The Things They're Cooking Up These Days: The REVELBody Sonic Vibrator

This post originally appeared on a previous iteration of this site on April 1st, 2014. It has been reposted here for posterity. 

Innovation within the sex toy industry is infrequent and often doesn’t result in anything too spectacular1, but we take what we can get. This is why I was both hopeful and cautious when the RevelBody came onto the scene: crowd funded projects to create any new electronics have to make a lot of claims in order to get the funding they need to move forward, and claims were definitely made in this instance. Despite an enduring skepticism of any product that says it’s better than the competition, I was intrigued by the promise of technology that was never-before-seen in the world of sex toys: a sonic powered motor.

Science!

Traditional vibrators get their buzz from a rotational motor that has a weight on one end- this is why a small, round vibrator like the we-vibe tango spins if you turn it on and rest it in your palm. A sonic motor, however, uses electricity to create a magnetic field that alternates at varying frequencies.  The RevelBody is a tennis ball sized sphere with a hole through it where a piston magnetizes into place. The alternating magnetic field of the sonic motor causes this piston to move back and forth rapidly, creating a movement something like vibration, but not quite.

The version 1 of the RevelBody, which was sent to me by RevelBody at SheVibe’s recommendation, has two power buttons- (+) and (-) – which control the frequency of the pulses. Because of this, pressing the (+) button actually weakened the perceived intensity of the vibration. The lower the frequency, the more apparent the pulses were. Because this was confusing to many users, Revel has updated to a version 2 that only has one power button. Since I do not have a v2 to compare with my v1, I cannot say how different the 10 settings are from my version to the updated one- but the higher the frequency on my product, the weaker and whinier the ‘vibrations’ are, while the lowest settings feel like the piston is ramming into you. The middle frequencies are the sweet spot for me, because they’re thuddier without feeling like the RevelBody is an opposing army trying to lay siege to my clitoris. The highest frequencies are more like a fly buzzing around irritatingly than anything else.

The claim that Revel makes of having a larger range of frequencies than it’s competitors- because each ‘speed’ is just the piston being pulsated by bursts of electricity at different frequencies- is absolutely true. But that doesn’t necessarily make it better; the difference in the actual movement of the piston in the revel body means these frequencies don’t translate in the same way as a traditional rotational motor. What you end up with is barely noticeable buzzing at the higher frequencies, something akin to the vibration we’re used to in the middle2, and what can only be described as button jamming in the lower frequencies.

Performance

What this means for actual use is that ¾ of the settings are essentially useless for most people, end of story. The vibrations put out by the few more pleasurable settings in the middle can be achieved and even bested by traditional vibrators that are considerably cheaper than the $189 price tag on the Revel Body. Because of this, I can’t really recommend it to someone unless they’re really set on sonic technology.

There are also a lot of caveats that come with the functionality of this product. People who have metal implants and especially people with pacemakers should not use a product with strong magnets like those inside the Revel Body. Though they claim it to be travel safe, you have to pay extra for a traveling case and shouldn’t keep it near electronics or credit cards, lest the magnets swipe any magnetic data stored on them. I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone with long nails- pushing the piston out could break them. It’s not recommended for people with pubic hair or fleshy labia, as the piston can grab and pull, pinch, or epilate. The shape does not lend itself well to people with ‘innie’ or concealed clitorises that are difficult to access… unless you buy one of the additional pistons at $19 each, which may or may not work for you. There are too many extra considerations when thinking about buying this product. Personally, I think it would be much simpler to buy a good quality product like my favored We Vibe Touch, or products that Revel claimed the Body was better than- such as the Eroscillator or Mona 2- which may reach fewer frequencies than the Revel Body- but the frequencies they do reach are better, more pleasurable, and the quality of the vibration is far superior.

I almost feel that the nature of the sonic motor- using a piston and moving it back and forth to create ‘vibration’- may not be capable of producing these quality vibrations I speak of, though I admit that it may be possible. I just don’t see it in this first version of the RevelBody.

Post Script. 

I should never feel like I cannot or should not express an honest opinion about a product. My job as I see it is multifaceted: I give an honest review for the benefit of readers, retailers, and manufacturers alike.

A reader benefits because an honest review, in my eyes, should give them the information they need to know whether or not a product is something they should invest in- even a negative review should hold information that will assist the reader in discerning whether or not a product is something they would enjoy or not. I may not like something, but a reader may decide otherwise for themselves based on what I have to say; everyone likes something different.

Retailers benefit because they can get a variety of opinions on a product before they carry it or if they already do carry it. Reviews give retailers a variety of experienced opinions and sharing a positive review can increase sales of a product. If the retailer is an affiliate company of the reviewer, they may garner sales from that.

Manufacturers benefit from honest feedback of people who make it their business to know the industry inside and out from a firsthand perspective. Many good reviewers have worked with manufacturers, in retail stores, and regularly interact with the industry in a multitude of ways. Having a handful of honest opinions from a variety of reviewers with different backgrounds and personal needs helps manufacturers discern what they might have to work on or what they’re doing right so they can steer their business in a positive direction. Reviews also gain recognition for products. This should be a win-win situation.

The way the CEO of this company has conducted themselves did not make me feel comfortable writing an honest review, and that should never be the case. Harassment, threats of legal action, public bashing in comments and on social media, and fishy faux personas harassing reviewers on twitter clearly because of their review of the RevelBody do not make for a safe environment in which to be honest- and honesty should be what we all strive for.

In the end, I wrote this review because honesty is important to me as a sex educator and as a reviewer. I want people to have fun with their sex toys and sexuality. I want to help my readers make informed decisions about the products they buy and the companies they support.

Though I wanted more than anything to be able to support innovation and change within the sex toy industry, I’ll have to find another company to use never-before-seen technology. I am given some solace knowing that RevelBody is not the only company producing sex toys- and that as long as people enjoy sex, there will be innovation in the sex toy industry.

Thank you to SheVibe for recommending Revel send me this product to review in return for my honest opinion.