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REVIEW – Once in a while, a gadget reviewer gets to review a product he or she would never consider purchasing for themselves. In my case, a massage chair was something that never crossed my mind. I’ve never been a sports nut (my wife is an exercise junkie) or ever thought I needed physical therapy. But as I’ve gotten older, various aches and pains have crept in making life a bit more uncomfortable than it used to be. Enter the X-Chair X77 massage chair.
This behemoth of a chair promises to “reduce stress, improve your rest and recovery and improve overall physical wellbeing” (X-Chair’s words). Of course, all this comes at a price—a big price. But when you factor in other variables that this review will get into, maybe the X77 Massage Chair begins to make sense. Or does it?
What is it?
The X-Chair X77 Massage Chair is the latest chair from X-Chair, makers of X-Chair office and (Mavix) gaming chairs. They also offer options such as the Elemax heat, cooling, and massage office chair add-ons. Yet, as soothing as the Elemax massage can be, the X77 takes massage to a whole new ludicrous level—in a good way.
The X77 is big, heavy, and well—kinda ugly. However, IMHO, all massage chairs—no matter the brand or cost—is neither pretty nor something I would want in my living room. A single-male friend of mine has a massage chair in his living room (he loves it) and I told him he will stay single as long as that chair remains there.
The X77 comes in three color choices: Brown, black, or red/black—which looks like a gaming chair.
The X77 takes up about 10 sq. ft. of floor space (4.1 X 2.2 ft.). That can be a lot of area for a small space, but it fits perfectly in one of our spare bedrooms. It remains out of the way until it’s needed.
All of the X-Chair X77 Massage Chair’s functions are handled on a large, wired remote. The upper part of the remote is a screen listing functions, time of massage, and choices. The lower part contains many buttons, such as on/off, home, massage choices, and directional buttons for screen navigation. The screen is not touch-sensitive.
- Multi-function Remote
- USB charging port
- Weight: 251 lbs.
- Weight limit of user: 265 lbs.
- Recommended height range: 5.0 – 6.5 ft.
Design and features
There are so many massage functions built into the X-Chair X77 Massage Chair that I may either not mention or gloss over some of them. This is a long review, but not a manual. I will cover what I consider the important points.
When the chair is ordered, it is delivered via a “white-glove” service. In my case—two guys and a truck. The chair weighs about 250 lbs, so it requires some delivery and setup by more than one person. It arrived packed in two large boxes. The two-man team unpacked the chair parts, carried them into the house to a room I designated, and proceeded with the assembly. When done, they packed up all the boxes and trash and took it with them. It all went smoothly.
Thinking back, I probably would have had the guys just drop off the chair in the designated place and then leave me to do the assembly. While at my house, it became apparent that they had never assembled a chair like this before, so I have no idea if it was assembled correctly—although everything seems to work as intended. Also, I am meticulous when assembling anything, so I know the chair would have been put together correctly had I done it. You know what they say about hindsight …
As I said, the X-Chair X77 Massage Chair is big and bulky-looking, but it is comfortable. It’s covered in a quality leather-like material (Synflex) that feels nice and cool on my arms and legs. Note that there is an extra-cost upgrade material (Brisa Soft Touch) available. Cushioning is plush and supportive, although the head pillow feels a bit flat.
The footrest consists of individual “compartments” for each leg and feet for individual massaging.
The X77 reclines in what the industry calls “zero gravity”. This simply means that the chair rotates backward lifting the legs as it lowers the head and shoulders, so you are laying horizontally looking at the ceiling. While you don’t really feel weightless, the zero gravity position cradles you in the chair’s egg-shaped cocoon. You can still get any massage with the chair in an upright position, but after using zero gravity, can’t imagine why. Zero gravity absolutely spoiled me. I can’t remember how many times I’ve fallen asleep in this position. It’s that relaxing. Note that the X-Chair X77 Massage Chair can be quite close to the wall and still recline without touching the wall.
X-Chair has included a USB A port for charging so your smartphone won’t run out of juice if you want to listen to music. Also included is a large pocket that drapes over the right (or left) arm—velcroed in place. It’s can hold both the included wired remote and a smartphone.
All of the X-Chair X77 Massage Chair’s functions are handled on its remote. The remote’s window is divided into halves. The left half lets you determine pre-programmed or manual settings. All of the choices can seem overwhelming, which is why I recommend you begin with the programmed settings. Over time, you will become knowledgeable enough to decide what you might want to concentrate on. Using any manual modes too early may result in you putting too much stress on body parts.
