8 June 2012

We-Vibe Salsa


Recently I've found myself thinking a lot about bullet vibes, which might not seem like the traditional territory for a blog slanted towards sex toys for men, but it's surprising how many toys out there - aimed at both sexes - are actually powered by bullets. One of the main companies to do this is Rocks Off, who use their RO-80mm bullet in their prostate massagers, butt plugs, cock rings, male masturbation aids, you name it. Even Tantus have bullet holes in several of their dildos, and include a free vibe to use in conjunction with them, so it's an increasingly common practice.

My problem has always been that I've found the bullets that come with all these toys rather lacklustre; they're buzzy, one speed, and frankly do little for me, so I've been on the lookout for something to give them a little more "oomph", and that's when I learnt about We-Vibe.

We-Vibe currently makes two compact rechargeabe bullet vibes, the Tango and the Salsa, both of which I have heard very positive things about. At their core they're essentially the same product, with only some surface differences in the shape of the tip and the colour selection available. I opted to buy myself a Salsa, because it has the more traditional shape, and it's the one with comes in red, and as such will match the toys I plan to use it with. Check out the review below!

Traditionally bullet vibes have been considered a product exclusively for women, but with more and more unisex toys containing bullet holes, items such as the Salsa are proving to be a convenient powerhouse, to give a welcome boost to a range of other novelties in your toy box.

The Salsa is a nice compact vibe which measures in at only 3 3/8" long  by 3/4" wide. It's a little bit longer than the battery powered bullets you get included with some toys, but the width allows it to easily fit inside products made by Tantus and Rocks Off amongst others. The body of the toy is manufactured in one single piece from ABS plastic, and comes in a choice of three colours; I went for the red as I felt it best lived up to the name. The surface of the plastic is very smooth and shiny; there is one moulding mark on the very tip of the toy, but it has been smoothed down and polished over, so while you can see a faint dot you can't actually feel anything there. The tip of the toy is tapered, giving it a gently rounded end which blends seamlessly into the straight shaft, before finishing with slight outward flare. The very end of the toy is finished off with a solid white silicone-rubber cap where the power button is located. The Salsa has a lovely sleek appearance, and as well as being attractive it also looks quite discreet.

The Salsa has eight modes in total: four differing speeds as well as four varying vibration patterns. This makes it especially good if you're going to use it inside another toy, as standard bullets typically only have one mode of on or off. The bullet is activated by pressing the button at the end once, and every subsequent press of the button will change the Salsa to the next mode. Once you cycle through all eight modes pressing the button again will switch the vibe off. If you want to switch the vibe off immediately then holding down the button for a couple of seconds will do this, and the next time you turn the vibe on it will remember which mode you were using last, which I found to be a very handy feature. The button is nice and responsive, you don't have to push it too firmly, and it feels reassuringly well-built.* The vibrations from the Salsa are wonderfully strong, and even at the lowest setting they feel deep and rumbly. When you use the Salsa inside another toy, such as a butt plug, it's this power which really helps the vibrations to travel through the thick layers of material and still be able to be felt deep inside the body. It has to be the vibration patterns which are my favourite part though, as the rhythmic pulsing of the vibe inside a butt plug causes some great sensations internally, especially in the prostate. The vibe by itself is quite quiet, though I would say it's a little louder than some other bullets I have, but still not enough to be heard through a closed door or a thin partition wall. When it's inside another toy the sound gets muffled exceedingly well and is even less obvious.

