Jun 052012
 

Toy: Lyla (sent by Babeland.com)
Type: Remote Bullet Vibe
Power source: Dual (bullet recharges, remote takes 2 AAA)
Intensity: 3 out of 5 (from Babeland.com)
Manufacturer: Lelo
Material: Silicone & ABS Plastic
Price: $139.00
Sizes: 3.15 X 1.3 X 1.3 in.

Oh Lyla. How I wanted to love you. Your gorgeous color, silky silicone and fun remote thingy seduced me. But, alas, you just … well … you just have so many flaws!

Lelo's Lyla is full of promise, but unfortunately not worth your time

Yes, the Lelo Lyla is riddled with flaws but before we get into what Lyla ISN’T, let’s talk about what it IS. Lyla is part of Lelo’s new Sensemotion line of toys. This bullet type toy was designed for both solo and partner play and comes with a remote that controls the main portion of the toy from up to 39 ft away. The remote can be tilted, circled or shaken to change the intensity and pulsations of the toy. The remote also vibrates along with the main potion of the toy so the partner operating the remote knows exactly what they are doing. This is a really neat feature that I was very excited about.

Like most of Lelo’s toys, the bullet has a nice range of vibration intensities, ranging from whisper soft to a medium/strong speed as well as an array of vibration patterns which you can also increase or decrease the intensity of. Also, like all of Lelo’s toys, the Lyla is rechargeable. (well, the bullet is rechargeable … we will talk about the remote in a minute). Add all this to the fantastic feeling silicone and shiny ABS plastic accents and it sounds great, right? Well it is … for about 5 minutes. The 5 minutes from the moment you to open the box and ogle your new toy to when you try to put the batteries in the remote and then struggle to turn the damn thing on.

Lyla’s first major flaw becomes apparent almost as soon as you remove it from the box. The bullet is totally rechargeable, which is great. You just unscrew the small plastic cap, plug it in and let it charge for a few hours. Simple, great, done. The remote, however, is battery operated. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem but the cover on the back of the remote must be removed with a key. Not a house key, not a nickel, not a screw driver but a specially designed plastic slot key that Lelo gives you in the package. Reading the directions, Lelo specifies that you are not to use any coins or tools to open the back cover (presumably because it may ding up the ABS cover or the metallic finish) and that you must turn the cover “a 10 degree turn counter clockwise”. Apparently they measured it. Once you do that, you can kind of dig the cap up off the remote and insert your 2 AAA batteries (which, to Lelo’s credit, they provide for you). To put the cap back on you must turn it “a 10 degree turn clockwise. Insure controller is fastened shut”. Here lies the problem, there is no real way to check that. No click, no dot to line up, nothing. Since the plastic cap is already about a 1/16 of an inch off the silicone base to begin with, it’s hard to tell if you have it back on properly. I took it off and put it back on about 5 times because I was convinced I did something wrong. If you have any sort of vision impairment, it’s going to be doubly hard to line it up and twist it back on and you are going to have to just tug at it to make sure it’s on there all nice and secure. Lovely.

The second major flaw is in how you actually turn this thing on. The remote has 3 modes – “Sensemotion mode 1, Sensemotion mode 2 and manual mode”. Ok, not too hard, right?  Here are Lelo’s instructions, slightly abbreviated. “Establish a wireless connection by pressing the + button on your controller. Press activation button on Lyla for 1 second. For Mode 1 press center button on remote once. For Mode 2, press center button on remote once more. For manual mode press the center button on the remote twice. To turn off vibration in remote during manual mode press and hold center button for 3 seconds.” Right, ok. This is all well and good when reading it. Try changing modes while you are actually using it! It’s difficult. No matter how many times I tried to change modes, it just wouldn’t work. Either I wasn’t pressing the buttons hard enough or I wasn’t pressing them fast enough or maybe I was pushing them too fast. The world may never know. It just isn’t intuitive. I don’t want to have to stop what I am doing with my partner and grab my toy manual so I can change modes (which I actually did … and they weren’t happy. But hey, this is for science!).

