Mystery Vibe Crescendo: My Misadventures With The Pokemon Vibrator

OK, let me say straight up that I’m not sure whether I should call this a vibrator review or A Series Of Unfortunate Events. When I set out to review the Mystery Vibe Crescendo I didn’t expect it to descend into a comedy of errors rife with opportunities for sniggering jokes… but that’s what it became. So strap yourself in, here goes.

It’s been a long time since I reviewed a sex toy. I used to do it often for For The Girls but companies eventually stopped sending free samples and I also started to feel a bit shy about discussing what various throbbing devices had done to my nether regions. Because really, it felt a bit TMI. Yes, I know, I make porn for a living but sometimes you just gotta keep a few things to yourself, for your own sanity.

Also – and this is totally TMI – I currently own the most perfect mains-powered vibrator in the world and I’ve been in something of a monogamous relationship with that sucker for years. I mean, Imma let you finish, new wave silicon vibrators, but the no-longer-made Breville Personal Massager is the greatest vibrator OF ALL TIME.

OF. ALL. TIME.

Anyway, I checked and found my last vibrator review was the Lelo Lyla in 2011. This means I’m a bit behind on the latest in vibrator technology. In the six years since then, smartphones have become ubiquitous and electronics, design and engineering have all made moved forward. The vibrators of today have come a very long way since the sticky jelly “noveties” of twenty years ago. So when I got an email from the Mystery Vibe people offering to send me a free sample of their super-expensive, high-tech, crowdfunded vibrator the Crescendo, I thought, what the hell. The Breville has been out of production for over 15 years and one day my beloved “massager” is gonna finally go tits up so maybe I need a backup.

Here’s the rundown on the Crescendo. It has six motors, is covered in waterproof, silky-soft silicone and is bendable, meaning it can function as a straight dildo/vibe or be curved into a C or S shape to allow for simultaneous G-spot / clit / anal stimulation. It comes with 12 pre-installed vibration patterns, accessed via small buttons on the side. It is also designed to interact with a smartphone app that allows the user to change the variety and intensity of vibrations remotely and it also allows you to create your own vibrations. It is wirelessly rechargeable via a USB platform with enough power to last for 2 hours of use and a month on standby.

The whole thing was developed by a team of female engineers after extensive market research and the company is run by a woman, Stephanie Alys. The vibe has received numerous positive reviews in mainstream press. Here’s a promo pic:

So all of that sounded really impressive and I was super keen to check it out. When it arrived in the mail, the unboxing itself promised a high-class, interesting experience. Here’s a pic I took when it arrived.

 

The whole thing is determined to look super classy and not at all like a sex toy, hence the black-on-black box, the little black envelope with instructions inside, the snazzy gold writing informing you of the basics of how to turn it on and set it up. It also comes with a black quilted bag for easy transport and storage. All very nice.

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I’ll admit, though, the very first thing I thought of when I saw the vibe was that it had a distinct resemblance to a Wobuffet Pokemon (yes, I’m STILL playing Pokemon Go, don’t judge me).

Here is a Wobuffet.

So from that point, this vibrator was no longer a Crescendo. It was the Pokemon vibe.

Having de-boxed it I thought I’d press some buttons and see what it did. The vibe happily cycled through it’s various patterns and I managed to amp up the power of the six motors so it was revving full blast. Despite the claims that the Pokemon vibe was “whisper quiet”, it sounded a lot like a highly sexualized juicer going the growl on a bagful of oranges, albeit on a low setting.

Given that the black envelope didn’t give a lot of detail, I thought I’d go to the website and find out more about the vibe. So I held down the buttons on the side to turn it off… and nothing happened. The thing kept buzzing away like nobody’s business. I kept pressing and holding down various buttons with the main result being that not only would it not turn off, it wouldn’t change patterns or reduce in its intensity. It just stayed on. And on. And on.

I found myself sitting in my office holding an out-of-control vibrator wondering what the hell I was going to do. Sex toys aren’t supposed to be clingy but this one was like a first date that suddenly starts repeatedly shouting “Sex now?” in your ear at the restaurant and then it follows you home and bangs incessantly on your door until the neighbours complain.

I put it on the floor of the office and started Googling “What to do when your vibrator gets stuck” but I couldn’t concentrate on the various funny ER stories that came up thanks to Mr. Wobuffet and his determined buzzing. I figured I was just going to have to hide it under a pillow in another room until it ran out of batteries… but then I hesitated. What it if was seriously malfunctioning and caught fire? How would I explain that to the beefy, handsome and hopefully half-dressed firemen that would turn up as the inevitable result of a vibrator explosion?

Thankfully I remembered the app. Now, I have been known to give my phone to my small nephews to play games (it’s their fault I play Pokemon, I swear) so I found myself hesitating again. Scenarios started running through my head:

“Aunty, what does ‘increase intensity’ mean on this worm game?”

“Er…”

“Aunty, what’s that noise in your handbag?”