Aside from utilising the Salsa inside bullet toys, the other way I can put it to use as a man is for penile stimulation. Vibrations can feel incredibly stimulating on the penis if they're used in the correct manner. Typically I don't enjoy bullet vibes for this as they're too buzzy, but the Salsa is different. The Salsa delivers strong vibrating sensations deep into the penis, which feel great when it's applied to the head and around the frenulum. Initially I had been concerned that perhaps the We-Vibe Tango would be better suited to this, due to its flat surface, but in fact this level of surface contact with the skin can be duplicated by using the side of the Salsa, while the tapered tip is great for applying more precise and concentrated stimulation. The different vibration patterns also work well in this instance and can increase the level of pleasure, and hasten climax. It can be great to use just for teasing as part of foreplay, or in combination with a handjob to enhance the experience.
The Salsa is a waterproof toy, which means it can be used in the bath or shower if you're considering taking your play outside the bedroom. It also means that it's very easy to clean, as you can splash as much water over it as you like. As a precaution you only want to wash it with hot water and anti-bacterial soap, or with your favourite toy cleaner / toy wipe. Plastic is a durable material, but it's not advisable to go boiling electronic items.

The one annoying thing about the We-Vibe Salsa has to be the charging system. On the surface it seems like quite a clever system, comprised of two parts. The power adaptor plugs into a white dock in the shape of a hemisphere, which then connects to the Salsa itself magnetically. The advantage of the magnetic system is that it allows the Salsa to be 100% waterproof. The way this is achieved is by having a solid silicone-rubber cap at the end of the Salsa, which is where the control button is located. Either side of the button are two metal electrodes which protrude slightly above the rubber seal, and these in turn connect to two shallow metal depressions on the underside of the plastic dock. When all the metal parts are touching the current flows and the Salsa charges. Where the problem lies is with the rubber seal itself. If the thickness of the rubber is even the slightest bit too much then it prevents the electrodes in the Salsa from making a firm connection with the dock. This is precisely what happens in mine. When I first plug the Salsa in to charge the charging light will come on for about 30 seconds, indicating a flow of electricity, but then it goes out completely. The only way to maintain a firm connection between the Salsa and the dock, sufficient enough to charge the device, is to physically squeeze the two parts together, thus compressing the rubber to such a degree that the electrodes can fully touch. As you can imagine this is inconvenient, I would prefer to just be able to plug my Salsa in and leave it alone while it charges, rather than having to sit there holding it for 90 minutes. The only alternatives are to either try to jury-rig the dock with some small pieces of metal foil, which proves quite fiddly, or to place the Salsa in such a position where I can use the weight of a heavy object to push the two halves together, but the shape of it makes it awkward to achieve. I have no doubt that it would be a fine system if it worked, but the level of precision that seems to be required leaves it victim to the natural variances which will always occur in the manufacturing process. Once is Salsa is fully charged it has enough battery life to last for 2 hours, which is impressive for a toy of its size.

How I have to charge it.

One of the nice added features is that the Salsa comes with its own little cloth storage pouch. It's a little oversized compared to the diminutive bullet, but it allows you to put the charger inside it as well, which is perfect if you're travelling.

Overall I'm very pleased with the Salsa, it's powerful, versatile and a quality product. If it weren't for the issue with the charger then I'd probably give it full marks.

*Update: Unfortunately after no more than a year of ownership the power button on my Salsa has failed, making it extremely difficult to turn on or off, let alone cycle through patterns, and rendering it almost unusable. This has soured my opinion of We-Vibe somewhat, especially when coupled with the problems I've had with the charger since day one. When the toy does work though it's fantastic, and I couldn't recommend anything better in this size, so I want to give the benefit of the doubt and believe that with all the issues I was just the unlucky recipient of a faulty model. Let me know in the comments if you've experienced similar problems.

The We-Vibe Salsa is available from Simply Pleasure and Bondara, but get it while stocks last as We-Vibe have discontinued it as of 2013.

An updated USB-charged Tango model is now available from  Lovehoney and Simply Pleasure

2 comments:

  1. Nice to see a toy like this being reviewed from a male perspective! :-) I know my partner loves stimulation from bullet vibes.

    This is definitely on my list of toys to try, having heard great things about both the salsa and the tango.

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  2. Thanks for the great review. I appreciate how thorough you are. Only one small inaccuracy: the end piece is silicone, not rubber. That's why We-vibe recommends using only water based lube.

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