A Shitty Review: Costco’s Presenza Bidet

| #bidet | #costco | #review |

My apologies for the following post, which will cover some gruesome topics.

I spent five years in Japan and learned to love the washlet, those magical spraying toilets that clean your bottom when you’ve finished your business. There was one in a house I was renting, and I avoided it for a few months before giving it a very thorough cleaning, and giving it a go.

Instant convert. You savages still scraping bits of dead tree between your legs need to get your shit together. Washlets are amazing. Toto, a Japanese company that makes mostly ceramic plumbing products (sinks, toilets, bathtubs, and all the related bits) is a world leader in washlet technology.

(At this point, I must point out the Japanese use bidet to refer to the device for washing female genitalia, and washlet refers to the device for washing the bum. In the West, it’s a catch-all term, derived from the French word for Pony. No shit. Wikipedia. I will be using the terms more or less interchangeably.)

Anyway, Toto makes excellent washlets. They’re available as bolt-on additions to any toilet, or as integrated units built in to the bowl. In Japan they’re quite affordable, at about $200 and up. In Australia, however, a bolt-on Toto washlet costs about two and a half thousand dollars, a hefty premium because the product is seen as a luxury device for rich assholes. My asshole is poor.

So I bought the Presenza Italia bidet from Costco. It costs $409 AUD, including delivery, but can be found for $399 in-store, and I bought mine on sale for $299. A very reasonable price!

But my friends, let me tell you, the Presenza is a shitty product. For many reasons. The up-front story is that this is a budget made-in-China piece of ill-considered poop. It works well enough but it lacks refinement. It’s what happens when someone gets a list of requirements, and checks every box, without giving a shit if it’s actually any good.

Where the Toto has a small switch to detect the presence of a user’s bum, activating when you put weight on it, the Presenza has a touch sensor that goes BING when you touch it, and BONG when you stop touching it. You can’t disable this, and so everyone near the toilet room knows whether you’re pooping or leaning to one side for poop-related operations. Toto don’t BING.

The Presenza has a nice night-light feature that is either on or off. It’s not activated by opening the lid or anything, so your toilet is either always bright blue inside, or it’s not. Light leaks out when the lid is closed, so there’s a blue line all around your toilet, like a sci-fi movie is scanning your shitter.

The Presenza’s remote has a cheap TV-remote feel, no doubt repurposed from another product. Its buttons are scattered across the front with no thought to logical placement or workflow. The Toto remote is a large wall-mounted plate that’s designed with some thought. It feels like quality. The Toto comes with a large, thorough manual that covers every aspect of the installation and use. The Presenza’s manual is a 4-page newsprint translated brochure that skips important details like how does the remote work and what do the five purple lights on the remote actually mean?

It’s legitimately baffling that they didn’t include anything about the remote and the lights. If you’re adjusting the water temperature, the lights cycle from 2, 3, 4 or 5 lights. Is two lights LOW temp, or OFF? The same applies for every function, but some go down to ONE light and some go as low as TWO lights.

The Toto does a pre-mist, wetting the bowl before you drop anything in it, helping to keep it clean. The Presenza does not. The Toto has an air filter that kicks in when you’re done, cleaning the air. The Presenza does not. Feature wise, paying twice as much gets you way more than twice as much.

Butt maybe we want to talk about how well the Presenza actually works. And here it’s a sort of sloppy result. The seat is too long, so if you’re a man sitting to do your business, you need to carefully place your stuff or it’s gonna rest on some horrifying cold porcelain. It’s … not good.

I can’t speak to the bidet function, I lack the appropriate anatomy. But the washlet function is a laserbeam jet of water with user selected pressure. It does a great job of blasting your bunghole clean, but it’s so enthusiastic that the spray reflects off your bottom and splashes all over the place. I frequently had to wipe all around my bottom to get the water off of fucking everything. And look, it’s gotta be said and I apologize for this, I did not expect to need to wipe my dangly parts dry because of the overspray. Toto goes to great length to discuss exactly how their newest models have further refined their bubble modulation so that the stream of water is softer, effectively aerating it with a variable width spray, to clean gently.

The Presenza has a softer wide beam spray, but for some reason it covers about a third of your ass, so you have to dry a very wide area when it’s done. And sure, the Presenza has an air dryer, but it’s a soft all-around sort of breeze that takes forever to do the job.

This really just sums up the Presenza experience. Someone asked the factory to copy this list of Toto features and no one thought to ask why the Toto was made that way. Just copy it and never mind why.

It’s well enough made, but it’s just poor value. I think I would rather have it than nothing at all, and certainly $400 is better than $2500, but I can import a Toto from Japan, and buy a 2000-Watt voltage stepdown, for about $650 total.

And my bum will thank me.

[ Jun 8 2023 ]

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