When the first Leaf line came out, there were lots of happy people when they saw an entire line of sex toys in GREEN. We don’t get green very often. And I tried one of the line, but was a bit underwhelmed1. I never ended up trying anything else from that line; not for lack of trying, really but I also wasn’t going out of my way to insist on getting one. When I was informed of the new Leaf+ line, I was intrigued. The press release I received2 actually states that they are using a different, more powerful Power Bullet motor in the Leaf+ line. I really wanted to like a vibrator for once this year, so I went straight to the source and asked Leaf which + model would be the strongest. They told me that they felt that the Fresh+ was the strongest. Why? Well, I had to ask. Sean Marshall of BMS Enterprises, the parent company behind PowerBullet and therefore all vibrators using it, answered my questions:
The Fresh+ (and the original Fresh) were the perfect size and dimension to allow us to get the right power we were looking for. With the newest motors, the Fresh+ is even more powerful and still the most powerful in the collection. The other 3 current designs still feel amazing. Life+ would probably be the second most powerful. Vitality+ and Bloom+ feature 2 vibrations each, with each motor offering a slightly different sensation. One is a deep vibration (strong and pulsating), while the other is a little quicker for a more intense vibration.
The Leaf+ line does have one minor downfall in my eyes – it’s purple. I don’t hate purple! I don’t even hate pink. But it’s nice when we’re given a color that doesn’t feel standard. It’s nice to step outside the box. But of course, you can’t have two versions of the same shape in the same color:
We wanted to create something new but something that still had the essence of what Leaf was. Since our plan was (and currently is) to keep Leaf going, we didn’t want to confuse stores and customers by keeping everything the same colour. We chose the purple since we still feel it had an earthy tone to it. We originally began an eggplant purple, which evolved into this colour. It may just seem like another purple, but we had a many meetings and went through a lot of colour options to arrive on something that we all liked and based on feedback, our customers would appreciate as well. It needed an identity of its own and I believe we accomplished that quite well. And hey, leaves change colour, so why not a vibe as well?
But, the Leaf+ line does have improvements! Mainly the improvement lies in the better motor. The button now glows. Is that an improvement? I guess so. It glows and blinks every time you change the mode. There are 2 added pulsating modes….good if you like your vibrator to tease, not great if you want to get off. Each pulse mode has a half-second too long delay where there are no vibrations, and kinda kills the mood for me. The travel lock feature is now easier to use, too, apparently. The old style involved a series of well-timed taps. With the Leaf+, you just have to press and hold for like 5 or 6 seconds. It’s a long hold time compared to other travel locks, but since there is only the one button and you have the option of press and hold to turn it off, there you have it.
Clarification: To turn it on, and cycle through the settings, you click. Original Leaf line uses the click and hold method to ramp up the vibration intensities. Since the vibe has only one button plus travel lock, they had to change that style. To turn it off you can either press and hold for 3 seconds, or click through the settings (5 settings in total – 3 power levels, 2 patterns).
When it comes to most vibrators that have only one control button, in order to turn this off you must press and hold the button OR cycle through all of the settings. In theory, just like the We-Vibe Tango, if you press and hold the button to turn it off when you turn it back on it will be at the same setting you left off at. Unlike the We-Vibe Tango, the Leaf Fresh+ gets a little trigger-happy and quickly jumps to the next setting or two whilst you’re busy holding the button down for it to rapidly turn off. Usually, when I go to turn it back on, it will actually turn on in the mode I intended for it to turn on at, the last one I was using. Usually. It’s not always the case, though.
There are two pattern settings, neither of which I like. Granted, I don’t like 99% of the patterns I encounter in vibrators. I want straight vibration, give it to me. The first pattern quickly escalates through the three intensity levels in a fluid change, and then just as quickly goes back down where it spends a full second (or so it seems) doing nothing. There’s too much time spent in intensity levels other than the highest. The second pattern is a rapid pulsating burst of 4 or 5 pulses which are maybe low or maybe medium, I can’t quite tell which….and then a low hum of nearly nothing for the same amount of time (a full second?). If you like teasing from your vibrator, you might enjoy these.
