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 ended up being the premiere validation test for our 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
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A few years ago a new concept in dildos arrived, called the Split Dildo. The reaction was as split as the sex toy itself. I’ve read polarizing reviews of both adoration and contempt, so when I was asked to review the Funtoys G-Vibe I figured I would land firmly in love or hate. I was a little nervous at first. I expected a lion, however, and got a kitten.
I’ve never tried the Split Dildo but it seemed that the dildo was not modest in girth, and according to Kara Sutra required quite a bit of pressure to keep the “ears” together and was something you definitely felt. Unfortunately, the G-Vibe is….boring. It looks like a nice luxury vibe; in fact the stylings look a lot like the first Lelo Insignia line. The silicone is even the same as Lelo, with a matte silky finish to it. The buttons are nearly identical to the Lelo Insignia line and the vibrations even remind me of early Lelo and the Insignia Isla – very surface-buzzy and moderate at best. More bark than bite, actually – sure it’s “quiet” but it’s not “nearly silent”, yet even so the noise is more intense than the vibrations. There are two motors, one in each tip. At high speed the vibrations may fool you into thinking that they have potential, if you barely touch the thing, but any pressure at all gives you faux-vibrations. I’ve experienced this before in toys: the Extase Liberte, the original Lelo Tiani, and the Picobong Honi to name a few. It has the sort of vibrations that force you to try the patterns hoping, in vain, that the rapid-fire changing of the motor will give you something that maybe feels like a little more oomph. And in fact the final pattern does. Those staccato every-3-seconds bursts of just enough more intensity end up frustrating you more than anything. It tells you that the motor might have had the potential to ekk into the realm of rumbly but stopped 2 miles from the border. Funtoys describes the G-Vibe as having “six modes with changeable intensity from light tremors to intense vibration”. The “intense vibration” part of that statement couldn’t be more wrong.
The “intuitive controls” are just fairly average. An increase button, a function mode button to change between patterns, and a decrease button. Standard. The buttons are in a good place on the handle, maybe that’s what they mean? There is no button-lock feature, either, like Lelo and a few others. Also take note of the fact that the G-Vibe is merely water resistant. This confuses me greatly. The charging port cover is a silicone plug in the hole – a similar design to Lelo and many other makers of luxury vibrators. Hell, the Lelo Tor II has a completely open charging cover and it’s labeled as waterproof! Be that as it may, I’m not one to doubt what a manufacturer says. But if they want to get into the luxury sex toy game, then they need to make it waterproof. It’s one of those features that people who don’t masturbate in the shower/bath (like me) don’t care about but it doesn’t take away from what we DO like; and there are plenty of people out there who do really enjoy their playtime in the water. Speaking of the charging port, you should initially charge the G-Vibe for 8 hours. It’s said that you will get 4 hours on a single charge, but I would imagine that for at least 2 of those 4 hours the vibrations will be greatly decreased from the pittance they already are.
The ears might look intimidating, especially if you use both of them internally, but they are very very pliable and soft. In fact, I’m almost willing to say they’re just too wimpy. The design is flexible and Funtoys thinks that you can use this design for lots of various methods of stimulation. But the fact is, the vibrations are not enough and the split portion doesn’t do what it should – which according to their site, it should “create a sensation of fullness without stretching the vaginal entrance” and ”Simultaneous stimulation of 2 spots: G-spot and the opposite side of the vagina” – which, in case you were wondering, the “opposite side of the vagina” spot1 has a real name: perineal sponge. But since the ears are so pliable and the split requires very little pressure to stay closed, I don’t really feel what the company advertises. Perhaps it was because I wasn’t aroused enough for the PS-Spot to want any attention but the bit of vibrations that I felt on the posterior vaginal wall just made me feel a little like I had to poop. My g-spot requires a decent amount of pressure OR an intense level of thuddy vibrations, neither of which the G-Vibe could ever come close to offering.
With my skepticism firmly intact I tried to use this as a dual-stimulator in the traditional sense. While the upward-facing ear did actually touch my clitoris, the vibrations, lack of pressure and slim profile meant that I felt very little externally or internally. I decided to go about trying the other suggested uses Funtoys came up with.Sure, it feels slightly different from a straight dildo of the same width, but I don’t feel any sense of fullness nor do I feel enough pressure on either the G-spot or Perineal Sponge to register as anything special in my brain. Despite this, it doesn’t mean that it’s easy to insert. You still have to hold the ears together at the tippy top, you cannot just jam Squidward here into your hole and hope for the best. This maneuvering means, for me, awkward and uncomfortable positioning contortions. In fact it was damn near impossible for me to insert this. I had to contort and reach to basically shove my fingertips, along with the tips of the vibe, up inside of me to get it started.
