Image: X-Chair

A comfortable and ergonomic office chair is a key part of any in-person or remote office space and there are seemingly innumerable offerings on the market. We recently tested X-Chair’s X4-HMT, a high-end office chair featuring a built-in heated massage and a number of adjustable elements for optimal comfort, but is the model worth the steep asking price? We tested the unit over the course of a full work week and then some to find out.

Minimal assembly and innumerable configurations

First, people will need to assemble the chair before enjoying the heated massage. Fortunately, the setup is markedly less extensive than a standard IKEA project and you could probably make do without the instructions. To complete the task, you’ll need to pair the chair back and seat, attach the armrests, connect the wheelbase with the lift cylinder and you’re set. All-in-all, the process will take approximately 20 minutes.

Once everything is structurally in order, you’ll want to fine-tune the overall arrangement. Many office chairs provide the most basic adjustments; namely the option to raise or lower the seat. The X-Chair on the other hand offers a wide range of custom configurations.

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The chair back itself can be raised or lowered as needed to ensure the lumbar support function hits its target. The armrests adjust up and down, extend front-to-back, and also rotate a few degrees. The seat slides forward or backward and the optional headrest tilts as needed.

A knob on the side of the chair controls the recline tension enabling greater control over the resistance when rocking or utilizing the “SciFloat Infinite Recline” and it’s also possible to lock the recline in place as desired. The ability to switch from a locked position during more hands-on tasks to an unlocked recline while reading documents was particularly useful during the workday.

So, how is the heated massage?

Now, it’s time for the million dollar question: How is the heated massage? It’s important to note that the X-Chair offers heat, massage, or both settings concurrently. The massage feature touts either a steady vibration or a pulse and both are available in two intensity settings. A series of buttons along the back of the chair control the heat and massage functions and the placement makes it easy to simply reach back and hit switches while seated.

The chair has an internal battery and comes with a traditional wall charger and a USB charger to power the heat and massage elements. For those who prefer to ditch the cables, the internal battery packs enough juice to power these features for a few workdays between refreshes.

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The heat and massage are delivered via the “Dynamic Variable Lumbar” or DVL. This adjustable component is situated at the base of the chair back and flexes as you move to support the lumbar throughout the day. The responsive flex allows the DVL to firmly and uniformly deliver the heat and massage directly to the lumbar as your torso shifts.

The massage is offered in short bursts (approximately 15-minute sessions) rather than functioning in an always-on capacity. As a result, the heat and massage deliver a rejuvenating burst and then fades into the background of the day. If you want another quick sesh, simply hit the button and carry on.

Image: X-Chair

Premium features come with some sticker shock

As anyone who has ever shopped for a new office chair knows all too well, the market varies greatly when it comes to features and pricing. There are plenty of options under $125 for individuals looking for a basic no-frills model. On the other end of the spectrum, high-end models with ergonomic designs and premium materials easily cost hundreds and even thousands of dollars.

The X4-HMT model we tested included the optional headrest, brown leather, standard foam insert (as opposed to the memory foam upgrade), and cost $1,389. This grand total puts the unit squarely in the premium office chair pricing tier. The innumerable configurations, heated elements, built-in massage, and leather collectively add to the sticker shock, but all things considered, the price tag seems reasonable, albeit somewhat exorbitant for an office chair.

TechRepublic’s take on the X4-HMT

Simply put, the X4-HMT Heat and Massage Chair is an exceptionally comfortable office chair and the heat and massage elements add an undeniably rejuvenating burst to tasks. While the spa treatment isn’t exactly an office chair essential, the blast of warmth and massage are appreciatively refreshing in the middle of the workday. The responsive lumbar support and innumerable configurations allow the chair to contour to your specific body for optimal comfort. Unlike some shoddier models with minimal padding, the plush X4-HMT lets you leave the workday behind without aches and pains.

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Overall, the X4-HMT is certainly worth a look if you’re looking for a top-of-the-line office chair with aesthetic appeal, primo lumbar support, optimal comfort, and lavish bonus features like heated massage. However, if you are in the market for a more rudimentary office chair, or even a basic ergonomic option, look elsewhere. There are plenty of middle-tier and entry-level priced models available for far less green.

Shopping considerations

Remember, shopping for an office chair is all about understanding your particular workspace needs. If you only work from home part-time, you probably don’t need a top-of-the-line model, but those in the market for a daily office chair should consider shelling out a bit more cash for a full-time ergonomic option. It’s important to note that some models may include cheaper components (namely minimal padding) and this means individuals may need to invest in aftermarket accessories to boost comfort (seat pads) adding to the long-term costs.

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