Apr 032018
 

Black Lelo Sona Cruise on a gray knit backgroundYears ago I swore I’d never review another Lelo sex toy, but my commitment to trying most of the Womanizer and Satisfyer toys meant that I had to try the Lelo Sona Cruise, much to my dismay. For now, I can’t compare the Lelo Sona Cruise to the regular Sona but I feel like my assessment of the Sona Cruise is going to be enough and I really don’t want to go through the rigors of testing two of these horror shows. I’ve disliked my experience from first to last.

I was so extremely skeptical of Lelo’s claim to be doing the pressure air technology different – by incorporating sonic waves, aka sound waves – that I had to feel it for myself. Let me be clear, though: I still don’t support Lelo and I never will – I broke up with them years ago and my decision has been reinforced by their marketing choices and that terrible, troubling condom. I 100% feel that you can get an equal or better identical product by choosing Womanizer or Satisfyer over the Lelo Sona or Sona Cruise. Yet I’m still spending nearly 2,000 words talking about an inferior product that has made some people bleed because I’m thorough, damn it.

The Lelo Sona Cruise is…Sonic?

EffinBirds: "I read some shit on the internet, I'm an expert now" Lelo’s ad copy says: “SONA Cruise is a sonic clitoral massager. That means it doesn’t rely on vibrations like a conventional sex toy. Instead, it uses sonic waves and pulses to stimulate the entire clitoris – not just the external part you can see and touch.” 

I’m side-eyeing that real hard, folx. They’re right on one thing, it’s not relying on vibrations. Neither does the Womanizer brand or Satisfyer brand of pressure air pulsators. So basically Lelo is claiming to use SOUND. 

Yes, there is sound – there’s always sound. But I can see and feel the little fluttering gizmo that is producing the air pulse sensations, and it is just like the Womanizer and Satisfyer models. Do they feel the same? Mostly, yes. I think that the Lelo Sona Cruise is more intense right off the bat (not a great thing in my book) but I believe it’s because there’s less physical space between the fluttering motor and the point of clitoral contact. The nozzle is also thinner inside in width than most Womanizer and Satisfyer models; I noticed that that aspect also leads to a more intense sensation, like I saw in the Womanizer 2GO. For comparison, the inside width of the Lelo Sona Cruise nozzle is .454 inches or 11.53 mm, and it is circular – the smallest width of the oval Womanizer nozzle is 12.3mm.

Despite their “sonic” claims I cannot feel any discernible difference, other than initial intensity, from Womanizer and Satisfyer models. Yes, due to designs there is varying sensation between all of the Womanizer and Satisfyer models — some more intense, some less, some more thuddy, some more shallow/buzzy. A few people have reported to me that the Sona worked for them where a Womanizer or Satisfyer did not, but I don’t know why – maybe it’s an intensity thing? So yes, the short distance and narrow opening means the Lelo Sona Cruise is more intense right away compared to some other models, but I do not think it feels different enough to warrant the “sonic waves” claim.

What is this Cruise Control Bullshit?

EffinBirds: "Come back when you get your shit together"“Specially developed by LELO and exclusive to SONA, Cruise Control is a feature that reserves 20% of SONA’s full power during normal use, so that when SONA is pressed hard against the body and the motor begins to drop power, that extra 20% is unleashed so that there’s no reduction of intensity. It’s not a setting, it’s completely automatic, and it eliminates the single most common complaint against pleasure products.”

That…..It’s….That is not a Thing That Happens in these types of sex toys. I’ve never experienced a drop in motor power if I pressed a Womanizer or Satisfyer harder against my vulva. Not once. Yes, it feels different and maybe a little less intense but that’s not what they’re saying here. They’re saying specifically the motor drops power. Typical to Lelo’s infuriatin marketing tactics over the last 5 years they are inventing problems that don’t exist and then “solving” them. Yes, a traditional vibrator will see a power decrease as more pressure is applied but we’ve already established that this is not a vibrator. 

In practice the Cruise Control is simply infuriating and reminds me of the problematic Smart Wand’s “SenseTouch” which would supposedly increase the vibration the harder you pressed, except that many users found it would act erratically. I experienced that same erract behavior when using the Lelo Sona Cruise – sometimes it would seem to increase, and sometimes it would decrease. Sometimes the increase wouldn’t stop even when it was literally not touching my vulva, when I had it just hovering over my clitoris because the sensations were too intense.

Cruise Control is trash, for me. I don’t want to guess at the intensity level I’ll get – I want to have control over it. That’s why there are various intensity levels! Pick the one you want! I want it to stay at a lower intensity on the lower levels until I’m ready for something more. I’m actually laughing at the disparity in their name choice for this “feature”.  Cruise control in a car means you maintain the same speed so congratulations for naming it like you’re in Bizarro World.

I would hate the Lelo Sona about 20% less because it lacks the useless, horrible Cruise Control. So if you must, just get the regular Lelo Sona. But, I mean, still don’t get the Lelo Sona.

Patterns? What Fresh Hell is This?????

EffinBirds: "You are not capable of producing a useful result"Patterns. They’re controversial but most people don’t like them. They are the bane of my existence, they are the thing I almost always accidentally turn on and then frantically try to reverse. Patterns are what I only resort to if I’m trying to fool my clitoris into thinking the vibrations are more rumbly or more intense than they are, and it nearly never works out for me.

The Lelo Sona Cruise buttons are closely-aligned and difficult to distinguish by touch alone. Given how un-ergonomic I feel the entire design is, combined with the diminuitive size I hate, I’m usually pushing the wrong buttons. Entering into patterns on a pressure air sex toy, one that is already intense, is akin to that burst of pain you feel when you consume a hot or cold liquid and you have dental pain. That sharp, wrong-feeling, nerve-zapping makeitstoppppp feeling is what I felt any time I accidentally went into patterns.