Oh, and speaking of stopping what you are doing – that leads to the third major flaw. If your body or your partner’s body ends up covering the toy, the wireless connection to the remote is broken and it stops. Let me repeat that. If you put it between your body and your partner’s body, IT STOPS WORKING! No wonder Lelo designed the remote to be used up to 39 ft away. Your partner needs to be about that far away for the thing to continue to work! And this is in all modes, not just the Sensemotion modes. Seriously? Why on earth would you design a “couples vibrator” that stops vibrating if you get near each other? It makes no sense. Think it will be ok if you are just using it by yourself? Think again. If you have a larger body and any part of that body covers over the toy, it will also stop working. So, as long as you are very thin, are willing to lay completely still and don’t want to get within 10 feet of your partner, this is the toy for you!

I could go on and on with the flaws (dirt can collect between the cap and the toy making cleaning a bother, the remote is really loud when it’s vibrating, etc.) but I am going to stop here. There is honestly no way I can recommend this toy to anyone in good conscience. The idea behind the toy is brilliant and the materials are lovely but the execution is just too flawed to be believed. Lelo really needs to go back to the drawing board with this one.

Dec 112011
 

The Honi is a cute, larger-sized bullet vibe, but it’s just not sweet enough to be worth the effort.  It could use a bit more power, unless you’re a light touch, and (in what seems to be a pattern for the Picobong brand and, to a lesser extent, its parent brand, Lelo), it leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to ease of cleaning.

  • Toy: Honi (sent by Babeland.com for review)
  • Type: Bullet vibrator
  • Manufacturer: Picobong
  • Material: Silicone and ABS plastic
  • Price: $34
  • SMT rating: 0
The Picobong Honi lacks the power and ease of cleaning necessary to capture our hearts
The Picobong Honi is a fairly standard bullet vibrator.  It’s made from silicone (for the vibrating end) and ABS plastic (for the screw-cap/battery case end) and, at 3″ long and 1″ wide, is a little larger than the standard bullet vibe.  This larger size is nice, giving bullet vibe users more of a choice in terms of size variety, and is one of the Honi’s strengths.  It also has a nice, solid retrieval cord that makes it easy to remove if it’s being used internally.  Plus, it runs on a single AAA battery rather than expensive and harder to obtain watch batteries like some of its bullet relatives.
The Honi, however, failed to impress on several levels.  First, its vibration felt a bit lackluster, and we would’ve preferred a strong motor.  Those who prefer a lighter vibration, of course, may consider this a  pro instead of a con.  Second, the section where the plastic battery-cap screws onto the body leaves a small ridge that collects lube and body fluids; this section will need special attention during cleaning but this cleaning must be done carefully to avoid getting water in the battery area.  Furthermore, the unscrewing cap portion has hollow areas that require a Q-tip to get clean.  And, as a lesser cleaning complaint, the engraved Picobong lettering can be somewhat annoying to properly scrub out, as well.  On a non-cleaning note, the +/- buttons are hidden in the engraved Picobong logo lettering, which will make them difficult to find for visually-disabled users.  Overall, the Picobong just didn’t seem to have a lot of thought put into its design, particularly for cleaning purposes, and wasn’t powerful enough to be worth using, in our opinion.
Nov 162011
 

