A few months back, LELO’s sister company Picobong launched an IndieGoGo campaign to promote their line up of four brand new, app-controlled sex toys. And so far, the response has been extremely positive.

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At the time of writing, they have raised over $126,000 from over 1100 backers, thus proving that there is still a fairly strong demand for innovative toys that are remote controlled, fun and above all, user friendly. A little while back, I was sent one of the first samples of one of the products for testing. At this time, the app for the toys is still in Beta, so this won’t be a ‘proper’ review, as I don’t think it’s really fair to judge a product when it’s not completely finished. So I will be presenting my initial thoughts and feelings on the SURFER – the vibrating butt plug – but first, what the hell is #REMOJI? The following is taken directly from the press release:

Music, Emojis and sex. No, even better; music Emojis and public sex.PicoBong™, the world’s most experimental sex toy company today revealed via crowdfunding platform Indiegogo that they are bringing all these elements together with the creation of REMOJI™: a cartoon app that uses an interactive, music-inspired interface to control not one, but four, new sex toys that cater to all genders and are all perfect for public pleasure!

PicoBong™ is just one step away from making all this happen. The toys are all in production but they now seek YOUR help on https://igg.me/at/remoji/to prove the thirst and demand for a truly fun and integrative sex app.

There are four different toys that are currently in production – the SURFER (the butt plug), the BLOWHOLE (a masturbation cup), the LIFEGUARD (a cock ring) and the DIVER (an insertable egg). All toys are made from body safe silicone and ABS plastic, are fully waterproof, rechargeable and are all usable with the dedicated app that will be available for Android and iOS respectively.

So how does it work?

#REMOJI features a cute cartoon interface, which should be a hoot in it’s own right! After you connect your chosen device, the app comes to life as you tap, swipe and poke to stimulate the little REMOJI character to dance to your favourite styles of music, which in turn controls the vibrations (speed, intensity and pattern).

Steve Thomson, CMO of PicoBong says:

“We want to revolutionize sex lives by making phones part of foreplay and not a distraction from it. REMOJI™ certainly brings a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘vertical expression of horizontal desire.’ Just imagine using this app, paired up with a sex toy, out in public at a restaurant or club. You can be playing with the app and no one will realize you’re actually controlling a sex toy; they will all think you’re just playing a game.”

On paper, it sounds like a pretty fun and interesting principal. But I admit, I was still pretty skeptical.But after getting my hands on a device, I think there is a good market out there for this type of product. It’s just, at the moment – i’m not sure that I am personally one of them. But I digress – let’s get on to the nitty gritty.

Our Experience

The sample unit arrived without any proper retail packaging, sadly – so I cannot tell you exactly what that will look like – all I received was the SURFER and a USB charging cable. As soon as it arrived, I put it straight onto charge, and whilst I waited, I downloaded the app onto my phone. At the time of writing, the app isn’t available to the general public – I was sent a beta build, and it was only available for Android – so some of these features may change between now and the time the official app and products launch – so please bear that in mind!

The plug was easy to insert. The Surfer measures 3.5 inches of insertable length, and has a maximum circumference of 4.25 inches. It’s a similar shape to the TANO butt plug. There is a slight ‘curve’ in the shaft that that has the potential to be putting a little bit of pressure on the prostate during use. However, it did not provide any direct prostate stimulation for myself, but everyone is built differently. With a little bit of lube, it slipped inside relatively easy, and the base rests right between the cheeks. It felt secure. It is important, to make sure that your Surfer is paired with your phone/app before insertion.

The #REMOJI app is really simple to navigate – it’s bright, simple and it does kind of feel like you are about to play a game. Connecting the device is really simple – making sure your device is in discoverable mode, load up the app – switch on the device and the app recognises what it is that you are attaching to it (in this case, the SURFER) and then away you go! At no point during any of the testing period did I experience any connectivity issues when setting up the two devices (and I was using an OLD samsung phone – no idea what version of Android it was using, but it will be at least 2 years old).

Once connected, the app takes you to the ‘game’ interface. Your little #REMOJI character stands in the middle of the screen and at this point, you ‘interact’ with device by poking, flicking and sliding. Your actions then controls the vibrations and the intensity of them. Each ‘genre’ of music represents a different vibration pattern. Each mode has 4 levels of intensity, and the patterns range from your standard ‘continuous’ vibration, to pulses and waves. The plug responds instantly to the app, so every swipe and poke is immediately received and reacted by the plug. Each ‘setting’ also has a ‘TURBO’ setting – so when pressed, this immediately kicks the toy into it’s highest intensity. This is where the most fun was had.

