Philips One By Sonicare Review

Design, usability, clean & general use

Simply packaged, the Philips One comes with what you need and not lots of extras, which isn’t all that surprising for the price.

Out of the box, you get the toothbrush handle, a head, the travel case, and a AAA battery which is pre-installed in the brush handle.

In my opinion, Philips Sonicare have always done a pretty good job when it comes to the design of their toothbrushes and this is by no means an exception.

In truth, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.  Yes, I hoped for something that felt good in the hand, but I have been pleasantly surprised.

The handle itself is slim and grippy.  At approximately 0.7 inches (1.7cm) wide, it is somewhere between a writing pen and a marker pen in thickness, marginally thicker in the hand than a sharpie.

It feels grippy thanks to the contoured grooves in the handle.

The images depict these best, essentially rather than being ridges that run straight down the handle, they sweep across the handle at a shallow angle to create not only an interesting look but the important in-hand grip.

The way it has been done is very subtle but very effective.

The Philips One is made of plastics and is not a metal handle as is common with the likes of Quip.

The textured grip runs all around and virtually the full length of the handle. It is approximately the top quarter of the handle that is smooth to the touch and free of additional grips.

It is on the front of the handle where the single power button is placed.  Quite a small button with a concave design, it provides a satisfactory level of feedback.

Above the power button is the Philips (not Sonicare) brand label.

The whole handle is rounded as is the removable battery cap on the bottom of the handle.  As a consequence, this toothbrush does not stand upright.

You have to lay the toothbrush flat on a countertop, but thanks to 2 small plastic notches on the back of the handle, just below the brush head, this does not easily roll around.

The cap on the bottom can be removed by inserting a coin or screwdriver into the depression within it.  Unscrew it to access the AAA battery inside.

A small printed icon on the handle shows which way to insert the battery.  There are also 2 dots on the handle that align with a dot on the removable cap to clearly show when the cap is and is not locked in place.

The removable end cap does what it needs to do.  I do find those that require a coin or a screwdriver a bit more awkward than a pull style cap.  They can be more secure, but I have found that the plastics on the cap can be prone to a bit of damage as the coin or screwdriver twists within the slot.  I had the same issue with the Gleem battery operated toothbrush.

It is not a massive issue, just a small observation.  Over many years I would be interested to know how it fares.  Thankfully you need only open the cap approximately once every 3 months.

The handle I have is what I would describe as a coral/pink color, but Philips calls this ‘Miami’.

There are 4 different color options.  Your choices and their part numbers are:

  • Miami (Coral Pink) – HY1100/01
  • Mango (Yellow) – HY1100/02
  • Mint – HY1100/03
  • Midnight (Dark Blue) – HY1100/04

Now, extending from the top of the handle is the metal shaft onto which the supplied brush head fits.

It is straightforward to fit, simply push it on and pull it off.

This brush head is specific to the Philips One.

Standard Sonicare electric toothbrush heads do not fit this brush handle and the Philips One brush head does not fit to Sonicare electric toothbrushes.

There is just 1 style of brush head for the Philips One, not numerous different styles like you get with Sonicare toothbrushes.

The brush head is color matched to the handle, which is a nice touch.

The brush heads and their part codes are as follows:

  • Miami – BH1022/01
  • Mango – BH1022/02
  • Mint – BH1022/03
  • Midnight –  BH1022/04

The head itself is similarly sized to the brush heads you would find on a typical Sonicare electric toothbrush.

From a side profile, you can see that it has a W profile to it, with slightly longer bristles at each end of the head and in the middle.

Philips do not specifically state that these are soft bristles, but they certainly felt fairly soft.  A bit firmer than the softest brush heads I have used, but much more gentle on the teeth and gums than some of the firmer bristled heads I have used.

The brush has just 1 cleaning mode, which is activated by a single press of the power button.

The clean mode lasts for 2 minutes in total with the brush automatically turning itself off at the end of the 2 minute cleaning cycle.

During the 2 minutes it is active, at 30 second intervals there is a brief pause in the brush head motion, which in turn causes a change in the brushing sensation and sound.  This is the 30 second pacer.

The principle here is that you spend 2 minutes brushing your teeth, but it is important to clean all the teeth evenly.  To do this you break the mouth up into 4 sections (upper right, upper left, lower right, lower left), known as quadrants, and you spend 30 seconds cleaning each.  If you do this, twice a day, you should be well on your way to a healthy smile.

To me, the timer and pacer are really important features.  Too many of us fail to brush for the right amount of time, so these help encourage you to brush for longer.  Simply put, if the toothbrush hasn’t turned itself off, you need to keep brushing the teeth.

You can’t change the brushing time and there is no pressure sensor built into this brush.

