TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Real World Review: Chairs-The Other Essential Tool

Volume Number: 25
Issue Number: 11
Column Tag: Real World Review

Real World Review: Chairs

The Other Essential Tool

by the MacTech Editorial Staff

It's often overlooked, but one of the most essential tools that a tech can have is their chair. Geeks spend long hours in front of a computer, and the chair is make or break for your workstation, your ergonomics, and in the end, how much you can get done in a day.

It's no surprise. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, back pain is second only to the common cold as cause of worker absenteeism. Most office workers spend 1500 hours a year at their desks. Half of workers feel they would be more productive if their chair was more comfortable.

Instead of a simple product review, we did one of our "real world" reviews. In this case, we rotated a series of chairs around to different people of different sizes/shapes. Each person used the chair for a month or more to get a real feel for it. We did this innately, but it turns out there's some real science behind giving each chair time. It takes 3-4 weeks to "unlearn" the last chair, and for your body to get to know your new chair.

A couple things are clear. First, there isn't some magical $199 chair that is as good as a quality chair: a good chair costs $500 or more. Second, everyone is different and may have different needs. As a result, we chose three very different kinds of chairs to look at. And frankly, we liked them each in their own way.

Allsteel Acuity

Allsteel's goal with the Acuity chair is clearly aesthetics combined with performance and comfort. The materials used are wonderful: the seat is extremely soft with a luxury feel, the seat back is a mesh that is highly effective in conforming to your body, and the steel frame is rock solid. The overall look is modern and very appealing, but make sure that the color combinations suit your tastes.


Allsteel Acuity, Chair Controls


Allsteel Acuity

One of the most interesting things about the Acuity is the how the controls for the chair are nearly invisible. Instead of levers and such extending from the base, or back, the Acuity has these controls recessed into the side.Our testers found the chair very comfortable and effective at eliminating the back fatigue commonly experienced when using price-point desk chairs. Testers could easily adjust the chair properly to their bodies and tests, and were able to work comfortably for hours on end. The common comments were that the chair made them feel "ready for action" or that the chair was comfortable to the extent that they "didn't know it was there."

Like many desk chairs with adjustable armrests, the Acuity did have some wobble in the armrests. Normally it would probably not even be noticeable. But when there is such superior build in the rest of the chair, that lack of precision makes itself apparent. This wobble is certainly a result of the chair design and adjustability that Allsteel engineered into the rests. They telescope up/down for height adjusting in a single support, and the rests themselves reside on a clever lockable plate that allows them to be moved to the perfect comfort setting. All this flexibility in movement comes at a price - the aforementioned wobble that stood out compared to the tight fit and smoothness of the rest of the chair.

Our testers also commented on the seat back. It wraps itself around you from the lumbar to the shoulders, reclines at just the right amount of rearward pressure, and it breathes - a nice perk in a warm office. The overall support is firm, with nice contour in the lumbar region. And the fact that it is mesh is eye-catching and compliments the polished steel frame nicely.

When used on a hard surface, one will appreciate the quiet and perfectly tracking casters. There's nothing like one little push with the feet to shoot you effortlessly from the desk to the printer, without even hearing the movement.

Acuity pays particular attention to the build materials, including that 90 percent of the materials (by weight) can be recycled, and that 46% of the original materials contain recycled content. Acuity is backed by Allsteel's Lifetime Warranty; and, at the end of its useful life, Allsteel will take back, break down, recycle and/or reclaim the chairs.

The Allsteel engineers call it a dynamic adaptive fit. Allsteel's design team coined the name AcuFit. Either way, the weight-activated controls, seat cushion, and conforming mesh back/frame combination work invisibly and automatically to give you comfort without the need for adjustments.

The chair as tested retails for approximately $1650, but versions are available at street prices down to $850. The chairs are visually striking, very comfortable, and get a positive recommendation from the MacTech team. See http://www.allsteeloffice.com/acuity/

Nightingale CXO

When Nightingale Chairs made the CXO, they had a not-too-modest goal: to build the "most comfortable chair in the world engineered for those requiring greater strength and durability." With its steel reinforced seat plate and specially designed heavy duty gas lift it can handle up to 450 pounds of weight, so they've certainly accomplished the "strength and durability part." And, after sitting in the chair, every one of our testers felt the chair was incredibly comfortable ... in particular in the seat.


Nightingale CXO

Nightingale built the chair to accommodate different postures and posture changes. The company says muscle activity is reduced due to the design, with the weight on the spine cut down. The CXO 's adjustable features cater to small, medium and large body types. The company indicates that taller individuals can sit in comfort when the optional headrest is added, but frankly, our shorter testers really liked the head rest as well.

Mesh backing allows air to pass freely with the goal of making the chair comfortable in all climates. It also sports dynamic movement; in other words, it moves with you. And the CXO's dual-layer fabric is perforated for airflow.

Spring-loaded ball bearing ratcheting system operates the arm rests. They move up, down, in and out, and come complete with lockable swivel pads. Like all chairs, the armrests are not completely solid because they adjust in so many ways.

You can adjust the CXO's seat depth with a slow release synchronous knee tilt mechanism, complete with side tension control and an integrated seat slider. An option headrest adjusts up and down; it even has a coat hook built into it (and frankly, helps to give the chair a look of having a "serious purpose").

The contoured lumbar pad can be adjusted up and down, as well as in and out, for personalized lumbar comfort and support. Translucent ABLEX patterned weave mesh back provides lumbar support while allowing dynamic back movement. The energy-absorbing foam in the seat cushion, the adjustable lumbar support and headrest disperses the person's weight vertically and horizontally.

The base of the CXO (which has more than a passing resemblance to products from Herman Miller) is a five-prong design with anti-slip treads. It has two-inch mag wheel carpet casters. An optional polished aluminum finish is also available. It easily travels on a carpeted floor, even without a pad.

Enersorb foam is found in the seating surface, lumbar support and the optional headrest. The foam conforms to your body when you sit, then reverts to its natural form when you get up. What's more, the contoured seat foam incorporates a waterfall design that slopes away from the legs. This design minimizes pressure on the thighs and is designed to promote better posture. It also has a four-way stretch that moves with the Enersorb foam. This overall seat design is what makes this chair incredibly comfortable to sit in. It is a completely welcoming sensation to sit in this chair.

Bottom line: This chair gets a definitive thumbs up from the MacTech team. The CXO is available in a variety of colors, including yellow, red, gold, black, burgundy, grey, blue, navy and green. Also, a range of leather selections are available. The CXO has a street price of around US$899. See http://www.nightingalechairs.com

SmartMotion's Swing Chair


SmartMotion Technology Swing Chair

SmartMotion's Swing Chair takes a different approach from other chairs in a variety of ways. The chair's "swing" design helps your body sit in correct positions. In fact, when you first sit in a Swing Chair, it may feel somewhat foreign as your body works against the chair. But, after a couple initial adjustments, your body starts to learn from the chair and you'll find yourself sitting in the right position to reduce back and neck pain.

Once adjusted, the chair doesn't need re-adjustment because it will continually move with your natural movements. Designed specifically for people who work on computers, it will allow you to work in comfort for hours on end even if that's typically a strain for you.

What's interesting is that after a few weeks of sitting in the chair, it gets even more comfortable. It's not that the chair has changed, it's that your body has let go of old habits and is responding to the chairs "guidance" in how to sit properly.

For example, we reviewed the chair during summer months, and at times, reviewers were wearing shorts. There was a repeated comment that people would slide forward on the chair, and their shorts would "ride up" on them. But, after a week, as our reviewers' bodies unlearned prior habits, they would sit back in the chair and this would no longer happen. Sliding forward was poor posture, as the Swing Chair (like any chair) needs you to sit back to give you support.The Swing Chair does make it easy for your body to be in near constant motion, constantly adjusting. The chair matches your body's center of gravity and motion, and rotates in concert with your body's motions. The result is that you are both comfortable and sitting in the correct posture. While men tend to slouch, and women tend to perch, the chair counters these habits and your body continually ends up in a good posture position.

Build quality on the chair is solid, but a notch below what you'd find in the more expensive chairs. The arm rests flow much more fluidly than most chairs, and don't require additional adjustments once you have them setup. Smart Motion offers a couple of options on arm rests as well.

From a practical point of view, the Swing Chair is unusual in that it can ship via UPS and requires no tools for assembly. SmartMotion offers a free 30-day home or office trial with a money back guarantee (for any reason).

Bottom line: This chair gets a definitive thumbs up from the MacTech team in particular for those with back discomfort, as well as those looking for a good value. The chair sells for $495, plus shipping, directly from Smart Motion Technology. See http://www.swingchair.com/

Conclusion

You can't go wrong with any of these chairs: we intentionally pursued ones of quality and purpose. They have different looks, and design philosophies, and you simply need to match what they do best to what your needs are.

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

TotalFinder 1.12.2 - Adds tabs, hotkeys,...
TotalFinder is a universally acclaimed navigational companion for your Mac. Enhance your Mac's Finder with features so smart and convenient, you won't believe you ever lived without them. Features... Read more
Duet 2.3.0.3 - Use your iPad as an exter...
Duet is the first app that allows you to use your iDevice as an extra display for your Mac using the Lightning or 30-pin cable. Note: This app requires a $9.99 iOS companion app. Version 2.3.0.3:... Read more
FileMaker Pro Advanced 18.0.3 - Powerful...
FileMaker Pro Advanced is the tool you use to create a custom app. You also use FileMaker Pro Advanced to access your app on a computer. Start by importing data from a spreadsheet or using a built-in... Read more
OsiriX Lite 10.0.6 - 3D medical image pr...
OsiriX Lite is an image processing software dedicated to DICOM images (".dcm" / ".DCM" extension) produced by medical equipment (MRI, CT, PET, PET-CT, ...) and confocal microscopy (LSM and BioRAD-PIC... Read more
Ableton Live 10.1.5 - Record music using...
Ableton Live lets you create and record music on your Mac. Use digital instruments, pre-recorded sounds, and sampled loops to arrange, produce, and perform your music like never before. Ableton Live... Read more
Burn 2.7.8 - Easily burn data, audio, vi...
Burn... There are a lot of ways to approach burning discs. Burn keeps it simple, but still offers a lot of advanced options. Create data discs with advanced data settings like, file permissions, the... Read more
Malwarebytes 4.0.30.3073 - Adware remova...
Malwarebytes (was AdwareMedic) helps you get your Mac experience back. Malwarebytes scans for and removes code that degrades system performance or attacks your system. Making your Mac once again your... Read more
Acorn 6.5.3 - Bitmap image editor.
Acorn is a new image editor built with one goal in mind - simplicity. Fast, easy, and fluid, Acorn provides the options you'll need without any overhead. Acorn feels right, and won't drain your bank... Read more
Fantastical 2.5.13 - Create calendar eve...
Fantastical is the Mac calendar you'll actually enjoy using. Creating an event with Fantastical is quick, easy, and fun: Open Fantastical with a single click or keystroke Type in your event... Read more
A Better Finder Rename 11.05 - File, pho...
A Better Finder Rename is the most complete renaming solution available on the market today. That's why, since 1996, tens of thousands of hobbyists, professionals and businesses depend on A Better... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Eternal Warfare is a new idle clicker fo...
Idle games are a popular genre on mobile, they might not be to everyone's taste but they're made with such regularity and receive a lot of downloads, so it's hard to argue it's not big business. Eternal Warfare is set to join the sea of idle games... | Read more »
New heroes and balance updates set to ar...
It feels like Hearthstone: Battlegrounds only launched yesterday, and already the auto batter addition to Blizzard's megahit card game is set to receive new heroes and balance updates. [Read more] | Read more »
Pre-register for Hello Kitty AR: Kawaii...
Hello Kitty — the cute cat that launched a multi-billion-pound franchise — has been brought to life… sort of. Sanrio has teamed up with the Bublar Group to create a new mobile game that uses AR tech to turn the real world into Hello Kitty’s... | Read more »
Gorgeous and tranquil puzzler Spring Fal...
One-man indie studio SPARSE//GameDev has now launched its tranquil puzzler, Spring Falls. It's described as "a peaceful puzzle game about water, erosion, and watching things grow". [Read more] | Read more »
Black Desert Mobile gets an official rel...
Pearl Abyss has just announced that its highly-anticipated MMO, Black Desert Mobile, will launch globally for iOS and Android on December 11th. [Read more] | Read more »
Another Eden receives new a episode, cha...
Another Eden, WFS' popular RPG, has received another update that brings new story content to the game alongside a few new heroes to discover. [Read more] | Read more »
Overdox guide - Tips and tricks for begi...
Overdox is a clever battle royale that changes things up by adding MOBA mechanics and melee combat to the mix. This new hybrid game can be quite a bit to take in at first, so we’ve put together a list of tips to help you get a leg up on the... | Read more »
Roterra Extreme - Great Escape is a pers...
Roterra Extreme – Great Escape has been described by developers Dig-It Games as a mini-sequel to their acclaimed title Roterra: Flip the Fairytale. It continues that game's tradition of messing with which way is up, tasking you with solving... | Read more »
Hearthstone: Battlegrounds open beta lau...
Remember earlier this year when auto battlers were the latest hotness? We had Auto Chess, DOTA Underlords, Chess Rush, and more all gunning for our attention. They all had their own reasons to play, but, at least from where I'm standing, most... | Read more »
The House of Da Vinci 2 gets a new gamep...
The House of Da Vinci launched all the way back in 2017. Now, developer Blue Brain Games is gearing up to deliver a second dose of The Room-inspired puzzling. Some fresh details have now emerged, alongside the game's first official trailer. [Read... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

B&H offers $100 discounts on 4-Core and 6...
B&H Photo has new 4-Core and 6-Core Mac minis in stock and on sale today for $100 off Apple’s MSRP. Prices start at $699. Overnight shipping is free to many addresses in the US: – 3.6GHz Quad-... Read more
Save $200 today on a 2019 13″ MacBook Air wit...
Apple has a full line of Certified Refurbished 2019 13″ MacBook Airs available starting at only $929 and up to $200 off the cost of new Airs. Each MacBook features a new outer case, comes with a... Read more
New Verizon Pre-Black Friday 2019 deal: Buy o...
Buy one new Apple iPhone 11 model or 2018 iPhone XS model at Verizon and get a second one for free. One new line of service required. Offer is valid from November 21, 2019 to November 27, 2019. Here... Read more
AirPods with Wireless Charging Case on sale t...
Abt Electronics has 2019 AirPods with the Wireless Charging Case on sale today for $163 shipped. Their price is $36 off Apple’s MSRP, and it’s currently the cheapest price for these AirPods from any... Read more
Apple continues to offer 2017 13″ Dual-Core n...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2017 13″ 2.3GHz Dual-Core non-Touch Bar MacBook Pros still available starting at $1019. An standard Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, outer cases... Read more
Save up to $120 on the new 16″ MacBook Pro at...
Apple’s resellers are starting to receive stock of new 16″ MacBook Pros, and the first set of sales & deals are now available: (1) Amazon 16″ MacBook Pros start on sale for $100-$116 off Apple’s... Read more
Apple Watch Series 3 models on sale at Amazon...
Amazon has Apple Watch Series 3 GPS models on sale for $30 off MSRP, starting at only $169. There prices are the lowest we’ve ever seen for these models from any Apple reseller. Choose Amazon as the... Read more
The ‘Mac Potpourri’ Mailbag: Edition #1- Info...
COMMENTARY: 11.20.19- Welcome to the inaugural edition of the “Mac Potpourri” Mailbag where we take a look at correspondence received from readers of this column from all over the world who write in... Read more
13″ 2.4GHz MacBook Pros available for up to $...
Apple has a full line of Certified Refurbished 2019 13″ 2.4GHz 4-Core Touch Bar MacBook Pros available starting at $1529 and up to $300 off MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is included, shipping is... Read more
New at T-Mobile: Switch to T-Mobile, and get...
T-Mobile is offering a free 64GB iPhone 8 for new customers who switch to T-Mobile and open a new line of service. Eligible trade-in required, and discount applied over a 24 month period. The fine... Read more

Jobs Board

Best Buy *Apple* Computing Master - Best Bu...
**747303BR** **Job Title:** Best Buy Apple Computing Master **Job Category:** Sales **Store NUmber or Department:** 001413-Cypress-Store **Job Description:** **What Read more
*Apple* Mobility Pro - Best Buy (United Stat...
**743221BR** **Job Title:** Apple Mobility Pro **Job Category:** Store Associates **Store NUmber or Department:** 000230-Greenwood-Store **Job Description:** At Best Read more
*Apple* Mobility Pro - Best Buy (United Stat...
**747338BR** **Job Title:** Apple Mobility Pro **Job Category:** Store Associates **Store NUmber or Department:** 000254-Superstition Springs-Store **Job Read more
Best Buy *Apple* Computing Master - Best Bu...
**745516BR** **Job Title:** Best Buy Apple Computing Master **Job Category:** Store Associates **Store NUmber or Department:** 001101-Manhattan-Store **Job Read more
Best Buy *Apple* Computing Master - Best Bu...
**746655BR** **Job Title:** Best Buy Apple Computing Master **Job Category:** Sales **Store NUmber or Department:** 002518-Atlantic Center-Store **Job Description:** Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.