Lovely 2.0 review: Original, innovative, and not without problems
Over the past few years, there have been a proliferation of smart sex toys aiming to use technology to give you better sex. However, while most are content merely to do this via plentiful vibrations or stroking, the Lovely 2.0 is designed to encourage deeper emotional and sensual connections between you and your partner, prompting you to explore new ideas and activities.
As the name suggests, the Lovely 2.0 is the second iteration of the product, which was initially launched as an IndieGoGo campaign. Part sex therapist, part fitness tracker and part sex toy, the Lovely 2.0 is a novel and ambitious idea – but can it deliver on its promises?
Lovely 2.0 Review: Design
The Lovely looks, in essence, like a somewhat bulkier version of an average cock ring – albeit a more aesthetically pleasing one. It’s an egg-shaped silicone affair with a series of decorative ridges at one end and a stretchy ring at the other, along with a physical control button in the middle. It’s available in two colours – an attractive ‘wild green’, which our review sample came in, and ‘soft pink’, which is pastel-shaded and much less appealing.
It’s rather well-constructed; the silicone is nice and smooth, and the flowing lines are pleasing to the eye. It’s also discreet enough in its appearance that it doesn’t immediately scream ‘sex toy’ on first glance. While you’re probably not going to fool anyone into thinking it’s not a bedroom device, you wouldn’t be too red-faced if you happened to accidentally leave it on the nightstand while entertaining.
The Lovely charges wirelessly, and unfortunately the charging pad that comes in the box isn’t quite as nice as the toy itself. For a start, it’s made out of rather cheap-feeling plastic compared to the Lovely itself. The micro-USB cable that powers it also doesn’t come with a wall plug, so you’ll need to find an adapter or plug it into a handy USB port.
On the other hand, the charging pad uses the ‘Qi’ wireless power standard used by many smartphones – so if you happen to have a spare Qi charging pad lying around, you can safely shove the provided one in a drawer and use that instead.
Lovely 2.0 Review: App
The main draw of the Lovely device and the accompanying app is its ‘Desire-Sensing’ technology, which supposedly uses data about your sexual preferences combined with data collected by the device to offer tips and feedback which will help improve your sex. During setup, the app will ask for your height, weight, age and gender, the latter of which includes an ‘other’ option to cater for non-binary individuals.
You’ll also be asked to pick which sexual areas you’re interested in, including topics such as foreplay, intimacy, threesomes and ‘erotic intelligence’. Once set up and paired with the Lovely itself, the app will offer a ‘daily tip’ on things to try related to your chosen areas of interest. This is a clever idea, but unfortunately it feels a little underdeveloped. For example, you can pick which of your chosen areas you want your daily tip to relate to, but it will only relate to that one area, rather than taking all of your choices into consideration.
As a result, the daily tips don’t feel particularly personalized but rather like it’s simply serving you something from a pre-defined list. The tips themselves are also a bit hit and miss; some are inventive, such as the suggestion to use coconut oil as a massage oil/lubricant, while others are more basic. One tip was essentially just an explanation of what the clitoris is, which could be perceived as a little too basic.
The app’s stability leaves a little to be desired, too. We experienced a number of crashes and errors during our time with it, and the app’s icon was the blank stock image that Android uses when the developers haven’t supplied one, as opposed to the rather appealing Lovely logo.
Where the app really shines is the feedback it delivers after a session with the toy. The app will log approximately how long the session lasted and how many calories you burned in the process, as well as giving you suggestions on novel ways to use the Lovely beyond the obvious. If you’re only using the lovely during penetrative sex rather than incorporating it into foreplay, these figures won’t be as representative – but that should be an incentive to make full use of its potential, rather than something to discourage you.
Lovely 2.0 Review: Your Lovely subscription
One of Lovely’s other selling points is that it offers instant, 24/7 access to certified sex educators and ‘various sex-related video courses’, for a cost of $29.99 per month. Note that this is different to a sex therapist – sex therapists are primarily concerned with helping people overcome psychosexual issues and dysfunctions, while sex educators help improve people’s sex lives through coaching and tips.
