Update March 2014: I have added a few notes about my experience with this vibrator. My experience might factor in to your decision to buy one, despite how awesome I think the vibrations are. Please see my note at the end of the review.
This year, Lelo decided to tackle the vibrator they’ve left untouched thus far: The “wand” vibrator or “body massager”. Up until now, the only wand massager that looked half decent was the Vibratex Mystic Wands. Everything else, such as the Hitachi Magic Wand, the Acuvibe, or even the Fairy Massagers, looked cumbersome, cheap, clinical or just plain ugly. But the Lelo Smart Wands are pretty, I’ll give them that. Actually the first word that pops into my head is “posh”.
Of course, posh looks come with a posh price tag. Currently the non-sale price at SheVibe.com is $129 for the Medium Smart Wand and $169 for the Large Smart Wand. That is a lot of money to spend for most people and if they’re going to spend it, it had better be worth it.
What do you get for the price? Looks and the Lelo name, primarily. Plus a fairly intelligent design. Many wand vibrators have a long, straight handle. This isn’t ideal for using them as a back & body massager OR a vibrator. The handle of the Smart Wand is gently curved. And other than the metallic-painted plastic portion, the rest of the Smart Wand is covered in Lelo’s signature silicone skin. This is where they used their brains in design: There are no ridges on the head like the Acuvibe, Fairy Wand or Mystic Wands. There is no horrible texture like the Hitachi Magic Wand. And the neck is also completely covered by this smooth, silicone skin. It makes it really easy to clean. The Smart Wands are also pretty quiet for a wand massager. There is no high-pitched heard-through-walls whine of the Hitachi Magic Wand, and unlike the Mystic Wand Rechargeable, the buttons are silent when pressed.
Unlike many other wand vibrators, the Smart Wands are both waterproof. I’ve seen countless reviews talking about how they doubt the veracity of the waterproof claim simply because the charging port is large and uncovered. Why on earth would you doubt this?? Lelo is a major company, they would be stupid to tell you the vibrator is waterproof if it is not. If Lelo says it is, then it is, and you should feel free to take this thing into the shower if that’s what you enjoy.
The Large is quite large – about 14 ounces and 12″ long overall. The Medium is drastically smaller, measuring at 8″ in length and not quite 6 ounces in weight.
Lelo’s New Sensetouch Technology
Like all Lelo sex toys, the Smart Wands are of course rechargeable but that isn’t what sets them apart. Lelo’s “Sensetouch Technology” is a unique feature. Unfortunately, it’s not a feature that I personally think has a value. The Sensetouch sensors allow the vibration strength to gradually build as soon as the head of the wand comes in contact with your body. Sounds pretty neat, right? Meh. The build-up is pretty quick. The wand sits there idling on low speed until it sense that you’re touching it to your skin at which point it’ll quickly speed up to high – unless you then alter the speed or even pattern. It won’t ramp up in speed if it comes into contact with say, your bedspread. When you lift the wand away from your body, the vibrations die back down to low speed. When I first heard about this technology I had assumed that the vibration speed would increase or decrease depending on how hard you pressed it to your skin. That isn’t the case. The Sensetouch feature is something that you’re going to have to really think about to determine if it’s a necessary feature for your lifestyle.
In addition to this weird SenseTouch feature, the Wands also have the standard Lelo settings – 8 pattern settings, including steady vibrations, and I think 6 power settings. And of course the always-present Lelo feature: Button Lock. I don’t know of any other rechargeable wand massagers that have that feature.
Smart Wands….Vibrators or Body Massagers?
Lelo’s packaging firmly markets the Smart Wands as a body massager. The new white packaging also denotes that this is from their “Health” line rather than the black packaging of the “Pleasure” lines. As a body massager though, the Smart Wand Medium is pretty underwhelming. As an external vibrator it’s also somewhat underwhelming. It’s not buzzy, it’s not exactly weak but it’s no powerhouse. In fact the Smart Wand Medium is about equal in vibration intensity to the Lelo Mona. Medium is a lot smaller than the Large and would certainly be more “travel friendly”, but again as a body massager it really didn’t do anything for me. There’s a reason that some women flock to the drugstore electric body massagers – they are intensely powerful, meant to replace strong, powerful hands in a simulated deep-tissue massage. So people familiar with what a wand vibrator represents would assume then that Lelo is bringing the power. They’d be wrong……
….Until you get to the Smart Wand Large. In size, it’s pretty comparable to the Hitachi Magic Wand. In fact the head is so similarly sized that the Large Smart Wand can accommodate any attachment meant for the Hitachi. I’ll get to this gem in a few. Both the Smart Wand Medium and Smart Wand Large can be considered “rumbly” but the Smart Wand Land is very, very rumbly. Rumbly here translates to a very low RPM. In fact, it’s so low, and so quiet, that veteran sex toy owners might at first mistake this low, quiet sound with the sound of a dying vibrator. I did at first. Lelo won’t tell me what the RPMs are for the Smart Wand Large, but I would hazard a guess that it’s among the lowest in the industry. When properly equipped, the Large version gives the Wahl 2-speed on high quite the competition – it’s got the somewhat-jack-hammering quality without the “too much” quality of the Wahl. It is not as powerful at the Wahl 2-speed on High, and not quite as rumbly (that would be nearly impossible to replicate) but it’s really pleasurable for those that absolutely hate surface-buzzy vibrators.
The downside to all this power in the Smart Wand Large is that the handle vibrates with an alarming intensity. The trick though is to hold this thing right in the middle of the handle, the thinnest part of it. For some reason the residual vibrations are the weakest there and won’t cause you much hand/arm problems with longer-use sessions. The handle of the Smart Wand Medium has some residual vibrations, but no more than your average vibrator. If you have to hold the Large by the very end of the handle though you will feel numbness and irritating vibrations after 5 minutes of use.