The Good Stuff
Okay, back to the good points. It’s covered in matte silicone, the kind that does have some drag but resists most dust/fur/lint. Some people might prefer to use lube. It might pick up some dust and lint but I’ve not had any problems yet (unlike the We-Vibe Touch). It’s waterproof, easy to clean. It is relatively quiet; it is noticeably more quiet than the We-Vibe Tango but louder than the Minna Limon. It will arrive in the same Leaf signature box, which is cute and sturdy and the same drawstring burlap-look pouch as before.
I really like the vibrations in this. A lot. Is it strong? Yes. As strong as the We-Vibe Tango? Eh, no, not quite. It is more rumbly than the Lelo Mia 2, and a bit more powerful as well. I like the vibrations better than the Je Joue Mimi, way better than the original Leaf Spirit3, it’s stronger than the Tenga Iroha and the vibrations are a tiny bit stronger than the Minna Limon. It doesn’t seem to suffer from the dampened vibrations during use nearly as much as the We-Vibe Touch, so in use it ends up bring stronger.
I don’t feel that the shape and size is as versatile for me as the We-Vibe Tango4, and I prefer the hard plastic of the Tango, but I like the shape of the Fresh. It works well with my vulva and clitoris, and there is a place to hold it where holding it won’t dampen the motor. It’s comfortable. Dare I say, ergonomic, even? And since it has travel lock, I’d be a bit more inclined to travel with this over the We-Vibe Tango. The charger is also better to me than the magnetic style. It’s a long, thin jack and you can only screw it up if you don’t push it all the way in. But there will not be the issues of the charger falling off the vibrator, like you have with the magnetic style charger like the We-Vibe Touch/Tango, Je Joue Mimi,. etc.
Despite the fact that the Fresh+ doesn’t exceed the We-Vibe Tango for me, I still like it. Would I feel safe in recommending this to others? Sure I would. Will I actually continue to use this? Yes. And it’s safely under $100, so it’s not ridiculously priced. There is no obscenely long warning section in a big user manual. It’s fairly easy for anybody to use and figure out. In short, I approve of the Leaf+ Fresh+ . Plus plus. We’re unsure where the pluses go in the name.
Shevibe.com provided me with the Leaf Fresh+ to review in exchange for my honest opinion. I really think you’ll like this little vibe, and since Shevibe is my favorite store, I highly recommend that you buy it there, right now!!
- And rightfully so, it seems. According to Sean from BMS: “The Spirit in my opinion is a great little vibe for its size, but you’re right in that it isn’t the most powerful one in the collection. Due to how thin and tiny it was, there isn’t a lot of space for rotations.” ↩
- Actually it was more like a release given to retailers…I swear to god, my email address is on a damn list somewhere that names me as a retailer. I was quite confused when BMS Enterprises sent me the info. They weren’t actually asking me to review it, but luckily SheVibe let me! ↩
- Between Sean’s confirmation that it is stronger, and my memory, that is. My Spirit is dead, as I apparently never bothered to recharge it from it’s initial charge and if you don’t use these rechargeable batteries they drain out and die, never to be resuscitated I guess ↩
- But really, what else could be as versatile as the Tango? It does so much ↩
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Minna is not a brand new company; they had, all on their own, launched the Minna Ola last year. Ola used a technology never seen before in a vibrator – instead of pushing buttons to control the vibrations, you squeezed an air-filled pad on the handle. It was really aimed at those who like patterns. You could record your pattern creation and it would play it back to you, loop style, until you were done. Since I don’t enjoy patterns, I wasn’t a big fan of the Ola – the primary use and concept was just not a match for me. The vibrations weren’t bad, but in comparison to the Je Joue Uma? Uma blew Ola out of the water. Unimpressed with really any aspect of it, I watched with a wary eye as Minna launched an Indiegogo campaign this spring for their second vibe, the external-only Limon. I’m always, always wary when a company tries to lay claim to the “strongest” award. After all, I know what strong is. I was also wary because the technology behind Limon was identical to Ola – the squeezy-pad. I couldn’t figure out what they really needed to raise money for. With the Revel Body and iGino, they were raising money because those were their first sex toys ever and they were still in R&D phases. Minna included interviews with couples who had reportedly used a prototype, and were gushing. Yes, Minna went through prototypes to find the perfect lemon shape. Yes, prototyping costs money. But…doesn’t every company prototype?
The Limon is the size of a small lemon. The name is pronounced like “lee-moan”. Given the fruit-relation, I’d hoped to actually see a yellow vibrator but that would get too kitschy I guess. Instead, they offer the ubiquitous pink and teal. I love the teal. It’s pretty.
