TECH

Best Health Gadgets: We Test Super Toothbrushes, Laser Beard Trimmers And More

22/01/2015 15:54

'New Year, New You' is an awful lot of effort. Not only do you have to do silly things like stop drinking, you'll also be required to spend a fortune on a gym that you'll never use, a bicycle you'll never ride and a musical instrument that you'll look at longingly until finally a friend comes round, picks it up, and plays flawlessly in front of you and all your other friends.

Perhaps there's an answer to all this: technology.

Health gadgets are big business, whether it's fitness trackers to help you get moving or sleep monitors to make sure you get a good nights sleep.

Ranging from the reasonable to the nerve-wrackingly expensive these gadgets claim that they can turn you into the perfect person with just five treatments or more. The question is: can they?

We dished out the best the industry can offer to the Huff Post UK Lifestyle and Technology teams with one simple mission: to find out if they actually work.

  • 1 Philips Series 9000 Beard Trimmer
    The Pitch:
    "Experience ultimate control with an exclusive laser guide, allowing you to create the exact look you want with total confidence."

    Verdict: HuffPost Technology Reporter Thomas Tamblyn
    As is so often the case with the world, adding a laser to something will make it better. Villains have known this for years which is why they've been attaching them to sharks. For the rest of us though it's a bit of an eye-opener. Philips' application is actually pretty useful, if a little silly. With a broad/precision revolving head, 1 hour charge and waterproof body, it's everything but the laser that makes this a seriously good trimmer.
    Rating: 4/5 Price: £100
  • 2 Clarisonic Plus Sonic Skin Cleansing System
    The Pitch:
    "The Clarisonic Cleansing System uses a patented sonic frequency of more than 300 movements per second, working with the skin's natural elasticity to thoroughly remove the impurities that come between you and smoother, softer, healthier looking skin."

    The Verdict: HuffPost Lifestyle Junior Editorial Assistant Natasha Hinde
    It's a good piece of kit and my face was left feeling super smooth after each use. However, I've found that since using it my skin has been more prone to breakouts. I'm presuming because it has cleared all of the rubbish out of my pores. On a plus note, it's easy to use, the magnetic charging function was very impressive and I've thoroughly enjoyed the massaging of my face on a daily basis.
    Rating: 3/5 Price: £155
  • 3 Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Black
    The Pitch:
    "Sonicare's best whitening in our most elegant Philips Sonicare electric toothbrush. Switch to Sonicare."

    The Verdict: HuffPost Technology Reporter Thomas Tamblyn
    The DiamondClean differs from the competition because it vibrates the heads rather than rotates them. The resulting sensation tickles, a lot. Thankfully that subsides over time as you get used to it. The built-in timer is great, reminding you to move to another part of the mouth. It also uses wireless charging, and comes with an elegant travel case that charges via USB and a wireless charging glass for the bathroom. If that wasn't enough this is literally the best-looking bathroom gadget I've ever seen which honestly, isn't a sentence anyone should be expecting to say.
    Rating: 5/5 Price: £109.99
  • 4 Jawbone Move
    The Pitch:
    "Clip it on and wear it anywhere. And with an LED display and Smart Coach to guide you, the UP MOVE tracker doesn’t just count your steps and track your sleep—it gets you over the hump and moving on your path to a better you."

    The Verdict: HuffPost Lifestyle Editorial Assistant Rachel Moss
    The instructional video that comes with the Jawbone UP app made it easy to set up and understand. The pedometer function is great and truly made me seek out a more active lifestyle. Being told how many steps ‘the average person’ your age is doing is great for motivation. I've become seriously addicted to hitting my target and now walk to our offices from King’s Cross far more often. Personally I didn’t find the sleep function helpful. Having a graph document how badly I was sleeping just made paranoid about the lack of sleep I was getting. I also found inputting all my food a little tedious, and soon stopped using this function. However, I can see how it would be helpful for someone on a strict diet. Overall, I like it I just don't love it.
    Rating: 3/5 Price: £39.99
  • 5 Philips Sonicare Airfloss
    The Pitch:
    "For those who don't floss consistently, AirFloss is an easy way to start cleaning between teeth. AirFloss can be used with mouthwash or water and features unique air and micro-droplet technology to help remove plaque in hard-to-reach areas."

