There is always a proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back; This straw is named Ida.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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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.
One 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 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.
When 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
I was provided a Gigi 2 from Lelo in exchange for an honest review.
- 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 ↩
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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 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.
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.
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.
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, 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:
- Before retailers could back out after reading a bunch of negative reviews? Maybe? Who knows ↩
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When I was a kid, two instances showed a glimpse into my true nature: One, when I took apart my old Simon electronic game at age 9 just because I had no idea how it worked and I wanted to see inside. The second is when my dad bought this book…I can’t remember the name but it was very similar to what I’m sure the “Big Book of Why” is. Anyways, that became one of my favorite books.
Usually never content to leave well enough alone, I have to dig sometimes. There is another, underlying reason why I did what I did, which I can’t tell you all yet (but oh man…it’s exciting) but after my review of the Ina 2 went live I thought and thought and realized I never was going to use the original Ina so I decided to see what was underneath a Lelo dress, so to speak.
I got out a boxcutter and felt very, very crazy and bad. Like it was sex toy reviewer sacrilege to purposely ruin an expensive sex toy. And in true nerd fashion, as I’m cutting and pulling away the skin from the body I kept gleefully uttering “this is so neat!!!”. AND THAT is a sentence I never thought I’d write. Wow.
I’m not versed enough to know what the substance is that makes up the clitoral arm. You can see how it’s not as flexible as it probably should be, it isn’t stuck to the bullet vibrator that essentially makes up the clitoral arm. I could see how, from viewing the construction of it, that very frequent use and lots of manipulation of the clitoral arm could result down the line in that substance detaching from the hard plastic of the main body? I could be wrong. Since I actually do like the Ina 2 and can see myself using it, I don’t want to de-skin that one, too, but I am super curious to see what they did differently to make the clitoral arm more flexible.
The silicone skin covering the body of Ina ranges in thickness from slightly less than 2mm to just under 6mm. Glue keeps the skin firmly attached to the main body. ‘
Yes, yes I do now have an urge to go de-skin a bunch of other toys. But I won’t. Not yet.
FOR SCIENCE!Read More
Not usually like me, I’m pretty behind the times on reviewing the Round 2 versions of many revamped Lelo products. Honestly I wanted to review the Ina 2 partially out of sex toy reviewer obligation, partially out of a pipedream that Lelo could produce something to rival my only dual-stim love, the Jopen Vanity VR6 (which was never perfect). So what I’m aiming here with this review is to answer two questions: if you owned and weren’t impressed with the original Ina, should you give the Ina 2 another shot? And, if you’ve not tried Ina at all, is it worth the money and will it have a limited or broad scope of appeal?
While I find that the Ina 2 is most definitely more powerful than the original Ina, it still retains a commonality with the VR6 that I don’t quite understand: on its own, the clitoral arm is pretty unimpressive vibration-wise. However, the internal portion is packed with a nice amount of rumbly power so if the clitoral arm were say, equivalent to the We-Vibe Tango? I might be coming in a minute flat. A quick orgasm is really nice sometimes, and there’s always the ability to turn down the power, right? Well, sort of. For some reason, there is a great divide in the world of Rabbit Vibes. If you insist on silicone, then you will have fewer bells and whistles. If you want all of the bells and whistles, then you’re stuck with a vibrator made of TPR or Jelly, which may or may not contain phthalates and VOCs but it’ll rotate in 2 directions, have a shaft of pearls under the TPR skin, and allow you to have complete control over the external and internal arm independently; one on, one off, one on and at high power while the other is on at low power, etc. With the silicone rabbits, you’ll be lucky if you can find one that rotates (and is actually 100% pure true silicone). You won’t always be able to have either/or running on the external internal portions, and if you can then it is only going to be one arm is off while the other is on. You can control the vibration settings, but the power levels will affect both the internal and external simultaneously if they’re both on.
As is standard these days in Lelo toys, the Lelo Ina 2 is waterproof and rechargeable. The control pad locks for travel, and the standard accoutrements are included: satin bag, sachet of lube, manual, 1 year warranty, charger.