A pressure sensor will alert you when you are brushing with too much force.  Scrubbing with lots of pressure does not produce a better clean.  The bristles just need to be lightly pressed against the teeth and gum surface.

When in use, the brush produces a quiet audible humming sound and a vibration sensation through the handle.  It is comparable to most other sonic toothbrushes in terms of the sound and vibration produced.

The actual cleaning power and performance of this toothbrush is satisfactory, particularly when you consider how slim the handle is.

I was certainly very pleased with the overall cleaning results after each use.  My teeth and gums felt clean, but it does not deliver the cleaning power of a conventional electric toothbrush.

To me, this is a crossover between manual and larger electric toothbrushes.

You get the benefit of significantly more movements in the brush head compared to a manual, but there isn’t the same power and intensity you get with a Sonicare toothbrush with a built-in rechargeable battery.

You feel it is necessary to move the brush at the same time the motor is running to get the maximum effect.

This isn’t a situation that is unique to the One by Sonicare.  I feel the same with Quip and Gleem.

I would say that this Philips One feels the most powerful of all 3.

A Sonicare toothbrush, like the ProtectiveClean 4100, offers 31,000 brush strokes (62,000) movements per minute.

The Philips One is not as powerful as this.

Sonicare’s website nor the official packaging makes any mention of how powerful the motor inside the brush handle is.

I spoke with the customer service representative on live chat who advised me that the brush produces 31,000 brush strokes per minute.

I disagree with this.

I have no hard evidence to confirm that the strokes or movements per minute are less, but in actual use, I could tell the difference.

The brushing sensation is different. The motor in the Philips One is less intense when it cleans.

I felt like I needed to move the toothbrush the same way I would a manual one.

I suspect the motor is offering something like 15,000 strokes per minute.  This would be equivalent to 30,000 movements.  That is half the power and number of strokes/movements of the 4100.

If the Philips One is truly supposed to offer 31,000 strokes per minute, the unit I have is faulty.  I don’t think it is though.

If it is possible to get such power from a motor so small, which are most other electric toothbrushes so much larger?

I could happily use this on a daily basis, but having used more powerful electric toothbrushes I notice the difference.

To me, the One is a crossover from manual and electric, a best of both if you like.  More cleaning power but still slim, lightweight and easy to use.

The data suggest that in reality, the extra cleaning power won’t make a significant difference in how clean the teeth are, providing you are using the correct brushing technique.

That said, I suspect like me, existing electric toothbrush users would be underwhelmed and prefer the more powerful options.  Even if partly psychological, the clean feels better.

Whilst Philips do not advise bathing with the One, it should survive a rinse under the tap.  It will resist splashes, toothpaste and saliva.  It is not waterproof though.

The last thing to talk about is the travel case that comes provided with the Philips One.

Color matched to the handle, it is a slim and well thought out case, I like it a lot.

Describing the case is quite tricky, the hands-on images are best looked at to really understand it.

Essentially what you have is a cylindrical tube.  Now imagine that tube has been cut open lengthways and hinged on one side, opening up a bit like a book cover might.

This hinging gives you 2 parts, the bottom and the top of the case.

The bottom of the case, on the outside surface, has been flattened out, so that it does not roll about. Instead, it sits still on a countertop.

On this flatter, bottom edge are some contours that help provide the grippy surface to stop it moving.  2 slits in the case here also allow airflow to the toothbrush that sits inside.

The toothbrush itself lays on the inside of this bottom half of the case, with the bristles pointing into the case.There is a ridge on which the toothbrush head aligns within the case that allows the brush to sit securely inside.

The top cover then closes over the handle.  But, this cover only stretches a third of the way down the handle, covering just the brush head.  This leaves a part of the toothbrush handle (not the head) exposed.

The smaller cover adds a unique style to the case, but also does away with unnecessary bulk.  The reality is that once inside, the head is protected under the cover and the part of the handle that is exposed is very unlikely to become damaged.

There is a slightly tapered design to the case.  It is wider at the top than the bottom.

A Philips logo is embossed on the lid.

I am not sure of the exact material, but the case has a grippy soft touch to it.  It essentially has a rubber coating/finish to the case which is really nice.

The whole design works well to not only protect the handle, but allow airflow to access the head to dry it out and keep the overall weight and size down.

Philips have always done a pretty good job with their electric toothbrushes and this is really no exception.

In fact, in many respects I am more impressed with this than I am with some of the top of the line products, the simplicity is great.

I could use this as my daily toothbrush.  But, in truth, I prefer the power of Sonicares other electric brushes.

The size and portability are definitely the biggest draw.

The Philips One by Sonicare is a great product.

If you want a compact, travel friendly electric toothbrush, then this has to be the one to go for.

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