Well I guess it was obvious that this was coming – after my last review. So, the original Power Stroker has definitely been the surprise hit of the bedroom this year. I was so glad to finally found a toy that my husband not only loved, but wanted to use again and again. Unfortunately – the Power Stroker was not without it’s flaws.
Cut to a few months later, and I’m reading XBIZ and see that Cal Exotics are going to be launching a new Hydro Stroker. I was beyond thrilled – as it sounded like it was going to address the few things that stopped me from totally loving the original Power Stroker (and needless to say, my husband was very excited too).
I was asked by the kind folk at Lovehoney whether I would happily review this for them, and I said ABSOLUTELY! Now the unit we got for testing was the Black/Grey – but the version they stock is the Blue version – identical features, just different colour. So without further ado, let’s find out whether it was success or a total washout…
One thing I would love to do, is to teach California Exotics how to package a pricey luxury toy like this. Like the original, the Hydro arrives in a very flimsy cardboard box. I mean, really flimsy – I’d only taken it out of the Lovehoney packaging and saw that already the box was creased/torn and looked like it had taken a really good beating already! It’s not a really expensive toy, but it’s also not really a cheap one – however the box does make it feel really cheap. It’s a nice ‘masculine’ blue colour, and features nothing but pictures of the toy, and details of it’s various functions.
Inside the box, you will find the stroker and suction cup (mine came already attached to the Hydro) and then a separate screw cap to use when not using with the suction cup. Once you’ve got the hydro out of the box and in your hand – any pre-conceptions about the toy being ‘cheap’ are long gone – it does actually feel really quite luxury in the hand. Unlike the original which was just plastic, the Hydro is now coated in a very thin, but very smooth layer of silicone on the outside. This means that you can no longer see any screws or any other joins in plastic – it looks far nicer than the original. But that’s not the only changes made.
The Hydro is a little bit taller than the original and features a new textured sleeve that is now removable for easy cleaning (hooray! This is actually a massive deal as the original was such a bugger to clean, especially when it’s not waterproof!). The inner wall of the canal (which is made from TPE) is covered with long, flexible ‘fronds’ and at various places, there are little bumps as well. When I first showed the OH a picture of the new texture a few months ago, he was really concerned that this was going to be a repeat of other toys that have done something similar (the Paso, the Zini Bang Bang) and it was going to be horrible. Well, I am happy to report that the textures is incredibly soft, squishy, very flexible and feels totally amazing (but I’ll get to that a little bit later on!).
Annoyingly, the Hydro is still powered by batteries, and this time they are now AAA as opposed to AA (mainly due to the fact the handle of the unit is now a little bit smaller). A toy like this is begging to be rechargeable – but with so many other things being improved, I was prepared to let this one slide… just this once! But seriously, toy makes – RECHARGEABLE ALL THE WAY! I don’t care whether my bedroom ends up looking like the last scene of ‘Close Encounters’.
How to use
Like the original Power Stroker – the Hydro is incredibly simple to use. Using a good quality water-based lube, coat the inside of the textured canal (and don’t forget yourself) and then when ready, simply insert inside. The canal has a depth of about 4.5 inches (114mm) – which is a little bit longer than the canal of the original Power Stroker. Pressing the power button will launch the toy into the first of 30 (yes, 30) different vibration speeds and patterns. I honestly don’t think I’ve got any other toy that offers that many vibrations and patterns – to some people this might be a bit excessive – others may enjoy the fact that there is a lot of ‘replay’ value in a toy like this – with so many different patterns, no 2 sessions are a-like (at least for a while, anyway).
The new textured sleeve is one of the better improvements. The little nodules and fronds caress every inch of you, and if you slowly stroke with the toy, it does give a oral sex-like sensation – however like the original Power Stroker, as you ‘get going’ – the tendency for the toy to make ‘squelchy’ splat noises is quite high – it doesn’t bother me – but it might bother some people.
Now going back to the 30 (yes, I still can’t believe it either) different patterns and vibrations – the one thing that was a little irritating about the original stroker was the fact that each time you used it, it took a little while to scroll and find that pattern that you really liked which meant in the end, I never really explored past the 5/6 pattern because it was just tiresome. However , with the Hydro, Cal Exotics have implemented a brand new ‘state-of-the-art Memory Chip’ – which will remember the last setting you used when you come back to use the toy. Hurrah! I hear you cry… Well sadly, whilst this seems like a nice idea in principle – in practice, it’s more of a curse than a blessing. With the original Power Stroker, if you were cycling through the modes and went passed the one you wanted (especially if it’s in the first 15 or so) – it was quicker to just switch off the toy and start again, as it automatically went back to the beginning of it’s settings. However – now that the Hydro has a memory chip – if you find yourself getting a bit too carried away, and move yourself off the setting you really liked – well you have to scroll through all 30 settings to get back to where you were!