No? Well how about…..
First of all, my nipples don’t meet up like that. Second, when you try to hold it like oversized chopsticks or the JimmyJane Form 2, something curious happens. It sounds like the same “fatal flaw” that was described by many Form 2 owners – when pressure is applied disproportionately to the two ears OR applied mostly equally and the toy is held handle facing the sky, the vibrators in the ears get kicked out of cycle and almost form their own bizarre pattern. It’s no longer a steady vibration.
The G-Vibe comes in 3 colors – if you don’t like pink or purple though, you’re out of luck. The packaging is indeed very lovely to look at, even if it’s not very discreet for storage. When you open up the box the vibe sits in a foam-like cutout – the glue that is used in this bit (my best guess anyway, is glue) has a subtle but offensive odor to me. I can smell it on the vibe despite washing, and I can smell it on the included storage bag. The bag is drawstring and made of white nylon, it feels quite nice. It does have the Funtoys logo, “ft”, which is discreet. The included charger is USB-only. I enjoy the *option* of USB, but I don’t want it to be the only way. Luckily I have a couple USB-to-wall-plug thingies and that works too.
At the end of the day, I just couldn’t get into this sex toy nor would I recommend it. The vibrations would have to be more like the We-Vibe Tango or hell even the Je Joue MiMi for me to even consider recommending it. Perhaps with truly thuddy-rumbly vibrations that have more power, the stimulation of the G-spot and PS-spot could be felt but as it stands now it was nothing to write home about. While a few people did seem to enjoy the intense pressure from that Split Dildo, the G-Vibe takes caution to the extreme and instead leaves you wanting something more from the split internal portion.
- Until I did my research on split sex toys, I had no idea about this arousal spot. OF COURSE it must be added to the litany of Alphabet Spots. Most often it is referred to as the PS-Spot. Sadly in their drawings, Funtoys just lists it as “P” to which I first thought “um….we don’t have a P-spot”. ↩
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I’mma be upfront and honest with you right now.
I’m not thrilled.
Yeah I know, that was cheesy. Actually, I’m disappointed, pissed off and feeling like I wasted my money.
The We-Vibe thrill’s shape is very reminiscent of the original couple’s vibrator version, but with one major design change: an odd plastic housing over the clitoral stimulator and a “control handle”. This vibrator is not at all meant to be used during sex and so the g-spot stimulator is more pronounced that the original We-Vibe and of course on the whole the Thrill is much bigger than the We-Vibe.
I purchased the Thrill on my own for one reason: I’d read that the vibrations were very comparable to my darling favorites, the We-Vibe Salsa/Tango. I now have to wonder if that person even owned a Salsa or Tango because having that in mind when trying out the Thrill leads to one giant disappointment. The Salsa/Tango is, hands down, my favorite vibrator. If you held a gun to my head and made me pick only one vibrator to ever have, that would be it. In fact, I’ve only used something else on the off chances I’ve forgotten to charge up all 3 of mine. Yes, 3. I have my original Tango and Salsa plus one that I won during MomentumCon. And you’ll pry them from my cold, dead hands thankyouverymuch.
I would recommend the Salsa and/or Tango to anybody, heartily and with no reservations. On the reverse side though I will tell you to stay away from the Thrill. At $170, it is overpriced and underwhelming. The design seems to be a little similar to the Rock Chick, but with a much better vibrator motor. In fact, the Rock Chick would probably benefit from an upgrade to the Salsa vibe in place of its removable, watch-battery wimpy bullet. At least the Rock Chick had hopes of applying some pressure to my g-spot. The Thrill has no chance of that. The internal portion and the connecting arm are just like the We-Vibe – flexible and therefore applying no pressure. The vibrations are definitely pretty rumbly, which is always a good thing, but it’s just not enough to matter.
