23 February 2013

Silver Swan

This week I'm taking a look at the new range of luxury vibrators from Swan, the Canadian company behind the highly-regarded Leaf vibes (one of which I must get at some point). When a PR company got in contact with me recently and asked if I'd be interested in reviewing one I was happy to oblige.

The Swan collection is primarily aimed at women, though they do have a few products which would be suited to unisex use, such as the Tundra, the Mute, and the Trumpeter. I ended up receiving the Silver Swan, which as you can probably tell is your more traditional rabbit-style vibrator. I was a little apprehensive at first because of this fact, and worried that the review might end up being a little out of my comfort zone, but like all good stories there is in fact a twist, and later on I shall endeavour to explain why this toy is also rather man-friendly.

You may be thinking that you've seen this design somewhere before, and that's because in North America the whole collection is under licence to Jopen for their Vanity range. The only difference is that the Swan collection comes in fuchsia while the Vanity range is purple. The Silver Swan corresponds to the Vr3 for anyone who may be wondering.

I thought that for a change I'd start by looking at the packaging for the Silver Swan. Normally packaging only forms a cursory footnote in my reviews, but with a high-end luxury product such as this the packaging can almost be as important as the toy itself for some. The box for the Swan certainly sets the bar high from the outset with its design, which is always a welcome sign. It's constructed from a heavy duty cardboard, and by "heavy duty" I mean that it's as thick as the binding of a hardback book. It feels reassuringly solid and sturdy, almost like a trinket box which someone might leave out on a dressing table. The exterior of the box is almost completely glossy-white in finish, with the exception of the two ends which have information printed on them in small black text, and the top of the lid where a photo of the toy stands out against the white in its bold fuchsia hue. The name of the product and the company logo are printed alongside the photograph, so it's not the most discreet box in the world, but it certainly is tasteful, and in a way which elegantly normalises vibrator ownership.

The lid of box is a hinged flap held down by magnets hidden under one of the sides, so it's nice and easy to get into time and time again. The interior is lined with a sultry black paper, and gives off that unmistakable scent of 'newness' as soon as you open it. Inside the box you're greeted by a black cardboard wallet which houses the square white instruction manual, and below this you'll find the vibrator itself, the power adaptor, and a storage pouch, all sealed inside cellophane bags. The quality and presentation of the packaging is really impressive, especially if you're buying it for someone as a gift, as they'll really feel like they're being treated to something special. It's also a nice little box to keep to store things inside, whether it be the vibe itself or something other, and the plain white faces mean that it could be discreetly slipped onto a bookshelf.

The vibrator itself is really a lovely toy to behold and an expert piece of craftsmanship. It's moulded out of one continuous piece of body-safe 100% platinum silicone, and features an ever-so-soft velvety matte finish. The toy is described on the box as being "virtually-seamless", and while it does have a raised seam running the full length of the body, it's quite subtle. You can see the seam and feel it with your fingers, but it feels soft like the rest of the toy, and isn't pronounced enough to be felt inside the body during use. As well as being safe and completely odourless, the non-porous silicone coating protects the electronics inside the toy and makes it completely waterproof. Not only is it safe to wash the toy under the tap, but it can also be fully submersed and used underwater in a bath or hot tub. The entire Swan range is available in only one colour, a rather bold fuchsia which I find quite attractive, but if you're not into the more pink range of the spectrum then it may hold less appeal.

The design of the Silver Swan is pretty much like one of your typical rabbit-variants, with the large insertable bulb at one end, and then the smaller arm protruding from midway down the shaft. This does beg the question of how this toy could be used by anyone other than a woman, as surely it's created with only that anatomy in mind? I did mention at the very start that the toy has a trick up its sleeve, and that trick is its flexibility. You see the toy for the most part has a firm core underneath the silicone layer, and this can be felt in handle, the bulb, and in the tip of the arm. There are two areas, however, where this is not the case, and I've done my best to highlight them in an image. The point where the arm meets the shaft is made completely of silicone, barring any wiring running through the centre, and so is the narrow point where the bulb joins onto the handle slightly above the arm. The result of this is that these two areas have a great amount of flexibility in them and can bend away from each other in different directions. Once you've spread them apart you'll notice that there's some familiarity about the shape which follows, and that's because it looks just like the Ego E4 prostate massager, and all of a sudden there's that "a-ha!" moment. So there we have it, a rabbit vibrator which can be used anally by a man, and we'll get on to how it performs in that capacity in a little while.

