Review: Le Wand

Y’all, I’m so angry about the Le Wand. SO ANGRY. It has been a long time since a sex toy has pissed me off this much. But I have some Opinions and Feelings about this one and we are going to talk about them.

This rechargeable wand vibrator – sent to me for my honest review by the lovely folks at Peepshow Toys – was designed as an upgrade to existing wand vibes like the Magic Wand and Doxy. In a braggy interview about her product, designer Alicia Sinclair says, “I’ve always found the aesthetics and design of wands rather unappealing, industrial and masculine… In my humble opinion, Le Wand satisfies this need in the market by offering a refined classic wand massager with upgraded features and gorgeous design.”

It’s definitely good for companies to keep trying to outdo the Magic Wand, reigning queen of the wand vibe genre. Innovation and improvement are important, and perpetual forward motion in the market is one of the only good things about capitalism. But here’s the thing: if you claim to be innovative, you need to actually innovate. The Le Wand does not. In fact, in many ways, it’s a massive step backward for wand vibrators.

First, let’s talk aesthetics. Sinclair says her wand’s design is “elegant,” “sensual,” “fresh” and “stylised.” But let’s be real: it’s essentially a re-skin of the Magic Wand Rechargeable. Seriously, they look like fraternal twins. The product names are printed in the same spot, the number of buttons is the same and they are located in exactly the same place on the body of the toy, the bases of the toy are the same shape, and they even use the same charger! For a toy that claims to be so groundbreaking, the Le Wand sure seems like a straight-up ripoff of the Magic Wand.

It’s not an improvement vibrations-wise, either. Though Le Wand’s ad copy repeatedly claims its vibrations are rumbly, it’s one of the buzzier wands of this size that I’ve tried. The Magic Wand, especially on its two lower speeds, is so delightfully rumbly that you can actually see its head thrumming back and forth during use, and feel it rippling against you. The Le Wand, comparatively, stays pretty stationary and its vibrations are much more surface-level, leading to numbness far more quickly. My clit gets bored and blasé instead of staying engaged and excited.

And the noise! The Le Wand is one of the loudest vibrators I’ve ever encountered. Even on the lowest speed, it sounds like an angry robotic cow having a mooing tantrum. Its lowest speed is just as loud as the Magic Wand Rechargeable’s highest speed, though not as strong or as rumbly. In testing my Le Wand, I was reminded of that time a partner fucked me with a toy while my best friend shot porn in the next room; I had my Magic Wand on my clit, set to the lowest speed, and it was quiet enough that we didn’t even have to worry about fucking up the porn happening nearby. There’s no way that would’ve been true if I was using the Le Wand. (It wouldn’t have gotten me off anywhere near as quickly, either.)

The Le Wand’s head is more rounded than the angular, squarish head of the Magic Wand. For many people, this won’t be an issue, but for me, it has a marked effect on my ability to get off with this toy: I prefer relatively pinpoint stimulation on my clit, so I always hold my Magic Wand slightly angled so as to get that focused corner right on my clit. That isn’t possible with the smooth, rounded head of the Le Wand, though they do sell attachments separately which can narrow the vibrations into a slimmer shape.

Additionally, one of the most-advertised features of the Le Wand – its bendy neck – isn’t actually as effective as the toy’s promotional copywriters seem to think. As with the Magic Wand, there’s a little flexibility in the neck, but you have to press pretty hard to get it to bend. This is a good thing for people who like pressure on their clit, but seems to me like false advertising.

The Le Wand has 20 different vibration patterns, and unlike most patterns, some of them are actually good. My complaint about patterns is usually that they’re too slow or that there’s too much space between bursts of vibration, so they act as a tease without really getting me closer to orgasm. But many of the Le Wand’s patterns are continuous vibration moving up and down in waves or fast pulses, so I can actually get off using them. This toy’s vibrations are still so aggressively buzzy that I don’t like using it on my bare genitals, because of the numbness and slight itchiness that ensues – but the Le Wand’s patterns, applied to my vulva through panties and/or pants, can be kind of nice sometimes.