Let’s talk about the clitoral portion, because for as disappointing and fail as the g-spot portion is…..the clitoral stimulator is abysmal. Utterly freaking worthless, unless you would consider yourself on the more sensitive scale, requiring more movement/pressure than vibration. But for someone who has an unholy love for the We-Vibe Salsa….the We-Vibe Thrill needs to die in a fire. They made the clitoral portion hard plastic. The fact that the Salsa/Tango is hard plastic was a good thing, because the We-Vibe Touch has the exact same motor but is encased in typical We-Vibe silicone- making it easier to hold, but dampening the vibrations. Yet the Thrill goes in the opposite direction. The vibrations are actually severely dampened on the hard plastic portion – I would estimate that the vibrations on the silicone portion are 2 or 3 times more powerful than the vibrations on the plastic portion. The “control handle” is silicone and it vibrates more than the part that touches your clit. WHERE IS THE SENSE IN THIS? DID THEY TEST THIS? The demarcation line between the silicone and plastic is irritating, as well, and makes it as hard to clean as that damn Lelo Insignia vibrator I hated.
The singular control button is identical to the Touch and Salsa/Tango, as is the charging method: The button is in the middle of two tiny metal dots; you press it for 4 different power levels and then 4 different pattern settings. Press and hold to turn it off or on. However….this button is located at the tip which means it ends up buried in the apex of my labia. This makes the thing very damn difficult to control during use. If they added a handle, why not put the button up there on the handle??
The charger connects magnetically, but the magnetic connection is not very strong. It topples off so very easily, but I find that this is the case with any charging connection that is magnetic. As I was taking photos, I could barely get the thing to stay on if the cable was hanging down. Here’s another kicker for you – it charges via USB. Awesome, right? I suppose. I just don’t like for that to be my only charging option. Luckily since I already own the Salsa & Tango, I was just using that charger since it still fits and works the same. We-Vibe’s official statement on the USB-only matter is that in the interest of “conservation” they did not include a USB power adapter, since those things are so widely available elsewhere, which is fine I suppose but given the high price of the thing I would expect that to be included. But my charger for the Salsa is always plugged in and sitting ready and waiting – I wasn’t about to take up what precious little desk real estate is left just to make sure this thing was fully charged before I made my final decree of it being utter crap. We-Vibe also has this bad habit of giving you your charger in pieces. The “dock” that actually connects to the toy can separate from the cord. With the Touch/Salsa/Tango, a headset-style jack plugs into the tiny, weird-shaped white dome. With the Thrill, the “dock” is a teeny little black piece that merely plugs into a USB-to-mini-USB cable. This could mean that with the same cable, you could then start charging your phone or something but then you would have to remove the teeny black piece and if you’re anything like me, it’ll get lost. We-Vibe says that the Thrill will charge fully in 90 minutes and give you 2 hours of play time.
Yes, they give you a pouch to hold everything but it has not changed from the Salsa/Touch/Tango line – it is a very cheap faux-satin material that feels crinkly and weird. The box that it all comes in is actually quite nice – very sturdy and definitely usable for storage, the lid clicks closed magnetically. Ironically, it’s a stronger magnetic bond that the charger base is to the toy. If I cared about being discrete I could simply put a sticker over the logo on the front of the red box and that would render it completely incognito to first glance. The interior portions that hold the vibe in place for pretty presentation remove easily and are not glued in.
The Thrill comes in only one color option thus far – an admittedly pretty, dark fuchsia/ruby pink. The Thrill is 100% waterproof which is good because it’s not easy to clean and it will need cleaning often – it uses the typical We-Vibe silicone which is shiny and grabby. You can see below that after only a few minutes of taking photos, it accumulated a bunch of hair, fur and dust. You’ll want to rinse it off before you use it (which is never a plus in my book, I like spontaneity with my toys).
Honestly I’m not sure where I stand anymore with We-Vibe on the whole. The fact that they made the Salsa/Tango unlike any other rechargeable vibrator and that it could very well serve as my only clitoral vibrator needed, ever, tends to hold a LOT of weight. The fact that they kept making improvements to their original namesake also holds some weight. While it’s still a hetero-couple’s vibe and isn’t perfect, they did make very necessary and worthy changes. The Touch has merits and is great for those who don’t need the big oomph of the Salsa/Tango and need something easier to hold. It’s not my cup of tea, but it’s still nice. But the Thrill? It really just pisses me off. Experienced sex toy owners know if a toy will work for them in the first minute they hold it in their hands. It took me less than a minute to know that the Thrill was going to bore me. The nice packaging, the silicone, the recharge factor…none of that matters. None of it. The design is a complete and utter fail. If they had just made the entire thing silicone it would be better – the massive amount of silicone would still dampen the vibrations from the strong motor (I’m going to assume here that the motor is the same as the Touch/Salsa/Tango because that is what makes sense, and I do detect the same rumbly factor), but it wouldn’t kill it completely like the bizarre plastic portion does.