As we sat their watching TV, the plug was vibrating mildly, and my other half was carefully exploring the app. I could feel a pleasant, but not overwhelming tickle down below. It was nice. And then he found the turbo button and made me jump. And for the next 20 minutes, he would just randomly press it whilst he messed around with the other patterns and settings. He seemed to be enjoying himself.

So it works, and it works well – it’s probably one of the better and easiest to set up bluetooth sex toys we have so far tried. So from a user-friendly point of view, it gets a big PLUS from me. However, even as i’m writing this, i’m still not 100% sure whether I actually enjoyed it. And I will do my best to explain.

Firstly, the thing that caused me a bit of concern/irritation was the actual base of the plug. It’s moulded to be purposefully ergonomic and comfortable to wear – but I personally found it anything but comfortable, to the point where I wasn’t able to use it for an extended period. The whole unit is made from solid ABS plastic which just a thin coating of silicone. This means there is no flex or squishiness at all. I personally, found that the hard plastic base was just ‘digging’ into my skin and it was uncomfortable. If the base was perhaps made from fully soft/squishier silicone, it would be a damn sight more comfortable.

The vibrations were also a little lacklustre for my own liking, but you know I like them big, deep and rumbly. In credit to Picobong, the vibrations here are rumbly, but they just lack any major power. Even on the ‘highest’ intensity, it was still fairly mild. But  It just didn’t really blow me way. I mean, I guess if I was to look at it objectively, this isn’t the sort of thing I would use to expect to take me to orgasm. The Surfer doesn’t stand a chance in hell. BUT (and it’s a pretty big but(t)) – I suppose it DID kind of get me in the mood, and I was soon wanting to drag the husband to the bedroom – so I guess, on that level – it does work quite well as a tool for foreplay.

On the version of the App i’m using, there are only 3 modes available for me to use – and I don’t know if this is because of the fact the app is in beta, so functions are limited – or you have to ‘unlock’ them somehow, like, I dunno… if you ‘score’ a certain number of points, it unlocks them, like in a proper game? I don’t know. I’ve been working on this for weeks and i’ve yet to gain access to them. I’ve reached out to my PR rep to see if I can get an answer, and will update as and when I get the info.

It is possible to use the Surfer without the app – however your functionality is extremely limited. You can experience all 6 different settings, but only at one speed. It’s also not possible to change pattern, not without removing the plug first and then re-inserting. The button is basically in the middle of the shaft, which also means should you have a disconnection, again, you’ll have to remove it to reset it and start again. Which is why play outside of the bedroom, as fun and risky as it sounds – just has the potential to be more hassle than it’s worth. Especially when the inevitable ‘Oh, what app is that? it’s so cute’ start.

So what now?

OK, I realise this may all come off as terribly negative, but it’s not. At least, not really. The technology is sound, and it works very well. This already puts my hopes reasonably high for some of the other products in the range (especially the Blowhole masturbation cup). And ultimately, the issues I experienced are more down to a personal preference, rather than any major failing of the toy. And that’s why this particular article has been SO difficult to write, more so than any other review that i’ve written.

It would have been so much easier to write if there was indeed, like some fundamental flaw with the system, but I have yet to find one. It’s just, for this particular toy – the vibrations and sensation it offered just weren’t up to my usual standard, but I can see the potential in the range, and I am keeping my options (and my mind) open. If it’s budget friendly, and remote controlled, and can help reach new audiences, then i’m all for that.

Where can I get these?

You can still pre-order the toys through the IndieGoGo campaign. The Surfer will set you back $107. You can also order the complete REMOJI bundle for $409. They aim to start shipping next month (June).

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The Surfer (and REMOJI app) were sent to me by LELO/PICOBONG for free in exchange for my honest review/thoughts. As this is a ‘work in progress’, I chose not to ‘review’, instead give an account of my first experiences with this product. As and when the final product is released, I will revisit and conduct a more thorough review, once I have full app functionality, and I can use it on a device I feel more comfortable using! Some affiliate links have been used.