Again, it’s a novel idea; it’s often hard to get access to sex educators, particularly if you don’t live in a major city. However, while $30 may offer better value compared to the per-session rates of your local sex educator (should you be lucky enough to have one), it feels rather steep for a monthly charge, especially on top of a $139 asking price for the device itself – we’d have to be having an awful lot of sex in order to feel like we’re getting our money’s worth.
Additionally, while the app doesn’t send you pushy notifications prompting you to subscribe, the button for the subscription service is built directly into the navigation bar. We often found ourselves hitting it by accident, only to be greeted with a request to fill in our credit card details.
Lovely 2.0 Review: Experience
Actually using the Lovely itself during sex is also a rather mixed experience. The software-based remote control function is cleverly designed, and features a simple, fully-adjustable slider to control the intensity of vibrations, with separate buttons to toggle between various different pre-set patterns. There’s also a real-time graph at the top of the app which shows the changes in vibration strength, allowing you to better visualise the patterns. It’s simple, intuitive and, crucially, easy to adjust while in the heat of the moment.
Considering its relatively small size, the Lovely is capable of some surprisingly powerful vibrations, although it won’t match larger toys with more powerful motors. The company claims a two-hour battery life, and we certainly didn’t experience any problems with it running out of charge during use.
Unfortunately, we experienced a number of irritating connection issues when trying to control the Lovely via the app. For starters, it takes a number of seconds for the app to find and connect to the device when you open the remote control tab. It also had a habit of losing its connection mid-session, which results in a couple of awkward, flow-breaking seconds of fumbling with your phone and waiting for it to reconnect.
On the plus side, you can disregard the app-based controls altogether if you want, as the device can be controlled via its integrated physical button. While you won’t have access to the same granular vibration controls that the app offers, it means you don’t have to have your phone handy every time you want to use it.
The range of the device is good, too – we measured a distance of roughly 30 feet before our Lovely lost its connection to the app. The range extends much further than that, though – if you and your partner both have the Lovely app, you can invite them to control the device directly from the remote tab, allowing them to control it from anywhere in the world. This works surprisingly well – the only downside is that both parties have to have the app open at the remote tab. We would have liked the ability to receive a push notification subtly informing us that our partner was sharing control with us.
Lovely is a wearable made from super adjustable 100% body safe silicone. After sex use the Lovely app to share your feedback and desires.
While it wasn’t an altogether write-off of an experience, the Lovely 2.0 didn’t impress as a toy for couples – though it did perform better in solo use.
- Innovative feature set for 2016
- Easy to use
- Subscription connection issues
- Some disconnection issues
Lovely 2.0 review: Verdict
Lovely is trying some interesting things with its second-generation device. The combination of sex tips and feedback with standard app-based remote control is a rather innovative one, and the idea has a lot of potential. The activity-tracking elements of the software are a nice touch, too. Its ambition is hampered by technical limitations, however; Lovely’s ‘Desire-Sensing’ technology simply isn’t smart enough to deliver any meaningful insights about your sex life or any tips that couldn’t be found with a bit of rudimentary googling.
This puts it in a rather awkward position; on one hand, those with a lively and active sex life may appreciate the ability to track their sessions, but they’re also less likely to find the tips useful. Alternatively, those that aren’t as adventurous may find that the tips encourage them to explore their sexuality and desires a little more, but probably won’t use it as regularly, which slightly undermines the activity tracking.
The device itself is also let down by a couple of tech issues, most notably the intermittent Bluetooth issues. Although this is usually the kiss of death for a smart sex toy, the physical controls save it from being a dealbreaker.
The Lovely 2.0 earns a cautious and caveated recommendation. While it’s definitely an original and creative product, its appeal will depend heavily on the kind of sex life you already have – don’t expect this to magically reinvigorate your bedroom activities.
- People who want to track their sexual activity
- Couples who want to improve their overall sex lives
- Long-distance relationships
Not Recommended For:
- Couples looking for an instant boost to their sex life
- Couples who don’t have frequent sex