21 February 2012

LELO Billy

After my disappointment with previous prostate massagers I wasn't ready to give up yet, and this ergonomic creation from Swedish luxury sex toy designer Lelo happened to catch my eye.

Read the review after the jump!

The Billy is Lelo's first toy insertable toy aimed at men, and for many years has been by far the best vibrating prostate massager I own, but that aside it doesn’t come entirely without its own set of negatives.

The product comes presented in some rather nice packaging; the glossy outer box features a very minimalist design with the words “Lelo Homme” printed discreetly on one side, and on the reverse is a simple photograph of the item itself set against a white background. The feeling it manages to exude is a cross between something from an haute couture fashion label, and an expensive piece of stylish electronics such as a smart phone. Inside is another matte black box, with the word “Lelo” embossed on a lid which lifts off. Within this second box the contents are arranged somewhat less desirably than with other Lelo products, such as the Insignia range. They sit loosely in the box, rather than having their own moulded depressions to rest securely inside, but this is perhaps a minor niggle, as overall the box provides a good place to store your massager when not using it, even if you choose to discard the outer box for any reason.

One of the first things I noticed about the toy was how small it actually was, much more than you would imagine from the photos. It’s actually the smallest toy in my collection, with 4” of insertable length and a 3.5” circumference, or 1.1” diameter. Because of the size it’s an ease to insert, and thus suited perfectly to a beginner in this field. For someone more experienced with larger toys there’s the distinct possibility that this product won’t leave you feeling as full as you would typically desire, and so I’d recommend that on any occasion in which you intended to use the Billy, not using anything larger first, so as to avoid the direct contrast.

The product is very solidly constructed; the handle is moulded in two pieces from a hard white plastic, with the buttons placed centrally on one side. The insertable portion has a gentle upward curve to it, and is coated in a soft silicone, but is completely inflexible. Despite this rigidity it actually feels very comfortable once inside the body. The silicone coating is available in two colours, an ultramarine blue, or an earthy raspberry colour, which like its name “Bordeaux” is reminiscent of an aged wine. Between the handle and the lower portion is a circular guard piece moulded from the silicone, which prevents the item from being accidentally inserted too far.

When using the Billy the functions are operated by the buttons on the handle, which can be a little fiddly. Due to the shortness of the handle and its position during use, it is a struggle to actually see any of the buttons, and their close proximity to each other combined with their similar shapes also makes it difficult to tell what you’re pushing by touch alone. The buttons are laid out in a cross shape, with left and right controlling the strength of vibration, and up and down changing the rhythm. You’re unlikely to alter your settings by accident as it takes more than a quick touch of the button to change anything, and instead you must hold the button down for a fraction of a second and release before it will take effect. Holding down two of the buttons simultaneously for a couple of seconds will lock the controls, preventing accidental activation of the toy when not in use.

The massager has variable vibration strength settings, allowing you to ease yourself into things, but I only ever found myself wanting to use the highest one. The top setting produces really quite strong vibrations, but there were times when I found myself craving more than was available. There are also a number of different programmes to choose between. The first one is a constant vibration, which tends to be the only option in many other prostate massagers on the market, and which does nothing for me. The other options deliver patterns of pulsations, varying the length of each pulse, and the pause in between as well. This is where the Lelo Billy really comes into its own and delivers some fantastic sensations. There are four to choose from, two slower and two faster. One of my favourite settings is the slowest one, as the vibrations it creates manage to mimic the sensation of a long deep thrusting motion, which is guaranteed to drive you wild. The fastest setting is one of my least favourites as it seems to lose some of its power in a compromise to achieve the speed. The other two are great in their own right, and it’s fun to switch between them during use to add some variety. One of the downsides is that you can’t cycle through the different settings; they’re arranged in a linear fashion, so once you reach the last one you have to go back down through the others in order to return to the first. Depending on the setting, the vibrations aren’t the quietest I’ve encountered, but it’s still at a level where it’s highly unlikely that anyone could hear it in an adjoining room.

Due to the protrusion of the handle there aren’t too many positions you can use the Billy in, you’re pretty much restricted to lying on your back or side, as sitting on it would not be possible. Conceivably you could use it during intercourse, but you would need to hold it in place with your muscles, as the size and shape of it leave it somewhat prone to slipping out if the soothing vibrations give you the urge to relax back there.

The Billy seems to work well as a hands free device, where the aim is to stimulate the prostate alone, but I’ve yet to achieve the elusive anally induced orgasm. Despite feeling as though I was close on occasion, there didn’t seem to be quite enough power to drive me over the edge, but I’m certain that with time it could be achieved. The effectiveness in this circumstance seems to increase if you’re already aroused by some form of visual stimulus, rather than starting with the device from a completely unaroused state. Having the massager in place also goes a way to improving a regular orgasm, by adding a whole wave of new sensations.

The product is completely rechargeable and requires no batteries. A handy white light around the buttons flashes during charging, and a 2 hour charge is said to deliver 4 hours of use, though I’m certain I’ve surpassed this mark. Unfortunately the charger it comes with is of a traditional design, unlike something such as an electric toothbrush, and therefore the toy is not waterproof. This means the need for caution when washing it. The instructions also recommend not using any alcohol based products on the toy, which rules out the majority of sex toy cleaners, except the one sold by Lelo themselves.

As an added accessory the Billy comes with a small travel pouch to store it in, made seemingly from a polyester material, or similar man-made fabric.

Overall I’m very pleased with the Lelo Billy, and would be inclined to recommend it, but scoring becomes a little difficult when considering the value-for-money. It’s clearly marketed as a luxury item, and the price reflects this, but when you’re spending that much, you could quite reasonably expect it to be waterproof, to be a somewhat larger than it is, and to have a little more power behind the highest vibration level. For those reasons I was tempted to knock a star off, but in the end I declined, and elected to rate it on performance alone. It isn’t perfect, but nothing is without its flaws, and in the end it’s up to the individual to decide its worth.

The Lelo Billy is available directly from Lelo, and from the following retailers around the world:

UK and Europe:  SexToys.co.ukLovehoney, Simply Pleasure, and Bondara

North America: Shevibe

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