To be honest, this feature alone would be enough to make me never pick up the Lelo Sona Cruise again, but wait…there’s more.

It’s Painful

The Lelo Sona Cruise caused me pain in two unexpected ways. The first was while holding it. It’s a combination of the size, the button placement, and the weird way the body of it bends away from you where the controls are. Every press of the button would rock the nozzle away from my vulva so I needed to keep an anchor on it by pressing my fingers around the back, and lower. It is awkward to hold in ways that straight-bodied models like the Pro40 or Satisfyer Pro 2 are not. I would actually rather use the potato with the pokey button, aka the Womanizer Pro 500 Deluxe Whatever They’re Calling It now.

The second way the Lelo Sona Cruise is painful to me took some time to figure out, and I may not have understood what was happening without Aurora asking me specifically if I’d ever heard of anybody bleeding after use. By the time she asked me I’d forgotton about this thread on Reddit where multiple people reported bleeding after use, and a few others on Twitter mentioned bleeding1. I can’t say that it made me bleed because I never paid attention (and didn’t know what was happening at the time) but I know that it cut my vulva a bit or irritated it to the point of localized pain. The last few times I used the Sona I had to pee shortly after and noticed that when I wiped, it hurt. Like an open cut. It wasn’t excruciating so I ignored it. I didn’t connect the two facts until I used it again after Aurora’s question and it hit me.

EffinBirds: "Our expectations for you were low, but holy fuck"The culprit is the short distance between the exterior opening of the nozzle and the “flappy bit” motor inside the nozzle that causes the air pulsation. No other pressure-wave sex toy has this short of a distance – not even the smallest Satisfyer or the smallest Womanizer. There is, without a doubt, a short enough distance between the edge of the nozzle of the Lelo Sona Cruise and the motor to allow a clitoris or labia to come into contact with semi-moving parts. I say “semi-moving” because there is a squishy skin-like membrane over the flappy bit. It’s not like there are sharp edges but it is enough to cause irritation to my vulva/clitoris.

How short of a distance? When the motor is on, the distance is halved; if I insert my pinky finger then it’s just equal to the distance between the tip of my finger and the base of my nail bed aka 7.8mm or .3 inches. That’s it.

This is ridiculous.

How the Lelo Sona Cruise Compares to Other Brands

Effinbirds: "Basically you're fucking incompetent"Given Lelo’s penchant for drastically overpricing everything they sell I’m absolutely shocked that the most expensive Sona is still considerably less expensive than the Womanizer brand. That said even though I strongly prefer and recommend the Womanizer brand over the Satisfyer brand I still would rather see you get a Satisfyer than a Lelo Sona.

Unlike the Womanizer and Satisfyer products, the Lelo Sona Cruise does not have a removable silicone nozzle for easier cleaning. Yes, this means that the Lelo Sona is covered in silicone (except for the large plastic plate on the backside) but it’s not a “good feature” to me. Unlike most Womanizer models the Lelo Sona Cruise has only one opening size and that opening is pretty small. This is not a sex toy for larger clits but given it’s penchant for cutting up smaller clits, it’s not for those either. It’s for NO clit.

When we talk about the pressure-wave air stimulators we have to talk about the noise level because despite not having a vibrating motor, these can still get kinda noisy. Lelo would, of course, have you believe that theirs is superior: “It’s quiet and restrained – perfect for users who need discretion.” Strangely, unlike most other models, the Lelo Sona Cruise gets much more noisy when the nozzle is covered. With most Womanizer and Satisfyer models they are a little noisy until they come in full contact with your vulva, then they are extremely quiet. Check out the Instagram video to hear the strange noises it makes. Also note the sounds you hear after I remove my thumb from the nozzle, you can hear the motor stepping back down in strength.

You’ll get much less use time out of the Lelo Sona Cruise, as well. Nearly all of the Satisfyer models give you 2 hours, and many Womanizer models boast use times of up to 4 hours on a single charge. Womanizer also gives a better warranty – 2 Years to Lelo’s 1 Year.  I’m not adding the Sona specs to the Womanizer vs Satisfyer guide spreadsheet but you can see how they compare.   

I can’t recommend the Lelo Sona Cruise, at all. I hate every single thing about it and feel that nearly any model of Womanizer or Satisfyer pressure air sex toys is equally as good or better. 

 

Much thanks to SheVibe for providing me with a Lelo Sona Cruise in exchange for my honest review!                                                                                                                                                              

 

  1. Check out Amber’s review too
Jan 192015
 

LeloMonaWaveThe Lelo Mona Wave takes the Mona and adds motion, meant to do the g-spot stroking for you. For me, sex toys don’t replace a human. They’re a great accompaniment. I love using them by myself and with a partner. But just as a penis or finger or tongue could never vibrate and nearly never achieve the orgasms (for me) that a good vibrator can, a sex toy can never feel like oral sex or the thrusting of a penis or the stroking, much-lauded “come-hither” motion of a finger or two. Yet sex toy companies, Lelo included, keep trying to create sex toys that seem to be aiming for replacement rather than harmony1. They are also creating sex toys that promise way more than they can deliver, in my opinion. 

Right on the box, Lelo proclaims: “The orgasm to end all orgasms2” and “The world’s first g-spot massager that rises and plunges within3 like the natural caress of a lover’s fingers”. That’s really putting the pressure on. 

PROS: Let’s start off on a good note, eh?

