Arcwave's process of diversification – which has resulted in the very budget Arcwave Ghost joining its otherwise premium product line – continues with the Arcwave Pow, a toy which theoretically sits in the middle ground and which (like the Ghost) comes in a range of lovely colours.
But is the Pow powerful enough to push it into the pantheon of the best sex toys for men or, for that matter, the best sex toys full stop? It's a weird one. It... might be? Let's explore what's good, what's not so good, and you can make your own mind up.
Arcwave Pow review: Design & Features
It's hard to work out whether this is the Arcwave Voy's big brother or its plucky younger sibling. While the Pow (which we can't help but internalise as POW!, '60s Batman-style) absolutely has the size advantage at 6.5 inches insertable over the Voy's stubbier 3.5, it doesn't quite have the maturity – this feels like a far more fun, wacky device than the tightness-adjusting veteran.
In terms of construction, it's actually rather similar and fairly familiar to anyone who's seen the likes of the Fleshlight QuickShot Vantage or, indeed, any other soft stroker. There's a hard plastic case, removable caps on either end, and a textured silicone inner.
The texture itself is interesting. It's made up of a spiral helix of quite pronounced bumps, employing Arcwave's tough but yielding silicone blend to full effect. It's backed up on either end by straightforward circular openings, one slightly larger than the other. Arcwave doesn't seem to advertise this as a double ended toy, as such, but you can absolutely use it either way.
And then there's the gimmick, because there has to be one: the Pow is a toy which attempts to employ suction to full effect. It does this in several ways. On one of its end caps, there's a pressure release valve, a little flap of silicone which sits loosely in a small hole; place your finger over it and you'll immediately create suction; release it, and the suction goes away.
That's not the only way to go about things. You can rearrange its components and cover the end with the other vented cap for a consistent level of air movement, or use it with no end cap to go suction-free. Block the three small vent holes around the Pow's perimeter, and you can add a little additional internal pressure, too.
Arcwave Pow review: Does it work?
OK, well, let's start with the suction: it vaguely works. Sort of. Covering the pressure release valve adds a small amount of suction, but less than you'd get from a typical closed-ended toy because of those vent holes. Attempting to cover them is nigh-on impossible, even with gigantic hands – you're going to have to get dexterous with two hands at once if you want to do that, a process which feels a little extra and proves highly distracting. Basically, this isn't the toy for you if suction is your goal. It's a pleasing extra, but not really the main event.
So the real selling point must be the texture, then? Well, yes, mostly. It's pretty nice. As Arcwave already learned with the relatively simple banded texture of the Voy, there's really little reason to concoct some spectacular Fleshlight Ice Lady-like maze of caverns and textures when a single uniform pattern can work just as well. This one does work. It feels great – again, though, mostly. It's probably not quite as universally likeable or as physically exciting as the Voy's banded texture, though that's a marginal and personal assessment.
It absolutely needs a huge amount of lubrication. That's not so easy to achieve when the deep grooves between its spiral of rounded bumps basically just drink it up. If you're using this for more than a few minutes at a time you'll definitely need a quick reapplication.
Big positive marks to the Pow's design when it comes to cleaning, as the same capillary action which wicks the best lube away makes it very easy to rinse. The entire inner can be removed for thorough cleaning, and it's fairly straightforward to get dry – though you'll need to find a good spot to stand it up while the air does its work.
Arcwave Pow review: Verdict
Let's put the Arcwave Pow in its place: for all the little irritations we were able to find with it, it's really not bad. This is an affordable toy, one without the gaudy anatomical theatrics that certain others employ. It has a clean design, an effective texture, it's easy to maintain, and there are plenty of ways to use it.
Basically, it's a perfect first toy, and its variety means it will be able to hold its own if it's the only toy you own. We don't think it's done quite enough to knock Arcwave's own Voy off of its perch – or, indeed, to revolutionise the stroker world – but we'd presume it was never meant to. It's an unintimidating, almost universal toy and Arcwave's most accessible effort yet.
Arcwave Pow review: Alternatives to consider
Weirdly there's nothing quite like the Pow on the market. The Arcwave Voy has definitely contributed a lot of its DNA here, but it doesn't have the same length; something simple like the Lovehoney Reversible XL Double Stroker offers a slightly similar experience, but it's nowhere near as premium.
We'd put this closest, in size and feel, to the Fleshlight Flight Pilot which currently holds the spot of number one in our best Fleshlight guide. Fleshlight's middle-sized stroker can generate more suction and offers more variety in its texture, but its softer material might not be able to stand up as well as that of the Pow.