Combining sonic technology with a unique hybrid bristle design, the Issa 2 and Play are outstanding models in the Foreo Oral Care line-up. The differences come down to the number of functions and certain design elements, but the basic technology is shared between the two.
If you were like me as a kid then probably everybody told you about the importance of dental health. And while it's hard to care about that growing up, I fully agree with them nowadays. Dental hygiene is probably one of the most important things in our life. Our teeth need constant care to avoid any complications and most people would do anything to avoid going to the dentist.
So now that we all agree that we need to take care of our teeth, what's the first step? The first step is and will always be consistent and effective brushing habits. We need to brush our teeth at least 3 times a day and make the most out of each session with tried and true brushing partners. But once that's covered it becomes time to choose our trusty brush.
I like sonic toothbrushes, not only are they more thorough but the vibrations mean I don't have to be as firm when brushing my teeth. So with that in mind, I decided to take a look at two of Foreo's main entries in their toothbrush lineup: The premium Foreo Issa 2 and the entry-grade Foreo Issa Play. So stick with me as I go into detail to tell you which is the right device for you.
The Foreo Issa 2 Experience
The Foreo Issa 2 is a fairly straightforward release, which I admit is something of a shock coming from the Foreo brand. But the moment you open the Issa all you'll find is your new brush, a USB cable charger, and a travel pouch. The pouch isn't anything to write home about, and I tend to prefer charging bases, but the package is functional and that's what matters.
After unlocking the Issa 2 by pressing the "+" and "-" buttons at the same time you are ready to use it. So what's so unique about the Issa 2? The first thing to notice are those two buttons. The Issa 2 has 16 intensity settings, which is a great feature when it comes to something as sensitive as our teeth. On the other hand, the manual doesn't specify the speed of each intensity, and it's not like these things have a standard across brands. So I can't help but wonder when I'm going too soft or too rough on my teeth.
On top of that, the Foreo Issa 2 claims to be able to last 365 days with a single charge, and this is kind of a layered claim. There's no denying that past Foreo products I've tried tend to have great battery life. But on the other hand, they turn off on their own, just like the Issa 2. So depending on how much you actually use it expect a long battery life, but not anything as extreme as an entire year.
Last but not least we are left with the head design, which is admittedly pretty genius. The Issa 2 combines traditional bristles with silicone ones to cover both your teeth and gums. The hard bristles are perfect for teeth, and the silicone ones did clean my gums without any irritation. The best part is that the distribution is more or less perfect. And after getting used to it my mouth felt much fresher as a whole.
The Foreo Issa Play Experience
On the other side of this Foreo Issa Play vs Issa 2 comparison, we have the underdog in the form of the Play. The Issa Play is an interesting little machine, however, and I think it's way more than just a budget Issa when you get down to it.
Once you open your new Issa Play you are met with... Nothing but the brush itself. This is a battery-operated brush, and there are no freebies either. Not a big deal per se, but it's something to note. The Play as a whole is smaller and more streamlined than its larger cousin, with a shorter handle and head, and no intensity settings to speak of.
There is however one feature that the Play brings to the table and that comes in the form of its brushing indicators. There are tiny smiling faces that show whether it's been used or not. It's mostly a feature for parental control, but it's harmless. If your kid is old enough they can trick it, but there's something sweet about the idea itself.
Once I got down to brushing itself I had some minor struggles. The head design follows the same hybrid bristle idea, but the distribution isn't the same. Overall I felt there was too much gum area and not enough for your teeth. There's a learning curve here compared to the Issa 2. And while I did get the same result ultimately, I had to be way more conscious of my brushing patterns. Ultimately the Play feels like it came to a point where the head design just wasn't perfected.
Pros and Cons
It's always an interesting experience to review two products of the same company. The fine details matter a lot, and I think this makes the Pros and Cons section all the more important. So let's take some time to evaluate these two brushes and see just how different they are despite the shared Issa brand.
Issa 2 Pros
- The head design is just about perfect.
- Has 16 intensities so it's perfect for sensitive teeth.
- It feels great on your mouth.
Issa 2 Cons
- Way more expensive at $169.
- There's no intensity guide.
- It's much more affordable at only $49.
- Feels great on your mouth once you master it.
- The head design takes some time to get used to.
- No settings to speak of.
- Relies on batteries.
While the Issa 2 is winning in the pros category at the end of the day I don't feel the conclusion is as straightforward. Once we get down to the basics both the Issa 2 and Play work very well. They share the same basic design for the heads which means your gums and teeth will be very appreciative regardless of which model you pick.
The Play loses when it comes to intensity settings and the head design. However not all of you will need to control the intensity, and the head design does work. It's a shame that the Play doesn't use the same distribution as the Issa 2, but if you are conscious about your brushing you will see the same results.
So when I add the price tags to the above considerations I have to admit there isn't one superior option per se. The Issa 2 generally works better, but it's 3 times the price so this should come as no surprise. In general, I think it comes down to a simple fact. The head design in Foreo brushes is brilliant and well worth trying out. If you have confidence in the Foreo brand then go for the Issa 2 directly. But if you want to know the brand first then the Play is the way to go.
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