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Friday, 17 February 2012

Alo, Ola! ~ Minna Ola Review

Ever had that moment where you want a pattern to speed up or slow down, get harder or be a little more gentle, so you cycle it through a bit and find that nope! next setting is too little/much?  And, frustrated, you dither between the two closest until you settle on the least 'wrong' and try to suppress that urge to yell at the toy manufacturer for not being psychic enough to anticipate this exact level of need?  Only me then?  Clearly not, since that's exactly the problem the Minna Ola seeks to address!  Now, aside from my rather unreasonably high expectations of toys at times, it appealed to me as a gadget geek precisely because of the utterly unique feature that the whole shebang is centred around: user-controlled patterns and speeds.  Literally programming in your own pattern, or just 'free-handing' and letting your touch dictate the pace of things.  Pretty nifty!  However, that's a lot of hype to live up to, and when you get right down to it, the entire performance is reliant on that sole feature living up to expectations.  That's a tough gamble at one-two-oh a pop

First Impressions
There certainly was an element of top-of-the-line gadgetry about the Ola when it popped through my door.  The packaging is rather cute, being mostly recyclable, but still holding the toy in an upright display.  Lifting the tube off to reveal the goods within did feel a bit like exposing a priceless museum piece to the air (or maybe I've watched too many crime films for my own good!), which certainly added to the feel of something priceless, timeless, and distinctive within a generation.  There's also a few essentials tucked into the base of the tube-slash-stand, with the charger, a pretty little storage bag, instructions, and a slightly bemusing Ola sticker (an exclamation mark in white on a background colour to match the toy) which I still have no idea what I should do with.  Oh well, points for random I guess!  There's also a wee 'dog tag' of a quick-start guide looped around the thinnest part of the Ola's neck, again with just a bit more branding and attention-grabbing to the innovativeness of the touch-sensitivity.  and to top it all off, the toy comes fully charged, so you can lift out and go as soon as it arrives, which is certainly a nioce touch after having suffered through my share of "charge for like eleventy hours before first use" teases.

Lounging around with its accessories.

The Pretty
The Ola has a very streamlined shape, with both the curve of the line and the girth increase being very gradual and fluid.  It's not overly large, and quite slim at the main part of the neck, so once inserted there's very little stretch around the vagina's entrance.  The only severe break in the gentle gradients is the pressure-pad handle, being less tapered and at a sharper angle than the main body.  I got the purple, and it's a lovely deep colour, a dusky royal purple hue.  I was a little wary of the charger connection, being right on the thin 'neck' part, and rather pronounced, but in all my use of the Ola I've not had it come into contact with anything fleshy.  The silicone is smooth and matte, but without any distinctive texture or potential for 'drag'; it'd be rather tough to wrangle without lube, but once it's a little slick, there shouldn't be any excessive friction.  The small "MINNA" engraved just beside the touch pad did make me think a little of how many times I've had to howk into similar brandings to get trapped gunge out, but it's actually rather shallow, so I've not noticed anything howk-worthy enough, as some pressure from the tap is enough to do all the howking for me.  Howk.  Ahem...  I was a little surprised at the rather pronounced seam running along the length of the toy: at this price, I'd expect a finer finish.  I did feel it on insertion, but it didn't cause any discomfort during use, although when I tried using it externally, it was too rough on my clit, so that was a no-go.  I'd say if anyone's exceptionally sensitive it could be an issue, but mainly it's just a visual pain.  The touch-pad area is marked off with a groove boundary, and on the reverse is the hole to re-inflate it if it's in low pressure such as during flight and goes a bit too soft.  I was wary of how very open that hole was, but I tried dunking it under water - the toy itself is fully waterproof - and it appeared to form its own air-seal and has suffered no issues after repeated submersions.  Just up from that hole are the sole two buttons with LEDs: the Power button which lights up solidly while in use and pulses while the charger is connected, and the Record button which pulses when the toy is connected to the charger but fully charged or while accepting new input and glows solidly when 'playing' the recorded pattern.  The Record's LED also blinks when the Ola is turned on, indicating battery levels: three times for fully charged, twice for running at or below half-power, and once for "charging imminent!".  This in itself is a nifty feature, as I certainly know the frustration of a toy purring away happily and then dropping dead with no warning.

L: Lengths are 2.25" for the touch pad and 5.5" insertable body; M: The Minna logo displayed just below the touch pad;
R: Diameter measurements, 1.5" across at the touch pad and the bulbous point on the body,
and just under 1" at the slimmest point of the neck.

