The Kolibree Smart Toothbrush is an excellent way to add a nice gaming element to your daily dental regimen.
The centerpiece of the Kolibree Smart Brush System is that the Bluetooth-enabled brush interacts with several mobile gaming apps. Each of the three compatible applications is designed around the same idea: follow the displayed brushing pattern for a certain amount of time. Points are awarded for accuracy and these points usually, factor into a badge/achievement system that drives a player to look forward to the next session. It is a very effective way to encourage more enthusiasm for proper brushing.
Rabbids Smart Brush is a game offered in partnership with Ubisoft, owner of the Rayman game series. The Rabbids are a group of silly not-quite-rabbit creatures that used to pretend they were villains, but are basically just crazy. The Rabbids have been featured in quite a few mini-game compilations on several different game consoles, so seeing these animated little guys work their foolishness in a mobile game feels like a natural progression of their fun-loving nature. Players use their Kolibree to brush accurately enough to allow their Rabbid to avoid obstacles and collect stars for points. After each session, a score is totaled and each brushing builds up a grand total of stars that can be used to unlock new hats and other props that can be worn on the next run. This game is brightly-colored and runs smoothly. So far, the game seems to be more forgiving regarding brushing accuracy when compared to the other two titles. The game is a free download and is well worth a go-round.
Pirate GO is the game included with the Kolibree. This game puts the play in the shoes (peg-leg optional) of an upcoming pirate hero as he collects strings of coins similar to Temple Run. As with Rabbids Smart Brush, the game rewards accuracy. Be warned, however. This game relies on quicker shifts between brushing patterns, especially the “handle full-left” and “handle full-right” motions. Players that attempt to approach this game with the same ease as Rabbids will be forced to watch their pirate fumble around for a few brushing sessions before getting used to the speed. As the player collects more coins, they bring their ship closer to the ultimate treasure. I really liked showing my son all of the customizations available for the player’s pirate avatar. This is a novel pack-in title.
If Rabbids or pirates aren’t your things, don’t worry. Coach is the more “adult” option of the three titles and is the default exercise included with the Kolibree app. This application tracks each brushing session with a more clinical, minimalistic graphic design. Coach still offers a set of brushing patterns to follow for points, but the end result of a brushing session feels more like marking your place in a food journal or perhaps a jogging app.
After giving each of the Kolibree titles some time, I can say that the brush sensors are very accurate. During gameplay, the brush is able to detect how the player is holding the brush. Some brushing patterns might include “Top of mouth, left side, inside” and then “Bottom of mouth, right side, outside” in quick succession and the brush is able to respond without missing a beat. Playing each game allowed me to become more aware of how I used to hold my toothbrush before I used the Kolibree. I also became aware of just how (too) quickly I would brush-and-run with my previous habits. Playing each game forced me to slow down and take my time, leaving my teeth feeling quite a bit cleaner (if a tad numb, at first.)
The wireless connectivity works really well. Pairing the unit to my iPhone was no more work than the typical set of headphones or gaming controller. Since the Kolibree is designed to be used very close to the same mobile device running the game software, I did not notice any issues with the brush involving wireless range. The vibration of the brush head seems plenty powerful and the battery appears to last for quite a few brushings before the battery condition LED begins to even show a drop in charge.
Charging the unit is done via a small platform that sports an inductive “spike”. The platform acts as a toothbrush holder as well as the primary charging platform. During my initial testing of the Kolibree, the charging platform was able to take the toothbrush from empty to full in about six hours of charging.
The Kolibree is well-built with a soft, rubberized handle that feels geared closer toward adult-sized hands but is easily held by any one. The brush is water-resistant, which comes in handy if it gets dropped into the sink by accident while cleaning the brush head.
Speaking of brush heads, my son and I like taking turns between the Pirate and Rabbids games and the interchangeable brush heads allow us to quickly switch between both brushing profiles. I would have liked for the two brush heads to be different colors right out of the box to prevent confusion, but I don’t consider this a major fault. For those inclined, the manufacturer does offer a 3-pack of uniquely colored heads as a side purchase.
The Kolibree Smart Brush System is a new type of gadget review for me. I’ve reviewed games, tablets, headphones, batteries, and other very common tech industry items, but this is my first health and wellness piece of tech gadgetry. I can only hope my next review is as fun as playing with the Kolibree has been. It remains to be seen if more gaming software is on the way, but the included software makes for plenty of fun and healthy brushing sessions for children and adults. I’ve enjoyed my time with the Kolibree and happily recommend this system to anyone needing a fresh take on their usual hygiene routines.
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