  • The entire thing is finally covered in silicone. There’s still a seam between the white and color, of course, but it’s not as bad as before. Plus now the buttons are covered in silicone which also makes things much easier on cleaning.
  • There’s an instant-on instant-off button. Rather than pressing the power-up button to turn on and pressing the power-down to turn off[ 1. Which honestly has led to more dead Lelos for me than any other brand, simply because the lowest vibration setting is SO low you might think it’s off when it’s not], you now simply press the center of the control panel
  • Awesome colors that are not so gender-binary focused. Black! Cobalt Blue! (update: naturally they had to get rid of the black. assholes. it’s replaced with a bright fucsia)
  • The Wave can be slowed down or turned off, or the vibrations can be turned off
  • Think outside the box – people whose fingers fatigue easily could consider using it clitorally for extra help

In addition to this instant-on button, Lelo Mona Wave will also remember what setting you were on when you last left off, if that appeals to you. Also, while I’ve never had a problem with ABS plastic as a material, combining it like Lelo has done for so many years can simply result in issues with cleaning, like around the crevices and cracks. I don’t feel that the lack of raised buttons makes life any harder, either. 

Lelo Mona Wave (in blue) handle and buttons vs. Lelo Mona 2. The Mona 2's buttons are clearly individual buttons, whereas the Mona Wave is markings on the silicone skin with only a fingertip-sized dimple in the center Showing the difference in the curve of the body of the Lelo Mona Wave (blue) vs Mona 2 if you turn off the motor that waggles it when it is at its most flexed.  It does give a more dramatic curve at the neck from the Mona 2.

CONS: Well, we had to get here eventually, you just didn’t think it would be so soon……

  • Vibrations are not as rumbly or as strong as Mona
  • Motion transfers – a good, pelvic-floor clench means the handle moves, not the head
  • So many patterns. It’s like IKEA, you can get lost in the patterns and you can’t even turn it off to start fresh at the beginning.
  • That noise, though. 
  • Meh.
  • That price, though.
  • Need firm pressure? Forgetaboutit. 

I was seriously bummed to find that in order to accommodate the Wave feature, they dumbed down the vibrations. They are not as rumbly as the Mona 2 and they are not as powerful. In fact, the Lelo Mona Wave’s vibrations are less than the freaking original Mona which I tested on whatever charge it had left after sitting around from the last time I had to check vibration strengths which was a few weeks ago. I even asked my husband’s opinion, so that I wasn’t unintentionally biased, and he definitely thought the “blue one” was less powerful. Doing the cheek test4, the vibrations of the original Mona seem to be more far-reaching on my face than the Mona Wave. In the video clip below, you can see how the Mona 2 (in red) simply sounds lower-pitched in the glass, and splashes some of the water out. The Mona Wave doesn’t create a splash. Literally. It’s a big let-down for me. Mona 2 was never enough for me for g-spot vibrations, not like the L’amourose Rosa Rouge is, but with a little patience it could get me off clitorally. 

So let’s go back to physics class – when you’re holding it firmly by the handle and there’s nothing impeding the movement of the head, sure, the head wiggles. But as soon as there’s resistance introduced, the movement has to go somewhere, so it goes to the handle. This isn’t to say that it’s a dead fish once inserted, but there is less movement. In the video clip below (sorry, it’s gone) you hear and see how fast the top speed of the wiggle is, and then the slower speed, and finally see how much less it moves when there’s resistance.  Yes, you can run the Mona Wave with just the arm moving and no vibrations, the arm moving slower with wave-pulsing vibrations, vibrations with no arm movement, or arm movement with a big variety of pulsating patterns. The + and – keys only control the vibration intensity. To change everything else you must cycle through with the up and down arrow keys. To get back to the default setting of high arm movements and straight vibrations, just click the hell out of the down arrow until everything seems to be back where you started from.

I like a lot of pressure on my g-spot, and it’s why I adore the firmness of the Njoy Pure Wand so much. Aimless, passionless stroking is not going to impress my g-spot, I need pressure. That doesn’t really happen with the Mona Wave for me. In fact, I felt no “zing” of “yeah, that’s the spot!!” like I can even by simply inserting a girthy dildo to provide passive pressure. Yeah, I can feel the movement but it’s not earth-shattering, there’re no fireworks.  I normally (except for the Pure Wand) don’t get a ton of enjoyment out of just g-spot stimulation alone. But g-spot stim will greatly help along a clitoral/blended orgasm – making it happen faster and be much more intense. So when I tried the Mona Wave along with other toys, I didn’t get that speed-up effect nor did it make my orgasm more intense, nor did it draw out the length of the orgasm. 

So, the noise. I’ve had louder vibrators, certainly. The Magic Wand is louder. But as you can hear in the video, that movement is coupled with this odd, robotic sound. I envision those old RC toys with legs that walked, like the puppies or robots. It can be a little….off-putting, to some people. It doesn’t bother me per se but if you need a quiet vibe, this isn’t it. The high-pitched sound of the moving arm can be heard more easily than the low-pitched rumble of the Mona 2, for example. (Sorry, video is gone and I can’t be arsed to recharge the Wave just to remake the videos)

Forget g-spots for a minute. Can the Mona Wave work as a clitoral vibrator + massager? Meh. I’m unimpressed frankly, and that’s mostly because it’s a lack of decent vibrations. Under good circumstances the Mona 2 can get me off clitorally but the Mona Wave? Nope. And if movement + pressure is going to work for me, it needs to be directed to that certain spot on the right side of my clitoral hood. The Mona Wave is too wide to do anything pinpoint. But what about prostates? ehhhh. Is the design of the Mona considered borderline anal safe, since it does get thinner in the neck and then flares out in the handle? I guess? I don’t think the Lelo Mona Wave is going to make waves for prostates, either. Again, there’s a lot of resistance and so the movements will be dulled. 