Vibrations and Intensity
Right away, I could tell that Limon was more powerful than Ola. At first I thought that the power level was drastically lower than what they built me up to expect in their Indiegogo campaign, but then I figured it out – my ears were tricking me. The vibrations are a much lower-pitched sound than even the We-Vibe Tango1, and are indeed damn rumbly. We know I like rumbly. I’d absolutely say that the Limon’s vibrations are a bit more rumbly than the Leaf Fresh+; but the overall intensity is a bit less than the We-Vibe Tango. Limon’s vibrations are much more pleasing than the Je Joue Mimi – much deeper and therefore more intense and it is a lot easier to use than the Mimi. When I was testing out the Minna Ola, I found that those vibrations were weaker than the Je Joue Uma, and found that I could actually orgasm fairly easily using the Uma externally. However, the Limon’s vibrations are much more rumbly and a bit more powerful than the Uma. Compared to the We-Vibe Touch, the intensity is harder to rate – I think that at first the Touch is more powerful, but the slightest pressure against the Touch dampens the vibrations drastically, making the Limon therefore more intense. Limon can suffer from dampened vibrations due to excessive pressure or being surrounded by flesh with the addition of pressure. I found that due to the way I am built, I couldn’t use Limon whilst seated, but laying down was better. The shape though would be better suited to women with easily accessible clits, “outties”, since the vibrations are concentrated in the nipple-shaped tip.
Pros and Cons – The Bad
Limon has its pros and cons, of course. This isn’t going to be all sunshine and puppy dogs. I’ll get the downsides out of the way first, like ripping off a bandaid. First, I tend to have easily-aggravated carpal tunnel, so I don’t love the stress-ball action especially after a long day of gaming. Second, the Limon glows like a damn nightlight when it’s charging. That part is really one of my biggest issues. A fourth of it blinks brightly while charging if it is low, and then stays lit up when it’s done. Need a bathroom nightlight? You’re in luck. Want or need discretion? Eh. Not gonna happen.
Also as I mentioned above, the shape of the Limon is not totally perfect for me and my anatomy all of the time. The vibrations concentrate in the tip, and the bulbous overall shape makes digging for a buried clit a bit difficult. It reminds me a bit of the Revel Body using the Nico tip, but unlike the Revel Body the vibrations still translate to pleasurable use. I was still able to easily orgasm when I changed up positions.
Lastly, the Limon charges via USB only, and sits on a magnetic cradle. This magnetic cradle is easier to use than most, but you will need a flat surface where it won’t be disturbed. It’s pretty easy these days to locate a USB-to-Wall-Adapter, and wall charging is usually my preferred method, as it would be for most people I think. They really changed the charging style from the Ola. Ola had a teeny magnetic fob that was one of my most hated chargers, but it was a wall charger and not USB, also. The fob was a separate piece, too, which connected via a long jack because they needed to give you something to re-set the air pressure in the squeeze pad in case of air travel. With the Limon, you’re expected to just use a pen or paperclip or something, and that’s fine, it works. I’m somewhat reluctant to make the charging issues a “con”; because despite their improvements over the Ola’s charging method, I’m still not a fan of USB charging or magnetic chargers and I know I’m not the only one.
Pros and Cons – In the Middle
For those who really just want straight, never-waiver vibrations (like me) you can actually manipulate Limon into doing that, but it isn’t the main purpose of the vibrator2. So while I do love the vibrations, I feel like I’m under-utilizing this thing. The shape and size of the Limon can be a bit weird, or a bit difficult to use if you cannot grasp things between thumb and fore/middle finger very well. Or, it can be pretty cool. Once you have your pattern set and you switch it to Lock Replay mode, you can still squeeze the sides for grip without changing the vibration. I’ve also lightly squeezed the pillowy sides between my palm and a few fingers after getting it set up for a different grip style. The vibrations are fairly intense, and it causes the Limon to lightly spin around in your hands (or wherever it rests if it’s on straight vibrations) which can be aggravating or comical.
The silicone skin is super silky soft – it won’t attract any lint, but it also has no drag – and it can get a little slippery if your hand is really slick with fluids.
