14 January 2017

Pulse III Solo


Happy New Year to all my lovely readers, and what better way to kick off 2017 than with a brand new review for everybody's favourite 'guybrator' manufacturer, and XBIZ Award-winning Boutique Pleasure Products Company of the Year, Hot Octopuss!

Sticking to what seems to be their two-year development cycle, the guys at Hot Octopuss have just launched the third iteration of their much acclaimed Pulse, and they've kindly sent over a Pulse III Solo for me to test out. So, without any further ado...

The original Pulse first launched back in 2013, as a challenger to then market leader in male vibrators, the Cobre Libre by Fun Factory, and it quickly became one of my favourite toys. The following year, reinforcing that competition drives innovation, we were treated to Fun Factory's answer in the form of the revamped Cobra Libre II, and then only months later Hot Octopuss returned to us with their line up of new Pulse II models. I remarked back then that 2015 was a good year to own a penis, and indeed it was, but two years down the line the question is what new heights are Hot Octopuss about to take us to with the Pulse III? I know I'm excited to find out.

The Pulse III builds directly on the advancements of its immediate predecessor, the Pulse II, and represents a straight evolution of the original concept, though this time the change is far less of a leap than from the Pulse to the Pulse II.

The biggest shake up in the previous generation was that it introduced separate "Solo" and "Duo" models aimed at slightly different markets, and the Pulse III maintains this distinction. The original Pulse offered multifunctionality aimed at couples play, while still primarily being a toy for the man, and it did this by offering a secondary point of vibration which could stimulate a female partner during use. The Duo models represent the point of continuity with this concept and are most consistent with the original design, while the Solo units have dispensed with this aspect altogether, instead moving towards a focus solely on individual pleasure.

Today I'm going to be once again looking at the Solo version of the latest Pulse, which has the welcome advantage of being slightly less expensive than the Duo. I'm pleased that they're maintained this divergence in the design, because who wants to be paying for a feature they won't be using?

So what exactly is the Pulse III Solo? I've been speaking so far with the assumption that everyone has read one of my earlier reviews and has a general understanding of the nature of these products, but for the benefit of those coming to this afresh. The Pulse is a vibrating male masturbatory aid, or a 'Guybrator' to use the term they've coined, and it's one of the very very few vibrators aimed specifically at men. It differs from nearly all other male masturbators on the market, such as your Fleshjacks and Tengas, because it takes the conventional thinking about how men get off and turns it on its head. Most male sex toys aim to replicate the natural sexual experience as closely as possible, that is they involve the penis being thrust inside something in order to stimulate it to the point of orgasm. The Pulse on the other hand requires absolutely no motion on the part of the user, and brings him to climax via the use of powerful vibrations targeted directly at the most sensitive part of the penis. For any man who's experienced the joys of vibrator use before then it probably doesn't seem that revolutionary, but within the realm of male sex toys it really is.

The design of the Pulse III closely follows on from the Pulse II, employing the same shape and the same materials, and with no notable difference in the size. Unfortunately that does mean that it maintains Pulse II's smaller opening into which you place your penis, compared to the original model, which is something I'll come back to. The central channel is where the "Pulse Plate" lies, and this is the piece of technology which produces the vibrations, or to be more accurate, the oscillations. It's strategically located to make contact with the sensitive underside of the penis, where the nerve-rich frenulum is located. The channel isn't entirely enclosed, and is flanked by two flexible silicone "wings" which adapt to accommodate the size of penis placed between them. It's quite a stylish toy on the whole, and it's well made from quality body-safe materials such as silicone and ABS plastic.

To use the Pulse III you first begin by inserting your penis into the channel, and what's quite beautiful about the whole way the product is engineered is that doesn't really matter what state your penis is in, be it hard or soft, circumcised or intact, with the foreskin retracted or not. It's functional in all situations, which is beneficial to anyone who might suffer from erectile dysfunction or a tight foreskin, for example, which limits their ability to use other toys, or be intimate with a partner. One thing that does carry over from the Pulse II is that the channel is still on the smaller side, and that bodes less well for more endowed men, specifically men with more girth, or in this case a wider penis. The flexible silicone wings feel noticeably snug around the penis, and they have the same problem as in the first two models, whereby they're only flexible in their top half. I'm going to briefly quote myself as explanation. 
One thing I did notice though is that the "wings" are flexible mainly at the top half, and not towards the bottom, so while the top section can become almost infinitely wider the bottom of the channel always retains the same semi-circular shape. Where this could cause an issue is that most penises don't have a completely circular cross-section and are wider from left to right than from top to bottom, so depending on the size and shape of the penis you may find that once inserted to the fullest extent the shaft may hover above the Pulse Plate without actually making direct contact. This probably won't be an issue for most people, but if your penis is very wide in one direction, and not so much in the other, then it's worth bearing in mind.
Like many I happen to have a penis which is wider in one axis than the other, and the narrower channel does exacerbate the issue of flexibility with the wings. Instead of my penis lying completely level and flat along the channel, the pressure from the wings causes it to twist to try to conform with the narrow space, breaking optimal alignment with the Pulse Plate. The only way to really deal with this is to manually push the head of my penis down into the Pulse Plate and hold it in place, which works but which isn't ideal if you were going for a hands-free experience. From my experience this size of channel is less than optimal, but again perhaps there's some evidence which shows it's more suited to the penis size of a greater number of people, and it's not enough to be a deal-breaker either way. 