I think I’d recommend something like the Lelo Ina 2 over this is you’re looking for a nicer, rechargeable, part-silicone vibrator. Totally different shape and style yet still a dual-stimulator. There really is very little on the market that is similar to the Thrill – most dual stimulator vibrators are of the “rabbit” style, with a long control handle rather than being C-shaped. Other than the much-larger Rock-Chick/G-Rock there is the “Snugglepuss” by Vibratex, which has been around for longer than I’ve been reviewing, yet it’s pretty weak.Read More
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Entirely too long ago I received the Spirit vibe from Leaf to review. I sometimes wonder why it takes me so long to write certain reviews while others seem to write themselves, and I realized why: When I don’t love or hate a toy, I find it hard to know what to say. And that’s the problem here; I don’t love or hate the Spirit.
Spirit is tiny; smaller than I expected. For some reason I expected it to be more along the lines of the Layaspot in size, but it’s actually a little smaller than the Je Joue MiMi and definitely smaller than the We Vibe Touch. Which means that for some people it could easily get misplaced. Of course that bright, spring-green color would make it more difficult to lose it.
The entire Leaf vibes line is touted as being “green”; not just green in color (as it’s the only color option available) but environmentally-speaking a “good idea”. The thought is that silicone rechargeable vibrators are more “green” since there are no disposable batteries. Of course, one argument is that disposable batteries can be recycled or simply tossed in the garbage with no serious effects to the landfills while very few people would ever recycle the rechargeable portion of a vibrator (mainly because you’d have to recycle the whole toy and there aren’t a lot of sex toy recycling places out there, plus it’s a bitch to get the battery out of the toy). Another way that Leaf is pushing the green aspect is in their packaging, which gets met with some argument as well. The box is all recycled cardboard; it’s heavy and sturdy cardboard though, with a magnetic closure so it would be great for storage. It’s not a 100% discreet storage option but yet it doesn’t use the words “sex toy” or “vibrator” anywhere on the box. Instead it says “Natural Pleasure“. The included storage pouch looks like hemp but is probably just cotton canvas. The only plastic to be found was the plastic bags used to contain the vibe and the charger. I think that overall there is a step in the right direction for being more environmentally conscious and not just for being a silicone sex toy.
Powered by PowerBullet
The reason I was so interested in the Leaf line was because the motor is “Powered by PowerBullet”; The Jopen Vanity line is also made with PowerBullet motors and since I adore my VR6 so, so very much I had high hopes for Leaf Spirit. After I did some research, though, I found out that only one other vibrator (not something made by a US-distributed company) powered by PowerBullet is as strong and rumbly as the VR6. Ah well. This isn’t to say that the Leaf Spirit is weak; it’s not. It’s really got quite a punch. In fact I’d easily compare it to the Je Joue Mimi. I’d say that the We Vibe Touch is perhaps a bit more powerful (there is one caveat to all three of these, which I’ll get to in a minute) but the We Vibe Tango & Salsa are more powerful than any of the aforementioned three vibes. The reason for this is because the Spirit, MiMi and Touch all have what is, to me, a fatal flaw: as soon as pressure is applied to the vibrator or it is surrounded by flesh (hello, fleshy labia) the vibrations greatly decrease. They go from deep and rumbly and powerful to almost surface-buzzy and moderate. It’s a huge let-down. This could be happening with the Spirit because it is so small. Perhaps a larger model would fare better because there would be more space to hold it (holding it firmly is also “pressure” in terms of muting the vibrations). But if I had to quantify the difference, I would say that the Leaf Spirit is 3 times more powerful when you’re just barely holding it compared to if you have a good grip on it and/or are applying pressure (you’d likely require a good grip on it if you get it slick with lube or body fluids).
I’m also a little disappointed that when it’s not in use the Spirit doesn’t hold a charge very well. It has an impressive Run Time vs Recharge Time ratio: 2.6 hours of run time for only 2 hours of recharge time (according to the company). Many rechargeable sex toys require more charge time than you’ll get in play time.
Like all luxury sex toys, the Leaf line is covered in pure medical-grade silicone and is very body safe. It’s waterproof, great for travel and the curved shape of the Spirit would work well laying against your pubic mound during penetrative sex. Due to the small size of Spirit, the whole toy vibrates but the motor is located in the tip. There is a seam in the silicone skin but only the most sensitive people would feel it. Spirit has only one button so it’s easy to use, yet if you want to go down a step in power you have to cycle through and turn it off, first. I’m not a huge fan of that. I also think that the vibe itself would be more aesthetically pleasing without the abundance of required markings on the top, but they are sadly required to be there by law. They do blend in and might even add just a hint of texture for holding on to it. The silicone skin covering the hard plastic toy is the silky soft type and so it’s not a huge dust-magnet like We Vibe silicone can be.
