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Hi folks, we’re back today with another adult toy review and today we’re focusing on the Arcwave Ion, a male masturbator. The tag line for the Ion markets itself as offering a “new type of orgasm as unique pulsating airwaves stimulate sensitive Pacinian pleasure receptors in the frenulum”, and if you’re not sure what that means, well neither was I! I’ve reviewed quite a lot of adult toys at this point both for singles and couples, and as usual I review them based on fixed categories to try to keep things as unbiased as one can possibly be in the world of sex toys and nerve endings. So without too much more introduction from me, let’s get into the details of what makes (or breaks) the Arcwave Ion!
Lets start off by saying that the Arcwave Ion is probably the nicest packaged sex toy I think I’ve ever received. It comes in a bifold box that has custom inserts to secure all the packaging, with a cardboard sleeve on the box showing product images and instructions, etc. The toy itself looks a bit like a laser rangefinder for your penis if I’m being honest, and the storage capsule that the toy both dries and charges in is a matching shade of dark grey and black, completely enclosing the toy and becoming just another carrying case. The toy is made of sturdy black plastic and silicon, with separating halves that twist apart for cleaning, and the sleeve half is ribbed inside similar to a Fleshlight. Put them together and you have a toy that is so inconspicuous that I could probably set it on my office desk in its case and no one would be the wiser. The toy itself out of the case would probably be recognized as a toy but only with close and intentional visual inspection. This natural camouflage is so rare in the world of sex toys, especially male sex toys, that this almost gets a standing ovation from me. The appearance of this toy is top notch and a lot of care and effort went into making it not stand out from the crowd.
Given the appearance and the quality of the packaging, I was understandably pretty excited to see if the claims on the packaging were true, and this thing could blow my mind. Considering the price point of this toy compared to items I’ve already reviewed in the past, it had a big hill to climb to back up the text on the packaging. Unfortunately this is where some of the downsides have started to show through, and I’ll go into detail here on the main items. To start off with, let's talk about the operation of the toy itself. The Arcwave offers stimulation through pulsating airwaves, which as unique as that sounds, essentially feels like a standard vibrator, just much more localized. There is an oscillating membrane located about 3 inches into the toy, and this produces a vibration at once very, very specific point. Unfortunately for me, no matter how I adjusted this toy during use, I couldn’t quite get that spot to hit just right. That’s not to say that it didn’t get me off, it did, but it took a lot of work and fine tuning to get the same experience I could have got easier with other options.
Besides the localized stimulation issue, there are a few other key items I want to bring up because I feel they’re pretty important. First, the toy contains a “smart silence” feature, which basically turns off the toy if it doesn’t detect that you are inserted. I’m not sure how this feature is supposed to work, or if I was simply misunderstanding how it was supposed to operate, but there were multiple times when I was completely inserted and yet the toy turned off due to the smart silence sensor. This can be annoying at best and especially frustrating when you’re oh so close and then the toy unexpectedly turns off right as you’re about to climax. I mostly ended up using the option to disable the smart silence feature specifically to avoid this issue in later sessions.
Second, the toy itself contains ridges on the sleeve, but this is directly counterproductive to the air wave stimulation, as it requires you to move the penis away from the roughly nickel sized hole that is providing the source of the stimulation. Additionally, the sleeve itself is one size fits all. Fortunately the sleeve stretches quite a bit to accommodate, but if you have a thinner penis you may find that you can’t get a good seal on the sleeve, which in turn will render the airwaves ineffective.
Lastly, the toy itself has a strange little ledge on the end of it, about two inches beyond where the tip of your penis sits. I’m not sure of the purpose of this ledge, but I can only presume it is to catch your, uh, expulsions. However, I’m not entirely sure that the maker of this toy understands how that works, because that little ledge does precisely nothing to provide any protection from messes. It also does exactly nothing when the toy is upside down because you are lying on your back, so I’m not sure why this feature is here.
The bottom line in terms of effectiveness is, does it work? And the final answer here is yes, it does, but it takes about 200% effort to make the magic happen. For a toy that is considerably more expensive than most of the competition, I hoped that it would be a unique experience, but it doesn’t offer much more than lower cost options, and I find that the pieces of the toy can be a tad over engineered.
To elaborate a bit on that over-engineered comment, this toy has a lot of pieces to it. Counting from the box, I have the Carrying Case which contains a bottom half, top half, drying packet, and plastic container for the drying capsule, as well as a custom charging cable, a toy upper half, and a toy lower half. That’s 7 pieces, 5 of which don’t directly assist in getting you off. To me, that seems a bit extreme. It’s a lot of extra stuff to pay for, to maintain, to keep track of all in the pursuit of an orgasm. My personal advice to manufactorers, is if more than 50% of the product isn't involved in getting you off, you're doing something wrong.
In terms of cleanup, as noted above this toy tries its best to make it as hassle free as possible, but it still is the messiest of all the electronic toys I’ve used. The shelf on the end does very little to provide easy cleanup, so you still need to be prepared for a messy finish. Additionally, because it’s a sleeve, the only option to extract yourself is to pull out, which can pull semen in through the sleeve, and down in the hole that the oscillating membrane is in.