In the end, I’m going to give the Lelo Mona Wave a pass because it is not AWESOME and I don’t even think it’s better than the Mona 2. I’d simply rather do it my own damn self. Much like the Fun Factory Stronic Drei, which moved even less, I’m clearly not the target audience for these tech-fancy moving sex toys. And with a price tag of $149 for the Lelo Mona Wave (and $169 for the Lelo Ina Wave which I suspect would fail even more for me) it’s just not enough AWESOME for the price. If it had the same level of vibrations as the Mona 2 and were priced lower I’d say why not, go for it but it’s $40 more. 

 

A big thank you to SHEVIBE for being amazing and sending me a Lelo Mona Wave to review! 

 

  1. and worse, they often try to claim they’re the first. Didn’t they claim to be ground-breaking with the Ora, when the Je Joue Sasi was the first? And there ARE rotating, g-spot-curved rabbits, but they rotate around. This just literally mimics the motion of you crooking your finger to “come here”
  2. WTF does this even MEAN??
  3. I can’t make this shit up. Rises? Plunges?
  4. Some people do the nose test, but with the more powerful vibrators it just makes me sneeze. So I open my mouth wide and touch vibrators to the hollow of my cheek and gauge how far on my face I can feel vibrations as a way to compare vibrators against each other when the power difference is less noticeable
Dec 312014
 

LeloMona2If you at all frequent the world of sex toy review blogs (or even Reddit) you’d probably think that the Lelo Mona 2 is one of the three Holy Grail sex toys (the other two being the We-Vibe Tango and the Njoy Pure Wand). So you may be able to understand why I feel like the black sheep (oh wait, I am!) for not loving the Lelo Mona 2. I ask that you hear me out before you light the torches and brandish the pitchforks. I like it well enough; it’s okay. But I don’t long for it. In fact, I don’t ever use it….unless I’m writing a review.

“How can you not love the Mona 2?!?”

Since my body requires a ton of vibration strength for it to matter to my g-spot, the vibrations of the Mona 2 don’t quite cut it for me as an internal vibe. It’s good, don’t get me wrong, and it’s fairly strong, but I need something more…. more than most people. I need the serious rumbles, like those found in the L’amourose Rosa Rouge.  The vibrations of the Lelo Mona 2 are good enough to help stimulate my internal clitoris but not enough to really wake up my g-spot. It’s pretty good as an external vibe if you don’t like pinpoint vibrations, and want something with a handle, but it’s still not going to be my top recommendation. I actually can’t think of a situation where I’ve chosen the Mona over the We-Vibe Tango for external stimulation – I guess I prefer something more pinpoint (like the Tango). I find that using a vibe like the Lelo Mona 2 as an external stimulator during partnered PIV sex is a little less awkward because it gets my hand out of the way a bit, versus using the Tango, but the effort required for me to come using the Mona 2’s more broad stimulation isn’t worth the saved hassle.  Plus, after trying vibes like the Je Joue Uma, the half-plastic half-silicone design of the Mona 2 combined with the buttons makes clean-up a bit more of a hassle than I feel up for most times. Yes, I’m lazy. The Uma is totally encased in a silicone skin, and the buttons on the end are just a bit easier for me to access. 

Better than, Worse than

If we’re comparing Lelo to Lelo, I’d definitely pick the Mona 2 over the Gigi 2 any day.  Lelo Mona 2 provides the fullness I need with a longer overall design that I also really need. The vibrations of the Mona 2 are definitely stronger and better than the Gigi 2. While I do love everything about the L’amourose Rosa Rouge much more than the Lelo Mona 2, for those who need a lot of firm pressure on their g-spot, I’d recommend the Mona 2 (or Uma) over the Rosa Rouge. But if you want something easier to hold and with more powerful vibrations, I’d recommend the Rosa (or heated version, Rouge) any day. There is an increased cost there, of course. Je Joue’s Uma is about $20 less than Mona 2 and I feel the vibrations are just a bit more rumbly. 

Like most higher-end sex toys, Mona 2 is rechargeable, waterproof, has varied levels of vibration intensity and has a few pulsating settings. I’m never a fan of patterns, so I stick with the straight vibrations. There’s a warranty but experiences from fellow readers have shown that there’s a few issues with the Lelo customer claims department.  Unlike most newer rechargeable sex toys, though, the Lelo Mona 2 isn’t USB-rechargeable. This means you’ll have to purchase from a store in the country you live in, to ensure your charger is the right voltage and prongs and whatnot for you.  The silicone is a silky-smooth skin overtop a hard plastic vibrator, so there’s no give and no squish. If you need something softer and thinner, try the Tenga Iroha Minamo.

Want it?

As with all Lelo creations, Mona 2 is a bit pricey. As of this writing, SheVibe.com sells it for $129.99. Every now and then you’ll be able to catch a Lelo sale or just an overall site sale to save a bit. So far, I’ve received fewer complaints about the Mona 2 failing than other Lelo items, but I’m skeptical overall on their brand. Of course, now that I’ve taken so long to write this review the Mona Wave is out.

 

All purchase links here go to Shevibe, the best retailer on earth.  And Canadians, check out Come As You Are

Oct 132013
 

There is always a proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back; This straw is named Ida. However, the ludicrous bullshit that stems from Lelo continues, and worsens, through the years. Every year I make sure to update this post.

 iquit

In 2008 when I first started reviewing sex toys, I got to review a couple of Lelo toys pretty early on in my career. Back then, “luxury” vibes were not as prevalent and seemed so….posh. So fancy. So very, very different from the garish, neon dreams of CalExotics and Doc Johnson, at 5-10 times the price. And with a price tag like that, surely they’re better, right?? So I felt let down when I didn’t love my first Lelo toys. They weren’t quite powerful enough for me. But I thought it was my fault. I was the problem, not Lelo. They were trying so hard, you see.  And so, I kept making excuses–trying to be objective, and state that just because it wasn’t perfect for me, Ms. Picky Clit-o-Steel, didn’t mean they weren’t great sex toys. After all, I was reading so many other glowing reviews.

