands. While the bumps are not as effective as the rubber grips you find on other toothbrushes, they do their job.
The small rectangular piece of plastic at the base of the handle stops the Flexcare Platinum from rolling off your bathroom counter when you place it down.
A metal shaft sits out the top of the toothbrush handle.
The toothbrush heads slide over the metal shaft and lock into place. A slight tug is all that is required to remove the brush head from the shaft.
Flexcare Platinum Brush Heads
The Flexcare comes with two different brush heads and each offers a very different brushing experience.
The larger of the two brush heads is the Adaptive Clean. It contains a mixture of soft and medium bristles to help remove as much plaque as possible as well as to help polish teeth (works particularly well with a whitening toothpaste).
The smaller of the brush heads is the Intercare. The clusters of longer bristles on the Intercare are designed to remove plaque from between your teeth and along your gum line.
All up there are 10 different types of Sonicare brush heads that can fit on the handle of the Flexcare Platinum. With proper brushing technique, all of the brushes provide an effective clean. Which is right for you all comes down to personal preference (Bristle layout, size, bristle firmness etc.). For more information, check out our detailed guide on Philips Sonicare brush heads.
Also included in the box is a protective cap for each brush head:
Have you ever brushed your teeth only to discover that your toothbrush has the faint taste of deodorant or hairspray? If you answered yes then you will immediately understand the appeal of these brush head covers.
The plastic caps slide over the brush head bristles protecting them from dust, sprays and whatever else you throw at it. A simple and effective way to keep your toothbrush bristles clean and hygienic.
Just like a regular toothbrush you will be required to change your brush head once every three months to keep it cleaning effectively. Like the Oral-B range, all Sonicare brush heads have dark blue indicator bristles that fade over time, visually reminding you to change your brush head.
Sonicare Flexcare Platinum Travel Case
Whether you travel for work or are just taking a much needed vacation, there may come a time when you need to pack your electric toothbrush up and take it with you. That’s where this handy travel case comes in:
The travel case is surprisingly well made (Unless you compare it to the amazing case of the Sonicare DiamondClean) and will be more than enough the majority of you.
A clear lid allows you to quickly make sure all the brush heads are inside, so that you don’t leave any behind while on holiday. Vents in the base allow air to circulate, preventing mold and mildew forming around damp brush heads.
The travel case has designated slots for the Flexcare Platinum handle and as well as two brush heads.
If you share your electric toothbrush handle with more than just one other person then you will be pleased to know I was able to fit in an extra two brush heads inside. However, with four brush heads inside, two will rattle around loose but at least you can close the lid.
The white plastic of the travel case shows makes any grime or toothpaste build up easy to spot. No mention of whether or not the travel case is dishwasher safe in the instruction manual but cleaning is as simple as rinsing under hot running water and rubbing at stubborn sections with a cloth.
Flexcare Platinum UV Brush Head Sanitizer
The Flexcare Platinum comes with one of the most over-the-top features I have seen on any electric toothbrush we have reviewed to date, A UV sanitizer.
It is well documented that UV-C light is very effective at killing germs and bacteria. Since you put your toothbrush in your mouth twice a day it makes sens that you would want it to be free of such nasties and the UV sanitizer can do just that.
The sanitizer itself is attached to the larger of the two battery charging stands:
It immediately becomes obvious why Philips Sonicare chose to include two different chargers in the box of the Flexcare platinum. The UV sanitizer adds some serious bulk and if you are not going to use it then the sanitizer just gets in the way.
Let’s take a look inside the UV Sanitizer:
Inside you will find a UV light surrounded by a metal guard and spots to place two Sonicare brush heads.
So how does the sanitizer work?
First you place your brush heads down onto the holders:
You angle the bristles in so they are facing the light. Then you simply close the door and press the green power button located on top of the Santizer.
The Santizer will then proceed to bath your brush heads in UV light for a period of 10 minutes, killing any germs and bacteria that are hiding in the bristles.