I’m not really ranking the price as a pro or a con – I don’t really love it when a sex toy costs over $100, and the fact that Minna had a head start with donations from Indiegogo makes me question the $119 price tag. But, the touch-responsive feature is unique, it is valuable and the vibrations are good. I feel that the Limon can please a broader range of people and that makes the price tag a little more tolerable.
Pros and Cons – The Good
As I’ve already mentioned, the vibration type is very, very good. The intensity is also pretty good3. It’s waterproof, has a nice storage bag, and can be easy to use4. I like that you don’t have to fumble around for buttons, either solo use or partner use. Although my partner has no problems figuring out how to use a vibrator on me, I suppose that not having to worry about buttons too much can be a big plus for many couples.
This really is a quiet vibrator. It could be one of the quietest I’ve ever encountered. The only moments of rattling that I experienced happened when I was holding it during “free play” or “record” mode, squeezing it as much as possible to get the power level up as high as I could and my fingers actually touched the core inside. Once I was able to record the constant high-level vibration and turn it to “lock” mode, it was fine. Even so, the rattling sound was not all that loud. So while they fail on discretion during charging, they win big during use. No one will hear this thing.
I feel the vibrations need one more mention – could they be stronger? Sure. I’d like that. But when you change the vibrations to being so deep and rumbling, I find that extreme power isn’t really needed so much. After all, I have successfully orgasmed from only level 2 of 4 on the We-Vibe Tango; in 99% of my other vibrators it’s unheard of for me to use anything other than max level. The vibrations of the Limon are better than the vast majority of other “luxury” sex toys out there.
For me personally, the touch-responsive technology doesn’t really make this a better vibrator to use during couple play time, but that’s just me. I can see how this aspect would really be great for many couples, though, which is why Minna is niching this as a couple’s vibe. Keep in mind the shape of this and consider your own body; if you have any questions on whether or not the vibrations would work out for you, comment below! Tell me a vibrator or two that does it for you perfectly (or one or two that were awful), and why, and I can better give my opinion for you.
You can find the Limon in pink or teal at Good Vibrations, who supplied me with this in exchange for an honest review. My affiliate links are included in this review, so if you would like to purchase it, you’ll be helping me keep this site afloat.
- And so therefore the vibrations kind of sound like a dying vibrator ↩
- To achieve this, turn Limon on by pressing the button once. With one hand, squeeze both sides to achieve the level of steady vibrations that you like. With the other hand, press the power button twice more until you see the “lock” icon light up to the right of the power button light. You don’t want to let go of the sides until you have secured it into lock mode. Limon will now vibrate away until you turn it off ↩
- it could be a tad stronger for me; if it were the strength of the We-Vibe Tango then I could overlook the shape issue ↩
- You do have to read the manual, though. I couldn’t figure out the difference between the modes at first until I read the manual, then it was all smooth sailing ↩
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For those into all things Japanese, the correlation between the Japanese rice ball treat Mochi and the Iroha line is not lost. The names of the three vibrators, yuki and sakura mostly, are used in describing kinds of mochi too (as well as being words for other things). Traditionally, daifuku mochi comes in white, pale pink, or pale green just like the Iroha vibes. Professionally-made mochi tends to have a perfectly soft-looking, unblemished exterior, especially mochi ice cream. The Iroha vibes were described minimally at first, with a photo showing their powdery-soft looking seamless finish and boasting a bizarre plushness factor. Cue delighted squeals of interest.
MATERIAL Naturally, sex toy reviewers go nuts for anything new and different. We hope for something awesome and want to tell the world all about this grand new sex toy that we love. I’m no different, and really wanted to try one; mainly because I’d purchased a few Tenga items for my husband over the years, all met with varying degrees of success. Tenga’s material, be it the white material they used for the 3D models or the clear material used for the Flipholes, felt unique and weird and neat and awesome. It wasn’t silicone, but it wasn’t toxic, either. The Iroha vibes are covered in a skin of silicone, underneath which is a layer of squishy something (actually it’s “polyurethane elastomer, so says Zoe Hanis who grilled her Iroha rep – it also fully explains the odor), underneath that is the hard plastic of the vibrator. On the underside is a hard plastic disk with two metal buttons. The silicone skin can be “plucked” at, it’s not glued to the squishy underlayer so I keep playing with it (in ways not intended). It reminds me of the skin formed on cooked pudding, oddly enough. The skin is also a silicone type that is cured differently than we’re accustomed to – the shiny, lint & fur attracting silicone wouldn’t work here, so Tenga is using a silky, powdery sort of matte-finish silicone. Combine the pliant aspect of the skin with the silky matte finish, and the plushy layer under it, and the whole vibrator feels very soft and pillowy at first. You don’t have to press in very much though before you can feel the hard inner portion – oddly, it’s more plush in the body than the tip.