The top remote buttons are Power, Home, Foot Rollers, and Heat.
The Heat button glows red when on. While I’m not a fan of the heat setting—my preference—my wife likes it and my daughter-in-law loves it. Maybe I’m weird.
I’ve never tried the foot rollers button because it always seems to be on with whatever preset massage I choose.
The middle section of the remote contains the navigation buttons. There are four directional arrows for selecting settings listed in the display. There are three (I assume the most popular) massage settings buttons ringing the inner arrows. Quick Massage is a more gentle massage than some of the more targeted choices. Think of it as an all-around massage. X-Sport is a bit more intense for active people (that rules me out). I quite like the X-Stretch setting. Parts of it feel like I’m on a rack, but I do get a good stretch out of it.
Along the bottom of the remote are 8 buttons that allow adjustments to the chair and massage. You can adjust the seat to fit your body. You can also control the intensity of roller pressure (3D) and air pressure (more on that later).
The remote functions are well laid out and easy to follow but it feels like old tech. I would prefer a wireless touchscreen remote or an X77 app on my iPhone to control the chair.
The X77 remote includes a setting called Chromatherapy. I had trouble getting a decent photograph, but basically, it is colors morphing and blending together on the remote screen. It all seems a bit silly, plus you have to physically hold the remote in front of your face in order to see the effect. This can prevent the arm holding the remote arm from receiving any compression massage. Plus, as a professional art director, I get distracted by the lower resolution of the screen itself. To my eyes, this makes the Chromatherapy session less than relaxing.
The X-Chair X77 Massage Chair has no built-in speakers—something many other brands include. While that could be a deal-breaker for some, it doesn’t bother me because earphones usually sound way better than any chair speaker ever will.
Massage chairs come in three versions labeled 2D, 3D, or 4D. There are also two different tracks; “S” or “L”. Here is a simplified explanation: Massage chairs have rollers that run the length of the chair. Much of the massage depends on how the rollers function. 2D refers to the rollers going up, down, left, and right as they massage. 3D adds in and out to the 2D functions. 4D adds speed controls to the 2 or 3D. Then there are tracks: “S” track rollers follow the curvature of the spine, while “L” track rollers go farther down and under the glute muscles. Better massage chairs generally have the 4D option. There is some debate about S vs. L track (although I like the L track). The X77 is both 4D and L track.
Having the rollers go up and down (and left to right) feels darned nice. I originally (and mistakenly) thought that rollers pressing into my back wouldn’t do much. Au contraire. As the rollers push against your weight, the pressure can be quite intense. At first, it literally took my breath away. I was not expecting such force. Combining pushing and the up and down roller movement along the spine may have been uncomfortable in the beginning, but regular use can sure ease back pain and stress.
The rollers can also vibrate depending on the setting. This helps relieve muscle tightness I sometimes get from sitting too long with no breaks. My work-from-home job is desk-bound. Plus I spend a good amount of time hunched over a large drawing tablet, so using the X-Chair X77 Massage Chair in the evening after work helps me relax. I also get more benefits with daily use. Massage chairs cannot be fully appreciated unless they are used on a regular basis.
Along with back massage, the X77 remote features a “Focused” section: X-Neck & Traps (trapezius muscles), X-Back, and Glutes/IT Bands. When you first sit down, the X77 performs a scan of your neck, shoulders, and back. This scan helps tailor each massage to your body. For the X-Neck & Traps setting, it’s important to make sure your shoulders are in proper position before this massage. Despite that, this setting left me underwhelmed. The tops of my shoulders sometimes get tight and the X77 doesn’t relieve that kind of stress (I don’t think any massage chair does). But it works much better on my lower traps (upper to mid-back).
While the X-Back setting is great at massaging my whole back, I actually get more relief from the Glutes setting. My lower back bothers me more than the rest of my back and the Glutes setting massages that area giving me the relief I need. I will say that it is a glute setting, which means the rollers go under your butt. At first, it can feel a bit strange—especially when the rollers start vibrating—butt (pun intended) you get used to it.
The X77 massage chair has areas that can puff up with air for what I call compression therapy. These inflatable pads can compress arms, legs, feet, and shoulders. For me, having your legs and arms squeezed feels fantastic. It’s my favorite part in the various massage settings and works great combined with the rollers. The air compression settings cover the shoulders, arms, calves, and feet.
