FYI: This review has been updated on the “100% medical grade silicone or not” issue, below
In general, I seem to have the reviewer’s equivalent to a trained drug dog’s nose when it comes to spotting outrageous marketing claims on sex toys. JimmyJane has a knack for turning out highly modern, yet obscenely priced luxury sex toys, many of which have fatal flaws in the design or have lackluster vibrations. I can still recall my visit to Babeland Seattle as the Day The Wool Fell Off My Eyes, as I turned on item after item from JimmyJane and cringed. Their Iconic Collection, as an example, is merely a bunch of overpriced, white-only reproductions of common, mass-marketed (and cheap) sex toys like the pocket rocket, vibrating bath ducky, slimline straight plastic vibe, etc. That line is 100% “mutton dressed as lamb”. Or then there is the mind-boggling one-speed-buzzy-wonder (and by wonder I mean “someone actually buys these??”) that is the Little Chroma/Steel, etc. I’ve owned the Form 3 and Form 6, but frankly couldn’t be arsed to even review the Form 6. I hated it, not quite as much as I hated the Form 3, but not enough to be bothered to review it.
So when I saw what appeared to be another “Iconic” attempt from JJ, I agreed to review it if only to prove that it’s not worth the money. Yes, I know. That’s awfully jaded. But you don’t get to where I am in reviewing without being able to smell the shit past the air freshener. I owe no one anything but the honest, hardcore truth in this review (one reason why I adore SheVibe).
JJ was promoting this sucker hard, and sent out press releases touting how “innovative” it is. Sure, they’re made a lot of changes but innovative it is not. There have been similar vibes, mainly by Fukuoko. Sure, visually this thing is an improvement on the glove. I’ve heard mixed reviews on the power of the glove, some say that the Hello Touch is more powerful than the Fukuoku glove. But “three times the power”? Of what?
I think it’ll be easier if I break everything down. Step by step down the road to the corner of OhGodWhy Lane and You’reKiddingMeRight Blvd.
Packaging and Copy
The packaging is actually pretty damn minimal. In fact, likely the most minimal I’ve seen from a luxury sex toy company. I’m actually not complaining about this, though. Fancier packaging leads to a higher priced item, and ain’t nobody got time for that shit. But you see…when things like these are said….I tend to call bullshit:
I get it. They need to say things that will sell. It’s like the whole advertised-burger-vs-reality-burger thing that I’ve mentioned before, except this has to do with performance rather than visual aspects.
But these? Please, don’t listen to these people. None of them actually tried the thing, I’d bet my last month’s commission on that. So these words are why I write this review. Because people deserve to know the truth, and that truth isn’t sparkly or pretty.
But the thing I take the most issue with is this, and it will be explained further down:
Product Design (Flaws)
Prior to the Hello Touch, Fukuoku was the only company to make something like this. I seem to recall that there was a product just like the Hello Touch, except 3 fingerpads instead of just two. The Glove has 5 vibrating pads, but the downside is that it looks and feels like a damn ski glove. It’s not sexy, which I think is why JJ went to such lengths to create the Hello Touch with such a minimalistic, low profile.
Fingerpads: You can, in theory, put the fingerpads on any finger or your thumb, if it’ll fit. I do not have particularly large or fat fingers, although thin women will have smaller fingers than I. But these pads are uncomfortably tight. There is no pain, but they do stop bloodflow. After 4 minutes of wearing them, my fingertips were cold and starting to hurt. If someone with big, burly hands were to try this? Well, they can’t even get it on. A friend attempted to try these on for me; his hands were big with thick fingers – he couldn’t even tolerate it for half a second, it was so tight. You can see below what it’s doing to my fingers. Also below I just wanted to show you what I mean by “big, burly hands”. My awesome friend and his lady sent me this requested pic to show what I mean. If your hands look like his? Forget it. You’ll have no hope of wearing these fingerpads. Hell if you’re even close to his finger size, you’ll have no prayer.