It’s pretty cute, right? Odd, yet discreet I suppose. Although if anyone were to see it they would want to touch it and pick it up.
IT STINKS Now, granted, my Midori sat in a delivery truck probably for 7 hours on a day where it was 96 degrees ambient temp (so likely well above 115 in the truck) but when I opened the package and took out my Midori vibe I was hit with a very strong odor that smelled exactly like latex wall paint. That was troubling – and nauseating and headache-inducing1. Especially when someone else tells me that theirs arrived stinky back in February, and Iroha claimed to have addressed the issue. The smell has faded so that it’s barely noticeable now to me unless I sniff it close up, but I do notice that it will pick up my natural scent after use, until I wash it clean. Since the manufacturers admitted that the odor is due to the polyurethane-elastomer layer, unless they change that material, I don’t understand how they could have “addressed the issue” as they told GrittyWoman.
SHAPE Midori seemed to be the most practical, to me. Sakura, with the weird, Pacman-esque pincher bit doesn’t seem like it would really work for me personally. The Yuki, claiming that a portion is insertable, doesn’t seem big enough to be worth anything when you insert the tiny portion, unless you’re doing anal stimulation. Midori has somewhat pinpoint vibrations in the smaller head. However due to the material, the vibrations are muffled and spread out a little bit more. Those with very plump, fleshy labia and a smaller clitoris, or those who like firm pressure, aren’t going to get much from any of the Tenga Iroha vibes, I think. They’re more for those who want a vibrator that is not as buzzy, but who don’t like pressure and don’t like hard materials. The only way that I might possibly change my mind on the practicality of the shapes would be if Yuki actually had more intense power than Midori but so far I’ve not seen any evidence of that.
VIBRATIONS There are 3 speeds and 1 pattern; 2 buttons, + and -. +, when held, turns it on. You can then use either + or – to circle through the settings. Hold the – to turn it off. The buttons are thankfully easy to use, but the button panel is indented just enough that combined with the locations of the buttons you won’t find yourself changing it without meaning to. On the highest speed, I’d say that the power level is fairly equal to the We-Vibe Salsa/Tango on level 2 of 4. The vibrations would be considered rumbly by most, certainly not the dreaded surface-buzzy, but the vibrations lack the oomph needed to really wow me. You’ll get a little bit more strength by pressing the tip of Midori against your skin firmly, to bypass the squish layer, but doesn’t that defeat the presumed-purpose of the vibrator being soft & pillowy to begin with? One thing I will note is that pressing on the vibrator or holding it firmly does absolutely nothing to dampen the vibrations, which is good. The Je Joue Mimi suffered terribly from that affliction, as well as the We-Vibe Touch and, to some slight degree the We-Vibe Salsa & Tango, too. Since the entire vibe is so small, you’re bound to feel the vibrations in your fingers and hand as you hold it.
CHARGING & STORAGE The Iroha vibes charge magnetically, by sitting on the black charging platform. This is probably the only magnetic-charging system thing that I’ve not hated. All other sex toys that use this method have a little “fob” that pops off so easily, held on by the weakest of magnetic force fields. You can plug it in USB to your computer, or use the included wall adaptor and plug that into the wall. There is a white LED light on the front of the base that glows while it is charging and shuts off when it is done. The charging base will double as storage; a clear acrylic lid is included – however, this isn’t the most discreet of storage options. You could then put the charging base & cover back inside the box it came in, too, that would make it more discreet. I was able to fit (but it required finagling) the charging cable inside the acrylic box but could not fit the wall charger. For me when it comes to storage, I prefer to be able to keep everything all together.
CAUTION First, the Iroha vibes are not waterproof. This doesn’t affect cleaning because the vibes are “splash-proof”, so you can hold it under running water long enough to clean it. You cannot, however, use the toy in the bath or shower. The overall design is seamless, except that the plastic disc surrounding the buttons creates a seam where dirt and fluids could easily get trapped. I have seen many vibrators where the silicone skin goes over the buttons, allowing for a more seamless, waterproof design. Not sure why Tenga didn’t go that route. Another area of caution goes back to how the vibe is made – a plush elastomer material under a silicone skin. While the silicone skin is likely tough, I’d have to wonder how easily it could get punctured. A silicone skin that is firmly against a hard underlayer wouldn’t have this issue, but I could see how a sharp object might get pressed against this in storage and possibly puncture the skin.