To turn the Pulse III on you hold down the button on the left hand side and it jumps into a constant vibration mode at its lowest intensity. It's a very powerful deep rumbly vibration, and from here you can either adjust the strength of the intensity using the  + and - buttons on the right hand side of the Pulse, or as with the Pulse II you can cycle through 5 different vibration patterns by pressing the power button. There's also a brand new "Turbo Function" whereby you can skip directly to the most powerful vibration setting. The strength of the vibrations is truly impressive; they penetrate deep into the shaft and can be felt all the way down to the pubic bone, and they even have the effect of making the penis appear blurry at times because the whole organ itself begins to vibrate. This "total vibration" is one of the most unique features of the Pulse III, because although the vibrations are being applied directly at the frenulum, they don't simply feel localised here, but can be felt all over. Feeling every inch of your penis vibrating is fascinating, and entirely new, not to mention intensely pleasurable. It's miles away from conventional masturbation, and it's this whole new world of sensation which makes it all the more interesting. What really makes it special though is the patterns; the ability to experience a good rhythm of vibrations takes the experience to another level, and you have a choice of slow or faster, as well as a couple of more elaborate patterns. Because the vibrations from the Pulse are so strong it does run the risk of overwhelming you at times - especially as the Pulse III is now 25% more powerful - so if you want a long drawn out session of pleasure, then you have to be careful that it doesn't push you over the edge too soon. If you do manage to get it just right, and have an extended period of foreplay with the toy, then the orgasm that it rewards you with is quite explosive at the end, and definitely worth it. 

The one major drawback of the toy is the noise. It's not a subtle device at all, and that could be problematic for a lot of people. It sounds like a little lawnmower engine chugging away, and is liable to rouse suspicion if you live in close quarters with others. I know I'd have trouble relaxing if I was using it and I knew there was someone on the other side of a thin partition wall. The noise has been an ongoing issue with the Pulse since the very start, and frankly it's a little disappointing that it's not something they've been able to address. It was easy to overlook in the very first model, less so in the Pulse II, but by the third generation it's hard to excuse.

Another point I do want to raise about the Pulse III is regarding the buttons. They're smaller than on the original Pulse, and much stiffer too, which can make them awkward to push. The upside is that they're less likely to go off in your luggage, but they can be a struggle to operate while your penis is in the device, and this goes doubly if your penis doesn't quite fit in it properly and you're already using one hand to secure it in the right position. I mostly raise this with the thought of people with dexterity issues, however, because for everything the Pulse does to aid those who struggle sexually the buttons could trip them up.

The Pulse III is a fully rechargeable toy and it comes with a USB cable which now clips onto a magnetic charging port at the rear. This is a really convenient feature and a welcome upgrade, and the other advantage is that it's 100% waterproof, which makes it far easier to clean afterwards. 

I have to say that on the whole the Pulse III feels like a huge leap forward compared to the original Pulse, but only a relatively minor step up from the Pulse II, and therein lies the dilemma. I'm impressed by how the guys at Hot Octopuss keep on working to improve their device, perfecting it a little more each time, but you have to wonder who it's aimed at. If you don't already have a Pulse, then I wholeheartedly recommend that you buy the Pulse III. If you own an Original Pulse, then the Pulse III is well worth the upgrade. If you have the Pulse II, however, I honestly can't say that there's enough there to justify buying a new one. The Pulse III is more like a Pulse 2.5 in this regard, it tinkers around the edges, but there's nothing added which you absolutely need to have. It's not like a smartphone where there's a genuine incentive to make the transition every time.

The Pulse III is once again a more polished device, and I love the strong vibrations and exciting patterns it offers. I definitely think that every guy should try one. My only caveat would still be to guys with a thicker (wider) penis, because if the original Pulse or Pulse II felt too snug for you then the Pulse III will only maintain that frustration. 

Thanks to Hot Octopuss for providing me with the Pulse III Solo to review, and you can buy it directly from them, as well as any of the fine retailers I have links to on my blog, Including SheVibe, Lovehoney UK, Bondara, and Lovehoney U.S.

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