The vibrator is powered by PowerBullet technology, and as the Silver Swan is a dual-stimulator there are two of them present. The primary motor is located right in the tip of the bulb, while the secondary motor is found within the arm. Each motor is controlled independently by a separate button in the handle, allowing you to precisely adjust how much intensity you get from which part of the toy. Pressing a button once activates the corresponding motor and causes the button to illuminate with a red glow, letting you know which one you've pressed. Holding that button down then steadily increases the power level and makes the motor vibrate more strongly. Pressing that button again will turn the motor off completely. Both motors can be used simultaneously, but you will want to adjust them one at a time. Holding both buttons down at once for a couple of seconds will lock the controls, meaning that they won't respond to being pressed. This is a useful feature for travelling as it prevents the toy from accidentally being activated inside luggage. To re-enable the buttons they must simply be held down together again for another couple of seconds. 

The motors inside the toy both vibrate with great strength and intensity, and the first time I held it in my hand and turned it up to maximum I was honestly surprised by the sheer power of what I was feeling. It was almost like touching my hand to the side of some large industrial machinery which was operating at full capacity. Both motors are comparatively quite low and deep with their vibration amplitude, with the arm motor being the slightly more buzzy of the two and the bulb motor being more rumbly. If I was to place them on a scale ranging from buzzy to rumbly then I'd say that the arm motor was definitely a more middling medium amplitude, while the bulb motor was in the lower medium/rumbly range, as I have encountered a deeper vibration sensation in other products. Despite the sheer intensity of the motors they are actually surprisingly quiet. When you've got the motors turned up to full power they only let out a low hum which couldn't be heard beyond a closed door or thin partition wall, though someone sharing a room with you would be aware of the sound. One slightly strange aspect about the toy is that sometimes when both motors are turned on, and up to full, it can rattle. This rattling sound doesn't appear to emanate from within the motors themselves, but from elsewhere in the toy which is merely reacting to the vibrations. It may just be an anomaly in my model, but when the rattling occurs its the nosiest aspect of an otherwise very quiet toy. Having said that the rattling can generally be stopped by adjusting how you're holding the toy, or by squeezing it more firmly within the body, so it's not a huge deal.

Shape when flexed
As always the most important question with any toy is how does it perform, and the first thing to get out of the way is inserting it. The advantage of a matte silicone is always how well it holds lube, especially a thicker water-based lube which is what you'll be wanting if you're using the Silver Swan anally. The insertable end has a bulb with a 4 1/2" circumference, but it does have a nice little taper up to that point which helps to ease it into the body. Anyone with moderate anal experience should be able to handle it, but it's probably not a toy for a complete novice. The firm core makes it easy to push the tip through the muscle, while the silicone coating adds a nice cushion to the entry, and once you're past the widest point the rest slips in with ease. The distance between the tip and the fork where the arm extends from the shaft is 3 3/4", and it's possible to insert the entirety of this. As soon as the arm comes into contact with the perineum it gently bends down and out of the way while the toy is drawn into the body, and there's no need to use any additional force to manoeuvre it into this position. With the toy fully inside the body the bulb nestles up nicely against the prostate, while the arm pushes down quite firmly against the perineum, and together they create the sensation of a squeeze in just the right places. The narrow portion of the shaft acts rather like the neck on a butt plug, and it keeps the whole thing held perfectly in place with no slippage. 

The motor in the arm has to be one of the highlights of the toy, as it actually does what no perineum stimulator in any other toy ever has. The combined pressure of the arm and the intensity of the vibrations actually delivers a noticeably strong and pleasurable sensation in the perineum, even more so than the Ego E4 which has its one and only motor in the perineum section. The only slight downside is that if you wear it for too long then it can become a little uncomfortable, presumably due to the prolonged pressure. After a while I began to get the urge to move it so as to allow the skin underneath to breathe a little. The big motor inside the bulb also performs well, and as soon as you start to crank up the power you become aware of the intensity. As always my preference is to have the power set to maximum, and at this level the vibrations penetrate the prostate to a significant degree, though they do so less well than the Lelo Billy due to their less rumbly nature. In my experience rumbliness really is key to a successful anal vibe, and having the vibrations travel in a directed fashion rather than being absorbed by the body. The sustained vibrations from the big motor in the Silver Swan are definitely powerful enough to deliver a pleasurable sensation throughout the prostate, especially when used in conjunction with the secondary motor in the arm, which acts to magnify the effect. The one area where it lets me down though is the fact that it only has a constant mode, and no vibration patterns. I find that I get by far the the most pleasure in the prostate from a rhythmic sequence of pulses, whereas after a while the sensation from a constant vibration starts to have less impact. It would have been nice to have a few options of the toy pulsing at maximum intensity, and steadily ramping up and down through various power levels. I say this out of personal preference of course, and if you're someone who almost never uses vibration patterns on a toy then you surely won't notice their absence.