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Pros: Interesting material construction, small and discreet, unique, 2 charging options
Cons: Odor, not waterproof, only moderately powerful, could be hard to clean thoroughly
Who would love it: Those who like form over perfect-function; those who do not require strong vibrations; those who do not like hard materials; those who need something a little easier to grip than a tiny2 or oddly-shaped vibrator3. If you’re intrigued, also do consider the Yuki – while I cannot fathom using it internally, externally it could be great for delivering pinpoint vibrations. Also, cute Xmas gift?
Who should avoid it: Those who need stronger vibrations; those who do not like vibrators that vibrate your hand too much; those looking for the most bang for their buck – at $90 it is a little overpriced for what it offers. Instead, go for the We-Vibe Tango.
All in all, it just didn’t wow me…..but I’m notoriously hard to please. If you saw this thing in person you would no doubt want to pick it up and then you would quite likely spend a while just petting it and squishing it. Everything about it, from the charging base that doubles as storage to the material, shape and color is pretty damn unique and overall I’m satisfied with the quality. Some will be awfully tempted to Pokemon it up and “collect them all”. However, I expect a vibrator to really knock my socks off in all categories to warrant a price tag of $90, so that’s why I’m lukewarm on this. I think that the shapes are just not perfect enough for me, and the vibrations are not quite strong enough for me. I do think, though, that many who don’t require the power of the We-Vibe Tango will quite like this adorable little vibe. If I loved the vibrations, then I can see it being worth the price tag.
UPDATE: I wanted to show you that not everyone agrees with me. In fact, here’s the opinion of one reviewer who prefers the Midori to her Salsa! Navigator sums it up really well as to why it works for them, and this might help you figure out that even though it didn’t work for me, it might work for you:
I read a review a while back that described the orgasm this toy brings about as “comfortable”, and I think that’s a pretty accurate adjective. This is a comfortable toy, rather than an intense toy like the Hitachi or the Wahl, or an insistent toy like the Salsa or the Eroscillator. (You know, the toys that take your attention away from whatever else you might have going on and insist you focus on them.) It makes me feel downright sweet. I’m twitterpated over a sex toy.
But the best thing, my friends, is the squishiness between the silicone skin and the motor underneath. I thought initially this would dampen the vibrations, especially if the motor was in the body of the toy, so I’d be fruitlessly pressing it against my skin wondering where the vibrations were. Thing is, I press vibrators against my clit like a fiend anyway, but the squish prevents me from having a case of Bruised Clit the next morning (I’m looking askance at my Mia and Salsa as I type this). That, and the motor is located very solidly in the little nub at the tip of the Midori, so they’re nice and focused.
Thanks to Shevibe.com for sending me this to review!
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If you know that I love my powerful vibrators, then you know that only a few vibrators have been powerful enough internally to knock my socks off. One of those happens to be the Jopen VR6 – it’s not tops as a dual-stimulator because the clitoral arm doesn’t hit me perfect nor is the clitoral arm powerful enough for me, but the internal power makes up for it. So I waited impatiently for the Envy line to come out, since Jopen was calling it the most powerful, rechargeable vibrator in the world1. I had my doubts, of course, because hello it’s me and I’m jaded now but I tried to have hope.
Unlike the entire rest of the Vanity VR line, the VR6 is the only one with the deep, rumbly powerful vibrations I love. While the entire line of Vanity and Envy is “Powered by Powerbullet“, it used to be outright stated on that Powerbullet site that the VR6 was the most powerful of all, along with 1 other vibe. So the mere thought that I could get a regular ole non-rabbit vibe with the power that made my toes curl sent me into fits while waiting on the release.
I was slightly disappointed when I saw that the initial Envy line was merely 3 differently sized, boring straight vibrators. But hope sprang eternal because it may not matter if the power is enough!
It really, fucking matters, to me.
I….HAVE….THE POWER!!! Or not.
