Dec 132009

Better than ChocolateLet’s get one thing out of the way: I don’t like chocolate all that much. In small doses or in Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, okay, but I’m not ravenous for it — and contrary to popular belief, my ovaries do not dictate that I will choose chocolate over a vibrator.

But at least Nomi Tang’s Better than Chocolate isn’t called “Sunny Lane’s Cliterrific Manta Ray” or something equally mind-numbing. It at least has an interesting, ear-catching name, and a name that I can appreciate since it looks so nice as an acronym.

This is a luxury toy, in part due to its price (nearly $80), in part due to its all-around elegant appearance. I was very impressed with the packaging, which is not only adorable, but compact: a white box no bigger than it needs to be to hold the vibe — about 3 x 5 x 3 inches. The BTC comes with a tiny, book-shaped manual and a white velvet storage pouch.

Although the BTC is a clitoral stimulator, it isn’t especially small: 5 1/2″ long and 2 1/2″ wide at its fattest point. It requires 2 AAAs, inserted easily into a screw-off base. To perhaps make up for the fact that it isn’t rechargeable, it features touch-sensitive controls: a white strip of plastic similar to the scroll wheel on a mouse, only it doesn’t move. You just slide your finger over it to change the vibration level, hold down one side to switch to a different vibration pattern (there are only three: constant and two pulsation), and hold down the other side to lock the vibration.

The BTC’s body is completely stiff, leading me to believe there’s plastic underneath its exterior of thermoplastic elastomer (TPE). The texture of this material is interesting; unlike silicone, it isn’t especially soft, and has more of a grippy feeling. I prefer the softness of pure silicone, but TPE offers a good amount of traction. TPE is porous, however, so it can’t be sterilized and should not be shared between non-fluid-bonded partners.

I wasn’t really sure how to hold the BTC properly; because of the raised sides, I couldn’t grasp it all the way around like I do my computer mouse. I guess I’m supposed to rest two fingers on top of it, but that doesn’t feel very natural. I developed a habit of placing my pointer and middle finger on top and my thumb on the underside, which was most comfortable to me but also meant I couldn’t change the vibration settings with the flick of a finger.

That issue never actually mattered, though, because the BTC begins on its highest setting. And that highest setting is… well, incredibly disappointing.

Like most masturbating persons, I like to start off slowly when I’m in for a leisurely session. But this… let’s just say, the highest vibration level on the BTC is too weak for even warm-up purposes. I want to feel something, something that will hopefully get me in the mood for more. The BTC’s vibrations do not achieve this. This vibration level should be the first of five levels, or at least three, but instead it’s the highest.

Now, I really like the BTC’s tip. It’s hard and pinpointed, just how I like it for clitoral stimulation. But that is where the joy in using the BTC ends. I get frustrated really quickly if I don’t feel like I’m even making progress toward stimulation. I was able to orgasm with the BTC once, but it took years — and a lot of porn.

I also wasn’t impressed with the controls. While the idea of a touch-sensitive control strip seems amazing, I’ve decided that I would rather turn a dial or push a button. I found it difficult to apply adequate pressure to the control strip when sliding my finger across it. The whole thing randomly locked on me a few times, too, for no discernible reason other than something must have touched the control strip.

The BTC is also waterproof up to one meter, but the touch sensor does not particularly enjoy water. It’s set to respond to water by locking into whichever setting it is on once water touches it, but the lock can be disrupted by water movement. To my dismay, I also did not enjoy using the BTC in water any more than I did using it on land. It still felt very weak.

Surprisingly, the BTC is also difficult in another area: cleaning. There’s a Nomi Tang logo embedded in the underbelly of the action end, which is not only superfluous (you can’t see it unless you turn the vibe upside-down), but it also collects gunk. Even worse is the touch-sensitive strip on top, which has little trenches beside it where lube and juices like to hide, even after cleaning.

But cleaning issues aside, the insufficient power is what tanks the Better than Chocolate. Any 2 AA-taking, $15 plastic vibrator has more power than the BTC, and I can think of a few that would make the BTC weep. Frankly, there is just no way to justify spending $80 on something this weak, unless you are more concerned about how luxurious your vibrator looks than whether it gets you off.

  • Backseat Boohoo

    The only way I could really this toy working for me would be if I could press super-hard with it without hurting myself. And alas, from the reviews I’ve read, it doesn’t sound like that would work. 🙁

  • @Backseat Boohoo: Yeahhh, not the best idea. It’s stiff, so it would likely cause more discomfort than pleasure.