I’ve become more jaded as the years pass, this is true. I’ve seen a lot of luxury sex toys come and go. And the opinions I tried to mold into objective statements years ago have lost their luster; they have chipped away like the metallic paint on their Insignia line.  I am left with nothing but unapologetic (harsh?) truths. I have replaced my old “trying to hard to be objective” with a tempered balance of honesty and realism. 

Let’s run this down, shall we? Abridged version, go:

  • Elise – Great size, and a promising two motors that sorta work for me, but the placement of that second motor was a bit odd.
  • Mia – Geek-appeal, the first USB rechargeable vibe I’d ever seen, but the vibrations were poor and buzzy. I was bummed.
  • Bo cock ring – Neat; for 2008, it was inventive – rechargeable, posh, etc. Vibrations were meh. It wasn’t silicone.
  • Gigi – Better than the bird-beak tips most toy makers thought felt nice on a g-spot, but unfortunate button placement combined with a too-short length and mediocre vibrations made for sad bedfellows
  • Luna Beads – They actually worked, and remain to be the most intelligent kegel ball system out there
  • Isla – They decided to put design over function. The metallic paint on the plastic portion chips off terribly after 6 months to a year of use. At first, Lelo wouldn’t replace them under warranty. Paint chipping off inside my vag seems to be a defect, you know?? Piss poor vibrations and a worthless shape.
  • Mona – Good shape, good length, vibrations seemed to be an improvement from all other models but could be more.
  • Tor II cock ring – No longer “inventive”, they now make it out of silicone but it’s less stretchy. Too tight for above-average. Better vibrations, though.
  • Tiani – Tiani 1st Ed was shit. Sense Motion failed, but then they fixed it. Vibrations were so weak it was pathetic. Internal arm offered nothing.
  • Tiani 2nd Ed – Internal arm slightly better, still meh. Vibrations improved, but not Wow. Better for couple’s play (but not sex) than the We-Vibe 3.
  • Luna Beads Noir – Total WTF. Better colors,  but the whole reason I liked the Luna Beads is negated. There’s no going up in weights gradually, since you only get 2 beads of the higher weight.
  • Luna Beads Mini – Also, total WTF fail. The ball is same size as regular Luna Beads, so it doesn’t provide as much sensation in use. They didn’t work at all.
  • Smart Wand  Medium – Again, the technology failed. SenseTouch was a bomb. Medium was a nice size but the vibrations were infuriatingly bland.
  • Smart Wand Large – Technology still shit, but vibrations knocked my socks off. Caveat: Works best with an attachment meant for the Hitachi Magic Wand. Doesn’t hold a charge in between uses very well; others have reported quality issues w the motor
  • Ina 2 – Better than the Original Ina in design and vibrations,  but somehow still not quite enough to be great for me.
  • Mia 2 – Still has design issues, unfortunate button placement/difficult to clean, but vibrations greatly improved. I still prefer my We-Vibe Tango, though.
  • Mona 2 –  Improved vibrations, still not enough for power queens like me and not on par with Smart Wand Large, but great shape and size.
  • Gigi 2 – Better vibrations (still less than Mona 1), but it’s not enough for me.
  • Ida – Saw Piph’s review, said NOPE. I’m done. A rotating internal arm, a flat disc that vibrates. My husband’s penis is thicker than average, and my body type won’t work at all with a flat disc. Did they even test this with human genitals?
  • At this point, I have to stop listing each sex toy failure out in this bulleted fashion and simply tell  you to keep on reading. I’ll talk about the ridiculous products every year as they come out, with an update for each year. Lelo has become a sideshow circus event.

 

Decline in Quality

I’ve heard rumors from trusted industry people that the quality of Lelo sex toys has drastically dropped over the years. More and more people are returning under warranty.  If you were around in ’08, you’d have seen the gradual, subtle decline in packaging to cut back on costs. They cut back on costs of packaging and clearly cut back on costs for materials and workmanship, yet their sex toys keep the ridiculously high price tags. And then, this summer, they raise their wholesale prices. What does that mean for the consumer? Not a lot. You’ll probably not really see much change. The stores won’t want to raise prices, because they need to stay competitive, both with each other and the Lelo direct sale site. It just means that the retailers now make a good bit less from a Lelo toy.

Inconsistent Customer Service

A lot of readers come to me with problems with their Lelo toys, and tell me that they tried to contact Lelo for a warranty exchange, but were ignored or told they couldn’t be helped. I would, each time, take it to social media and get their issues fixed that way. But I shouldn’t have to do that.  In my post about Lelo’s metallic paint flaking off, I had readers contacting me who were reading the warranty info and thinking their issues were not covered under warranty. Lelo said that they would honor a warranty replacement; however I did have to mediate between customers and Lelo a few times, when Lelo would just flat-out ignore customer service emails and warranty repair requests.

Since I’ve been working with Lelo, I’ve gone through more “handlers” than I can count. Turnover is normal in these businesses, but this is excessive. In the beginning, the info they would provide to me would be correct and helpful. In the past year, it’s been frustrating and wrong, often.  The saga of the Luna Beads cleaning method was the worst of them all. I looked like an ass, but at least I was able to get Lelo to send them new Luna Beads.

