I have been using the entry level version of the Sonicare Essence for the past 10 years or so. My teeth had never felt cleaner. I did have to get a new one after about the first 5 years, because unfortunately the battery is not user replaceable.
After another 5 years or so on my replacement Sonicare Essence, this battery too needs to be charged all the time.
So in comes the setup up for me with the new Protective Clean 5100. It is a lot more expensive than the entry level Sonicare brushes, but has other features which were new to me from my older entry level model.
First of all, this Protective Clean 5100 has 3 brushing modes: Clean, White, Gum Care. I personally do not like the gum care mode, I find it does not clean my teeth as well as either clean or white modes, however I can see how someone with sensitive gums would absolutely benefit from this. The Clean and White modes seem to clean my teeth about the same as my older Essence brush.
Philips sells three different kinds of brush heads for use with this brush, one which works best for each of the three clean modes. It included the “G2 Optimal Gum Care” head in the box, which is all I have to compare to my older Essence brush. I would suspect the optimal gum care brush head is softer than the others available.
This model also has a quadpacer feature, where it beeps/vibrates every 30 seconds, so that you move onto the next section on top front, to inside, bottom front, and you guessed it, bottom inside of your teeth. I really like this feature.
This 5100 model also has an electronic reminder they call “BrushSync Technology”. The manual states that it tracks the wear of the brush head, based on the pressure you apply. I have not gotten there yet to know how accurate this is. The brush head has a small electrical contact where it connects to the brush handle.
The 5100 also has a pressure sensor to let you know if you are brushing too hard. I haven’t encountered that I did this in my use.
All of these extra features can also be turned off. Quadpacer, EasyStart, brush head replacement reminder, and the pressure sensor. I will probably turn off EasyStart, as I have been using this kind of toothbrush for a while, and EasyStart basically just increases the vibration power over the first 14 uses. If you have never used this kind of brush before I would imagine you would just leave it on.
I do wish that it had a replaceable by the owner battery. While my essence handle did not have one, and both started losing the ability to hold a charge after about 3 years or so, had the handle had an option to buy a battery from Philips, I would not have necessarily had to buy a new brush all together. The 5100 manual does have a description of how to remove the rechargeable batteries, however they do not mention what kind of battery it is. They also say any attempt to remove the battery will void the warranty.
Overall, I do really like the toothbrush, but continue to be disappointed on not being able to change the battery down the road.