  • Toy: Oden (sent by Babeland.com for review)
  • Type: Remote controlled vibrating cock ring with AAA battery powered vibrating remote that goes with a rechargeable cock ring vibrator
  • Manufacturer: Lelo
  • Material: silicone and hard (ABS) plastic
  • Price: $149
  • SMT rating: 0, moderate strength vibes for both
One thing I’ve learned over my years of doing toy reviews is that people friggin’ love remote controlled sex toys, but they rarely live up to the hype and expectations.  So, can a premium company Lelo pull it off?  They have a new line of high brow vibes, all featuring unique wireless remotes paired with the design sense that so many folks love about Lelo.  So, lets dive in, shall we?
Whew. Seriously.  You get the works with this package!  In your sassy black box (Lelo always has great packaging) comes your usual paperwork (directions, 10 yr warrantee, etc.) the Lelo insignia brooch, charger, satin toy bag, a vibrating battery powered remote control and a vibrating rechargeable cock ring with a unique design that resembles a giant sperm with a curly tail.  Plus, there is a special little plastic tab which acts as a key to get the back of the remote open and closed for swapping out the batteries.  That’s quite a lot of stuff to play with!
So how well does it all work?
Pros:
  • If definitely feels like you’re getting a lot for the money with the Oden.  The packaging is lovely, as always, and if you loose the key for the back of the remote you can still get it open using a US nickel or similarly sized coin.
  • If you charge it for about 2 hours, you’ll get about 2 hours of use.  This isn’t too terribly far to plan ahead, and will last long enough for the vast majority of folks.
  • The remote vibrates, too!  That means that you can easily monitor what the cock ring is doing by feeling the remote, which is pretty cool.  You can also use it’s many settings to stimulate other areas while the cock ring does its thing.
  • The ring is an open circle, making it very adjustable and easy to get on without awkwardly sliding it down or shoving your bits through.  It’s also easier to adjust where the protruding vibrator on the ring hit’s the partner’s body.
  • Have trouble finding an insertable innie vibe with a clitoral vibe that hits your body right?  The Oden is a great fit for wrapping around your favorite phallus-type vibe.  You can adjust the tilt somewhat and place it at the right depth, and if necessary you can easily use your thumb to push the Oden’s vibe against your clit while grinding away with your toy.  Heck you can even use the remote to buzz yourself elsewhere at the same time. Go to town!
Cons: 
  • Few products meet my desires for easy cleaning, and neither does this.  All of the pretty chrome Lelo toys have a troubling valley where the chrome meets the silicone coated ABS plastic, and that area requires special cleaning attention lest crustiness build up.  This is true on both the remote and ring for this toy.  Furthermore, in order to recharge the vibe on the cock ring, it is unscrewed from the ring-tail and plugged in.  The place where these two parts screw together collects quite a bit of lube and people juices, and is not easy to clean without pulling it apart and flushing out the tail part thoroughly and pulling out the Q-tips and cleaner for the vibrating section.
  • This remote is stronger than most I’ve reviewed, but it still didn’t do well when the testers’ plush bodies were pressed together.  It just couldn’t get the signal through all that flesh.  Would it work better for skinnier owners?  I’m probably not the one to ask.  When the signal is lost the controller keeps vibrating but the ring stops, which is frustrating.  It would have been better if it continued at the last known setting, but alas.
Noteworthy:
  • The remote uses buttons to switch settings, but there are two other unique ways to turn it on, if you’ll pardon the pun.  One setting allows you to tilt the vibe to control it.  The more vertical it is, the harder the buzz.  The other reacts to shaking or jiggling – flail madly and it buzzes harder.  Hm.  While these were interesting features and may be enjoyable for some folks, I found them functionally useless and didn’t even include them in the video – but I am adding it here so you know this about the product.  You still have to use the buttons to synch the product and turn it on/off, so if you trouble pushing buttons you’re still out of luck.
  • Be sure this toy with a quality water-based lube (like Maximus), as silicone lube may eventually wear down the silicone coat and oil based lube with be especially hard to clean out of the toy’s crevices.
  • Cock rings don’t work for everyone.  The vibrator on this cock ring extended nicely and was flexible at the base as well as nicely contoured, so it’s probably going to work for a wider range of people.  For some women their clit is right above their vaginal opening, so a shorter vibe is best.  For many others it’s a little higher above the vagina, so the extra reach is important.  And remember, flesh cocks don’t carry vibrations well and all cock rings work best with grinding-style style vs. thrusty sex.
So there you go!  If you’re interested in vibrating cock rings but need a vibe that doesn’t stick out as far from the ring, or you prefer an enclosed ring to help keep him harder, you might also want to check out the: Tor by Lelo, JimmyJane Iconic Ring, or the Ophoria V-Ring.  Or you might try the Koa ring, by Lelo’s economy priced brand, PicoBong.  I haven’t reviewed that one yet, but it may be worth a look as it also has a vibrator that sticks out further, and there is no remote.

Nov 042011
 

  • Toy: Mahana Duo Vibe (sent by Babeland.com for review)
  • Type: AAA battery powered vibrator, dual vibe innie/outtie combo
  • Manufacturer: Picobong
  • Material: silicone and hard (ABS) plastic
  • Price: $69
  • SMT rating: 0, low to  moderate strength vibes
While rumor has it that I’ve never met a toy I didn’t like, I’m sad to report that I am not a fan of the Mahana Duo vibe.  It’s not that it’s crappy, it’s just not worth your time or money.