Also, the fingerpads CAN be removed from the vibrating pods and you should do so for more thorough cleaning. When everything is lubed up and has been in use, the lube can get inside these pads, in between the vibrating pod and the pliable material, making it quite easy for the pod to slip out. It is not, however, easy for the to slip back in. If you don’t get it just right before you shove it in, you’ll be trying for a few minutes. Sometimes I was able to get it right away, sometimes not.
Vibrations: I’m just not sure what JimmyJane thinks the Hello Touch is 3 times more powerful than. When you first turn it on, if the pads aren’t on your fingers yet, you might think it has a bit of a kick. But of course when a vibrator is held firmly near it’s motor, the vibrations will always dampen to some degree. That’s what happens when you put the pads on your fingers, especially since these things are so damn tight. But while the vibrations in this thing are not ever going to be enough to even tease me, they might be enough for those who don’t really need much in the way of vibrations for a clitoral orgasm. I wouldn’t at all classify the vibrations as deep, or rumbly, or thuddy. They are just shy of being surface-buzzy, so I have felt more buzzy vibrators (a perfect example is the Extase Liberte – the Hello Touch is actually just a smidge more oomph-y than the Liberte and definitely not buzzy in comparison to it). My very first reaction to the vibrations was “wow, this is utter crap” but I’ve shown this to a few sex toy noobs and am, uncharacteristically, amending my initial judgment …..slightly.
However, I don’t think that the vibrations would be enough to be felt internally, on the g-spot, nor would they really do a whole lot for a penis if you can manage to adjust your handjob so that the fingerpads touch flesh. Should you try to turn the fingerpads around so that they are on the top side of your finger and hope for just proxy vibrations coursing through your fingertip, you will be disappointed. I also don’t feel that the vibrations would really be enough to aid in body massage, at all. They’re about as effective as blowing on skin. I have actually read a couple of reviews that indicate that the vibrations on this can be considered “powerful” and I am left shaking my head. I know that everybody likes something different but if you truly feel that the Hello Touch is powerful in use, then that is a good indication to me that I can’t read any of your other reviews because our idea of “powerful” is at opposite ends of the scale. On a scale of 1 to 4, as SheVibe rates things, I would rank the intensity of this absolutely no higher than a 2. If halfsies were allowed, I’d go firmly with 1.5. The beloved We-Vibe Salsa (Tango) blows this out of the water on its LOW setting. RO-80mm bullets are also much more powerful than Hello Touch. Even the Lelo Mia 2 on a Lowish-Medium setting (there are at least 10 discernible power settings) is more intense than the Hello Touch.
Power Pack: Moving on to the power pack, we find even more flaws. The most obvious being that the buttons take a good amount of pressure to turn off and on. If you have any sort of disability or weakness to your fingers, please don’t bother with this. I personally had to press really hard and dig my fingernail in, especially to turn it off, and that action therefore jammed the power pack into my wrist which also hurt like hell. In fact, sometimes I actually had to yank the thing off my wrist and use two hands to press hard enough to turn it off. When you take out the battery holder, you can see on it the buttons that turn it on and off. These line up with plastic dots glued to the silicone(?) button pad. When the battery pack is out of the case, the buttons are easy to push, so it’s merely just yet another design flaw. Also, in order to replace the batteries, there is a cap on the end that you must pry off. I have found that this is impossible to do without good, strong fingernails.