Ina 1 versus Ina 2
So the Ina 2 will let you have either the internal OR the external arm running and change the power settings / patterns, or have both arms running at the same speed and same pattern. The Ina 2 is a claw-shaped rabbit vibrator, meaning it will apply pressure to your clitoris (many rabbits have a more V shape to the design, the clitoral arm extends straight out at an angle from the body, whereas claw shaped curves in). The original Ina applied too much pressure, and that is one of the major changes in the Ina 2. In fact, a lot of things in general were changed. Let’s review:
- The clitoral arm is positioned farther away from the g-spot tip on the shaft
- This allows for more insertion length of the internal shaft – original Ina had about 3.5″ insertable, Ina 2 is closer to 4.5″
- The clitoral arm is angled slightly more away from the internal shaft, giving a less “clampy” tight feel, less pressure applied to the clitoris
- The seam between the while plastic handle and the silicone skin seems to be more snug, allowing for less dirt and fluid build-up to stick around after a quick wash
- The vibration intensity of the internal shaft has been doubled (however, the vibration intensity of the clitoral arm remains the same)
- The clitoral arm flexes away from the internal shaft more easily, while still applying pressure to the clitoris
One clarification that I want to reiterate, one that I wish I’d known before getting this, is that the vibration intensity is labeled as “100% more power than the original”, yet they fail to differentiate that this only applies to the internal shaft. The clitoral arm’s vibration strength and style is exactly the same. Since I prefer my vibrations to be primarily on the clitoris, I’m disappointed that they did this. However. I will say that the increase in strength in the internal shaft did make a big difference. I wasn’t able to orgasm most times with the original Ina, but I can with Ina 2. The increased vibrations on the internal shaft do a good enough job of stimulating the internal clitoris that I almost don’t mind that they didn’t increase the power overall. Almost.
Another oddity that seems to be more noticeable in Ina 2 is that the two motors can become imbalanced fairly easily. In the position I tend to use it in, there is nearly always this slight ~~~~~~~~ going on. I can’t really describe it in words. The vibration strength doesn’t waiver, just the motors themselves. And if I’m honest, I can’t say I complain about this. It allowed me to just position the Ina 2 into place, keep it in place with my thighs (since the handle is so short, my arms are short and yadda yadda) and get this nice added slight sensation with the vibrations.
Lelo Ina 2 versus Jopen Vanity VR6
How does the Ina 2 compare to my much-loved Vanity VR6? It definitely is not as powerful on the internal arm, however the clitoral arm on the Ina 2 provides the proper amount of pressure for me and hits me in the right spot. The VR6 doesn’t quite, which is odd because when you look at them, visually they are very similar. I think it is because the arm on the Ina 2 is more flexible, allowing it to “open up” more and sit where it should. The VR6 has no patterns; the two buttons control the internal and external portions separately, which the Ina 2 does not do. You can lower the intensity of the internal arm on the VR6 whilst keeping the external arm at high, or whatever you want. On the Ina 2, as mentioned, it’s either both motors are on, or just one is on. The clitoral arm on both Ina 2 and VR6 feel powerful when you hold the vibrator in your hand and lightly touch the clitoral arm; but when pressure is applied, the vibrations dampen drastically on the VR6 and significantly on the Ina 2. Yet the internal arm doesn’t suffer this same fate. The Ina 2 is less girthy compared to the VR6, in all facets. I appreciate the internal girth of the VR6 over the Ina 2, but like the Ina 2 clitoral arm better than the VR6.
I still prefer the vibrations of the VR6, but the fact that the Ina 2 fits me a bit better means that I’m not working as hard for the orgasm. And while the Ina 2 still isn’t built right for my round body and short arms, the VR6 is even worse with a smaller handle length. Both of these, though, provide definitive pressure on the clitoris. If you do not like that, then you will not like this style of rabbit. Many Lelo users have stated that the design of the clitoral arm and flexibilty is the reason behind them choosing the Soraya over the Ina 2, however the Soraya is much higher priced ($195 vs $144 Ina 2) with serious cosmetic flaws that will occur for most users. You could consider trying the Picobong Kaya, but the g-spot curve is not as pronounced. The clitoral arm appears to be a little more flexible perhaps than Ina 2, but not by much. The Kaya also seems to have a much longer shaft so if your g-spot is shallow then you’d do better with the Ina 2. Most who have reviewed Kaya vs Ina did so with the original Ina. I would hazard an educated guess that the Ina 2 would be a little more powerful than the Kaya, if the vibrations of the Kaya are similar to the Moka. The Kaya is a lot less expensive ($90), but it is battery powered, not rechargeable like the Ina 2 and Soraya. Of course, with any rabbit-style vibrator, these are far from one-size-fits-most.Read More