The Mahana Duo is not twice the fun

The Mahana Duo vibe from Picobong is meant as a lower-cost alternative to the high-quality, classy but more high-end toys from Lelo (which shares the same toy design team).  Unfortunately, it ends up being a get-what-you-pay-for situation, and so is hard to recommend.  The Mahana Duo is a combination innie-outtie vibrator, like several other toys that have been previously reviewed here (see the bullet list at the bottom for these more highly-recommended toys of a similar style).  It has a flexible C-shape with both ends containing vibrators; one end is meant to be inserted, while the other should rest against the clitoris.  It’s about 1/2″ wide at its widest, and takes 2 AAA batteries (one for each vibrating end).
On the plus side, since it’s from the same design team as Lelo toys, the Mahana Duo has a reputable brand to back it up, and is made from body-safe silicone and ABS plastic, as we’ve come to expect from its higher-end siblings.  It comes in two cute colors (pink and blue) and has a smooth, simple, non-intimidating visual design.  If the C-shape stays in place correctly, then its innie-outtie design can be useful (but see below on our testers’ feelings on how well it stayed in place).
Unfortunately, the Mahana Duo raised many qualms and negative points in testing.  First of all, it’s difficult to clean well; the engraved Picobong logo and the edges where the vibrator-ends screw onto the plastic are both grooved in a hard-to-get-at way.  Cleaning the Duo thoroughly would require Q-tips and a lot of patience.  It didn’t come packaged with any directions, instead opting to include a little six-sided die with various toy emblems on it.  This is exacerbated by the fact that the controls are somewhat non-intuitive; the buttons aren’t readily visible, and are hidden beneath plus and minus signs that blend into the logo.  It just feels cheaply made, with little aesthetic appeal and the sharp contrast between silicone ends and plastic middle.  The vibrations are fairly low-level and lackluster.  Additionally, C-shaped innie-outtie toys are meant to be able to stay in place without help (and maybe even be able to stay in place during intercourse or other play).  None of our testers, however, reported that the Duo could stay in place without constant assistance.  Finally, if you’ll watch the video review, you can see that the toy began making loud, ugly buzzing noises during the course of the review after only a couple of uses.  It’s normal for vibrators to become slowly louder over the course of many uses, but to have a toy start making such obtrusive noises so early in its life is a bad sign.  Overall, it’s hard to justify spending the money on the Duo–it has no special qualities to recommend it and several flaws that speak against it.  Here are some better alternatives that fulfill the same functionality and general design of the Mahana Duo, but are worth your time and money:
Jan 122011
 

While innies are great, there’s something special about a good outtie vibrator that hits the spot just right.  In the same aesthetic vein as the Soraya, the Lelo Alia is a sleek silicone-and-chrome outtie that is easy to handle, powerful for its size, and pleasing to the sight as well as the touch.  Find out more about this cute, sexy little egg-shaped vibe below and in the video above!

  • Toy: Alia (sent by Babeland.com for review)
  • Type: Outtie vibrator, waterproof, rechargeable
  • Manufacturer: Lelo
  • Material: Silicone and ABS plastic (metallic-coated)
  • Price: $119
  • SMT rating: N/A (strong side of moderate)

The Alia is a flirty and fun outtie vibe

The Lelo Alia makes the perfect complement to the Soraya from the same line.  While the Soraya was a delightful innie/outtie vibe, the Alia, on the other hand, is an aesthetically similar and cleverly shaped outtie-only vibrator that’s small and perfect for slipping into a suitcase, purse, or pocket!  Like the Soraya, the Alia has a beautiful, striking look with silicone and chrome-painted plastic.  This toy is an egg-ish shape with a nice hole in the center, perfect for slipping a finger or two into to give a firm grip.  It’s about 3.25″ long and 2.5″ tall, and is both rechargeable and waterproof.

