Philips Sonicare DiamondClean HX9331/04 review: Classy brushing, at a price

Philips Sonicare DiamondClean HX9331/04 review: Classy brushing, at a price

Philips is going heavy on the luxury with the Sonicare DiamondClean electric toothbrush.

The brush itself has a refined elegance that will look right at home between the Chanel hand cream and Philippe Starck tap – or just add a touch of pizzazz to your long-suffering bathroom sink.

Design and features

It's full of snazzy features, too. The conduction charger acts as a pedestal for a glass tumbler, so you simply pop the brush into the tumbler to charge it. Alternatively, charging is possible within the stylish travel case, which has a USB socket for power. It’s a mini-B type that was common on USB peripherals a few years ago rather than the Micro-B type used by current Android phones. Still, it’s easier to carry the supplied USB cable to plug into a USB mains adapter than to carry the supplied two-pin charger and a 2-pin to 3-pin adapter.

The toothbrush and case come in a choice of five colours including rose gold, pink and amethyst, but I wonder how luxurious it’ll look after a year’s use. The textured case is liable to become ingrained with dirt, and the tumbler will need regular washing to avoid a buildup of old toothpaste and drool. Still, it’s easier to wash a tumbler than a mains charger.

You’re paying a lot for the design, especially considering that only one brush head is included. Replacement DiamondClean heads cost around £5 each — twice the cost of Oral-B heads. That’s £20 per person per year if you replace heads every three months. On the upside, the Li-ion battery should continue to perform well for many years, which may not be the case for other toothbrushes that use Ni-MH batteries. Battery life was excellent in my test, lasting for 60 brushes in quick succession.

The brushing experience is in line with the upmarket design and price. Vibrating at 250Hz, the Sonicare brush movement is barely perceptible to the eye but it gives extremely clean, smooth results. There are five brushing modes, selected by repeatedly pressing the power button at the start of the brush cycle and indicated by backlit labels on the brush handle. Clean is the standard mode, while White mode has an additional buffering action that reminds me of a hammer action on a drill. Thankfully it’s a lot less violent. As with all the modes, it’s more ticklish than painful, and it doesn’t take too long to get used to the sensation. Polish mode undulates the motor speed very slightly — I’m not convinced this does anything useful. Gum Care and Sensitive modes are slightly gentler, which some people may find useful. I was happy to stick with Clean mode.

Verdict

Philips have put together an effective, luxurious toothbrush that's hard to fault, but be in no doubt – you’re paying for the design as much as for the performance. If that’s what you want, it won’t disappoint. And though it's undoubtedly expensive, handy touches such as USB charging make it perfect for regular travellers.  

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