Saturday, July 15, 2006

I can't get no satisfaction

Today's Sharper Image item, the AcuVibe Rechargeable Personal Massager, may look vaguely familiar to some both of my female readers. That's right, the Sharper Image has finally come out with their own version of the classic, much beloved, that Dom Perignon of vibrators, the Hitachi Magic Wand.

I am a little bit surprised, though, that even in this day and age vibrators still have to be marketed as "personal massagers".

Perhaps the only other thing about this that really surprises me is how simple it is. Most Sharper Image items have some kind of bizarre, pointless extra function. It's a clock... that makes poached eggs! It's a three-pronged marshmellow roaster... that rotates! It's a pair of socks... with antibacterial capabilities! But this vibrator just... vibrates. And is the color of a personal computer. And this is in a market with leopard-print and glow-in-the-dark items, or devices shaped like hummingbirds or disguised as rubber duckies, water-proof devices, hands-free vibrators that buzz to the beat of pulsing music in order to make clubbing a lot more fun.

So let's see how the Sharper Image's AcuVibe vibrator compares to the classic Hitachi.

Both have two speeds: high and low.

Both claim to be powerful. Vibration is centralized at the head and not wasted at the base.

AcuVibe: 49.95
Hitachi: 40.95 (on sale from 44.95)

Power Source
AcuVibe: rechargeble; charge lasts 30 minutes
Hitachi: power cord
The option of cord vs. batteries is a major distinction in the make of a vibrator. A cord offers more power but less mobility. Batteries offer more mobility but less power and have an unfortunate habit of dying at inopportune moments. Plus, battery-powered devices tend to be novelty devices and have a shorter life span. The AcuVibe attempts to have its cake and eat it too, offering power and portability, but a thirty-minute charge simply might not be enough to satisfy some customers. Plus, when it runs out of juice, it has to recharge for eight hours, whereas regular batteries can be replaced in a few minutes.

Winner: Hitachi Magic Wand. Potential customers of the AcuVibe may want to consider turning Japanese instead.


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