From what I could tell, the motor for the Alia seems to be in the slightly pointed tip, though the vibration (which is a fairly strong moderate buzz) really transmits through the whole toy fairly equally.  The strength of the vibration is quite decent for a toy this size, and it’s very quiet even on its highest setting.  The greatest plus for the Alia is, of course, its unique shape, that gives it a lot of varied possibilities for how it can be held or used.  Those who don’t like to have to hold onto a possibly-slippery toy with a whole-hand grip will be grateful for the nice finger-hold the center whole makes, which makes rubbing the toy along the vulva, clit, or anus easy.  If you do like to wrap your whole hand around something, the Alia is thick but it’s still quite possible to hold it in your hand.  You can loop the toy over a couple of fingers and let the buzz travel down your fingers to give you a vibrating touch, or maybe use it to make your whole hand vibrate lightly for a more stimulating handjob!  For those who are into more kinky activities, the loop-hole in the middle is just begging to have the Alia added to some rope bondage.  And, like other Lelo toys, the Alia’s power and vibration-pattern controls are separate, meaning that it gives you a lot of flexibility in personalizing your experience with it.

As usual for Lelo, I have little of concern to say about the Alia.  I’ll note that while the Soraya’s recharge port was so tiny as to be almost invisible to the eye, my Alia’s recharge port was wide enough that I could see into it; I’m not sure if or how much this affects the waterproof-ness of the toy.  But since Lelo has a 1-year warranty on all their toys, you should be able to get a replacement if it turns out that the toy can’t survive the sexy hot tub fun you might be planning!  Other than that, I will echo my comment on the Soraya that cleaning with the Alia might require a little more diligence than with some other toys, since the edges around the buttons and where the silicone meets the chromed plastic are slightly indented and so have an easy time building up dried lube or other materials.

Overall, the Alia is a sexy-looking and -feeling, portable, and easy-to-handle outtie vibrator.  While I’d particularly recommend it for those with a hard time gripping due to hand strength or other problems, it’s an excellent toy for anyone looking for a new, classy outtie vibrator (and it comes with jewelry, to boot!).

Dec 202010
 

Seduction may use all the senses, but we all know that first impressions are key.  For a toy, that means that sleek, elegant, and beautiful designs can make all the difference in winning their owner’s heart!  Lelo’s Soraya is one of those toys that catches your eye from the moment you open its box, and holds your gaze with its smooth lines and metallic highlights.  The optical seduction continues once you put it to work, as it lights up during play!  Plus, nothing says “I want to please you” like giving someone a present, and this innie/outtie combination toy does just that by coming with a little brooch in its packaging.  Find out more about this premium toy from Lelo below!

  • Toy: Soraya (sent by Babeland.com for review)
  • Type: Innie/outtie combo, vibrator, waterproof
  • Manufacturer: Lelo
  • Material: Silicone and ABS plastic (metallic-coated)
  • Price: $199
  • SMT rating: 1 (rumbly and satisfying when low, throbbing and intense when high)

The stunning Soraya is a classy innie/outtie toy

If there is one thing Lelo knows well, it is how to make toys that are aesthetic and sophisticated-looking.  The Soraya is a gorgeous innie/outtie combination vibrator by this premium toy company, and it absolutely meets their usual high quality standards.

The Soraya is made from silicone (for the pink or black outer portion) and metallic-coated plastic, giving it a sleek design.  It’s about 8.5″ long, with 5″ of that length being insertable, and is about 1.5″ thick at its widest point.  This innie/outtie toy has two vibrating motors, one for the internal portion and one for the outer clitoral stimulator.  It’s rechargeable and totally waterproof, and it runs for about 4 hours on a full charge.  Plus it lights up when running, giving it a cool futuristic look in a dark environment.

The vibration of the Soraya is fairly intense.  In addition, the dual vibrators allow you to have a plethora of pattern options, as you can not only set the toy to buzz or pulse, but also have just one motor on, or have the motors pulse separately, or a variety of other settings.  Even on its highest setting, the Soraya is still pleasantly quiet.  The metallic loop on the holding end makes a great finger-hold (which you should use to avoid hitting the buttons by accident), and this makes the Soraya a particularly good toy of choice for those who have a weak grip and have difficulty handling other toys.

It’s important to note that the Soraya is an entirely firm toy (though the clitoral stimulator can angle up and down to more easily conform to your body) and so may not be appropriate for those who prefer softer, more flexible insertables.  Also, a thorough cleaning of this toy may be a slightly more time-consuming task than with some others, because the thin gaps around the buttons and between the metallic-plastic and silicone will require a Q-tip or similar implement in order to be totally cleaned.  Still, overall, this is a gorgeous and high-quality innie/outtie combination vibrator; yet another thumbs-up for Lelo!