Back in 2006 we looked at the Vitality toothbrush from Oral-B, at that time going under the Braun brand. Two-years on and the Vitality still lives, now pushing on under the Oral-B brand, picking up the tagline "powered by Braun". But can this toothbrush compete against more expensive rivals?
The Vitality "Colour Edition" range basically pulls the Vitality range up in a number of more interesting colours. Electric toothbrushes are generally limited in the choice of colours, so it is a nice change to see a variety of options there for those who don’t want something too clinical looking in their bathroom.
Besides the change in colour schemes, other differences are the inclusion of the 2-minute timer found on more advanced models, common in Braun toothbrushes prior to the launch of the Vitality range a few years back. You’ll also find that the two button on/off arrangement has been replaced with a single on/off button, but this makes no practical difference to usage.
Rubberised material lies around the back of the brush handle and around the button area, which corresponds nicely to the placement of fingers and thumbs whilst cleaning. This means it is nice and grippy for directing the head of the toothbrush wherever you want it to go, even with wet hands or if the foamy toothpaste starts running down the handle.
As this is a rechargeable unit, you’ll need to charge up the toothbrush to use it, but then won’t have to worry about changing batteries. The charging base is a simple low-profile option featuring the standard electric shaver two prong plug. The cable is 90cm in length, so if your shaver socket is in a light over the mirror, you might have a problem hooking up, but any longer and you’d stand the chance of having far too much cable lying around the bathroom.
The Vitality brush unfortunately doesn’t feature any sort of indicator lights to show it is charging, or that it needs charging. This can be something of a pain, because it is common in rechargeable batteries to motor along happily, then suddenly drop off, leaving you with a manual toothbrush. With a cited battery life of 5 days (cleaning twice a day for 2 minutes each time), you’ll need to take the charger with you for anything longer than a weekend. Judging on the experience of the previous edition of this toothbrush, you’ll also find that battery life drops off over time, so it would be best to ensure you can charge the brush each night for the best results.
There has also been a problem in some brushes with overcharging and killing the battery. Whilst we didn't test this, it is worth removing the brush from the charger if you don't intend to use it, say if you are on holiday for a week and are leaving it at home.
The heads are commonly available in most supermarkets and chemists and easier to find than those from the Philips SoniCare range, so you’ll have no problems finding replacements. You can also use heads other than those from the Precision Clean line, there is also the ProBright stain remover, the DualClean with two moving heads and a sensitive model. All brushes feature indicators in the bristles to advise when to renew them – about every 3 months.
Cleaning itself is very good. As said in other toothbrush reviews here on Pocket-lint, I’ve noticed the difference that an electric toothbrush can make over the past 8 years. Rather than arriving at the dentist and being straight in for extra fillings, problems have been kept to a minimum, with even the dentist being satisfied that cleaning was very good. (Shame I didn’t find electric toothbrushes in my teens...)
The Vitality gives a good comfortable clean. The brush isn’t as noisy as the Professional Care line reviewed recently, but the 7600 oscillations per minute ensure a great clean. The 2-minute timer is not divided into 30-second segments for each quadrant of your mouth either, which I much prefer. Telling you how long to focus on each part of your mouth is too prescriptive for me – I’d rather take the time to clean each area of my own mouth as I wish, without the stop-start of the timer.
But the biggest thing here is price. For some reason, Oral-B toothbrushes always seem to be on half price offers and that was the case when we looked at the Vitality 2 years ago.
So from around £14 you can get an electric toothbrush that, whilst it lacks some of the more advanced features, really gets the basics right. You can pay ten times that for a toothbrush and yes, it may be scientifically proven to clean better, but the Oral-B Vitality Colour Editions should be within the price range of everyone with teeth.