    The Verdict: HuffPost UK Technology Reporter Thomas Tamblyn
    The Sonicare Airfloss is much simpler than it sounds because what it literally does is cannon water or mouthwash in between your teeth. Now I'll be honest, it's something that I entered into with a decent amount of skepticism. Place the nozzle in between your teeth, hold down the 'start' button and there's a short sharp puff of liquid. It's disconcerting at first and requires much less pressure than you think, it's also very powerful so keep your mouth closed or you'll cover the bathroom mirror in mouthwash. Is it worth £60? Probably not, but it's a neat and inventive way of making a usually long and unpleasant task simpler and easier.
    Rating: 3/5 Price: £60
  • 6 Withings Aura
    The Pitch:
    "Withings Aura is a well thought-out active system designed to both monitor and improve sleep quality. Our technology combines a contact-free Sleep Sensor tucked under the mattress, an active light & sound Bedside Device, and a smartphone app."

    The Verdict: HuffPost UK Lifestyle Assistant Editor Brogan Driscoll
    As someone who doesn't sleep too well (wide awake in the middle of the night, mornings spent fighting with the snooze button), I hoped the Withings Aura would give me an insight into my bad sleep habits and hopefully help me kick them. But, in reality, I found the device not only difficult to use but, when I did manage to navigate through the sparse instruction manual, it was pretty ineffective too. The sensor under the mattress, which is designed to track your sleep, is ultra sensitive. If, like me, you sit in bed to read before going to sleep or leave your laptop on your bed during the day, the Aura seems to think you're sleeping for longer than you are. At times it said I got up at 8:30am, when I know I left the house at 7:15am. Most unhelpful, especially when you're trying to get an idea of your habits at a quick glance. The best thing about the Aura is the alarm. You can programme soft music and lighting to gently rouse you from sleep for about 20mins before you need to get up. It's far nicer to start the day like that, than to some abrupt Apple ringtone.
    Rating: 2/5 Price: £249.99
  • 7 ORAL-B PRO 6500 SmartSeries With Bluetooth
    The Pitch:
    "It has more calculation power than the Apollo 12 guidance system. Intelligent Bluetooth® connectivity. A performance app that acts like an oral care personal trainer, optimizing your brushing technique and helping you reach your goals."

    The Verdict: HuffPost UK Technology Reporter Thomas Tamblyn
    The 6500 is the toothbrush for people who doesn't just want to clean their teeth, they want to dominate them. It's the all-in-one solution that includes an app, on-the-wall timer and huge stand. This is more of a futuristic dentist's office than a toothbrush. The big appeal here is Bluetooth connectivity which means that it'll talk to the complimentary app uploading your times, rating your cleaning technique and showing you a cleaning diary. That's about it. For all the pomp and ceremony the Bluetooth does nothing more than turn your phone into a glorified timer something that incidentally you already have because it's provided. You can fiddle with some minor settings but sadly this won't give you the full dental analysis you were hoping for. Also it's hugely expensive.
    Rating: 3/5 Price: £156.99
  • 8 Lumo Lift
    The Pitch:
    "The only activity tracker that coaches you to better posture with gentle vibrations. Tracks posture, steps, distance & calories."

    The Verdict: HuffPost Students Assistant Editor Lucy Sheriff
    I don't usually (read: ever) get excited about technology but when I heard there was a gadget to help improve your posture, I couldn't help but be a little excited. I suffer from chronic neck and shoulder pain so I jumped at the chance of trying the Lumo Lift out. Safe to say, if I'd forked out the £80 it costs to buy it, I'd probably have cried myself to sleep. Not only did it keep falling off - on one occasion it managed to work it's way down my torso and fell out the bottom of my trouser leg - it also kept forgetting to remind me to sit up straight. Despite religiously following the instructions, it would monitor me for 5 minutes or so and then just switch off. The app is well designed but ultimately can never live up to its potential if the tracker can't do its job all the time. Finally it suffers from one fatal flaw which is that it'll only work on tight clothing so if you're thinking of having a 'baggy day' then forget it. Well meaning but flawed.
    Rating: 1/5 Price: £79.99
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