With the button turned on the UV sanitizer does not make a noise. The only way you will know it’s working is by the light shining through the blacked out window on the front of the santizer:
Now I’ll be honest. I used the Sterilizer once just to test it and never again. In my many years I have never needed my toothbrush sterilized by UV light and I have no intention of starting now.
The brush heads do not feel any cleaner and unless you are a scientist with a microscope on hand will be unable to tell just how effective the UV clean was.
The fact that Philips does not include the UV santizer on their top of the line DiamondClean model also makes me lean towards the santizer not being as important as they make out.
There is one crowed I do see falling instantly in love with the UV santizer. Germophobes. If you cannot make sure something is clean enough then you will be appreciative of the added peace of mind the UV sanitizer brings.
Charging the Sonicare Flexcare Platinum
Before we take the Flexcare Platinum for a test drive we are going to have to charge the battery.
As I touched on earlier, the Flexcare Platinum ships with two chargers:
Since I have already covered the UV sanitizer base, this section of the review will look at the smaller charging stand.
If you travel you will be appreciative that you do not have to lug along the bulky UV santizer base and I do applaud Philips Sonicare for at least giving you the option to choose between the two.
If you flip the charger over you will notice some good news:
The charger works on any voltage that falls between 100-240V. From America to Australia and everywhere between you will be able to charge your Flexcare Platinum. Great for those of you that travel frequently. Just be sure to pick up a travel adapter so that you can plug it into the odd shaped electrical sockets you come across on your travels.
It is also worth mentioning that the charger with the UV Sanitizer is 100-240V AC compatible as well but due to the size of it you will probably skip packing it in your luggage.
Like the rest of the Sonicare range, the Flexcare Platinum charges wirelessly. No plugging in cords, no messing around. Simply slide the handle down onto the small knob on the charger your toothbrush will immediately begin to charge.
The moment you slide the Flexcare platinum on charge the battery lights will begin blinking. Each of the three battery lights represents approximately a third of the battery charge. As you brush your teeth the lights will deplete until a yellow light flashes, warning you that the battery will die soon.
The battery indicator lights are very small and are actually quite hard to see in the bight daylight. This can make identifying how full the battery is quite difficult. These indicator lights definitely could have been made larger as the whole purpose of an indicator light is to be seen.
Battery life of the Flexcare Platinum is fantastic. The Lithium-ion battery brush it’s way through 21 days of use (Brushing twice daily for two minutes). This is incredibly battery life as far as electric toothbrushes are concerned and absolutely smashes the relatively small 14 days that Oral-B’s top model offers.
Also, good news for those households with more than one Sonicare toothbrush. Most modern Sonicare models share the same charger, meaning you only have to set up one charger on your bathroom counter for the lot of them.
The smaller charging base is a little top heavy with the Flexcare Platinum sitting on top. Be careful where you set the charger up because a slight bump can knock the charger over, sending your toothbrush tumbling to the floor.
Testing the Philips Sonicare Flexcare Platinum
When the time came to test the Flexcare Platinum I enlisted the help of 5 other testers. So including myself there were 6 people that tested this toothbrush. The following contains summaries of our experience with the Flexcare Platinum.
The first thing you notice when you pick up the handle of the Flexcare Platinum is that it is very nicely weighted. Not too heavy and not too light.
Your fingers will wrap nicely over the textured grip on the rear allowing you to get a good grasp of the toothbrush, no matter how your hand naturally holds it.
The metal power button is surprisingly responsive. A quick press the Electric toothbrush bursts into life. The sound is best described as a high pitched hum and while it is much quieter than an electric razor, it still has the potential to wake someone sleeping a single room over.
In addition to all the fancy features on the front of the Flexcare Platinum handle, there are four hidden features that won’t become apparent until you start using the toothbrush. You may find these features familiar, they also exist on various other Sonicare models.
Let’s check them out.
If this is your first time brushing your teeth with a sonic toothbrush then you may find the feeling overly ticklish or mildly unpleasant. To get your mouth used to the rapid vibrations of the Flexcare Platinum, the toothbrush will gradually increase the power over the first 14 days of brushing from the first time you use it until it reaches regular power.