The grey wristband that holds the power pack is unbelievably confusing at first. If you don’t use this thing often, you’ll at first forget which button turns it on and which turns it off, because JimmyJane wanted to be so modern and minimalistic that there is no indication which is which. To up the confusion factor, they have imprinted three circles on the wristband. The top and bottom circles correspond to the buttons on the power pack, but that middle circle has no purpose except to annoy and confuse you. Actually when I looked inside (the inset bottom-right photo above) I could see that there were 3 raised buttons there on the inside of the power pack sleeve, yet as seen on the inset bottom-left photo, there is nothing in the middle for it to depress. The non-adjustable wrist band holds the power pack. The wrist band fit me mostly fine, but had to stay closer to my hand; on my girlfriend who is skinny, the wristband was too big and so the pack just flopped around. Could you sew the wrist band and make it fit a smaller wrist? Sure, but then it may not fit your partner. Another design flaw, although minor in comparison, is that the wire that runs from the pads to the powerpack is a lot longer than in the photos on the JJ site. I have a lot of extra length and that would just end up getting in the way and getting caught on things during use.
And yes, there is only one speed, and no patterns. Adding insult to injury, the power pack takes AAAA batteries. No, this is not a typo. I actually thought it was a typo when I read Joan Price’s review because I had never even heard of AAAA batteries. The only thing that I’ve seen that these are used in are those portable blood glucose monitors. The average price for a 2-pack is around $3.50 from what I’ve seen, and the power pack runs on 2 of these. They do include 2, thankfully. But a AAA battery isn’t really all that much bigger, I don’t understand why they couldn’t add on a few millimeters and allow the use of a more common battery. If you’re feeling adventurous though, you can rip open a 9-volt battery and steal the AAAA’s from there.
Included: Alright so we’ve determined that the box and such is minimal and definitely not good to be reused for storage. They do give you two of the required AAAA batteries. They also give you a pouch. I think. Did they perhaps forget to put a snap on mine? Because honestly, this makes no damn sense. It only snaps on one corner and it really doesn’t take much jostling around inside a bag to open up. I had mine in a section of my handbag and sure enough after a day or so I pulled out just the pouch. The manual is very minimal and is basically a series of drawings.
Anal Play?? OH HELL NO
Yes. JimmyJane actually recommends the Hello Touch for anal/prostate stimulation. I am utterly dumbfounded and frankly, upset at this. NO. ABSOLUTELY NOT. NO. This is NOT safe. If for any reason you are dead set on doing this, then please use a fingercot to cover the pads and hold them on.
You see, each vibration pod is removable from the finger pad/strap. They are not one solid unit. This design does allow for easier cleaning, but it makes it not very safe for anal play. Once you are using this internally and rubbing around, lubrication (natural or from a bottle) will start to get in between the plastic vibration pod and the finger pad harness. With pressure applied, especially the sort of pressure that the rectum can provide, there is a chance that the finger strap harness thingie will slide off the vibration pod and stay in your butt. If the straps are not super tight on your finger, then the pressure combined with lube could make the whole thing slide off your finger, remaining inside. This isn’t a problem vaginally but could be anally; vaginally you could use your fingers to go retrieve it while anally you would likely end up tugging it by the cord. This could damage the vibration pod, or again separate the vibration pod from the silicone finger strap and leave that part inside the rectum.
BAD, JIMMYJANE. BAD.
Silicone? Actually, Yes
Edited April 28th 2013: Originally, I performed a flame test on this and it behaved in the exact same way as the Bedroom Kandi Hold on To Me kegel bead holster that was the flaming star of my Flame Testing video. Pure silicone is not supposed to burn up, melt and disintegrate like this. The material that was left was sticky, and there is a piece of missing material where I burned it on the finger strap part. Interestingly, the portion that holds the vibrating pod didn’t catch to flame quite as easily as the straps – it did burn, there was ash (both could be indicative of actually being pure silicone) but there was material destruction after the ash was wiped off, and the material was left sticky/tacky. At last year’s MomentumCon, where the Flame Testing video was filmed, I got confirmation from a few industry pros who know what they’re talking about, that that behaviour is not indicative of pure silicone. It IS indicative of a TPR-silicone blend called SEBS. The material on these finger straps doesn’t look like the obvious jelly-like elastomer of cock rings; in fact, it more resembled the O2 layer that you’ll see on certain Tantus dildos. But trust me, the O2 silicone from Tantus doesn’t behave this way in a flame test. I’m willing to say that it appears to be a blend and not medical-grade silicone, but at least it appears to mostly be a blend that is more parts silicone than what I found with the Bedroom Kandi piece. Still, though, the fact remains that Hello Touch failed the flame test, and I am extremely disappointed.
