Oct 092011
 

Sexforums.com contacted me last month to see if I’d be willing to do a review for Lelo’s newest addition (the Lelo Tiani) to coincide with their giveaway. Having already reviewed the Lelo Isla, their first line of “ultra premium” Insignia sex toys (and been one of the few people who couldn’t find much good to say about it) I was skeptical. But I was terribly curious about this SenseMotion thing and dying to see if a company like Lelo could be the one to pull off a remote controlled vibrator that actually worked. Believe me, I really wanted the Lelo Tiani to work out despite my jaded skepticism.

  Lelo Tiani includes

Between vibrating panties and wireless remote control vibrators there’s already plenty on the market that mainly don’t work very well. Whether the complaint is that they lack power/intensity, or the wireless remote’s connection to the vibe is wonky at best and doesn’t live up to the range distance claims, or that the remote is so simple the wielder has no idea if the toy is buzzing away for the other person and at what level – they’re all largely a waste of money and are all pretty expensive. This wireless stuff is pricey business.

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Lelo aimed to fix this with their SenseMotion Insignia line. The person holding the controller knows at all times exactly what the wearer is feeling because the remote vibrates as well. Unless of course the remote and the base have lost “contact” – then the remote is still buzzing away even though the toy is not. There are 3 modes for the controller – basic vibrations which are at their lowest when the cookie-shaped controller is flat on a surface and then gradually increase as the remote is turned vertical. Held vertically the vibrations are at 100% power. If you press the center button then the mode switches and SenseMotion becomes even more crazy. The faster you wave the controller around, or shake it, the higher the vibration speeds. This mode is not something that could be done discreetly in public, let me just put it that way. In fact we never really figured out what situation that mode would be truly useful in. The sensitivity of SenseMotion isn’t highly accurate in that mode.

The final mode is better for solo use or public use. Requires no Sensemotion waving or tilting, it just relies on the + and – buttons to change the intensity of vibration and the center button to change up vibration patterns. In this final mode you are able to set the remote so that it blinks instead of vibrates – which is good, because the controller is actually louder than the toy when it comes to vibrating; when in this final mode it either vibrates or blinks not both. Of course, getting to this setting requires a reading of the included manual and some practice. It says in the guide that when it’s in this mode, the LED on the wireless controller will not be illuminated, but they do not specify in the manual that it will illuminate when it’s in “silent” mode. The LED will flash in accordance (somewhat) to the vibration speed. I was able to discern many more tactile levels of vibration than the LED can show with blinking. When it is in blink-only silent mode, and you then press that center button to get to the pulsation levels, the blinking will correspond to the pattern.

Except….there’s a problem. Hit that center button too many times when cycling through the patterns and suddenly you’ve gone too far and it’s out of that final stealth mode and into the SenseMotion tilt mode – where the LED will be a steady glow and the controller will vibrate. If the person holding the controller is not paying attention and counting the clicks and modes, they’ll take it out of stealth.

Lelo claims that the SenseMotion controller will work from as far away as 39 feet.

My first test showed impressive results – except that I was having my husband just hold the Tiani in his hand while I walked around the house. I went into other rooms, turned corners and it was still vibrating. So that was a fairly worthless test, because that’s not how you use the toy.

My second test was a big let down – naked with the Tiani inserted. The receiving bit is likely located in the outside portion on this toy, where it meets your clitoris. I didn’t have him walk around with the controller on this test, due to many reasons. The first was that even if the remote was right next to me, if I closed my legs the two pieces would lose contact. To regain contact I’d have to move the controller directly over the toy. If his body was touching me and in the way of the invisible path between toy and controller – it cuts out. So it will retain connection through walls but not flesh. Hrmmm.

My final test was the biggest let down – clothed with the Tiani inserted. I mean, who doesn’t want to use a wireless remote controlled sex toy this way at least once in a while?? This method made it even more difficult for the toy and controller to maintain their connection, even at a mere 2 feet. 

The Lelo Tiani (as well as the other SenseMotion toys, and Insignia line in general) carries a very high price tag. For that very high price tag (~$150) I expect a lot out of a toy: I expect it to work as intended and I expect it to get me off. Wait, that didn’t sound like “a lot”, did it….hrm.  Anyways, the Tiani has no hopes of getting me off. The vibrations of the toy might seem moderate when you hold it lightly in your hand. But in actual use the vibrations are fairly weak (they dull down a lot when it is surrounded by flesh/being pressed on) and very surface-buzzy. Only women with sensitive clits will find this type and intensity of vibration enough for orgasm. I actually no longer consider myself to have a “clit o steel” that can only orgasm via powerful machines like the Hitachi Magic Wand or the Wahl on high – I’ve simply realized that I require a certain type of vibration (and yes, moderately high intensity) to get off. Thus far the only Lelo toy that I’ve owned that had pretty decent vibrations was the Mona – both in terms of going past “surface” (being a little more rumbly than buzzy) and also intensity. I would say that the following vibrators are stronger than the Lelo Tiani: We-Vibe original, Lelo MonaJe Joue MiMi, Bnaughty bullet, Onye, maybe even the Vida Lussaria by just a hair, Extase Liberte and the RO-80mm bullet that is found in items like the Rock Chick. If you’ve been here before, you’ll note that most of those vibrators couldn’t get me off – on that list, only the Mona and MiMi could. Again, I’m not asking for the “Hitachi” power but the Mystic, the Doc Johnson Harmony or Black Magic Bullets, the Eroscillator (either version, altho only the stronger one gets me off) are all examples of sex toys with various types and sizes of motors that are stronger and can get me off. I’ve even drained the charge on the Tiani and plugged it in for recharge twice for longer than 2 hours just to be sure I was getting it at its most powerful.

