When I first heard of Revel Body’s Revel Sonic, it wasn’t even in production yet. I found a post on FetLife saying that there was a company here in Seattle looking to test a prototype of their “revolutionary” new toy at the local sex club. Being the human-hating individual that I am, I didn’t go but kept my ear to the ground for what folk were saying afterwards. Of course I heard a lot of non-specific “oh-my-gawd”-ing. When I finally saw that Revel’s new “sonic vibrator” looked like, I laughed. It looks like a personality core from Portal. I look at it and can’t help but exclaim “spaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaace!”.
So here’s the deal. Regardless if you have a prototype, a v1 (which I have), a v2 (which was recently released), or the soon to be released v3, the Revel Sonic is a weird little grey orb with a pink-tipped piston in the middle which shifts to-and-fro. The settings may vary, the version I have features a strange dual power setting which doesn’t seem to do much of anything in practical application other than make the little LEDs glow brighter or dimmer, but the basic technology is the same. I find it somewhat fascinating that the Revel Sonic came out around the same time as the FunFactory Stronic did, and they have remarkably similar technology. Just, with the Stronic it’s encased in an actually useful thing. Revel also says theirs is “sonic” somehow in a way that isn’t entirely clear to anyone.
According to the Revel PR, this is the most powerful rechargeable toy I should ever have put to my clit. More powerful than my old beloved Laya Spot. More powerful than Epiphora’s beloved Mona. More powerful than the 4″ slimline vibe which shipped with it. I’ll let you guess which sex utensil managed to get me off. Hint: there wasn’t a trace of pink on it. There was an awful lot of convincing trying to happen all over Revel’s website and PR bursts, as well as in my email inbox. A LOT of convincing. And I wasn’t convinced.
I’ve heard folk say that if you’re a devotee of intense Hitachi-style vibes that Revel won’t work for you, but here’s the thing- I’m NOT a fan of those types of vibe. Laya was my go-to vibe for ages, until it died and I started dabbling in other clit utensils. There are only a couple settings on the Revel that even register at all to my clit as sensation, and they certainly aren’t enough to get me off. In fact, it actively keeps me from getting off. I can be edging before swapping to it, and still no luck. I kinda wanna walk into their office, pick one up, go up to a lady, and be like “Ok, get off with this for me. Show me how.” because no matter how hard I’ve tried, I can’t make this weird shitty orb feel pleasurable- which is part of why I started calling it the Shit Orb in the first place.
But it doesn’t stop there. My dislike of the Revel isn’t limited to it being a really expensive piece of questionable sex tech. If that were all, I’d have managed to write this post ages ago. This goes deeper though, enough that I can’t on good conscience not talk about it. So here goes:
There were issues from the moment I unboxed this. I started reading the manual, and gd that thing was LONG. Long and full of horrible statements. It was full of weird warnings against using it under the covers (which is where I tend to jerk off), using it near magnetic storage and computers (uhh, laptop anyone?), and using it on parts of the body with loose skin and/or hairs (motherfucking vulvas, how do they work?). The manual told you not to throw it away ever, but to contact the local authorities to dispose of it properly. “Yes, hello- City Hall? I have a vibrator with a weird magnet in it. I would like to get rid of it please.” Riiiiight. It didn’t stop there- there was also a lot of talk over not being used by “invalids” or disabled persons. I contacted the folks over at Revel to ask them about potential interaction with my hearing aid, since they make such a fuss over not getting this thing near digital tech. I was told to ask my audiologist. Because clearly my audiologist will know ANYTHING about the components of your weird sex orb. Thanks.
A short while after I received it, I started getting direct-messages on twitter from the Revel folk asking to “meet with me for coffee” to discuss their product. Through talking to my colleagues I discovered they’d also wanted to call the less local folk with a similar intent. Guess they didn’t get the memo about us being
hermits weirdos introverts. I loaned my Revel Sonic to a few of my alternate testers, and the overall answer was the same- make sure you bring another (better) vibe with you, because this thing just won’t get you off. There are a couple settings which might sorta maybe feel interesting, but nothing nearly orgasmic.
I’d actually reached a point of ambivalence about the whole thing, and was considering not even bothering with this post- and then I started seeing the positive “reviews” which made me gag. They were vague, they felt contrived, and I questioned if these people had even actually used it, or if maybe they were sponsored content? Review even feels like the wrong word. Testimonials maybe?
An announcement rolled across twitter of a “new and improved” version and I’ll admit- I kinda lost it. I’m not bothered by the fact that they’re updating their product- because they should be. I’m bothered by that they were already releasing a 2.0 version, and will now be releasing a 3.0 version, in less than a years’ time from the original release. This says something to me- namely that not enough time was spent in R&D and prototyping. There’s an easy solution to that- folk like me and Epiphora kinda do that shit for a living. We aren’t the only ones either. Test your products on real live humans, humans who have some experience with sex utensils and have the ability to orgasm with a critical eye, humans who won’t be hypnotised by fancy boxes and a good design team.
Not long after, Epiphora and I received a Cease And Desist letter in our emails. Someone was cranky about our Opinions and the use of the name Shit Orb.
I have been following your comments on twitter.
I understand that you did not like using our product, but it is probably fair to say that not everyone likes every product in the adult industry. We have been working very hard to build a better product as well as to fix any issues with our product, but I think you may be going over the line on with your tweets and other online comments.
If you continue there are many legal issues that you may face including defamation and trade disparagement. Lawsuits are very expensive, time consuming and painful processes. I would like to think we could avoid that.
Please to cease and desist from making any more public comments about our product, company or employees.
So that happened. Email barrages back and forth occurred, and I found myself once again being courted to “meet for coffee” to make sure my unit isn’t defective (it’s not) and be explained to by the CEO of the company what they were trying to do with their product, and how it works. Yeah- how it works. Because I, a professional sex utensil user, need to have someone show me how to use a vibrator and my vulva. Here’s my question- if your product is so complicated and confusing that you think you need to meet a professional in the field in person to explain to them how to use it, how do you expect the average user to understand? I hesitantly agreed to
do the unthinkable leave my house and meet up.
In the interim, Epiphora’s post went up, and I got a series of emails from Revel Body informing me of various other products with “offensive language” in their manuals in case I cared to publicise them as well. These consisted of the Eroscillator and the Wahl. Two products which I do not own, have never used, and have never even mentioned. Oh wait, Epiphora mentioned them. Those sex-bloggers, you just can’t tell them apart! Ok sure- these do both use the term “invalid” which isn’t the best of terms. Wahl however isn’t even sold as a sex utensil, and both of these products have existed since time immemorial and don’t have manuals which were penned in two-thoushand thir-fucking-teen.
I never did get my chance to hear what he had to say, get to try the updated version of the Revel Sonic, or the various replacement pistons. He cancelled on me day-of (after I’d purposefully kept my calendar clear and forwent a date) and was too busy to reschedule with me. WHELP. So much for that. It’s shame really because I legitimately want to see if the different piston shapes make a difference, and to see if their technology can actually be useful in this type of application.
Guess I’ll never know if I’m using this weird ball on my hairy loose-skin-flappy body properly…
- Originally $179, now $129. Yes, there’s a warranty- but only if you buy through Revel Body or Amazon. Seriously. [↩]