It mustn't be forgotten that the toy has a handle, because handles aren't just places to put buttons and house batteries, they're also the root of how you manipulate a toy during use. There are two main handle-related activities, there's thrusting and angling. Thrusting with the toy works fairly well; it allows the big bulge on the bulb to rub back and forth across the surface of the prostate for a little added stimulation, whilst simultaneously giving the perineum a little breather as the pressure from the arm subsides. Angling the toy, however, is another matter, and unfortunately works less well. If you want to try to direct the tip of the toy into the prostate and apply a firm pressure then you'll find that sadly this cannot be achieved. The issue, it turns out, is that very flexible section in the middle of the shaft which allowed the Silver Swan to be used successfully as an anal toy to begin with. When you attempt to direct or angle the toy using the handle, the tip doesn't follow because the shaft simply bends in the middle where it's weakest. Getting any pressure on the prostate is just a no-no as it turns out, so if that's what you were craving then you might be disappointed.


The Silver Swan is a rechargeable vibrator and features one of the most ingenious power adaptors that I've encountered with any sex toy. The charger comes in two separate parts: there's a transformer connected to the power lead which plugs into the toy, and then there's a selection of different prongs which clip onto the transformer, depending on where in the world you want you use it. There are four different attachments in total, one for the UK, EU countries, Australia/New Zealand, and North America/Japan. Each of the sets of prongs clips on really firmly to form a secure unit, and it's a simple button push to pop them back off again and switch them. For added peace of mind the button is located in a position where it can't be pressed while the charger is plugged into a socket, so there's no chance of accidentally separating it while live current is flowing. The design is convenient in two ways, firstly because you can buy a Swan product anywhere and know that it'll work when you get home without the need for adaptors, and secondly because you can customise the charger when you're planning to travel abroad on holiday. The other great thing about the charger, which may strike you as insignificant initially, is that it actually has "Swan" printed on it. For those of us with a number of rechargeable toys, being able to identify which charger amongst a drawer-full goes with which toy can be a godsend.

When in use the charging cable plugs into the back of the toy through a water-resistant seal, and a light in the handle illuminates to indicate that the battery is receiving power. It takes around 3 hours to do a full charge initially, after which the light will extinguish to signify that charging is complete.

As I mentioned at the top the Silver Swan does come with its own storage pouch, which is lovely if you just want to keep it in a drawer by the bedside instead of in its box. It's a 10 1/2" x 6" black drawstring bag made of a shiny satin-like fabric, and with the Swan logo printed on one side. Like many sex toy bags it's very spacious, by which I mean oversized. There's room enough in there for the vibrator, the charger, even the little cardboard wallet with the manual, and probably several other toys too. I've never quite understood why they make these bags so large; it's almost like something from a magician's kit, only you're pulling out a different kind of rabbit... It is a very good quality bag, however, so you won't be endlessly pulling stray black threads off your toy. I'm a big fan of companies which include storage pouches, so kudos to Swan. My only minor niggle, and this is strictly a matter of preference, is that I would have liked to have seen a white bag instead, like the ones used by We-Vibe. The fuchsia contrasts so nicely against white on the outside of the box, that I would have liked to have seen this mirrored with the pouch.


When it comes to caring for your toy you're just going to want to wash it gently with some antibacterial soap and warm water, and you may wish to do this both before and after use, as like any silicone it does attract dust with a special prowess. If you're sharing the toy then it can be sterilised by wiping it down with a mild 10% bleach solution. Things not to do with the toy: don't boil it as this is likely to damage the electronics, and don't use a silicone lubricant unless you've performed a patch test and are confident that it's safe. 

Overall I'd have to say that the design and build quality of the Silver Swan are truly exceptional. It really does have the look and feel of a luxury product. In terms of performance it truly is lovely to use, but I'm left feeling that it's probably slightly better suited to a woman. As much as I love that squeeze against the perineum, and the intensity of the motors, when I'm looking for a specialist anal vibrator I like just a little more rumble and some patterns to choose from, and there are specific prostate massagers which do that job better. It's undoubtedly a fantastic product, and in the right circumstances I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it. As a shared his-&-hers toy I could see it being ideal, as from a male perspective it's definitely of a high enough calibre as a prostate toy, and while this may seem terribly presumptive, I can't imagine a female partner not enjoying what it has to offer, but feel free to take that last statement with a pinch of salt. Swan is unquestionably a company which I've been left with a lot of respect for, and I'm pleased that I had the opportunity to test one of their products.


Buy Swan from Simply PleasureIf you'd like to buy the Silver Swan, and indeed the rest of the Swan range, then they're available from Simply Pleasure in the UK, as well as other fine retailers.



1 comment:

  1. I'm glad it worked out for you! We also found an alternative use for our Swan (using the Eternal Swan double ended dildo as a prostate/perineum vibrator) and it was great. :)

    ReplyDelete