UPDATE: A fellow silicone warrior, Jacq of Sugar in Baltimore talked with me at Catalyst recently. She flame tests the toys she sells, and we compared our results. Her Hello Touch passed the flame test – she held a light to hers for 5 minutes, and it never caught on fire. There was no material destruction or loss, just a black scorch mark that could be wiped off. I showed her mine and she concurred that mine was not silicone. I also showed this to a few other industry silicone professionals who again concurred that it was not pure medical grade silicone. Another reviewer, Blacksilk, has perf0rmed the flame test and her results were exactly the same as mine: material goes up in flames in less than 5 seconds, destruction, loss, change. I have now contacted JimmyJane via Twitter (twice), Facebook and finally I sent them a detailed email. I have been ignored. I am equally as upset by the material issue as I am their reaction.
I put out a call to arms to my readers and rounded up the funds to get this officially lab tested. This lab test then got handed off to become first validation test for a new organization, Dildology. Surprisingly, despite what had been regarded as a “fail” in the flame test, the JimmyJane Hello Touch was confirmed to be pure silicone, specifically Polydimethylsiloxane. The lab told us verbally that it was “almost pure”, however the report given did not go into details about that, it merely confirmed that there was no other polymer present, no organic additives and no polymers. We are waiting to see the actual data from the FTIR test to understand what was meant by “almost pure” —> Another update: I talked to the lab, he didn’t mean to imply that there was any polymer in there besides polydimethylsiloxane, and there were no additives or plasticizers. He actually DID run both FTIR and GC-MS to be sure, since I told him about the flame test. So, you should feel confident that it is silicone, ok? <—
Regardless, the flame test ended up failing us, the consumers. It is less accurate than previously thought. Currently the only way to ever know the truth is to employ FTIR and GC-MS testing at a lab, which is what Dildology plans to do for the industry and consumers.
- Visually, it is an improvement over the Fukuoko gloves
- Very small all around
- The vibrations are not so surface-buzzy that they have no hope of getting someone off
- Might be decent for a scalp massage, but you’ll certainly make a mess of their hair, possibly yank some out
- Retail is about $65 for this, I feel it’s too much since it isn’t even silicone
- Vibrations won’t be enough for most people
- The buttons on the powerpack are obscenely hard to push
- The powerpack wrist band is not adjustable, and will not fit very thick arms or thin arms
- The finger straps are only comfortable on the smallest of feminine fingers
- Requires an expensive and more-obscure-than-watch-batteries battery, AAAA size
- Cords are mostly minimal but can still snag and get in the way
- Vibrating pods require patience and dexterity to put back into the silicone fingerpad strap things
- Useless even as a body massage companion, the vibrations are just not enough to add to the experience
- You will need a travel pouch, as the silicone material will attract dust/powder/fur/hair, but the included pouch is fairly useless
So, NO Gizmodo, this is NOT the “best sex toy ever invented”, not by a long shot.
Unfortunately, this style of vibrator just cannot seem to be perfected yet. It’s kinda like the remote control bullet or panties. These types of sex toys are nearly always very expensive, fairly weak in vibrations, aren’t going to fit the majority of the population and simply don’t deliver on their pie-in-the-sky promises. These actually are “novelty” items. So I have nothing else to recommend to you instead of this, if the idea is something you like. I think that JimmyJane should knock it the fuck off with ridiculous shit like the “Jet Set” and the damn Bouncy House, because their collective brain cells are needed to produce something decent in the sex toy world (which this isn’t).
The Hello Touch was provided to me by SheVibe in exchange for an honest review.