One of my favorite sex toy companies is the sex positive Babeland thanks as much to their responsive customer service clerks as the wonderfully diverse catalog of toys they offer these days. Among their most interesting offerings sent to me of late was the Astrea II Remote Vibrating Thong which is part of the Berman Center Intimate Accessories Collection. For those in the know, the Center is the brainchild of Dr. Laura Berman and they go out of their way to design products with the woman in mind, often hitting a home run in their attempts to service the community. With the knowledge that the Astrea II was made to allow a partner join in on the fun, I took it for a test drive with my current main toy tester, Nadine.
The vibrator itself is powered by 2 AAA batteries, enough power to give it a friendly buzz and last awhile but small enough to be placed in the pouch of the included black lace stretch panties that come with it. The panties are made of 80% nylon and 20% spandex, giving it a fair amount of room to manuever with, the tag telling me it should be hand washed in cold water as well as it supposedly fits all sizes. Thankfully, Babeland provides a more modest size range, suggesting it is good to 38" hips. The down side to the impressively designed box it comes in (complete with fold open cover with bullet points describing the various attributes of the toy) is that it only says the panties stretch to fit "most" and given the size of Nadine, it wasn't any more likely to fit her than it would me.
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So the panties portion of the set was a bust, the pocket for the vibrator nestled between the pussy and ass rather than more appropriately found near the clitoris. The remote control was powered by a non-standard tiny 12 volt battery (batteries were included thankfully) and while the advertised range of the device was only 12', my own testing revealed it to be far greater, at minimum the length of my 60" living room (though the vaulted ceilings might have helped with the range). This was a plus considering the design flaws of the panties which were also not going to hold back the waves of female juices that should conceivably short out the device before too long.
Yes, the vibrations were slightly louder than expected and the square shape kind of awkward for the placement but there was no "O" ring seal to prevent it from getting wet, the cost of the device on the high side given the tweaks needed to make this a winner. And don't get me wrong about the potential for this to really close the deal with some minor modifications; providing a few sizes for the panties, adjusting the placement of the pouch to where the clitoris would be, making the vibrator part water resistant if not water proof, and perhaps adding a variable speed to it rather than merely off and on.
The website described the toy like this: "Sometimes, you just want someone to do all the work for you; that's
what you'll get with the Remote Vibrating Thong. Slip on the sexy black
stretch lace thong panty with it's strategically-placed concealed vibe,
hand the remote to your lover, and get ready for an exciting night
either out on the town or locked in the bedroom. With a range of up to
12 feet and vibration that's stronger than most remote control vibes,
this sexy wearable toy makes a whimsical-yet-functional gift for a
bachelorette, a lover, or yourself. And just like any lingerie you want
to wear as often as possible, this one is machine washable. What more
could you want?"
The box cover also mentioned it was "Safe and Pure" with the CENI label but it was made in China (for the socially conscious that care) and only the packaging seemed home grown. As tested then, there really were too many issues that came up for me to rate it as other than a SKIP IT but I wanted this to work as much as Nadine did, the novelty of the remote control device running wild in our collective imaginations. Perhaps Dr. Berman will update the toy in the third version (I have no idea what the difference was between #1 and #2; the included pictures from Babeland) ; to make this a smash hit but until that time, hold onto your money and buy something a bit sturdier for your hard earned cash.
---- You can email me with questions at Houstondon @ hotmail.com if you have any constructive criticism of the review too. :) Also you can follow me on twitter @HoustonDon