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.

 
AAPL
$519.01
Apple Inc.
+1.05
MSFT
$40.40
Microsoft Corpora
+0.65
GOOG
$556.54
Google Inc.
+20.10

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

PDFpenPro 6.2 - Advanced PDF toolkit for...
PDFpenPro allows users to edit PDF's easily. Add text, images and signatures. Fill out PDF forms. Merge or split PDF documents. Reorder and delete pages. Even correct text and edit graphics! Create... Read more
PDFpen 6.2 - Edit and annotate PDFs with...
PDFpen allows users to easily edit PDF's. Add text, images and signatures. Fill out PDF forms. Merge or split PDF documents. Reorder and delete pages. Even correct text and edit graphics! Features... Read more
Monolingual 1.5.9 - Remove unwanted OS X...
Monolingual is a program for removing unnecesary language resources from OS X, in order to reclaim several hundred megabytes of disk space. It requires a 64-bit capable Intel-based Mac and at least... Read more
Maya 2015 - Professional 3D modeling and...
Maya is an award-winning software and powerful, integrated 3D modeling, animation, visual effects, and rendering solution. Because Maya is based on an open architecture, all your work can be scripted... Read more
Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty 1.1.1.180...
Download the patch by launching the Starcraft II game and downloading it through the Battle.net connection within the app. Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty is a strategy game played in real-time. You... Read more
Sibelius 7.5.0 - Music notation solution...
Sibelius is the world's best-selling music notation software for Mac. It is as intuitive to use as a pen, yet so powerful that it does most things in less than the blink of an eye. The demo includes... Read more
Typinator 5.9 - Speedy and reliable text...
Typinator turbo-charges your typing productivity. Type a little. Typinator does the rest. We've all faced projects that require repetitive typing tasks. With Typinator, you can store commonly used... Read more
MYStuff Pro 2.0.16 - Create inventories...
MYStuff Pro is the most flexible way to create detail-rich inventories for your home or small business. Add items to MYStuff by dragging and dropping existing information, uploading new images, or... Read more
TurboTax 2013.r17.002 - Manage your 2013...
TurboTax guides you through your tax return step by step, does all the calculations, and checks your return for errors and overlooked deductions. It lets you file your return electronically to get... Read more
TrailRunner 3.8.769 - Route planning for...
Note: While the software is classified as freeware, it is actually donationware. Please consider making a donation to help support development. TrailRunner is the perfect companion for runners,... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Fourcast Review
Fourcast Review By Jennifer Allen on April 16th, 2014 Our Rating: :: VIDEO POTENTIALiPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad Fourcast is a great idea for combining video clips, but it does lack a number of... | Read more »
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is Avail...
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is Available on the U.S. App Store Right Now – Gogogogo! Posted by Rob Rich on April 16th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
Grammar Pop HD Review
Grammar Pop HD Review By Jennifer Allen on April 16th, 2014 Our Rating: :: FUN LEARNINGiPad Only App - Designed for the iPad Learning the different parts of speech isn’t always fun, but Grammar Pop HD makes it much more... | Read more »
Groundskeeper2 Review
Groundskeeper2 Review By Nadia Oxford on April 16th, 2014 Our Rating: :: SLICE THOSE ALIEN SLIMEUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Putting aside some minor control issues, Groundskeeper2 is a fun and furious action/... | Read more »
Pinnacle Studio for iPhone (Photography...
Pinnacle Studio for iPhone 5.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Photography Price: $9.99, Version: 5.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
Season 3 of Zombies, Run! Starts Right N...
Season 3 of Zombies, Run! | Read more »
Snupps Review
Snupps Review By Jennifer Allen on April 16th, 2014 Our Rating: :: USEFUL LISTINGUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Got a huge collection that you need to organize, or just want to share with others? Snupps has it covered... | Read more »
Toad Rider Goes Free for a Limited Time,...
Toad Rider Goes Free for a Limited Time, Starting This Week Posted by Tre Lawrence on April 16th, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Knights of Pen & Paper is Free for a...
Knights of Pen & Paper is Free for a Limited Time – Don’t Wait for a Natural 20, Get it Now! Posted by Rob Rich on April 16th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
R.B.I. Baseball 14 Review
R.B.I. Baseball 14 Review By Blake Grundman on April 16th, 2014 Our Rating: :: RETRO REVIVEDUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad What was old is new again, as the MLB attempts to taking baseball gaming back to its retro... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Microsoft Blinks – Drops Microsoft Office 365...
Microsoft has dropped the annual subscription fee for Microsoft Office 365 Personal – which is needed in order to create and edit documents in Microsoft Office for iPad. However, Apple’s iOS and OS X... Read more
New AVG Vault Apps for iOS and Android Help K...
AVG Technologies N.V. an online security company for 177 million active users, has announced the launch of its latest mobile application, AVG Vault. The free app introduces an innovative user... Read more
Free Local Carrot iPhone App Helps Find Fresh...
I love fresh vegetables. I’m not a vegan, although I was for several years in the 1980s, but fresh vegetables and other whole foods are still my dietary mainstays as a matter of taste rather than... Read more
Apple refurbished iPad Airs available startin...
Apple is now offering Certified Refurbished iPad Airs for up to $140 off MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free. The following Airs are available today: -... Read more
21-inch 2.7GHz iMac on sale for $1179, save $...
B&H Photo has the 21″ 2.7GHz iMac on sale for $1179 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $120 off MSRP. Add an iMac to your shopping cart, and B&H will offer an... Read more
Download our app, iTracx, for iOS and Android
MacPrices is proud to offer readers a free iOS app (iPhones, iPads, & iPod touch) and Android app (Google Play and Amazon App Store) called iTracx, which allows you to glance at today’s lowest... Read more
Education discounts shave up to $300 off the...
Purchase a new Mac at The Apple Store for Education and take up to $300 off MSRP. All teachers, students, and staff of any educational institution qualify for the discount. Shipping is free, and all... Read more
Save $50 on Mac mini Server
B&H Photo has the 2012 Mac mini Server on sale for $949 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $50 off MSRP. Read more
PhatWare’s “Ultimate Writing App For iOS” Ren...
PhatWare Corp. has announced it has renamed its new WritePro word processing app for iPhone and iPad: WritePad Pro. The decision to change the app’s name to leverages the strong brand awareness and... Read more
Full Resolution Photo Editor Tint Mint 1.0 Re...
California based independent developer, Jeffrey Sun, creator of the iOS app Modern Editor, has released Tint Mint, a new photography app for editing enthusiasts. The app costs a dollar, and it packs... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Manager - Holyoke - Apple I...
Job Summary Keeping an Apple Store thriving requires a diverse set of leadership skills, and as a Manager, you’re a master of them all. In the store’s fast-paced, Read more
*Apple* Retail - Manager - Apple (United Sta...
Job SummaryKeeping an Apple Store thriving requires a diverse set of leadership skills, and as a Manager, you're a master of them all. In the store's fast-paced, dynamic Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC) - Apple (...
**Job Summary** The ASC is an Apple employee who serves as an Apple brand ambassador and influencer in a Reseller's store. The ASC's role is to grow Apple Read more
*Apple* Retail - Market Leader - Cincinnati...
…challenges of developing individuals, building teams, and affecting growth across Apple Stores. You demonstrate successful leadership ability - focusing on excellence Read more
*Apple* Retail - Manager - SoHo - Apple (Uni...
Job SummaryKeeping an Apple Store thriving requires a diverse set of leadership skills, and as a Manager, you're a master of them all. In the store's fast-paced, dynamic Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.