Still, this was an emergency. Scruples go out the window when you have an uncontrolled and possibly explosive Pokemon vibrator buzzing incessantly on your floor.

I had to type the whole phrase “Mystery Vibe” into the Apple app store because it’s a sex thing and you can’t be allowed to have auto-fill with anything sexual on stupid ducking Apple. Indeed, it’s a wonder they got into the app store at all… but that’s a rant for another day.

Long story short, the app saved the day. It came up with a button that said “Connect”, I pressed it and – thank goodness – the buzzing finally stopped. The Pokemon’s buttons glowed blue and the app said “UPDATING FIRMWARE”.

Yes folks, vibrators come with firmware now. FIRMware (insert all the sniggering jokes here. Also, INSERT! Her her her!) I have to say, nothing quite makes one feel like an old, outdated, middle-aged pornographer than to discover that your phone is chatting with your vibrator in order to update its read-only memory. If I may shake my fist and yell at clouds for a moment, in my day both the vibrator and the phone plugged into the wall, kept to separate rooms and only hung out together if your name was Mitzi and you had your own 1-900 number.

It took about 15 minutes for the FIRMware (snigger snigger) to come down (COME!) and then I had a functioning vibrator again with working on/off buttons. I was extremely relieved that it might finally work.

I thought I’d just have a play with the app to see what it did. I discovered that you can purchase bonus pattern vibrations with slightly disconcerting names like “Ping Pong”, “Stagger” and “Mad Max”, a setting which presumably sucks nitro, has twin overhead cams, 600 horsepower and is the ducks guts.

I changed the order of the various rhythm settings and successfully managed to create a new vibration called “test” which – I think – involved the vibrator giving a single buzz and then stopping forever. Top stuff. Am vibrator engineer now.

Then I encountered my next problem. The app wanted to connect with the vibe again via bluetooth. So I pressed all the buttons, including the screen of the phone, to no avail. It wouldn’t connect. I went into the bluetooth settings and sat there waiting for “Mystery Vibe” to come up amid the listings for BOSE speakers and stereos. Nope, nothing.

I spent another 15 minutes trying to work out what was wrong when my spouse came home. After telling him about the previous drama and after he’d spent some time sniggering about firmware, he looked at the app, at the vibe and said “You’re holding down the wrong button.”

Uh, yeah. I knew that. Totally meant to do it.

Turns out the bluetooth connection is the UP arrow button (are you paying attention? I’ll be testing you later). I can only put this error down to my own personal inexperience with high tech bluetooth-enabled sex toys with their own read only memory and firmware as it is probably obvious to everyone else.

Right so… I held down the UP arrow button and the phone connected to the vibrator. And then it went to a screen that said “Updating.” And it stayed on that screen.

For an hour.

In fact, the only reason it didn’t stay on that screen for longer was that I finally worked up the courage to hit the “cancel” button. I was worried that interrupting an update would crash the vibe or cause it to explode or make it turn rogue and nobody wants a wild vibrator running wild in the house, unless that’s your thing of course, no shaming, go you good things, carry on, just pretend I’m not here.

So, the phone asked to connect again and I took a deep breath and hit the button. The flashing “Updating” screen appeared…. and this time, it succeeded. Now, apparently, my “test” DIY vibe was available in the flesh – as it were – should I choose to select it.

I then spent a bit more time trying to control the vibe via the app with only limited success. There seemed to be a lag with the end result being that the vibe would abruptly change speed and setting without warning. This gave the disconcerting feeling that the vibrator had a mind of its own.

I’ve long been a fan of the Terminator films but I gotta say, Skynet never figured in my sexual fantasies that much.

I decided to put the phone away. It felt like the safe thing to do. Given that the app requires you to agree to the collection of information, it’s easy to become paranoid about who is tracking your masturbatory sessions and whether it’s going to end up in some hacked database so fedora-wearing, nice-guy men’s rights activists can feel jealous that you’re fucking a piece of silicone and not them.

So anyway. Hooray. Only 3 hours of stuffing around and the vibrator was finally ready to play with.

What a time to be alive.

And finally, it was time to physically test the Pokemon…

… and if you want to read the full TMI part you’re gonna have to do it at Bright Desire.

No, really. Please join my site – I’ve got a bunch of reviews, columns and other fun stuff there plus all the dirty movies I’ve ever made. It’s worth it and you’ll be supporting quality indie porn.

In any case, thanks to Mystery Vibe for sending me this vibrator to review. Obviously this post is NOT what they’d want to read but I do think the toy has great potential. Check it out here.

The whole thing has got me wondering about the future of sex toys. Apparently sex robots are a thing now and there’s a lot of other vibrators on the market that interact with your phone. Whether that’s a good thing remains to be seen. The “internet of things” and all the issues it raises about privacy, hacking and ownership of information applies to sex toys as well.

I think it’s fair to say there remains a market for toys with simple on/off switches. And mains power. Sweet, sweet mains power.

 

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While this drama was going on, I live tweeted it. Here’s some screenshots:

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