  • Other than the apparent weak vibes, I’m seriously put off by the way this thing looks. It’s pretty enough and I like the color but it doesn’t look like it would fit very comfortably in my hand, like you mentioned. How does a vibe that has weak vibrations, is hard to clean, and isn’t ergonomically comfortable end up costing 80 bucks? If I wanted to spend a shit ton of money on a luxury toy I’d just go the extra 40-50 bucks and buy the Eroscillator.

  • @Ashley: I’m still puzzled about the raised sides that prevent me from holding it the way I want to hold it. I just don’t understand.

  • @Epiphora: Yeah, it’s strange, they really make no sense. I like though that you mentioned its resemblance to a Manta Ray because that’s what I think of every time I look at it.

  • Sarahbear

    Geez. For $80 you would think it was at least rechargeable or you could sterilize it. =/

  • Wilhelmina

    fancy (albeit annoying) touch-dial but not rechargeable? whaa?

    also, i totally want a vibrator called Sunny Lane’s Cliterrific Manta Ray now

  • Kayla

    I always thought this one would be extra powerful. Glad to know the truth. I’m not sure how I’d feel about a touch sensor on my vibrator. Just seems like more of an annoyance then help. Good review. 🙂

  • Good to know I’m not the only one that doesn’t like chocolate. People think I’m a freak, but it really just doesn’t do anything for me! Therefore, this vibe would definitely be better than chocolate for me, though that really isn’t saying much.

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  • yeah the idea of a touch-controlled vibe is somewhat interesting, but in reality I’d think it would be too awkward. hello lubey fingers?

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  • Misty Kaye

    I’m really glad I read this review. After reading a review on a web site that sells this product (which is understandably biased) I was intrigued. But now I know better, and can spend my $80 on something else…or maybe even several Something Else’s.

  • @Misty Kaye: I’m glad to hear that my review helped you!

  • You forgot to mention it looks like a snake head. 😉

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  • redddelicious

    @Epiphora: When I got my BTC at the Good Vibes store, the lovely saleslady mentioned that it helps to think of it as something you have to ride, like a saddle. Most often when I use it I kind of snuggle it in to my vulva, with the vibey end on my clit. Then I either rock on it or lie face down (which is often how I get off anyhow) and just use my hand to adjust the slider or to press the vibrating end harder against my clit.
    Also, I found the range of intensity pretty satisfying, myself. Granted, I am not a huge vibe user, so I may be more sensitive to that particular type of stimulation than others, but I really liked how slowly it could go, and found that the highest setting was enough to get me off. Although, I must admit, just barely.

  • @redddelicious: I’m glad that works for you. However, I don’t hump things to get off, so it doesn’t change anything for me.

  • sophie2229

    Thanks to the Form 2, I don’t really use mine anymore.

  • Selective Sensualist

    Too bad about the strength of this vibe. I love the looks of it, but the looks alone aren’t going to cut it. And how I love that pinpoint tip . . . Weep. 🙁

  • namelesschaos

    Their coming out with a new music controlled OhMiBod version of this I wonder if they fixed some of the other issues like the lack of power as along the way?

  • Liz

    this thing is shaped so weirdly and you can never tell what it looks like from one photograph. i thought it was more triangular the first time i saw a picture, curved down on each side like it would lay downward over the mons and hit the clit that way. but apparently not. man, it just looks awkward. and again with the $50+ battery-powered vibes! if it ain’t rechargeable or silicone, who do you think you’re kidding?

    i see you’re planning to review one of the nomi tang getaway models… godspeed. hopefully they’ve improved the controls?

  • Bri

    BTC just looks awkward. Maybe better than chocolate, but not better than my Fairy Mini Mini was…

  • Crystalline

    It looks like I don’t even know what—something broken off an armoire? And just as effective, apparently.

  • Natasha

    I saw this toy and was majorly interested in giving it a go…but would have to import it as well as pay a fortune…glad I didn’t now as this review is very useful. Thanks xxxx

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  • lawless

    I’m so glad I found this post! BTC was my first clitoral vibe, and in fact was my only vibrator for 3 years, until just a few days ago when I bought a Mona 2. I’ve truly loved this vibe for its perfect hardness of the tip, the ease at which I can change the strength of the vibrations, and how comfortable my hand is holding it to my body for any period of time. I am only ever disappointed with the BTC when its batteries are dying, which is an extremely simple fix. I know my opinion differs completely from Epiphora’s, and as far as I know this product isn’t even for sale anymore, but it’s been my clit’s best friend for years now, so I thought I’d give it a shout-out!

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