Easy-Start only works on the highest speed setting. The FlexCare Platinum comes with Easy-Start deactivated by default and is activated by following the steps in the instruction manual.
One of our testers who was new to sonic toothbrushes had nothing but praise for this feature and said that he could not have gotten used to the highest speed setting without it
Another tester who had owned many sonic toothbrushes prior to testing the Flexcare Platinum complained that the starting mode was two week. Instead he chose not to activate it.
Now if your dentist is anything like mind he ask if you have been brushing for the recommended 2 minutes. My answer used to be a not so confident “Um.. Maybe?”. After using Sonicare toothbrushes with the Quadpacer my reply has changed to “You know it!”
The Flexcare Platinum has a built in timer that causes the toothbrush to pause momentarily and beep once 30 seconds has passed. Philips calls this timer the “QuadPacer”.
The Quad pacer gets it’s name from the way Philips Sonicare recommends you brush your teeth. If you split your mouth into quadrants (quarters) and spend 30 seconds brushing each then you will have effectively brushed your entire mouth for the recommended two minutes.
My brushing routine is as follows:
- Brush left half of top teeth for 30 seconds
- Brush right half of top teeth for 30 seconds
- Brush left half of bottom teeth for 30 seconds
- Brush right half of bottom teeth for 30 seconds
By focusing on a small section of your mouth for 30 seconds you can really give each area a good scrubbing before the QuadPacer alerts you to move on to the next.
The Smartimer automatically turns the Flexcare Platinum off the automatically once two minutes has passed.
One tester commented on this being a bit of a dumb timer since she had a preference for brushing her teeth for three minutes and to do so she had to manually turn the Flexcare Platinum handle back on after it cut out.
Another tester reported that 2 minutes was more than enough to brush his entire set of chompers and liked the that the toothbrush shut itself off.
4. Pressure Sensor
All dentists agree that brushing too hard is bad for your teeth and gums. If you press down too hard while brushing the Flexcare Platinum will alert you with a sound that I can only describe as a stuttering humming sound.
Now the presser sensor was actually something that all testers unanimously agreed upon. It just wasn’t that great. You can press incredibly hard before you even trigger the pressure sensor. Hard to the point where you are almost certainly damaging your teeth and gums.
Unfortunately the pressure sensor just isn’t a reliable way to determine whether or not you are brushing too hard.
But How does it brush?
Those of you who are new to sonic brushing will find using the Flexcare Platinum a little unusual at first.
Simply load the brush head up with your regular toothpaste, wet as usual and place the bristles against your teeth at a slight angle (roughly 45 degrees), pressing lightly.
Turn the power on and gently move the toothbrush back and forth. The rapid vibrations will help remove plaque along the gumline and between the teeth (remember to floss after).
The trick is to let the toothbrush do most of the work. While it can take some getting used to, particularly if you are swapping over from a traditional toothbrush but before too long the you will be using the correct technique without thinking about it.
If you take away all the fancy features the Flexcare Platinum moves at the exact same 31,000 brush strokes per minute as the lower models. Coupled with the fact that most models with 31,000 brush strokes can all use the same brush heads and the experience is identical. Identically good.
We have been impressed by all the models that can brush at 31,000 brush strokes, even by the cheapest Sonicare model we reviewed, the old but reliable Sonicare Essence.
With proper brushing technique the Flexcare Platinum leaves you with that smooth tooth feeling that leaves you constantly licking your teeth.
Our Sonicare veteran tester reported that on the highest brushing intensity, the Flexcare Platinum provided him an identical clean to the top of the line DiamondClean.
It is amazing just how many features Sonicare have packed into an electric toothbrush. However, the usefulness of the features all depends entirely on the weight you place on them.
The travel case is well designed and the UV santizer is an interesting concept but at the end of the day these add little to the brushing experience.
If you want an electric toothbrush with every bell and whistle under the sun then this is probably the Sonicare you have been waiting for. But if it is just the brushing experience you want then you can get the same from lower models.
Either way, the Flexcare Platinum offers the great 31,000 brush strokes per minute that results in an amazing clean.