Anti-Plus-Size

In addition to their overpriced vibrators, Lelo also has a small line of way overpriced lingerie. A $400 robe, anyone? They won’t make plus-size options. They just won’t. Their XL is a US 12.  If you really want a pair of their overpriced PJ pants, you’ll have to pick the “Men’s” version, because the men can have pants that fit up to a 46″ waist.  The men’s robes also go up to XXL. In the land of Lelo, it’s ok to be a husky man, but they only want to cater to thinner femmes.  This trend is not unique to Lelo. Not at all. It’s just simply another nail in the coffin.

*New* Patent Trolling

Sarah picked up on this gem while I was on hiatus due to moving house. When Lelo created the Tiani they were violating a patent held by Standard Innovations, makers of the We-Vibe. Standard Innovations sued and eventually won the rights in the US – Lelo cannot sell the Tiani here anymore. So in 2015 Lelo decided to become a patent troll – they bought a patent for “inductive charging” as it relates to “personal massagers”. What’s inductive charging? In short, exactly how the We-Vibe is charged – it simply sits on the cradle, no magnets are involved. Lelo doesn’t make any vibrators that charge this way. They could have, since they created their stupid Wave vibrators after they bought the patent, but they didn’t. Why? That wasn’t their purpose. They didn’t invent this type of charging, that’s for sure. They sought out the original 3rd-party patent owner and bought it from them.

On April 28th, XBIZ reported, “The final decision has cleared the path for LELO to seek monetary compensation from Standard Innovation Corp., as well as all distributors and retailers that sell infringing items.” Standard Innovations fully believes that “LELO’s claims are baseless” and will absolutely continue to fight this drawn-out legal battle which will continue into 2016. The charges were initially filed in 2013, but this wasn’t reported on until April of 2015, as far as I know. Do you know what happens during a multi-year legal battle? A lot of dollars are paid in legal fees. Dollars that could be spent in R&D, developing a new, awesome product (well, if you’re Standard Innovations. If you’re LELO, dollars that could be spent creating the next overpriced gimmick). Between the legal fees of both lawsuits, it’s no wonder the products from both companies are pricey!

As Sarah pointed out, this not only will hurt Standard Innovations (makers of the best goddamn clitoral vibrator on the freaking planet) but retailers AND future innovators and manufacturers – since no one can use inductive charging now without paying Lelo. Of course, Lelo would have to go after them legally and it seems like they’re only interested in attempting to harm Standard Innovations in retaliation.  So they’re patent trolls, give no fucks about creating a sex toy that steals someone else’s designs, and have the maturity of your average 9-year-old playground bully.

Wherein I am an Island

You’ll continue to see amazingly positive reviews everywhere about Lelo, but mixed in with a healthy amount of negative reviews. I’m not saying they’re wrong, those positive reviews. The vibrations are strong enough for some women. But these days, there are other options for sex toys made from safe materials that come with a warranty. Options with better workmanship and better vibration, or a lower price point.  Nobody is perfect and no one sex toy/sex toy manufacturer will be perfect for every person. I’m just saying that I personally am done. I can’t fully support Lelo anymore. I can’t keep agreeing to try more and more Lelo toys, only to be let down time and again. I can’t get more and more jaded, as I read their copy (which frankly feels like outright lies many times) that promises “intense” vibration or “intense” g-spot stimulation, when it’s truly mediocre at best. Intense. Lelo, you keep using that word, but I do not think it means what you think it means. I KNOW INTENSE. You have missed that mark by a lot, in all cases but one or two.

I’ve been brewing with these thoughts now for months. However I’d managed to still hang on to a little shred of hope…..a hope that was flat out obliterated when I finally heard the full dirt on the Lelo Ida. And for the first time ever, I “reviewed” a sex toy without owning it (perhaps it should be called a commentary OpEd post instead of review) because it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I retracted my agreement to review it for Lelo and suddenly in a matter of minutes, a decision I’d been wibbling and wobbling on for ages was made in a snap.  Why couldn’t I just keep on reviewing for them, and take the “free” toys? Because I die a little each time, lately. Writing that review for the Gigi 2 was not easy, because I was so fucking over it already. Usually I relish the opportunity to go all OH HELL NO in a review against a bad toy, and I would have with Ida, but frankly the thought just fucking exhausted me. Ain’t nobody, especially me, got time for that shit. I’ve cut back; I want to still largely enjoy what I do, not have the life sucked out of me.

Bottom line: Lelo isn’t worth the price.  They’re not worth the hassle of dealing with their promised warranty that they try to wiggle out of. They’re not retailer-friendly. They’re extraordinarily hetero-centric (and they do such a bad job at it, too).  If you own a Lelo toy, and you are having problems, of ANY kind, contact them for a warranty replacement. If they ignore your email, take it public– to Facebook and Twitter. They don’t like the bad press, so they’ll help you. I’ll still recommend the Luna Beads, the Mona 2, and maybe even the Mia 2 but with warnings, caveats and presenting other options.

2014: Even Worse than 2013

I didn’t think that Lelo could sink lower than the Ida. It was a dumb fucking idea all around.  Then they came out with the Ora, something that claimed to simulate oral sex. It clearly failed because less than 12 months later we have Ora 2. They’ve introduced two more “Beads” that are for the vagina and are largely gimmicks – the Hula, which just rotate oddly and the Smart Bead which you have to squeeze and may not even work as intended for everyone. Naturally. They’ve come out with a $3000 set of Luna Beads, in gold, because hey why the fuck not, right? And then…..then they come out with the Pino cock ring which was marketed exclusively for “bankers”. Only men can be bankers in Lelo’s world. This cock ring comes with a money clip and cuff links, both Lelo branded. Naturally.

2015: The Circus Continues

So far in 2015 we have the Mona and Ina Wave – I’m seeing a few positive reviews but more negative reviews. It’s nowhere near as “intense” and “mind-blowing” as they tried to claim it would be. I fucking hated the Mona Wave with a passion.