First, while I can’t speak for the Two, I can tell you that the One is a major disappointment. It arrived fully charged but I hoped that it wasn’t, so I plugged it in to charge more. I turned it to the top speed and actually said out loud “That’s it?!?”. You see I’d already become acquainted with the power that is Three – and it is fairly impressive. SheVibe sent me the Envy One and I snagged Three with points from…somewhere else. The One that Shevibe sent arrived dead on arrival, my first ever. I used the Three a few times while waiting on the DOA issue to get sorted out. When I finally received a working One direct from Jopen, the difference in vibration power and depth compared to the Three was enormous. I fully expected all three vibrators to have the same motor. The Jopen Envy One has nothing on the We-Vibe Tango. The Envy One suffers greatly from “dampened vibrations”2 when it meets with any resistance, resistance being “surrounded by flesh” and not even just pressure. I could lightly wrap part of my hand around the Envy One and the vibrations would immediately dampen by at least half, in both intensity and depth. When nestled in between my labia, I could barely feel anything. That is NOT the marker of the “most powerful rechargeable vibrator in the world”. I would say that if you do not touch the Envy One, if you just barely hold it in your fingertips up at the top by the controls, then the top level of vibrations is about as powerful as level 3 (of 4) on the We-Vibe Salsa. It’s rumbly, but not quite as rumbly as the Tango (or Salsa, RIP).
While the Envy Three is actually just about as powerful as the internal arm on my Vanity VR6, it still manages to fall short. First as an internal vibrator, it is hella boring to me. I know that not all people like the curved design, so not all will agree with me. One reason why I loved the VR6 so much was that it combined a bit of girth with a wonderful curve and perfect vibrations. The VR6 measured at 1.6″ at the widest, while the Envy Three is barely 1.1″, despite all literature claiming it to be 1.5″. I thought that perhaps it would still make an excellent external vibe, but somehow it doesn’t. Somehow, these vibrations that feel so powerful in my hand have been unable to get me off as well as the We-Vibe Tango. I think that part of the issue is that the motor on the Three overheats and while the heat isn’t painful, it’s distracting. It is indeed rumbly and deep, and suffers less from “dampened vibrations” compared to the One.
I didn’t bother to try the Two, since I figured that most people would go for One or Three. Envy Two is the same width as Envy One, but a little longer. Also according to literature, the Envy One is supposed to measure in at 1.25″ wide; mine is not even quite an inch, it’s more like 0.9″. It’s still a lot bigger than the We-Vibe Tango, though.
A note on the sizing: A rep from Jopen told me “As far as the width on the product, I’m not sure where you are measuring but I was told the product width is measured from the base of the unit, the widest part ,since the product tappers down toward the tip.“ I measured in the center of the vibe. Not the tip, not the flare.
I replied: “As for the measurement…….for an insertable product it is standard to measure at the widest *insertable* point. Since the flare doesn’t start until close to the base, that would mean that a woman would have to fully insert the vibrator like a tampon to realize that proclaimed width – With the Envy Two or Three, that would be a bit impossible not to mention highly unlikely. There is a large difference in interest between a straight vibrator that is 1.1″ wide and 1.5″ wide. I still really feel like these measurements are misleading.”
I’m still confused on that one. So basically…..none of the width measurements are to be trusted from them if you want something logical.
The Envy Line Has More Issues Than…..
As I mentioned, I received the Three and the One from two different places. My Three was getting quite hot, and a rep from Jopen confirmed that that was not normal. My logic says that a motor that gets very hot is a motor that would burn out in a much shorter time than normal. And then my One arrived dead. When I plugged it in, thinking that it wasn’t charged, the charging light blinked rapidly. It never did work. Again, Jopen told me to submit it for a warranty return. So I was instructed at first to register my vibes with their warranty program and proceed with doing a warranty return3. I held off on that, since the site said that a return would be sent out a few weeks after receiving my defective unit, and I really wanted to be able to directly compare the Three and the One; Shevibe.com was sending me a brand new Envy One so that the review could get underway. Then I received my second Envy One from Shevibe4….and it was DOA, too! At this point I went back to Jopen and updated them, and they wanted to send me a replacement One and Three from their warehouse, without waiting on me to first return the defectives5. They arrived just fine, but I must point out that the packaging direct from Jopen is not at ALL discreet. I’m lucky that it didn’t matter to me, but it very well could matter to others. Is this how it would arrive if you did a warranty replacement? I’m not sure. Anyways, with a brand new (and tested by Jopen before it was sent to me) One and Three, I proceeded to get on the review finally. Disappointment on the power of One aside, I kept at it. And I found that the overheating issue was not solved. This time both the One and the Three were overheating at right around 15 minutes of use. While the temp gun did show temps in excess of the 109 shown below, I didn’t catch an in-focus photo of the temp gun and just didn’t feel like letting it get to that point again.