But for a vibe that costs $170, the Le Wand should be way better than it is. It should be rumblier and quieter, and it shouldn’t be an obvious Hitachi clone. The Magic Wand Rechargeable costs only $125 and is superior in every way that matters to me. Get that one, or the also-wonderful (but electric, not rechargeable) Doxy Wand for $120. You’ll be much happier with either choice than you would with the shrill, buzzy bleating of the Le Wand.

 

Thanks so much to Peepshow Toys for sending me this vibe to review!

Review: Shibari Mini Halo Wand

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I wanted to like the Shibari Mini Halo Wand. And there is so much that I do like about it. But it has a fatal flaw that I just can’t get past, no matter how much I try to convince myself it doesn’t matter.

So let’s get the Mini Halo’s hamartia out of the way right off the top. When you turn it on, it starts at the strongest vibration speed. If you want to get to the lowest speed instead, you have to hit the “change speed” button eight times.

Please take a moment to visualize yourself trying to press a vibrator’s button exactly eight times in the middle of a masturbation session – no more, no less. And then imagine yourself needing to do that multiple times during any given session. And then imagine yourself throwing the vibrator across the room in a fit of rage. Congratulations, you have just experienced a fraction of the aggravation I endured while trying to test the Shibari Mini Halo Wand.

See, when I use vibrators, I always begin at the lowest speed. My clit is sensitive so I need to start gentle and ramp up from there. If I start at a moderate or high power level, not only will it feel painful and uncomfortable, but it’ll also get me real numb real fast. And that significantly lowers my likelihood of reaching orgasm. So the lowest speed is the way to go, at least at first.

If you read that last paragraph and thought, “That’s not just you, GJ – that’s how most people use vibrators,” well, yes, I think you’re probably right. Which is why it’s so annoying that Shibari chose to design their wand this way. I could understand having the wand remember the speed you used last time and starting there, like the Doxy Wand does; I could even understand having the wand start at the top speed if there was also a “go to the lowest speed” button, to make that process instantaneous. But there isn’t. You gotta hit that middle button eight fucking times to get it to speed number one.

If it seems like I’m harping on this a lot, that’s because I am. And also because it irritates the fuck out of me. This wand could have been so great if not for this one issue.

The Mini Halo is a wonderful size for a wand vibrator. It fits in my hand comfortably, and is large enough to feel impactful but small enough to fit into a purse. The head is shaped such that you can get broad or narrower stimulation depending on how you angle it. The vibe feels solidly constructed, but retails for just $59, less than lots of “fancier” wands on the market.

The vibrations are excellent. They are deep, rumbly and penetrating. The intervals between each of the eight speeds are small, so the cranking-up process feels smooth and gradual rather than jumpy or jarring. The toy is rechargeable and holds its charge for a long time – I’ve had mine for over three months and have only needed to charge it once in that period. Although, admittedly, I probably only used it 7 or 8 times before deciding the deep, strong orgasms it delivers aren’t worth the hassle of dealing with its tragic flaw.

If you want a rechargeable wand vibe, get the Magic Wand, Iconic Wand or PalmPower. If you just want a strong, rumbly, awesome vibrator, get the We-Vibe Tango, Lelo Siri 2 or (again) Magic Wand. If you think you can forgive the Shibari Mini Halo for its major defect, then go for it, because it’s otherwise a top-notch toy – but as for me, I am far too lazy and uncoordinated to press a button exactly eight times after each and every instance of turning my vibrator on.

 

Thanks to Peepshow Toys for sending me this vibe to review!

Review: Doxy Wand

imageAround Christmastime, Carolyn from Betty’s Toy Box delivered me a Doxy Wand and some homemade holiday cookies, in a big gift bag with a kitten on the front. It was honestly one of the best Christmas gifts I’ve ever received – and not just because her cookies are off the chain. No, as good as those cookies were, the real star of the show was the vibrator. It turned out to be even better than I’d hoped.