The Great Price Hike: It was announced towards the end of 2015 that all Lelo items would see a price hike, some items by as much as $30 or $40. They haven’t raised the quality; they’ve also made life more difficult for their retailers by raising the wholesale price while keeping the prices on their site the same. A number of retailers have complained about shitty treatment by Lelo reps.

24K Gold Plating: Yeah, because that’s just what we need. They took the Lelo Tiani 3 and did 24K goldplating on the remote and the metal band on the vibrator; because the price is so high, they gave a “relationship warranty” of sorts. If you break up within a year of purchasing it, they would replace it with another Lelo item. Except that the retail price of the Tiani 24K is $399 (at first they offered it at 50% off). To add insult to injury: The 24K edition doesn’t even feel any better than the regular Tiani 3. I tried it but couldn’t give enough fucks to write about it.

Scented Vibrators: Because it wasn’t enough to simply increase the intensity of the motor in the Lelo Lily, a flagship vibrator, they had to add a gimmick: Scent. some reported the odors were offensive, many were skeptical, many were uninterested, a few liked it. JUST MAKE A FUCKING VIBRATOR, LELO.

2016: The Year of the Penis

Because “male lingerie” is needed, apparently, in the form of a dry-clean-only silk “penis tuxedo”. It wasn’t a joke, although we sure thought so. In what turned out to be really poor timing, Lelo gave us a sneak peek at their next project for 2016: A condom. They told us about this shortly before April Fool’s Day so a number of people naturally assumed it was a joke – both due to timing and Lelo’s reputation. Sadly it’s not a joke, although it sort of is. They unveiled a latex condom with a honeycomb structure, are doing crowd-funding for it and, wait for it….

They named Charlie Sheen their spokesperson. A man who has beaten numerous women and who lied about his HIV status to women he fucked (without condoms).  Sarah summed up my feelings on this matter perfectly, so go read her post. But then, I just couldn’t help it after I heard about what Lelo employees actually think of most reviewers, so I wrote a rage-y rant-y post about how Lelo doesn’t give a flying fuck about everyone pissed off about the Hex condom and also a rant about the Hex condom in general.

Publicity is publicity to them – negative doesn’t matter. They referred to sex bloggers and educators who were rightfully questioning their decisions as ‘whiney SJWs’. Our opinions mean zero to them – and in fact, the more we tweet, the more they can say they’re the hottest topics of conversation.

They feel they are too big to fall, too trenched in the industry to lose out. The more attention, the better even if it’s folks throwing out their Lelo toys in mass droves and swearing off never working with them again.

It’s like they know their products are just like 6 others on the market and won’t stand out on their own merit, so they resort to trickery in marketing and “innovative” or “revolutionary” technologies that barely even work.  Lelo went from being first to the party to the late, drunk, rich frat boy that nobody invited. Is it going too far to now say they’re the Charlie Sheen of the sex toy industry?

 

Lelo Gigi 2

 Internal Vibrator, Reviews, Sex Toys  Comments Off on Lelo Gigi 2
Oct 082013
 

Lelo Gigi 2 in Gray

The Lelo Gigi has been around for a long while now, since something like 2004 or 5.  But while a bunch of newer Lelo vibrators were getting their makeovers, the originals were left alone, until now. Gigi and Liv have recently been revamped with the power boost that, clearly, customers were asking for.

Unlike the Mona and Ina, there is no difference in the design of the Gigi 2 vs the original. The only three differences are –  the power has been increased; it is now fully waterproof;  and it comes in an entirely new color – a nice, neutral, pale gray. I really, really like the gray. I hope that it shows up in future designs.

Lelo Gigi 2 vs Mona 2One aspect of the Gigi that I wish had been changed is the control button “wheel”. I used to think that it was elegant and refined. At first, I didn’t like the changes to the buttons when they came out with the Mona and Ina. But now that I’ve grown accustomed to the buttons of those, the old-style wheel on the Gigi 2, Elise 2, and Liv 2 is a little bit wonky. You may not ever notice it; it’s all in how you hold it and how your thumb or finger hits the buttons. Too often I found myself apparently hitting the wheel in the middle of two directions first, rather than hitting a direction head-on. This lead to nothing happening. In fact, I thought my Lelo Gigi 2 was defective at first, but it’s not.

Gigi 2 is, and always has been, one of the more petite Lelo toys. It is shorter in overall length, shorter in insertable length, and less girthy.  Not that the Mona 21 is really girthy, but it has some substance to it. But Gigi 2 has that flat head which I’ve always preferred in design over the Mona for external use. Sadly, though, the power boost that the Gigi received, while it certainly appears to be double the power that it once was, wasn’t enough to bring it up on par with Mona 2/Ina 2 levels. Mona 2 is noticeably more powerful than the Gigi 2.  I was able to, eventually, orgasm with the Gigi 2 being used externally but it was not nearly powerful enough for me to use internally. I like the shape, but for internal use of that shape I’d rather use the Picobong Moka as it has just a bit more girth and the necessary added length that I need. Plus, I feel that the Moka’s side-positioned buttons are in a better location than the control wheel of the Gigi.

Vibrations. The folks at Toolshed thought that the original Gigi’s vibrations were about on par with the Picobong Moka. Yet I mentioned that the Moka seemed to be about equal to the original Mona in vibrations (I didn’t have the original Gigi anymore). What’s weird, then, is that the Gigi 2 is barely stronger than my Moka.  There is a much bigger difference in vibrations between Gigi 2 and Mona 2.