Lelo Tiani is said to stimulate both the clit and g-spot. It might provide some extra g-spot stimulation during sex but that’s only if that tiny little arm actually stays in place in between his penis and your g-spot. And it doesn’t. The arm doesn’t vibrate much because the motor is located in the clitoral part. When used solo the inside arm was pretty much indistinguishable to me. When used solo and naked, the toy had trouble staying firmly inside of me and against my clit. With no movement on my part. When used solo and clothed it probably stayed there a little better but what’s the point – the connection was dropped 95% of the time within a minute or less.

     

When you look at the Tiani it is impossible not to compare it to the We-Vibe. I only own the original We-Vibe though, which had no remote but shares two points with the Lelo Tiani: The shape & size and the fact that it is meant as a couples vibrator, to be worn by her during sex. That is the main purpose and PR angle but of course you can use it solo. The We-Vibe was better as a solo toy because it slipped around too much during sex and it rarely stayed in contact with my clit unless I held it there – but yet the original We-Vibe was a little noisy for public and the switch was impossible to get to unless you removed it (for me). Not to mention of course that the We-Vibe just simply lacked enough power to provide enough clitoral stimulation to orgasm.

   

However, the We-Vibe (original) motor is slightly better than the Tiani – much more lower-pitched and rumbly, a little tiny bit more intense, and it has a motor on both the clit portion and the g-spot portion (of which is more substantial so as to make a difference to your g-spot during sex if it stays in its proper place). It was never enough power though to get me to orgasm, but at least it was a good tease. The Lelo Tiani isn’t even that. The We-Vibe was still mostly surface vibe-y as soon as it was surrounded by flesh but still just a hair better than the Lelo Tiani.

This is already a lengthy review and I’ve only talked about how the Tiani works and how it fared in testing. I could also launch into a long talk about the packaging and such but I don’t think that’s really the important matter if you’re considering purchasing this sex toy. I will touch briefly though on how it looks overall and how it works. But the bottom line is that I simply don’t recommend this vibrator; even if you are able to enjoy the subtle vibrations that luxury vibrators seem to favor, the inconsistency of the controller is just….the death knell.

The Tiani itself is small – a little smaller than the We-Vibe. The silicone portions of the toy and the controller are that typical Lelo silicone – matte finish and silky smooth. Not at all a dust & pet fur magnet like the shiny silicone of the We-Vibe. To charge Tiani you have to unscrew the clitoral portion right above the metal metallic-coated plastic band. It takes about 2 hours to fully charge it (compared to We-Vibe 1′s 24 hours). Now, here’s another problem….getting the thing screwed back on so that it’s tightly screwed enough that it’s waterproof AND lined up correctly. If I screw it in by starting with it in the position it should end up in, therefore a full 360 turn in, it’s lined up and mostly screwed in but I could turn it just a little more – to make what I feel would be a more obviously snug and waterproof seal – but then it’s not lined up.

   

The controller is about the size and shape roughly of a Keebler Chips Deluxe cookie1. One side is the soft silicone and the other looks like metal from the photos but like all the Insignia line is actually just metallic-painted plastic. Which shows thumbprints and schmears of fluids like crazy. I’ll say this again: Do not attempt anything with this toy until you have read the manual in its entirety and have located all the pieces and parts. Such as the included batteries for the controller and the bizarre plastic “key” to open the back of the controller so you can put the batteries in.

 

If you have lost the remote control plastic key for any of the Lelo SenseMotion Insignia products, I found that a coin works just fine. The rough edges of our American coins might scratch the metallic paint over time, though. It should be noted that Lelo, of course, doesn’t recommend this but if you’re anything like me you’ll lose the damn thing. Perhaps slide a coin down the finger of a Nitrile glove for protection ;)

 I had high hopes for the Lelo Tiani, despite my jaded feelings on the Lelo Insignia line in general. Trust me I put all dubious thoughts aside and really wanted it to work out. But at the end of the day this just is not the sort of sex toy you want to be dropping your money on unless you can actually walk yourself into a nice sex toy store and futz with it yourself before buying. Wireless remote controlled vibrators are not yet something I trust.

  1. No I wasn’t eating one at the time, it was just the best comparison I could make. And really, it IS fairly accurate
  • Jim Pivonka

    Just to say I’m high on your blog. Stunned by it. Maybe it’s my lack of experience with blogs covering the area you do, but you seem uniquely astute, thorough, and direct. And you write so damned well, and interestingly. High quality in an area short of high quality, kind of like you’d like to see in the toy industry.

    Thanks.

  • Violet

    Im so glad to have read this, I was under the impression you could switch the remote vibrations off no matter what mode it was in – just another point to add to the list of fail in relation to these toys.

    Im surprised you got it to worj at all whilst standing up. Ive got to hold the remote between my legs for it to do its job.

    And if your head isnt aleady spinning, apparently it isnt meant to do anything for the g spot (WTF??)- the extra arm’s just to hold it in place… which it also fails to do for some ppl

    This toy couldve been so great, I had high hopes – I think its time for me to start becoming jaded about the toy industry

  • http://kitoconnell.com/ Kit O’Connell

    Thanks for this detailed review. I have an Odin — a cock ring with the same remote — on my to-review list. I’ll be interested to see how it compares to this.