See, I’d been hearing increasingly good things about the Doxy. JoEllen, Lilly, Potter and David all raved about this wand’s power and ease of use. Plenty of reviewers have said they prefer their Doxy over the Magic Wand, which is a bit like saying “This ketchup is better than Heinz” – I won’t entirely believe you, but I will at least listen to your reasoning.

The Hitachi Magic Wand kickstarted the entire wand genre of vibrators, and let’s be real: few of them even approach the excellence of the Hitachi. I like the adjustable dial on my Bodywand, but its ridged head annoys my clit and it’s louder than I prefer. The Lelo Smart Wand is elegant, ergonomic and rumbly, but mine died completely after about a year so it’s basically just a beautiful paperweight at this point. I like the small size and comfy handle of the Jimmyjane Iconic Wand, but its controls are in a weird spot and the rounded head makes pinpoint stimulation impossible.

As you can see, many companies have tried to improve upon the Magic Wand, but it never seems to go quite right. The Doxy, on the other hand, actually does feel like a better Magic Wand in many ways. That’s pretty remarkable.

A caveat: the Doxy’s never going to dethrone the Magic Wand Rechargeable as my go-to wand, simply because it’s not rechargeable. You’re chained to an outlet while you’re using the Doxy. The length of its cord is generous, but I still prefer the cordless experience of the MWR. That said, the Doxy’s fucking rad, and let me tell you why…

First off: it’s RUMBLY AS HELL. This is so, so, so important to me, and to many other vibrator users I know. My main complaint with the original Hitachi is its numbing buzziness – I like to be able to feel my genitals while I’m having an orgasm, thank you very much! – so I adore and appreciate rumblier wands. The Doxy’s vibrations stimulate my internal clitoris, not just the skin on the surface, and that results in deeper, stronger orgasms and less numbness. Yum, yay, yes please.

The buttons on the Doxy are huge, clearly labeled, and easy to press. They are like the “large-print books” of vibrator buttons. One turns the toy on and off, and the other two increase and decrease the speed. Occasionally my “+” button gets stuck if I press it too hard, which makes the vibe skip up a couple settings instead of just moving to the next one; this is mildly annoying but seems to happen less often the more that I’ve used the toy.

The head of the Doxy is made of a squishy PVC. It’s probably porous, so you should put a condom (or silicone attachment) on it if you want to share it with non-fluid-bonded partners. The head has a lot of give to it, so if you like to press vibrators hard against your body, you might find the squishiness annoying. I tend to hold my vibes very lightly against my clit so I haven’t run into this issue, but it’s something to keep in mind.

We need to talk about the various settings on the Doxy. The first one has been a particular source of fascination for me: it’s so low, it’s laughable. If you judged the wand’s value by this speed, you’d think it was poorly designed, because the toy’s handle conducts the vibrations waaay more than the head does. But that first speed is the only one for which that’s the case. (Don’t ask me why, I’m not a vibrator engineer!)

The second speed is the one that makes me come, 90% of the time. It’s a significant jump up from the first, which annoys me sometimes, but then I just hold it adjacent to my clit until I’m ready for more direct vibration and it works out fine.

I’m not typically a “power queen,” so the second speed is usually as much power as I need. But there are several stronger settings above it, and it’s good to know they’re there. Everyone should have a super-strong vibrator around, in case of those days when your genitals just aren’t very responsive and you want to blast yourself into orgasm.

The Doxy is basically what would happen if the Magic Wand and the Wahl had a baby together. It’s got the shape and controls of a standard wand, and the jackhammer-y rumbliness that I love about the Wahl. I still prefer vibrators with a more pinpointed shape, because my clit is an attention hog and would rather have all the vibration to itself than share it with my labia. But if you like broad stimulation and rumbly vibration, I think you would adore the Doxy Wand. It is the high-powered, effective, sleek, modern wand vibrator we need – nay, deserve – in 2016.

 

Thanks to Betty’s Toy Box for hooking me up with this toy!