Unbound’s Pep is a great vibrator for beginner and experienced users alike

As online consumers, we’re hit with waves of enticing branding every day — and many of us are understandably wary. We’ve fallen for too many Lisa Frank-esque social media posts and packaging only to find out that the actual product doesn’t live up to the hype.

These disappointments, however, make it that much sweeter when the quality of a company’s branding does match the quality of its product. Unbound’s newest sex toy, Pep, is one such product.

Unbound, the online sex toy retailer founded in 2014, has a pastel pink website and pastel toys to match with cutesy names like Puff and Stellar. The company’s Instagram account, boasting 150,000 followers, showcases its Gen Z-focused style with scrapbook photo layouts and cunnilingus memes.

Pep, which launched on July 15, is designed for beginners, and the reasons for developing the introductory toy were twofold, according to Unbound CEO and Co-Founder Polly Rodriguez.

Unbound’s team used customer feedback to develop Pep

The pandemic caused a spike in sex toy sales and ushered in first-time users, for one, and Unbound’s first beginner sex toy, Bean, left customers with something to be desired. It was too big for some to handle and wasn’t as powerful as users wanted, so Unbound wanted to improve the experience of a first-time vibe, said Rodriguez.

Unbound chatted with more than 50 customers to discuss what to change. Users wanted a more compact size yet versatility of use; a toy that could provide both broad and targeted external stimulation; and a vibrator with more intense vibration. The price had to remain affordable, too.

Over the course of 14 months, Unbound developed Pep with these features in mind. Does the toy measure up to what the team wanted to achieve? Given Unbound’s social media popularity and the (literal and figurative) buzz over the toy, we had to try it out.

The Pep experience

Unbound’s toys are inexpensive, and Pep is no different. At $40, it’s less expensive than my (and my Mashable colleague Jess Joho’s) favorite affordable vibrator, the Maude Vibe ($45).

“We’re able to offer higher quality products at a lower price because we do not sell to distributors,” explained Rodriguez, “who take a pretty big chunk of the margin in our industry.”

The price of this toy is unbeatable, as is its compact body: 3 inches by 2.5 inches, weighing less than 3 ounces. The toy comes in two color choices, melon/violet and aqua/teal. Users maneuver Pep with three buttons: An on button that looks like Unbound’s logo, and plus and minus buttons to switch between intensities and patterns.

Pep is waterproof, making for easy cleaning, and it can be fully submerged in water up to three feet deep for 30 minutes. Pep can be used with a water-based lube. (This goes for most sex toys — never use oil-based lubricant on body-safe silicone!).

The vibe is USB chargeable with a magnetic port. I’ve talked about how magnetic port chargers aren’t my favorite (they can sometimes be tricky to manage), but they enable the toy to be fully dunked in water, so I don’t mind it at the end of the day.

Powerful vibrations and a helpful guide so you know exactly how to use it

Due to customer reviews about Bean’s lack of powerful vibrations, the team at Unbound set out to source a motor with a heavier metal to achieve those stronger vibrations. They also added more speed variety, so the lowest setting is rumbly but “still packs a punch,” Rodriguez said. Pep is tiny but mighty with five intensity settings and three vibration patterns, all laid out in a booklet included in the toy’s packaging.

Pep is an easy introduction into toys without sacrificing quality of sensation.

Unbound gets points for this intensity/pattern breakdown alone. I’ve used many vibrators in my time, and some didn’t even tell me how many settings there were, let alone explain them.

Rodriguez understood my frustration: “​​I can’t tell you how many times I’ve opened a product I didn’t know how to use,” she said, “only to find a product manual with confusing diagrams and instructions (looking at you, Ikea).”

Pep and booklet.
Credit: mashable

The refreshing sense of joy I felt flipping through Pep’s booklet carried over to actually using the vibrator.

Pep is egg-shaped, with the top for targeted stimulation — say, on your clit. Its body is for more general stimulation, like on the outer labia or elsewhere to tease your body. While there’s no technical break-down of Pep’s speeds, the toy revs up as much as bigger vibrators in my arsenal do.

Intensities two and three (medium-low intensity and medium intensity, respectively) were enough to get me over the edge, but there are numerous intensities and patterns to cycle through when using Pep; there’s lots of room to explore.

Pep’s body is pretty “squishy,” so it feels good on even the most sensitive areas. Besides non-stop rumblings, the other patterns are start-and-stop bursts and rev-up-to-slow-down waves.

The size was also perfect. I’ve been told by family, friends, and nail techs alike that I have small hands, and I was able to adeptly maneuver Pep while using it.

The toy wasn’t silent, but it wasn’t jackhammer loud like bigger toys — perhaps due to the size. Given that it’s not at all cumbersome — yet provides strong vibrations — Pep would be perfect for partner use if one partner wants to use it directly while the other does their own thing. I’m not sure if two people would be able to use it directly at the same time; I haven’t tested that.

Is Pep really good for beginners?

Pep is an excellent vibrator option for beginners. Given its affordable price, small size, and waterproof body, Pep is an easy introduction into toys without sacrificing quality of sensation.

The usefulness of Unbound’s booklet can’t be overstated. Not only does the pamphlet detail the different settings, but it also offers a thorough how-to for a masturbation session as well as a pep talk for users. The latter explains that the goal of self-love isn’t orgasm, which is a reminder everyone from sex toy novices to practiced users need.

All Unbound products come with instructional booklets, said Rodriguez, and the team strives for them to be straightforward, encouraging, and genuinely educational. Even as an experienced sex toy user, this was much appreciated.

My sole disappointment with Pep is that it didn’t come with a travel pouch. Because it’s so small, I envision traveling with the toy, whether on a plane or just to a partner’s place. This is easy to work around, as I can purchase a satin pouch online or even use an empty Glossier bag, but I would’ve loved a color-matching bag from Pep.

This one con doesn’t damper all of Pep’s pros. If you’re a beginner in the market for your first sex toy or a long-time user that wants an affordable, small-yet-powerful vibe for your collection, Pep is a great choice.

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