This can be an incredible mood killer (as we found out when we were testing it out on each other). But to be fair, this is only really a problem due to the sheer number of patterns this toy has! If they focused on having maybe 10 really good speed/pattern set-ups – then the memory chip would indeed be very useful, and it wouldn’t be so bad if you do accidentally move yourself off the pattern you wanted.
Now that the toy is waterproof – the suction cup finally has a really good purpose! Whilst you can really use the suction cup anywhere you like (I’m still a big fan of sticking this to the underside of my desk and just ‘slipping’ in whilst I answer emails etc) – I’m so glad that I can finally take this in the shower. The suction cup is fairly strong/sturdy and swivels 180 degrees so you should be able to get it into a position that you find most comfortable. I was still careful to make sure that the Hydro didn’t get ‘too’ wet – as I’ve read about some other Cal Exotics products that are also supposed to be ‘waterproof’ end up with water/moisture in the battery compartment – but it seemed to survive a trip into the shower without a problem – but as I always say, just be careful.
So aside from the slight frustration with the memory chip, both myself and my husband came to agreement that this is indeed an improvement over the original Power Stroker. We both agree that the new textured sleeve helps transmit those vibrations all over, and with a good amount of lube and some gentle thrusting, it almost feels like getting a really deep blow-job. We both agree that the vibrations feel much deeper and stronger, which is odd because it’s powered by AAA’s instead of AA’s – I expected it to be a little bit weaker – could this be all in the head? Maybe… but the bottom line is, it both led us to a very satisfying orgasm, and when I asked him whether he preferred the Power or the Hydro – he said he definitely thinks the Hydro has the potential to be his new favourite.
Clean-up and Maintenance
Now that the toy is waterproof – clean-up is a total breeze. But they’ve gone beyond that with the Hydro. You can now actually remove the sleeve to make it even easier to clean. Simply unscrew the grey ring at the top, pull out the sleeve – and then you can rinse it with some water/toy cleaner before letting it air dry. When you are finished, simply pop it back in the Hydro, screw the ring cap back on and then you can put it away.
You will definitely want to keep this in it’s box – the TPE sleeve picks up dust and hair really easily – when I first took it out of the box, it looked like it had been rolling around on the floor all day (so I apologise that the toy does look a little bit dusty in some of the pictures. I would recommended giving it a rinse before each use anyway, just to make sure – and do make sure you turn the sleeve inside out – as there are plenty of nooks and crannies for lube and spunk to get stuck in, and nobody wants that. Nobody. I only wish that like in their new Alpha Stroker, they provided a little cap to actually place of the opening to help keep it dust/lint free – but I guess you can’t have it all.
I guess I’m a little bit torn really. I think it’s safe to say that this is definitely a much needed improvement. The design is a lot sleeker. The textured sleeve adds some great new sensations and the fact it is now removable makes clean-up less of a headache. You can finally take proper advantage of the Suction Cup and hop in the shower from some wet fun. Generally, I would definitely recommend this over the original Power Stroker. Almost.
That memory chip function seems like a great idea, I just don’t think it really works when you have THAT MANY DIFFERENT BLOODY SETTINGS to choose from – and as I said earlier, you can totally ruin the mood if you get to carried away and knock yourself of the setting you really liked – especially if you are really close to arriving at your destination! But overall – I would say that the improvements to the function and design are enough for me to almost forgive the memory chip problem, and the fact that a toy like this is STILL battery operated! Just for shits ‘n’ giggles, here’s a couple of comparison pics between the original Power Stroker and the new Hydro Stroker:
Where to buy
This product was sent to me in exchange for an honest review by Lovehoney. This in no way sways my opinion on this product and all reviews are of my own thought and honest opinions. Affiliate links are used within this post.
Apollo Hydro Power Stroker
Pros: Better design, better texture, stronger vibrations – easier to use and clean.
Cons: Not rechargeable and the memory chip can be annoying during use!
Bottom line: It’s not perfect, but close enough for me to say it’s definitely worth a try.