One other issue that I’m not certain is a true issue, but is weird nonetheless, is something that happened during a flame test. I didn’t really suspect that these were anything other than pure silicone, but I wanted to run the test anyways. I’m glad I did! In the spot where I applied flame, I had no signs of it being anything other than flame-resistant silicone, however the coloring looks….bleached. Literally, like my hair-dying shirt. The pink turned to a pale orange. I ran to my VR6 and tried it, and had similar results. What does this mean? No fucking idea. But I’m going to mention it nonetheless.
From the Jopen rep: “We have our quality control department looking into all issues regarding the batteries and now the motors heating up.”
They’re waterproof. They come with a USB charger (If you have a Vanity? Same charging jack, just USB instead of wall). If you want wall charging you’ll have to snag a USB-to-Wall adapter from another toy, though. They’re mostly seamless, and really easy to clean. Only two buttons which are also encased in silicone. Like the Vanity vibes, to increase the power you have to press and hold the button. It’ll blink while you’re increasing and will stay steady once you’ve hit the top speed (it stays steady when you’ve settled on a speed, too). You can only increase, not decrease. The”State-of-the-art memory chip resumes last function used” feature is nice, but it only applies to the function i.e. pattern, not the vibration level. There are 7 “functions” (patterns), but once you’re on the Function side, you have to shut the vibrator off to get back to just straight vibrations….and then do the ramp-up to your preferred speed all over again – this took me a bit to figure out, as it’s not spelled out exactly and I got very frustrated. They do lock for travel, though. The silicone is mostly dust/lint-proof, but not entirely. It is a very slightly textured matte finish, it’s not quite as powdery soft as the Jopen Key line. It completely charges in about 3 hours, but you’ll only get 45 minutes on the highest setting. Just like the Vanity line, the Envy line is only one color. At least the Vanity line was a nice purple that I didn’t hate, but the Envy line is this bizarre, dusty-rose-purplish color. If I put the Intensity, VR6 and Envy all next to each other, the colors all coordinate well. If you like the whole monochromatic thing. And pink. Purple. Pinple. Purnk. Whatever.
Expanded Envy Line
I’m not sure why they came out with only the “classic” straight styles first, but now I’ve seen on the site that there are more6. A few more tailored to g-spot, and two rabbits. I don’t understand the rabbits….isn’t that what the Vanity VR line is for?? Regardless of my feeling that the power of the Three would best work out for me in a more g-spotting style, I’m not about to recommend or try them.
Avoid these. The price is astronomical and the “powerful” claim is a letdown, most especially with the One. If you were looking for a bigger, better We-Vibe Tango, forget about it. The Envy line is still, at it’s heart, a hard plastic vibe covered in a silicone skin. I’ll take my hard plastic vibe that is unhindered by silicone any day, thanks, if it means more power. I just cannot at all recommend the Envy One through Three and I would suggest that you avoid the entire line due to all of the problems. With a price range (Shevibe.com pricing) of $109-$118, I expected a hell of lot more bang for that kind of buck. With the problems I have had in mind, Shevibe is currently not even selling the Envy One or Three until they can see that the problems are ironed out; but you can still get the Two if you insist.
Also, going on this month at Shevibe.com, an offer you simply cannot pass up if you don’t yet own the Njoy Pure Wand:
- According to their press release ↩
- Similar to the Je Joue Mia, the Leaf Spirit and the We-Vibe Touch ↩
- There is also a fee associated with the warranty return; they were going to wave it for me since both of my vibrators were immediately defective but be forewarned ↩
- Shevibe.com is very good about this; rather than having you deal with the manufacturer for a DOA or immediately defective vibe, they’ll handle the exchange. I find that preferable to dealing with the warranty process at Jopen ↩
- Which was nice; I had informed them that I owed reviews on these and that I felt time was of the essence, plus they felt bad that I’d had the bad luck to get 3 bad vibes in a row ↩
- These are due out in August ↩
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.Read More