Would I recommend this? Eh. It depends. If you don’t like pressure with your vibes, or you don’t require a very powerful vibe and you adore the smallness and the green-ness, then yes. Otherwise? I’d probably recommend something else for the money. Cute only goes so far in my book.
We-Vibe has done what I didn’t think was truly possible: Created a rechargeable clitoral/external vibrator that is powerful and rumbly – and I truly do covet a good, rumbly vibrator. And they didn’t just make one, they made three. The combination of lower RPMs with a powerful motor leads to vibrations that go way beyond a tickling surface buzz. With the high speed having 4800 RPM (compare this to the We-Vibe couple’s vibrators whose high speeds are 5500 RPM and while they are decent, they lack the power/rumbly I need), the We-Vibe Salsa, Tango and Touch are all rumbly sweet goodness. I’ve talked a lot about why I love and need rumbly vibrations; my clitoris needs stimulation past the surface level, it needs something that’ll rattle the legs that go deep inside me. The Salsa and Tango can provide that; I’ve even been able to orgasm when the charge is dying or the vibration is on setting 3 of 4. That really speaks to the sweet-spot these vibrations hit, and shows that it can go way beyond just “moar power”. Find yourself the right type of vibration and you may not need something as mind-blowing and hand-numbing as the Hitachi Magic Wand.
The We-Vibe Salsa and Tango are probably a lot smaller than you’d expect. I won myself a back-up copy of the Salsa at Dirty Bingo during MomentunCon and I immediately took it out of the box to show off to my table. Everyone who hadn’t seen it was surprised at the small size. These mini vibes are just about exactly the size of my slightly-plump-and-short middle finger. The We Vibe Touch however is more substantial in size but it is still an external-only vibrator.
Salsa and Tango are nearly identical – the only difference is that Salsa’s tip is bullet-pointed and Tango’s tip is lipstick-pointed (slanted tip with a flat surface). Salsa comes in red, black or white and Tango comes in light blue, pink or purple. I don’t quite understand why the Salsa is the only item in the We-Vibe catalog that has deviated so far from their normal color scheme or why the Salsa seems to come in colors usually deemed “masculine” while the Tango is more “feminine” – either way, I don’t care much, but I will admit that I prefer the red/white/black over the very-overused purple/pink/blue. The Salsa and Tango are also hard plastic. This is, for me, their winning feature over the somewhat more ergonomic Touch1. Touch has the same exact motor but it is surrounded by a lot of silicone. For women who don’t like a lot of power, this would be the better choice because it dampens the vibrations on contact. If you just turn on any of these vibes and touch the tip of your nose you might be a bit afraid – but since these are rechargeable they’re more susceptible to the power decrease that seems typical in most rechargeable vibes. As soon as pressure is applied the vibrations are dampened to various degrees. Pressure doesn’t have to mean how hard you press the vibrator to your skin; it can also mean how you hold it, or how much flesh is surrounding it (women with fleshy outer labia will notice this). The Salsa and Tango do experience some of this decrease but not even half as much as the Touch. I can nestle the Salsa in between my labia while sitting at my desk (it’s then held in place by my body and my underwear) and still feel a lot of powerful, rumbly vibrations. The moment I do this with the Touch I’m disappointed. For the Touch to get me off I have to make sure I hold it as far away from the motor as possible and spread my labia to expose as much of my clitoris as possible. I also can’t apply much pressure (which for me then the whole design of the Touch is pointless because I can’t cup my clitoris with it, that’ll dampen it too much).
None of the products feature a vibration-lock function; it only requires a normal push of the button to turn things on. It can turn on accidentally during travel so I recommend that you find a pvc/leather small pouch just for the toy itself to help prevent nearby items from pushing up against the button. You could keep the charger base attached to it for travel to help ward off accidental button-pushings. The charger for these is a bit ridiculous, I’ll admit. It attaches magnetically so you do need to be careful that the contacts are lined up and such. The portion of the charger that touches the toy is not permanently attached to the cord that goes to the wall and I don’t understand it. There’s the bulky head of the outlet plug attached to the cord which ends in a jack-style plug and then that plugs into the tiny charging base. What does this mean for people like me? I could potentially lose the charging base if it gets unplugged. This design doesn’t make the charger any more travel-friendly because the outlet plug is still so large and you do need that for recharging on the go. The manual/site lists 2-hour run time; I’ve actually found it to be more like 1 hour or a little more but I do run it on the highest steady vibration setting 90% of the time.