Thankfully the two halves of this toy twist and come apart, which allows you to get at all the hidden nooks and crannies of the device to eliminate any nastiness, but even then, water retains in the ridges of the sleeve, and the membrane. You can store the device inside its carrying case, which contains a moisture remover, but even then, I found after testing that after 8 hours, I was still able to find water in between the device halves on inspection. That’s not to say it’s not cleanable or usable, it just requires some more effort and care to get properly cleaned!
Lastly, it only charges when in its special carrying case, which in turn comes with a special charging cable that only plugs in through the bottom of the carrying case, and has no way to interact with the toy. This complicates things further by basically making the toy useless should the charging cable or the carrying case break, so that gets a downvote for me in terms of usability. I don’t want my sex toy to have to rely on a big carrying case.
An important aspect of all sex toys is really the question of “how long will I keep using this?” and does it have enough variability to keep you coming back. In this sense, the Arcwave Ion is an interesting question. I feel torn, in the sense that the stimulation it provides is pleasurable, certainly better than your hand, but it’s also so limited that you can’t really shake it up in any way. It can only ever stimulate that nickel sized area where it’s directing the pressure wave. The Arcwave probably isn’t an every session type of toy, certainly not a new revelation in the sex industry or a bedroom game changer, but I feel that it still provides a unique enough experience that I would keep going back when the mood strikes. It has some very tough competition from things like the Manta, which is still my all around favorite toy for men (or couples), but I think it has enough things going for it to stay on the lineup. It lacks the array of patterns that vibtrators have, and only has 8 steady speeds, but the stimulation itself doesn’t produce the same numbness that vibrators can induce over longer sessions, so it has a very specific niche I think, and if you’re the type of guy that really likes frenulum stimulation (and only frenulum stimulation), then you may find this toy is pretty awesome.
The last category I like to rate things in is travel. How easy is it to take this toy, pack it in a suitcase, and go on a trip with it? How likely am I to feel self conscious at an airport or hotel with it? Sex doesn’t always stay at home, and your toys shouldn’t need to be locked up there either, so I feel that this is a fairly important consideration for sex toys in general. So, you might be surprised to see that I rated this a 1 for travel, considering my rave reviews on the appearance in the first paragraph. If you’re wondering why, well… looks aren’t everything. Appearance wise, I would have no qualms about taking this on a trip. It’s very innocuous, as previously stated. What makes me rate this so low for travel are two things:
First, it comes in a fairly large carrying case, which you must take if you want to charge the toy. That carrying case takes up roughly a 1/10th of the space of my medium carry-on luggage. No matter how much I like a toy, there is no way I’m devoting that much of my limited space to a sex toy, that’s ridiculous. It would be easier if I could simply separate the charging cable and take the toy, as it splits into two halves, but this is confusingly not an option, so I’m left to take the whole plastic capsule with the toy just so I can charge the toy, which only runs for about an hour on a single charge.
Second, and this is a big one, this toy is LOUD. Probably surprising for a toy that markets itself with a “smart silence” feature, but it turns out that this is because the toy is absolutely deafening when you are not inserted, and only slightly quieter when the opening is covered. It was so loud when I was using it that I turned it off at first because I thought something was broken. For your reference, I put a decibel meter 3 feet from the toy running on speed 4 of 8, and it measured 67.6dB. At max speed, it measured 70.2dB. As a comparison for those not familiar with dB levels, 70dB is roughly equivalent to a car traveling 65 miles per hour, or a vacuum cleaner. My car at idle, from 3 feet away, measured 51dB. When the penis is inserted over the vibrating membrane, the noise goes down considerably, to about 50db, but is still nothing that I would consider quiet. Even more confusingly, if you decide to use the toy as a stroker to appreciate the ridges in the sleeve, the minute the head of the penis leaves the hole that the membrane was covering, it goes right back to 70dB, meaning you have this bah-wah-wah-wah-WAH-WAH-WAH-WAH-wah-wah-wah-WAH-WAH-WAH effect. Considering hotel walls are some of the thinnest constructions in existence, I feel like I would get some legitimate noise complaints should I use this on travel. Likewise if you live in a house with a lot of people and are trying to sneakily make some fireworks, this isn’t the toy for you, unless you happen to pass out earplugs to the whole household beforehand.
Now, after all this being said, I do like the Arcwave. I think it is a valiant attempt at being something new, and I think it tries really hard to stand out. Unfortunately, I think the void that it is trying to fill is already done better by other options, considering the price point. It made some bold claims on the box, and although it didn’t quite make the mark, I do think that guys could have a lot of fun with this toy, but it comes with some fairly large caveats in the quest to get off. Can I say that it provided a new type of orgasm? No really, but it did provide one, and I admit I still have no idea what a “Pacinian pleasure receptor” is. It feels like it’s almost there in terms of a really awesome product, but I think it doesn’t quite meet the mark in the current iteration. However, I have high hopes that if Arcwave makes a followup version, that it could address most of the issues above and really make a great toy. Bottom line, would I buy this toy? Yes. Could I climax with this toy? Yes. Would it be my first choice for guys looking for an electronic toy? No. The good thing about sex toys though is that everyone’s nerve endings are unique, and everybody needs something a little different to climb that hill, so if you are looking, and you haven’t found the one, it’s worth putting the time in to see if the Arcwave Ion is the one for you. Go forth, be safe, be happy, and have fun!