When it comes to perfecting any office setup, an ergonomic chair should be at the top of your bucket list. Besides keeping your posture at its most optimal position, a good chair provides enough adjustments to reduce short and long term back pain.
About a month ago, X-Chair reached out to me to test its latest ergonomic offering: the X-Tech Executive. (I know, the name just rolls off the tongue.) While my initial reaction was, “Hey, isn’t this the chair that I saw on TV?” it was followed by a curiosity about how different a new office chair could be. After all, we’ve just passed the two-year mark of the pandemic, and ergonomic chairs have been all the rave throughout.
The X-Tech Executive starts at an eye-opening $1,915, with additional costs for the built-in ELEMAX massager, locking wheels, and 360-degree armrests. After testing it over the past weeks, here’s my assessment of the chair and whether it’s worth the lofty price tag or not.
- Overall build quality and material are top-notch
- Fast and easy assembly
- Dynamic Variable Lumbar support is effective
- Numerous adjustments from top to bottom
- Expect to pay at least $2,000
- Headrest adjustment is clunky
- X-Wheels don’t move in unison
- Lowest height setting can still be too high
I’d like to preface that the X-Tech Executive chair that was sent to me came with the optional ELEMAX back massager. Besides adding vibration and cooling motors to the original Dynamic Variable Lumbar (DVL) support of the chair, the massager also adds a good five pounds to the overall weight. That said, if you’re assembling the X-Tech for your upstairs room, I’d highly advise taking every part out of the box first and then piecing it all together where you want the chair to be.
The process took about ten minutes from start to finish in terms of assembly. This efficiency was in large part due to the minimal screw placements and the upper portion of the chair being preassembled. I simply popped the X-Wheels into the five-star base, laid the seat base atop, slid the backrest on, and screwed in the head and armrests. If done properly, you’ll be left with a few spare screws for future maintenance, should you need them.
The X-Tech Executive chair is not the most inspiring in the looks department. A quick search for “ergonomic chair” on Amazon will pull up a catalog of similarly-designed seats. Where the X-Chair separates itself from the masses is through fit and finish.
My experience with the X-Chair is what I like to call “love at first sit”. I was greeted with the premium and exceptionally comfortable M-Foam seating as I sat down. The contoured base spans 22 inches wide, giving most body types enough room to sit for hours. Most of the chair is covered in what X-Chair calls “Brisa Soft Touch fabric”. It’s confusable for real, genuine leather material but is much more breathable and promotes air circulation. Clearly, X-Chair knows that people are spending hours on end in front of the computer more than ever.
While I can’t speak to how well the Brisa Soft Touch fabric will hold up after years of sitting, it’s proven to be durable and resistant to light scratches and scuffs from my month of testing. How do I know? The non-locking X-Wheels of my chair, when left idle, sometimes causes it to slide and bump into my drawers and bed frame. My only major call-out is how easy it is to leave hair oil and sweat marks on the headrest of the chair. I don’t consider myself a heavy sweater and, frankly, don’t lean against the headrest too often, so I was always surprised to notice the stains after a day of work. The occasional wet wipe fixes the blemishes, though.
Besides the soft-touch material, the X-Tech Executive has a plethora of adjustable parts. The two toggles on the bottom left side of the chair modify the height and forwardness of the seat base. While I found the latter to do an effective job at positioning my bottom, the height adjustment of the chair leaves room to be desired. I’m a 6-feet guy, but even at the lowest height setting, my knees were barely able to bend at a 90-degree angle (the golden rule for proper posture). It was then that I started to understand why every chair model in X-Chair’s TV spot was using an elevated footrest.
The single toggle on the right activates a “SciFloat Infinite Recline” mechanism. That’s X-Chair’s fancy name for back-tilt. When turned on, you can recline up to 40 degrees backward. Though not as far as the near-180-degree recline of gaming chairs, the 40-degree angle is just enough to give you a comfortable resting position without provoking a sense of imbalance. It also reclines in a smooth and graceful manner. If you prefer a more resistant back-tilt, there’s a knob beside the toggle to dial the chair’s strength.
Arguably the most important part of any ergonomic chair is the lumbar support. The X-Tech Executive’s DVL system is well-designed, flexible, and adaptive. These are crucial because while typical lumbar supports push against your lower back, the DVL’s mesh and spring-like material catch your body and absorb the pressure. This puts less strain on your spine while creating a gentle snuggle as you lay back.
Given its uniform nature, I didn’t feel a need to adjust the angle of the DVL but instead shifted the entire backing of the chair by sitting on the base and lifting the rest upward. There are four height levels that you can adjust, and X-Chair recommends positioning the upper half of the chair so that the DVL is adjacent to your lower back. With a bit of shifting, the X-Chair is easily one of the most form-fitting chairs I’ve sat on.
Lastly, let’s talk about the headrest and armrests. The former is built with the same Brisa fabric as the body and has a subtle curve on the cushioning. Together, you have a comfortable pillow to fall back on and one that can be tilted upward or downward. The headrest is height adjustable as well, but the procedure is not as elegant as the other moving parts of the chair. To adjust, you have to forcefully push the headrest up or down from the back until it clicks and locks in position.
The four-dimensional armrests also require a bit of force to shift across various angles and depths, but the flexibility is greatly appreciated. My issue with the armrests is that they don’t feel as premium as the rest of the X-Chair. Compared to the Brisa fabric and heavy-duty metal, the armrests are made of polycarbonate (or plastic), which makes them much more malleable. On the bright side, they’re also more durable and can take a bump or two against a table.
To elevate the X-Tech Executive, X-Chair offers a number of stylistic and functional upgrades. The first is the aforementioned ELEMAX massager that’s built into the DVL support. When charged, a press of the back button turns the $130 massager on and generates a vibrating sensation. The same button toggles between different vibration modes, while a second one dials the intensity, and a third turns on a cooling fan. While this tech isn’t new, and the machine doesn’t knead your back per se, I was genuinely impressed by how X-Chair seamlessly integrated the ELEMAX system within the lumbar support. It’s a clever, subtle, and effective add-on.
Besides a bevy of standard and Spring collection colors for the chair body, the X-Tech Executive also comes with upgradable X-Wheels. Notably, ones that are black (versus the standard clear color) and ones that have locking mechanisms. Oddly, I thought that the default X-Wheels — which look and behave like rollerblade wheels — did an unwanted job at limiting my movement when sliding the chair from side to side. More often than not, I’d experience a braking sensation since one or two of the wheels did not fully rotate in the direction that I moved in. Still, the X-Wheels are silent, glide in a nimble manner, and get the job done.
At $1,915, the X-Tech Executive sits in the realm of premium, high-end office chairs, alongside that of Herman Miller, Autonomous, and Humanscale. For the price, I wouldn’t recommend it for everyone, especially if you’re shopping for remote work gear with a limited budget. But if you’re less price-conscious and just want a comfortable, ergonomic, and classy chair, then the X-Tech Executive offers a feel and finish that simply can’t be matched by its cheaper competitors.
Alternatives to consider
If the X-Chair doesn’t fit your budget or you’re still browsing through the options, here are our picks for the best alternatives: