“WHY???”: Womanizer & Satisfyer Disposable Wave Toys


Review


I’ll admit it—I’m a bit of a sex toy elitist. Both in starting this blog and in my own bedroom, I tend toward stronger, fancier, longer-lasting toys with price tags to match. If I’m going to buy something, I’d rather wait to save up than make compromises—which is why Womanizer’s “The One” and Satisfyer’s “One Night Stand” pulsating air toys caught me off-guard. These very similar toys cost only ten dollars each and are positioned as tasters, giving users a chance to try this relatively new type of stimulation without shelling out the roughly $60+ for a fully-featured model.

The catch? They’re completely disposable, with the Satisfyer lasting 90 minutes and the Womanizer tapping out after a mere half hour. That’s it. There’s no recharging or replacing batteries unless you can hack the device (read on…). Both toys are programmed to brick themselves after the allotted time, even before the sealed AAA batteries are completely dead.

This seems like a bad idea. Let’s give it a go!

When the toys arrived (in suspiciously similar packaging), I enlisted my girlfriend, an established pulse toy fan, to lend me a hand in testing them out. While both feel robust for their price point, we agreed that the Satisfier distinguished itself with a slightly more solid and streamlined feeling in the hand. Only the Womanizer’s removable silicone head makes it possible to clean between sessions or users, if that matters given its 30-minutes service life. Initial impressions made, we started a timer, set both toys on their most powerful settings, and settled in for some playtime.

For those unfamiliar with air pulse toys, they basically use a small, oscillating silicone cup to stimulate through light, pulsing suction, usually on the clit. They create a sensation slightly different from a traditional vibrator, and they can often be much quieter.

The Womanizer feels rumblier, while the Satisfier is buzzier and more powerful, as if the Satisfier has a higher pulse frequency but the Womanizer has a slightly greater amplitude. Especially when used on my frenulum, the Womanizer’s protruding, soft silicone head makes it easier to create a comfortable suction seal for strong, focused stimulation where the Satisfyer’s more plastic-y head cannot. Both toys fit to my girlfriend’s clit well and created nice gentle stimulation, especially when stronger settings were paired with a bit of lube to enhance the seal. We both would have preferred more intense stimulation from both toys, and the finer control offered by the Satisfyer’s four power settings compared to the Womanizer’s three didn’t make much difference.

While neither toy is quite as strong or comfortable in the hand as their multi-use siblings like the Satisfyer Pro 2, my girlfriend and I agreed that they are generally pleasant to use. They stayed true to their stated time limits with no noticeable change in power, diligently shutting off at exactly 30 and 90 minutes, respectively.

But, when the Satisfyer shut itself off and the dust settled, neither of us had even gotten close to cumming.

Both toys disappoint for one simple reason: it’s hard to get off when you can’t stop watching the clock. Even with the Satisfyer’s more generous 90-minute timer, knowing that your sex toy is counting down the seconds to oblivion like a masturbatory time-bomb is just not sexy, a flaw only exacerbated by the fact that, unlike vibrating dildos, air pulse toys are truly useless without their powered functions. These factors combine to create a sense of designed hostility; these toys are literally designed to let you down.

And that’s not even the worst part.

To put it mildly, selling an item designed to turn itself into e-waste in the course of an evening is wildly unethical, especially without so much as a recycling program or pay-to-unlock system to lessen the environmental impact. Both the Satisfyer and Womanizer utilize a sealed clamshell design and mix of plastics that will make them hard for electronics recyclers to deal with, and, as shown in the Teardown section of this post, the disposable nature of both toys is purely profit- rather than design-driven. Womanizer’s parent Wow Tech and Satisfyer should seriously reconsider this product category.


Teardown


Now that both toys’ timers have run out, it’s time to dive in, see what makes them tick, and find out if we can hack our way around that pesky self-bricking “feature.”

Beginning with the Satisfyer, pulling the rather beefy two-piece ABS clamshell apart reveals the mysteries within. The injection-molded halves of the case are impressively designed, with neat alignment pins to keep the two sections together and tight tolerances on interior features that hold components in place with a friction fit. Often a surprisingly hard thing to get right, this mold has clearly been made with care.

Near the bottom of the device sits a lone, small PCB with control circuitry powered by two standard AAA batteries, which largely account for the toy’s weight and robust feeling. Towards the top left sits a small DC motor, which rotates a lubricated semi-flexible linkage to oscillate the toy’s silicone diaphragm and create air pulses. Even after 90 minutes of use, the batteries were far from flat, and the diaphragm linkage assembly rotated smoothly, confirming my suspicion that the toy’s time limit is enforced in firmware rather than the result of some hardware limitation.

A closer look at the two-layer PCB doesn’t reveal much. The circuit consists of just one unmarked IC, two ceramic capacitors, a diode, a resistor, and a pushbutton for user input. The IC is almost certainly a very simple microcontroller, but, without any further clues as to its provenance or an immediately responsive reset pin, I decided to save my hacking efforts for the Womanizer.

The Womanizer’s ABS case stubbornly resists prying, but cutting some of its internal pins with a rotary tool allows for easy access. While this toy’s outer ABS case is slightly simpler, it contains two other plastic parts that clip the components together.

The toy operates on the same principle as the Satisfier, using a small DC motor to oscillate a silicone diaphragm, this time with a slightly tighter, better-made linkage. However, the Womanizer uses just one AAA battery and is controlled by a significantly more complicated circuit.

The two-layer PCB has a discrete transistor that switches current to the motor, a four-position DIP switch for user input, a bunch of passives, and four IC’s. Voltage regulators boost the single battery’s voltage to a suitable level for driving the motor while another small microcontroller, this time an A262AFB, provides the brains of the operation. I couldn’t find any information on this particular chip, but the board’s silkscreen provides some clues. Most notably, the via marked “CLEAR” creates the tantalizing suggestion of a way to reset the chip, hopefully allowing for another 30 minutes of play time.

Unfortunately, after significant experimenting and poking around, it does not seem that either of vias near the “CLEAR” label is a true reset line, although all is not lost. Connecting both via’s simultaneously to the base of transistor T1 often (though not always) seems to glitch and reset the device. Just like that, the Womanizer is back in action for another 30 minutes.

A small switch between these two points allows for easy glitching by rapidly disconnecting and reconnecting them, and it even conveniently fits into the little access hole I cut to open the Womanizer in the first place. Now I can glitch the microcontroller for effectively unlimited 30-minute cycles.

Sketchy? Yes! Beautiful? Also yes!

All things considered, both the Womanizer’s The One and the Satisfyer One Night Stand are examples of good technical design applied to a terrible product strategy. They feel good in the hand, are mechanically solid enough to survive a few drops and run far longer than their intended service life, and create air pulse stimulation that, while far from earth-shattering, is impressive for their $10 price point. Without the lines of code make them useless after little more than one play session, I’d be buying them as gifts and recommending them to everyone I know.

Sometimes, hackable sex toys are fun, encouraging me to explore and think up quirky new features to make them truly feel like mine. But the fact remains that very few people have the tools, skills, or time to cut and solder a bricked Womanizer into a real, semi-usable sex toy. Instead, both The One and The One Night Stand leave me with a bad taste in my mouth, teasing the nice, affordable products they could have been before being undermined by environmentally ruinous programmed disposability.

This is where I would normally link to a product page, but guess what? Not this time! Full editorial control means I don’t have to try to sell you on stuff like this. Instead, please consider supporting the Inside Sex Toys Patreon to help me test & tear down more cool stuff!

Laura

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