As a body massager, the Lelo Smart Wand Large is fairly decent. Meaning, I’ve had better but it does have it’s pros and cons. One good point is that unlike many other rechargeable wand vibrators, there is no discernible loss of power when you apply pressure to the vibrating head. I’ve also had this thing last me quite awhile on a single charge. At least 5 masturbation sessions. The Smart Wand Medium as I’ve said is worthless as a body massager.
As a vibrator, again the Medium has no real benefits. But the Large? Oh it shines. Gloriously. With one caveat: You really must pair it with a Hitachi-attachment for the best results. I purchased (finally!) the Vixen brand Gee Whiz Hitachi Attachment. It fits the Large very well; it harnesses all the broad-range power of the large head into more concentrated power through the um…nose? dildo? What would you call that? Insertable portion? You would think that since this attachment is largely made for internal use that that’s where it would shine but it is equally, if not moreso, lovely when used as a clitoral massager via the insertable dildo portion. It also turns the Smart Wand Large into a very powerful g-spot massager – almost as breathtaking as the Vanity VR6. In fact, the Gee Whiz performs way better when used on the Smart Wand Large than the Hitachi, which is the massager it was made for! The Hitachi’s vibrations are more powerful but they have a much higher RPM than the Smart Wand, and the vibrations just don’t travel as well. The difference in power transference is huge comparing the two. If I had purchased this attachment years ago for my Hitachi, I would have been really underwhelmed. You could also try the Gee Whizzard attachment, I’m sure it would perform just as well. I don’t see how there is any difference in the g-spot curve between the two, but perhaps the Gee Whizzard’s shaft, with the bumps and ridges, is more solid? I don’t know. The bumps aren’t even on the g-spot side of the shaft. It is worth mentioning that if you love the SenseTouch feature, you’ll have to give that up when you pop an attachment on.
The head of the Medium is much smaller than most other wand vibrators, and will not work with any wand attachments that I know of. Not that it would be beneficial, since the Medium lacks the penetrative, rumbling vibrations necessary for vibrations to travel through the silicone of the attachment.
More reasons to get the Smart Wand Large
The Large version is the first Lelo item to deviate from the standard black satin drawstring pouch. Instead, you get a reversible Neoprene pouch – the main side is black with plum stitching accents and the secondary side will match the dark purple of the vibrators. The Medium wand just comes with a standard satin drawstring pouch. The Large also comes with a bottle of Lelo’s sex toy cleaner. One thing also to note if you get the Smart Wand Large: While the male charging portion might look just like all the other Lelo chargers that are interchangeable, this one is meant solely for the Large Smart Wand – and it says so right on the charger. Since the Large has considerably more power than anything Lelo makes, I guess this makes sense.
I realize that this is a really pricey endeavor, especially if you take my advice (oh you won’t be disappointed) and get the Gee Whiz attachment, but I’d highly recommend the Lelo Smart Wand Large. Highly. Again, this high recommendation comes on the condition that you use the attachment. Just watch for sales.
UPDATE March 2014: Despite how much I truly love the powerful, rumbling vibrations of the Smart Wand Large, I haven’t used it as much as should have. That is partly due to the fact that the regular Lelo chargers won’t work with it, and I would frequently misplace the charger. Plus, the SWL didn’t really hold a charge beyond a few weeks. I used it a lot in the first year I had it but I’ve had this since July 2012. Recently I charged it up and turned it on. What I experienced was that the highest level of intensity didn’t feel as high as it used to anymore. Then when I held it at various angles (sideways, upside down, etc) all the while holding it on the handle where I should, I heard and FELT the motor suddenly jump up to a higher intensity. But it didn’t stay there. It was frustrating. I contacted Lelo customer care, but was told that because I was outside the 1 year warranty, the most I would get would be a 50% discount off of purchasing the Wand from their website. As much as I love the vibrations, I won’t be doing this. I’ve instructed a number of readers to purchase this, but have never heard back from them that they had problems. I hope theirs are fine. Another reviewer, Reenie, had bizarre motor issues that I didn’t experience. She had hers replaced, and it had the same motor issues. An Australian retailer tested all of theirs, and found this same weird issue. I’m very torn. The vibrations are unlike anything I’ve ever felt. For those who like and want a very powerful, deep rumbling vibrator, there is no comparison. I prefer the feel of these vibrations to the Hitachi. But if a $170 item is going to fail AFTER the 1 year warranty, making it so that one would have to fork over another $85 for a replacement, I have a hard time recommending it. It is a risk. You very well might be like my other readers and get a unit that continues to function normally. The following is Lelo’s response to me after I declined to their warranty replacement:
We design the Smart Wand to get the maximum power in terms of motor size, but also keep the life of the motor to maximum. When the Smart Wand powers up and someone takes it to full power the motor will go into free load state, this seems to be going faster / more power. This is due to the design of the neck , the head actually is not attached to the body in a fixed position, it is actually sitting on a silicon pad (under the silicone cover). This silicone pad is in place to stop the vibrations going down the handle. So by holding the neck, you stop the freeload of the motor but you then increase the vibrations down in the handle. So we can balance the power of the Smart Wand, to keep most power to the head. When you actually touch the head it does seem the motor is slowing down, when in effect it is not. The motor is running in the CORRECT way / speed giving that thumping feeling that simulates a massage. So the unit is actually working properly. The product might appear faulty when it is infect not faulty. You can give it sometime and you will actually notice it is always the same.