The Power

It's definitely very easy to use.  I'm still a bit sore from my experience with the (discontinued) Lelo Tiani, so something that's both "unique & innovative" and a bit bish-bash-bosh even on a first use is certainly a welcome experience.  There are no pre-recorded patterns, so it literally is a case of turn it on by pressing firmly on the power button, and squeeze the pressure-pad to produce whatever vibrations you desire.  Feeling a bit fancy?  Get your playback on!  Press the Record button once so that the light is pulsing, and squeeze in your pattern (up to 10 seconds), then press it once more so that it glows steady and let it loop away.  Press Record a third time to go back to manual mode.  Press the Power button a second time to turn it off.  C'est ca.  Literally all there is to it.

Chargin' ma laz0rs!
L: The magnetic connectors on the Ola's neck and the charger; R: The charger connected to the toy.
Take note that it's a US plug supplied with the charger, so us Euro-sorts will need to be sure of having an adapter.

The shape is a very gentle curve, with a gradual change in size.  It can be inserted back-to-front-to-back-again, whatever you like, so that either the main 'bump' of the curve or the uppermost tip is pressing forward.  Personally, I found that the curve completely missed my G-spot whichever way it was inserted, so while the vibrations carried well enough that it felt quite pleasurable, it wasn't enough to actually bring me to orgasm.

I'd seen many reviews around the internet raving about the power of the vibrations, so between that and the hype-induced-excitement, I was perhaps expecting a little much.  I found that, when gripped firmly to produce the strongest possible vibration level, it was probably on par with most average-strength vibrations.  As someone who'll happily press a Hitachi directly on-clit and still manage to fight the wave, I'm quite critical of supposedly "intense" vibrators - and so too should someone who doesn't consider themselves a Power Queen take my opinion with a grain of salt - and I found myself disappointed with the power here.  Like the curve's shaping, it was fun and enjoyable, but not enough to get me off without swapping to another toy.

That dreadful seam, alongside my dreadful manicure.

Given it had failed me (due, for the most part, to my own demanding 'specs') as an insertable, I had a look at the alternative options.  Several people had mentioned using it externally, so I gave that a shot, but found the dreaded seam kept snagging on my lips and clit, and ensuring it didn't come into contact with flesh was way more hassle that it was worth, so that was that plan out.  Others had suggested anal insertion, and given I'll happily whack most things up there, I whapped on a condom and went for it.  It was actually much more successful this way for me: the smaller size meant it was easy to take, with just enough to apply pressure; the vibes I take anally are usually weaker than those I can take vaginally or on my clit, so suddenly it felt a lot more oomphy; and the jaunty angle of the pressure-pad end meant I wasn't overly concerned about it pulling a disappearing act.  Definitely a success there, however I couldn't help but feel that I have better anal toys, so it's a bit pointless to relegate it to those ranks where it can't stand out at all.

BB'S Final Thoughts:
I've struggled over this review a little, because, despite the ugly seam, it is a great toy, but it just does not work for me.  Believe me, I have tried everything short of swinging from the ceiling with my bits on fire to try and make it work, but every time I end up growling, chucking it across the room, and reaching for something I can be sure I'll cum on.  It hurts the gadget geek in me, but this one is not for me.  That's not to say it won't work for others; pretty much every single review I've read on the internet of the Ola - and that is a fair few, to put it mildly! - raves about how well it worked, so I'll begrudgingly accept that it's just that I'm such a unique and special snowflake with a philistine of a vagina that can't appreciate a toy like the Ola.  If, like me, you tend to find yourself gravitating towards girth, power, and serious texture/shaping, then this'll probably be an exercise in frustration, despite how much fun it can be to play with the squidgy pad.  But, if you're a normal person, then this is certainly not a dud.

  • Long battery life;
  • Pretty colours (purple or pink);
  • Rechargeable, and even comes fully charged;
  • Totally different to anything else on the market;
  • High quality silicone, so safe and smell-free;
  • Easy to use it in different ways to find one that suits you;
  • Idiot-proof instructions;
  • Not too scary for those who fear textures or girth.

  • That god-awful seam!  It just ruins the luxurious appearance, and makes clitoral use too finniky;
  • Not quite as 'intense' as everyone else seems to believe, especially when you can easily keep them as low as you like, giving some more power for us greedy gals would be nifty;
  • Could have stood to have a more pronounced curve/bulge to make sure the G-spot got some love;
  • Quite expensive for a gadget.


Seems to work for most people, but those who like their power to be teeth-chatteringly powerful will find it a little lackluster.  I think they had a fantastic idea, and it is quite well implemented, but it's clearly aimed at those who don't require strong G-spot pressure or over-the-top vibes and shaping to get off.  That seam also does my nut in, since if I were paying £120 for a toy, I really would expect that it's finished perfectly.  Overall, a great product, but with some serious flaws.

   3.5 sexy-chick glasses out of 5


This toy was provided to me free of charge by Lovehoney in exchange for a fair review.  I have received no payment and my opinions have not been influenced or altered in any way.

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