When the shoulder pads are filled with air, it not only compresses sore muscles but can help hold you in place as the rollers push on the back and spine. If this gets uncomfortable, lowering the intensity can help.
The arms of the X77 chair are split, so your arms and hands are sandwiched in-between two halves. These are designed to fill with air squeezing the arms. Usually, each arm is compressed alternately—one or the other. My preference would be the compression to always happen simultaneously, but that’s me.
I don’t get as much out of my calves being compressed as my arms, but it still feels good. Maybe it’s because I have few leg issues. People who get leg cramps will probably appreciate this setting.
I’m still getting used to the foot massages. Sometimes the rollers are a bit much and cause me foot pain. Yet that’s why the X77 is so good because I can either tone down the foot massage or ignore it completely. My choice.
Since the X-Chair X77 Massage Chair is so personal, I asked my wife and daughter-in-law for their opinions. While the wording is mine, the opinions are theirs alone.
My wife—Cheri, the exercise nut—has this phobia about other people’s hands all over her, even if they are professional massage therapists. She appreciates how the chair helps her get the benefit of massage without any stranger touching her. She advises anyone to wear socks during intense foot massages. She also likes that she can lower the intensity of foot massages because it can exacerbate the pain in one of her toes which has been broken a few times (don’t ask).
Cheri is quite fit with low body fat. As a result, her shoulder blades and tail bone aren’t as padded as they might otherwise be. This can become uncomfortable for her with certain massages. Reducing the intensity helps. I am much better padded, so I do not have this issue. She dislikes the Glutes setting because of her sharp tailbone and what she calls the rudeness factor. Overall, she says the X77 does its job quite well.
My daughter-in-law, Melanie, can be quite opinionated, You know if she likes or dislikes something—there’s no middle ground with her. She had a lot to say about the X77 from multiple uses.
My daughter-in-law Melanie likes using the X77’s multiple options to target areas of her body depending on what areas need focusing on. She loves the zero-gravity setting. It gives her a sense of luxury as it assists her in adjusting the rollers to reach parts of her back. She appreciates being able to dial in the intensity of each massage. She also likes how the X77 seems to know how people come in different shapes and sizes.
Unlike me, she prefers using the heat setting as it helps her muscles relax even more, but cautions against wearing shorts while using heat on the legs as it can become uncomfortably warm.
Melanie’s conclusion is that the X77 is a fantastic massage chair that provides professional-level massage at home. I will note that every time our son and she visit, she heads straight for the X77. I’m beginning to think she prefers the chair to us.
Let’s address the elephant in the room—the price. When factoring in the cost of the X-Chair X77 Massage Chair, it not only helps to compare it to other massage chairs, but also to what a personal masseuse might cost over time. The national average cost of a massage therapist is $100/session. If you booked one session per week that’s $5,200/year. The X77 massage chair I’m reviewing costs $7,500. That means the X77 will have paid for itself in a little under a year and a half. Of course, if you schedule once a month, the cost/benefit math changes. But with the X77, you can get a massage anytime you choose—no scheduling or driving time.
As I said at the beginning of this review, the X77 massage chair does more than I have covered here. I recommend looking over the X77 user manual to see all the chair can do. If you’ve decided that massages should be part of your weekly routine or your doctor advises massages as therapy, the price of a massage chair can make financial sense.
At the time of writing this review, X-Chair is including a free X-chair office chair with purchase.
What I like
- Zero-gravity chair position
- Thorough and customizable massages
- Love the air compression
- Quite comfortable
- Can help make you popular
What I’d change
- Chromatherapy is not useful or relaxing (to my eyes)
- No built-in speakers (if that matters to you)
My family and I have lived with the X-Chair X77 massage chair for a bit over a month. We are getting more massages than we would ever book from a professional (not to mention my wife’s touching phobia). It’s a treat to be able to get a massage whenever we want—no travel time, no scheduling hassles, no inconsistencies among different massage therapists. If you don’t prefer a certain message, just change it!
If you are committed to massage as sports therapy or just for life’s aches and pains, the X77 massage chair can make a lot of sense. The more we use the X77, the more we like it.
Price: $7,499.99 (Synflex); $7,777.77 (Brisa Soft touch)
Where to buy: Xchair.com
Source: The sample of this product was provided by X-Chair.