Over the last few years, sex toy companies and stores have asked us to review their toys in exchange for, you know, their toys. Today three different Autostraddle writers review and compare their takes on Crave’s Duet Pro assembled at home via their limited-time Build-A-Vibe Experience. Each were sent Build-A-Vibe kits from Crave and were able to assemble their own vibes at home while hanging out together in a live Zoom workshop! There’s still time to check out Crave’s Kickstarter for the Duet Pro and your own Build-A-Vibe experience if you’re so inclined through the coming week!
Material: Silicone tips & electroplated metal base & nickel-free plating
Dimensions: 4.55” x 1.08” x 0.48”
Customizable vibration patterns using myvibes.lovecrave.com
4 Vibration modes & 4 power levels + TURBO
Reviewer 1: I had heard of CRAVE through my other work reviewing the documentary The Dilemma of Desire. It’s an eye-opener, looking at the policing of women’s sexuality – in particular, the clitoris – and features Ti Chang’s company CRAVE quite heavily.
Reviewer 2: Honestly, I had no clue what to expect when I signed on to review this toy – I just loved the idea of building my own vibrator.
Reviewer 3: I didn’t really know what to expect from the whole build your own vibrator experience, but I did like the idea of having an experience as that is a rare thing these days — especially a fun one.
Reviewer 2: I had some funny conversations with friends leading up to the event; people were very polarized. Some friends agreed with me that building a vibrator sounded super fun, and some friends were very confused about my enthusiasm. My best friend and my girlfriend both exhibited extreme skepticism about the venture, leading me to make the extremely anecdotal claim that tops want their vibrators fully built and ready to go while bottoms love the idea of building their own vibrators. On the one hand, this hypothesis is based on 3 human beings and should not be taken seriously; on the other hand, I think I’m right.
Reviewer 1: When the box arrived, it was discreet. It was also packaged really well from a design perspective – two cutely designed boxes in a sleeve, containing everything needed to put the product together and a message letting me know how to book a build-a-vibe session.
Reviewer 3: I found the workshop to be a really enjoyable experience. It’s a bit silly and feels a bit, I don’t know, random? But I like learning about things, including what goes into making my vibrators. I think I expected a bit more variety in the building other than the color — just based on the vibrator build-a-bear pitch — but I understand the limitations when shipping the materials.
Reviewer 2: The workshop was fun! I think we’re at a moment in pandemic time where many of us are craving (no pun intended, lol) exciting experiences. If you’re used to an exciting summer, or even just a summer that requires putting on pants occasionally, you are probably feeling anywhere between lightly bored and deeply depressed right about now. With that in mind, I think this workshop is especially perfect right at this moment. It’s an experiential situation outside of many people’s comfort zones, it is pretty low stakes, and it results in a vibrator.
Reviewer 3: I’m a perfectionist so I definitely did worry the whole time that I was messing it up. But the instructions were clear enough that I felt okay about it. The only time I think I messed up is I didn’t realize we’d be using the sealant grease again so I used way too much the first time! I spent a lot of the session worrying about that error, but I’m not sure we can blame my anxiety disorder on Crave or their products or their instruction.
Also, honestly, as a trans woman with a penis going into a workshop of a sex toy designed for clits I was expecting a variety of microaggressions, and was pleasantly surprised that wasn’t the case! The person leading our group was fairly inclusive in her language and I appreciated that a lot.
Reviewer 2: The Crave technician was very kind and knowledgeable and made a big effort to be welcoming to a group of queers. I was overall very impressed with how doable the whole venture was; I am not tech-savvy or particularly handy, and I was able to follow along with ease and only minimal anxiety (but as a highly anxious person, I take full responsibility for that part).
Reviewer 3: One thing I did think about was how different the experience might have been if it was with strangers rather than the three of us coworkers. I think usually it would be fine, but I think personally I’d be less inclined to do it unless a bunch of friends wanted to do it with me — which is an option.
Reviewer 1: I felt comfortable at the build-a-vibe session but agree with another reviewer that we were all familiar with each other so it might have felt different with strangers. It did feel great to have “built” my own toy, but I think I would have felt just as great if the box simply came with instructions on how to put it together in my own time. Meeting Ti and being able to ask questions was a plus – although I personally came unprepared with questions and collectively, we didn’t really ask much. It was a very new experience to all of use and if I had to do it again, I would have had questions for sure.
Reviewer 3: I like the vibrator itself. It’s small but powerful and I like its sleek appearance. I used it on my nipples and on the head of my penis and found it effective! As we are in quarantine, I did not use it on any partners who might potentially have a clit which is its stated purpose so I’ll let others weigh in on that.
I also did really like the ability to reprogram it! I sometimes get frustrated with the various settings on vibrators, because in the moment scrolling past the options I don’t use and figuring out what’s what can be annoying. So I appreciated the ability to remove the Alternating setting altogether, since it’s one I wouldn’t use. And also if I’m on the Constant setting then I’m at a place where I want it to be at full power so being able to put all four power settings all the way up was great. I feel like it’s now set specifically to the different ways I will use it without all the rest.
Reviewer 1: I also liked the cute leather case it came with, better yet, the fact that it comes with a case. The USB is also low key, so I can charge anywhere you are and it just looks like a regular USB stick. The colour options for the head of the vibe were easy on the eye and it’s worth noting the colour you pick is not necessarily just for the holidays, it’s 4LIFE, unless you want to go through the effort of unscrewing and changing it.
Being more of a penetration with no vibration person who has one vibe I haven’t used in a year that “sucks”’ my clit, I figured the external only Duet Pro would be a push. When I got around to using it, I really enjoyed the Wave setting that went BBBUUUUUUuuuuzzzzz… BBBUUUUUUuuuuzzzzz. I also liked the Alternating setting where it seemed both sides of my clit and nipples were taking turns to be vibrated.
You can change all four settings to have four specific powers and/or speeds. The system uses the serial number of the product rather than your own information/email when you log in to reprogram it. Even at the highest default power and speed, the Duet Pro is relatively quiet (I am currently in lockdown with my family, if that makes any difference to readers!). With four different options for each setting I was able to make it as quiet as I needed depending on the circumstances.
Although we were told this product is waterproof, I have to admit I did not submerge my Duet Pro in water because I was afraid of breaking it. However, when cleaned it seemed as though the seal remained pretty tight and the USB in particular experienced no water damage.
Reviewer 2: The main letdown of this experience for me is I… do not love the actual vibrator. The design is sleek and waterproof, which I appreciate, and dual motors with strong power settings are typically my jam, so I expected to love this. However the shape of the vibrating prongs are just not great for my clit – lying on my back it was medium-fine, if I readjusted frequently to keep the vibrator actually hitting my clit, but when I was on my stomach I couldn’t position the toy against my clit in a satisfying way at all; it was almost too sleek for my fat body, I think? I did try to toy on my nipples and that was more satisfying; as a fat cis woman with very sensitive nipples, I’d say for me this is a great toy for nipple stimulation and a mediocre toy for clit stimulation.
Reviewer 3: I personally do recommend the vibrator and I did enjoy the experience. But I’m not sure I would say the building adds enough to make that really the point of it. As I said it’s fun to have something to do in quarantine, but without building the body of the vibrator you still can adjust the settings and that was the personalized feature I cared about most. Otherwise it’s just the color — which I also imagine you can choose when buying the product complete. I’d also say while the cost is outside my personal price range, I’m not sure if it’s standard for this kind of product. I would recommend this over similar vibrators I’ve used so if the price works for you then, I’d recommend it — building experience optional.
Reviewer 1: In terms of cost, my sucking toy was less than half Duet Pro’s price, but my favorite and most-used lifelike dildo was around the same price as Duet Pro and feels worth it. With that in mind, I do think Duet Pro’s price is reasonable and the value really lies in being able to change settings to suit yourself, the overall discretion of it’s look and the fact that it’s USB powered.
Reviewer 2: Would I recommend this toy and the experience of building a vibrator to you? Maybe. There are 100 Build-A-Vibe experiences available from Crave on their Kickstarter (which ends September 3), and I do think building the vibrator was my favorite part of using it. Once they are all sold out, I’m not sure I would recommend just purchasing this vibrator itself – to be honest, there are other dual vibe models that are similar and that I prefer. There’s also pricing to consider – during the Kickstarter, the Build-A-Vibe experiences are $129 for early birds and $149 when those run out, or $499 for a private 1-on-1 Build-A-Vibe experience. Once the Kickstarter campaign ends, the option to Build-A-Vibe is gone and the vibrator retails for $179. In my opinion, this vibrator without the fun novel experience is not worth that price.
The 100 BAV experiences are being offered at a special introductory price on Kickstarter.
When the campaign ends and the product goes live on the Crave site, the fully assembled product will retail for $179.