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Expensive gaming chairs with their oversized, car seat-like looks aren't for everyone. And while industry leaders like the excellent Secretlab Titan Evo and Noblechairs Legend do come with built-in adjustable lumbar support, ergonomics is not their primary focus.
For someone who wants a chair that's equally at home in the office or the living room, designed primarily to support your lower back, there's the very impressive FlexiSpot C7 Ergonomic Office chair.
Don't assume that the C7 is a cheap compromise to buying a top-end gaming chair. While it might not be as pricey as the $500+ Titan, the even more expensive Legend, or a top of the line Herman Miller chair that runs four figures, this all-black mesh model still costs $349, and the website says that's currently $260 cheaper than usual.
But there's a huge difference between the C7 and those standard, ache-inducing chairs you find populating most office buildings.
Unpacking and Assembly
One thing the FlexiSpot C7 does have in common with gaming chairs is that it comes in an unfeasibly large box. The good news is that the various parts aren't quite as heavy, which makes moving them around and slotting everything together slightly easier for the most part, though the assembly process is still a lot simpler with someone else helping, especially when placing the completed seat section into the wheel stand.
However, there is one step in the instructions that myself – and other reviewers, it seems – struggled to understand as it isn't very clear.
It took about five minutes of attempts before getting it right.
Attaching the headrest was a little fiddly, too, but apart from the previously mentioned exception, the manual is pretty good overall. The whole process took around 20 minutes by myself, and it would have been quicker were it not for that one issue. It was certainly completed in less time than it took to put the weighty Legend and Titan Evo together.
Once finished, it's easy to see how different the FlexiSpot C7 looks from most office chairs. There's the breathable mesh fabric covering everything, the fancy headrest, the multitude of levers, and, most conspicuously, that lumbar support section that juts out. It's all very fancy.
Don't expect to feel a level of zen-like comfort the first time you sit in the C7, though. The mesh seat (there's also a foam option for $40 less) is certainly firmer than a typical cushioned gaming chair and takes so acclimatizing to.
This is an ergonomic chair first and foremost, so the best thing you can do is watch FlexiSpot's own video (below) to find the best setup for your needs. Get the lumbar "cushion" (as the company calls it) in the right spot, unlock the recliner, lean back, and this is a very relaxing chair. It actually rivals top-end gaming alternatives in this department and is easily one of the nicest, most soothing office chair I've tried.
But people aren't going to buy the FlexiSpot C7 to sleep in. It's designed to be as close to ergonomically perfect as possible for users who are going to sit in it for hours on end, hence the slew of adjustability options.
The lumbar support really is a highlight. I've tried chairs with integrated systems that either I couldn't feel at all or were so intrusive that it made sitting in them a literal pain.
There's a smooth locking mechanism for the C7's lumbar support just behind the backrest on the right-hand side. The cushion only adjusts slightly when this is released, but locking it in the perfect place is wonderful. Once secured, it continues to shift ever so slightly to match your movements, allowing for a very natural feel.
Elsewhere, the gas-powered lift alters the height from 19.9 inches to 22.6 inches, and a lever at the front allows the seat to be slid 2.4 inches forward or backward, which is ideal for those with longer or shorter legs. As a side note, the chair is designed for people between 5-foot-4 and 6-foot-2 (162 cms to 188 cms – up to 300 pounds), which is something not that common in gaming chairs.
I really love the 90- to 128-degree recline feature in the FlexiSpot with five lockable positions. It's something most chairs have, but here it feels smoother than most rivals, and the tension adjuster handle is great. There's also a lever for tilting the angle of the seat that is simple to lock and unlock with a twist, but the base does seem to have just two set positions.
The armrests are another excellent feature and one that's identical to the Legend, Titan Evo, and other gaming chairs. The 4D movement allows them to be placed higher or lower, forward and backward, horizontally, and at different angles.
Only the up-and-down function of the armrests requires a button press, but I never moved them accidentally by leaning too hard. They're also quite soft, if not quite reaching Titan Evo levels of satisfying squishiness.
Finally, there's the headrest. It supported my unusually large cranium well, was comfy, and kept me cool all day. It's manually adjusted with no lock but stays in place perfectly, even when you throw your head against it after dying in Remnant 2 for the millionth time.
It's difficult to find anything to complain about with the C7's build. The chair is sturdy with no creaks or worrying noises when rolling across the floor or adjusting the various elements. It also feels secure when shifting your weight in the seat or adopting a different position (you can sit crossed legged), with no wobbling to speak of.
Something else that I like is how easily the castors glide across a surface and the way the seat spins 360 degrees with little effort from the user. That's likely due to it being lighter than most gaming chairs, but it's still incredibly well-built, which probably explains why FlexiSpot offers a 10-year warranty.
Putting the C7's ergonomic claims to the test involved some 9-hour work sessions with minimal breaks, followed by around 2 to 5 five hours of gaming.
There were times during my work sessions when sitting in the C7 felt so natural that it was almost like I was floating. The lumbar system might take a little getting used to at first, but it eventually became so perfectly slotted into my back that I forgot it was there.
Furthermore, the mesh material stopped things from getting toasty in the way pleather/leather/other material can on warm days. If there's one criticism, it's that pressing my back against the mesh doesn't feel as nice as it does with foam.
After my shifts had finished, I got up and felt… nothing. My back, which often feels tight after this amount of time in other chairs, was completely painless, as were my legs and neck. And there was no numb backside that usually comes from sitting for hours on end.
The gaming sessions were even better as I was able to recline the C7 for a more relaxed experience. I actually enjoyed leaving the reclining lock off and using the backrest almost like a rocking chair.
I genuinely did not expect to be a big fan of the FlexiSpot C7. The words "ergonomic" and "office chair" are not the most appealing combination, after all. However, not only does the chair look the part, but your bones and muscles will thank you, too.
The FlexiSpot C7 is not without its negatives, of course. A sale price of $349 for the mesh version means this is not an inexpensive chair (depending on who you ask), and despite all the positives, paying a regular price that's almost twice this amount feels a tad too expensive.
Consider that some people enjoy an oversized gaming chair that buries them in a plush foamy seat when they sit down. This is not that. Also, more of a warning than a negative, the C7 does require some initial adjustment to find the ideal position, and even then can take a while to get accustomed to, a process not everyone might be willing to complete.
The biggest compliment I can give the FlexiSpot C7 is this: now that my review, which involved near-constant use, has concluded, it's time for me to revert to my beloved Titan Evo... but I'm truly conflicted about returning to my gaming chair or continue enjoying this ergonomic bliss.
- You'll struggle to find a better office chair in this price range
- Ergonomically almost perfect
- The lumbar support system is excellent
- 10-year warranty
- Handsome corporate looks
- Can require some adjustment and getting used to
- Will be pricey for some
- Not as lushly comfortable as a premium gaming chair