All the vibes have a single push-style button at the base, where the charger attaches. This base glows a faint orange color and will pulse if you have it on a pulse setting. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to turn it on or change settings but yet it isn’t overly sensitive, either. All the vibes also have the same exact vibration settings. For some reason I first assumed that there were only 3 different steady-vibration settings; I kept thinking that the button just wasn’t working well. I’m not sure which two settings are the ones I couldn’t really distinguish from each other but that ended up being the reason.
Fun Fact: We-Vibe Salsa is nearly the same size as the RO-80mm bullet & Tantus’s N1 Bullet
Why does this matter at all? Because the RO-80mm bullet, and ones that look just like it, is used to power a number of high quality, silicone sex toys. Top dogs on that list include anything made by Rocks Off LTD (Rock Chick, Bad Boy, etc) and any vibrator from Tantus. I’m not a fan of the RO-80mm bullet for numerous reasons; the first is the battery type it takes and the second is the surface-buzzy vibrations that don’t travel well through dense silicone (and are also of the “itchy” variety). I own a few of the Tantus Little Secret vibrators (basically a silicone sleeve over their N1 bullet) and I don’t love them because the vibrations are meh – not exactly un-powerful but they’re not rumbly like I need. Replace the bullet with the Salsa? Newfound love!! I’m really excited to try out the Tantus Panty Play now, simply because of the Salsa. The only downfall of course is that all that silicone tightly surrounding the bullet does tend to take down the intensity of it a bit and it might contribute to the charge draining a little faster. I’m hesitant to say that only the Salsa will work here because it mimics the pointed-tip bullet shape; the Tango has the lipstick-shaped head with the flat, angled look to it but it’s the exact same dimensions as the Salsa so it likely will work unless it’s a really tight squeeze in the particular toy you want to pair it with. Salsa is not a 100% perfect match though to the RO-80mm / N1 bullet: while it is 80mm in length the 80mm on the RO bullet is including the protruding push button; also the Salsa is about 2mm wider in the body. I’ve not run into any problems though swapping out the Salsa for the RO-80mm – just add a tiny dab of lube before sliding it in the toy. RO-80mm & N1 bullets take an LR1 size battery which can cost you anywhere from $1-$3 per battery depending on your area/availability. Given how quickly you’ll run through batteries the cost in getting a Salsa merely to upgrade an RO-80 compatible toy suddenly seems more plausible. As for the Tantus vibrators that take the smaller, single speed bullet that uses LR44 cell batteries? The Salsa will stick out the base more but is still the same width enough that it can be used as a replacement.
Regardless of the few minor downfalls to the Salsa, Tango and Touch I would still recommend them highly. If you want the most powerful vibe possible, then choose the Salsa or Tango. If you prefer the subtler side of vibrations, choose the Touch. Yes they all carry a high price tag and that will deter some. After all, you can buy a bullet of any type for much less or a cheap pocket rocket for less than $15. I’ve only had one pocket rocket last me more than 6 months (It’s actually one of the first sex toys I bought so that is an amazing feat); these We Vibe products come with a good warranty and will last you a lot longer than the cheap-o jobs. This is the motor that I wish ALL rechargeable vibrators had; too many of them are moderate and most of them are surface-buzzy. If the Lelo Mia had this motor I would be in love with it because of the USB-recharge option. The Salsa/Tango are powerful and/or with more pleasing (rumbly, deep) vibrations than: Lelo Mia, Lily or Nea, Je Joue Mimi (dulls down too much with pressure), JimmyJane Form 2 or Form 3, anything from Bswish, RO-80mm bullet, Layaspot, Extase Liberte, any of the Tantus Little Secret line, and any cell/N-size battery operated bullet.
Disclosure: I purchased these on my own, or acquired them in a swap. I owe this review to nobody but you, readers and consumers. However, this is a sponsored post so that I may be able to purchase more sex toys to check out for you!
Check out the cleaning guide for Plastic and Silicone Vibrators for more details.
- Touch really is easier to hold – I find that if I’m holding the Salsa for too long that my fingers/hand cramps up due to the small size ↩