Picobong Mola, Lelo Gigi 2, Lelo Mona 2When I first opened the box, Gigi 2 was of course already charged up. I ramped up the power to the highest level – as you do – and immediately thought “Wait, is that it?”. I was expecting it to be more like Mona 2. I thought “Maybe it wasn’t fully charged?” and so I charged it, and tried again. Same let down.  But I did what I tend to do now to get a fresh perspective other than my jaded been-at-this-5-years view – I handed it to a friend who is very new to sex toys. With no preface I brought out both the Mona 2 and Gigi 2. They turned on the Gigi 2 and were impressed  – until we then turned on the Mona 2 and their response was “Yeahhhhh that’s more like it!!”. I’ve corrupted them, you see. Those battery-pack bullets are the gateway drug of sex toys and was the perfect choice to start them out with. And even as a newbie, they felt that the buttons on Mona were a lot more intuitive and easy as compared to the singular rocker-wheel of the Gigi 2.

So as with all of the newer Lelo toys, Gigi 2 is fully waterproof. As always, it is rechargeable, the buttons lock for travel, there is an included satin drawstring pouch, and the 1 year Lelo warranty.  While the upgrade was needed, I wish it had been a bit “more”. It took me forever to write this review because I’m so “meh” about the Gigi 2. It’s….nice. It’s nothing special, to me. I don’t hate it, but I don’t love it. I will never use it; I have vibrators I greatly prefer. I can see how many people do love the shape and style of it, and I’ll recommend it to certain people, but it’s just not AMAZING.

Who would love the Gigi 2:

  • Those who prefer smaller, less-girthy insertables
  • Those who don’t need powerhouse vibrators
  • Those who are fine with shorter insertable vibrators

  You can get the Lelo Gigi 2 directly from Lelo, or from your favorite retailer such as Shevibe.com!

 

I was provided a Gigi 2 from Lelo in exchange for an honest review.

  1. Despite giving away a Mona 2, I’ve managed to not yet get around to actually reviewing the Mona 2. I do like it fairly well, and would recommend it, obviously
Sep 032013
 

I usually don’t do this – “this” being editing a post to completely change it OR essentially reviewing a sex toy that I’ve not even tried.  But, I’ve read a review on the Lelo Ida from someone I trust and it confirmed every single suspicion I had. When you’ve owned hundreds of sex toys and been reviewing for over 5 years, you get to be a pretty damn good judge of a sex toy before you have even seen it in person.

Lelo asked me to write this post originally to hype up their newest WTFail, the Ida. I had to write this post, and talk about a sex toy I knew very little about, in order to be allowed to even review it. Then, I was told to “be patient”, that my review order was being put on the back burner so that they could fulfill retailer orders1.  And then I never heard back. And then….then I read Piph’s review.

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And I thought about it all for a little while. I thought about Lelo in general. My frustrations. My issues. My disappointments. I decided I had to determine if I wanted to remain a “VIP Reviewer” for Lelo, and keep on doing this. I had to decide if I even wanted to review this Ida for myself. I could still decide, you see, because they still hadn’t yet sent it to me (meanwhile Piph’s had hers for like, a month). 

My answer came in short order. Actually, it came to me about 2 minutes after I finished reading Piph’s review.

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Lelo Ida is being launched in response to the ruling that the Lelo Tiani cannot be sold in the US or Canada; it looks like the ITC once and for all ruled in favor of Standard Innovations and their We-Vibe.  The Tiani 2 was pretty popular, judging by the vast traffic I’d get from searches about it. But Lelo took it pretty hard. They had seen the success of the We-Vibe, and felt jealous. They felt that they HAD to have a “worn while lovemaking” hetero-focused vibe, too.  Unable to release this concept from their robotic-claw grasp, they put on their crazy-hats and came up with Ida.

Debuting in late September, IDA is the most revolutionary couples’ massager, and unlike anything available on the market! Designed to be worn when making love, IDA stands as the only couples’ massagers that combines powerful vibrations and thrilling rotations within – providing the most stimulating sensations for both partners!

Since they were unable to utilise the U-shape because it belonged to We-Vibe, they made it look like a bathroom wall hook. Here’s a link to Lelo’s video, showing how it works.  The flat portion is what rests on the clitoris. As I’ve explained before, this design will not work on a fair portion of the world’s clitoris-bearing people. The arm, then, rotates. All the time. It never stops. Unless, of course, resistance stops it. Like a penis that is average sized, or bigger. Then guess what happens? The outer disc portion “rotates”, since the motor has to DO something otherwise it’ll burn up and die. From all I’ve read, the vibrations are largely worthless and the sound of the rotating arm is likened to a dentist drill.

A DENTIST DRILL SOUND DURING SEX.

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So, let’s see. Either the penetrator feels an object bumping and shoving his dick while it’s in a vagina, or nothing happens because the vagina isn’t as cavernous as some men, and Lelo, think it is. The disc design could be nice for those women with an “exposed” clitoris and less prominent outer labia/mons, as the other person’s pubic mound will, in the missionary position, provide pressure. Some people need that pressure on the clit.  Ok, I’ll give them that. But they’re still leaving out a huge portion of the population.

Oh, and you also have the option of Tara–Ida’s less fancy sister. Same design, same stupid concept, just sans SenseMotion remote. Awesome. Make it even more awkward to use. But oh, Lelo Tara comes in a pretty Midnight Blue–a color Lelo has previously considered a “boy” color; we’d only seen it on their older cock-ring, Bo and the “male” version of the Liv, Billy.

If Lelo had come up with this design as a solo toy, I might not have had such a visceral reaction. I might have looked at it and said “Okay, it won’t work for people built like me, but it has some potential”. Instead, me, my husband, my girl friend, and other friends have all had the same reaction:

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Further Reading:

  1. Before retailers could back out after reading a bunch of negative reviews? Maybe? Who knows