Butt Technica rolls again: We review the All33 Backstrong C1 seat | GeekComparison

Not long after reviewing the Anda Fnatic and Secretlab Omega gaming chairs, I started getting offers of test samples for other chairs. The most curious of the bunch was the one we’re reviewing today: the $599 All33 Backstrong C1.

The Backstrong C1 touts itself as chiropractor-designed – the chiropractor is Dennis Colonello. Colonello teamed up with industrial designer Jim Grove to build a chair that allows movement of “all 33” vertebrae in a sitter’s spine. Based in Beverly Hills, Colonello has served as something of a chiropractor to the stars for decades — which may help explain the laundry list of the new A-list celebrity chair.

Design and appearance

The design itself is striking and maybe even a little visually confusing. The seat and lower back are mounted on a rotating horizontal axis independent of the upper back of the chair, with open space visible in an arc separating the two. The overall effect is reminiscent of contemporary furniture – the late 1960s and early 1970s vision of futuristic design.

Nothing in the literature I’ve seen for the Backstrong explains the actual function of the independently pivoting lower seat – and just looking at the photos I had no idea, except that it was unlike anything I’d seen before. Actually, sitting in the chair provides the answer – it’s all about lumbar support.

In short, you can’t really relax in the Backstrong C1. You can sit however you like, but the chair itself follows your butt as you do, and the weight of your own legs positions the lumbar support firmly in the curve of your spine. The Backstrong C1 is a one-trick pony – more on that later – but that one trick is awesome.

A six-year hitch followed by a career in systems administration has left me with a much abused lower back that will not tolerate a lack of lumbar support for long. There is absolutely no chance of getting that lack of support in this chair. When your butt is in it, your lumbar region gets support, and in my experience with this chair, that’s all.

So far, so good. Unfortunately, there is very little ergonomic adjustment possible with the C1. The seat height is adjustable via the usual gas spring and the seat has a recline angle of about 30 degrees…and that’s about it.

Head, arms and dining room

There is no headrest for the chair – the backrest ends at approximately neck height. My wife actually likes that because it allows her to put her hair up in a bun without feeling like a clenched fist is being shoved into her skull. But it’s double-plus-ungood for the typical gamer pose, reclining to the max with a controller on your chest.

The armrests fold up fully so they don’t get in the way if you want to roll your chair very close to the desk, but otherwise they aren’t adjustable in height, width or angle. And the tilt lock is extremely limited: the mechanism only engages when the seat is fully upright, so you can’t lock the tilt (for example) at five or ten degrees back.

With its light weight and easy rolling, fantastic comfort and striking looks, the Backstrong C1 would make a great conference chair in my opinion. If it were cheaper, I’d like six of them at my dinner table right now. But the lack of ergonomic adjustability and support beyond the lower back should probably rule it out of serious consideration for the sort of “go-anything chair” I think most people are looking for in a home office.

Unpack and assemble

The Backstrong C1 comes in a significantly smaller and lighter box than any of the gaming chairs we reviewed last month – the specs on the box claim a net weight of 47 pounds, which is about right, and a gross of 61, including a wooden pallet which we have not received. Although the box says “team lift,” most able-bodied readers can be a team of one if they put in the effort and believe in themselves.

Upon opening the box, I was greeted with a complete mess: a bunch of random cardboard sheets, a plastic cover that had come loose from the adjuster arm that supposedly protected it, and a mysterious rolled-up piece of cardboard that I’m still scratching at. my head greeted me as I pried off the glued-together top flaps. Luckily I don’t actually have that concern about unboxing, and none of the components themselves were damaged.

Better yet, there was a large piece of lightweight foam folded into the box, which served as an excellent place to put the backrest on my concrete carport floor while I was working – a huge improvement over trying to put it on the leftovers of a transparent floor. plastic bag, which is what I had to do with both the Anda and Secretlab gaming chairs.

As impressed as I was with the “unboxing experience” – scared quotes intended – the actual editing was fantastic. This is probably the only piece of furniture I’ve ever actually put together not need the manual. This is how you mount the Backstrong C1:

  • push the casters into the starfish-shaped base
  • place the gas lift in the hole in the center of the base
  • bolt the seat plate to the base of the chair (using the supplied Allen key and four bolts)
  • lift the seat and guide the central hole in the plate to the gas spring
  • cut the cable ties and unfold the backrest until it clicks into place audibly

That is it. There are even extremely clear red-on-white labels on the seat plate and seat that indicate the orientation of the plate. There were no pitfalls, no “but this part was tricky”, and I have no complaints. There is no simpler assembly than a one-piece garden chair.

According to the manual, assembly of the chair was supposed to take about 11 minutes, but according to the timestamps on my photos, I only needed nine – and at least four of those I shot along the way.

Conclusions

Left: Anda Fnatic gaming chair.  Right: All33 Backstrong C1.
Enlarge / Left: Anda Fnatic gaming chair. Right: All33 Backstrong C1.

Jim Salter

I really like the All33 Backstrong C1 – the lumbar support is out of this world and I desperately need as much lumbar support as possible. Unfortunately it won’t allow me love it is as the $599 purchase price requires. It’s a fantastic (if oddly shaped) chair for the dining room table, especially for people who tend to get lost in a good book and stay at the table longer than a solo breakfast (or lunch or dinner) really requires. In that position, the flip-up armrests also mean you can slide all the way up if you don’t want soup on your lap.

But in the office, I just find the C1 too limited to be a serious contender. The non-adjustable height and width of the armrest means that this chair does not properly support keyboard and mouse hands for many, if not most, people. The lack of tilt lock in any position other than fully upright is a real downer, and the lack of a headrest makes the full 30-degree recline feel downright weird.

I really hope to see a follow-up design from this company with a full range of ergonomic adjustments and features. In the meantime, it’s hard to wholeheartedly recommend the Backstrong C1 as a high-end, full-purpose office chair, because despite the price, it really isn’t one.

The good

  • Absolutely out-of-this-world lumbar comfort and support
  • Slouchers OK – instead of forcing your posture, the Backstrong follows your spine wherever you place it
  • Lightweight and high-quality castors make this chair exceptionally mobile
  • You can fold the armrests all the way up if you want to lean tightly against a desk or table
  • Striking, retro-futuristic looks
  • No obnoxious branding (or no visible branding at all)
  • User weight limit of 275 pounds

The bad

  • Lots of visible plastic
  • Minimal filling, of moderate quality
  • The “vegan leather” upholstery we tested is best described as “acceptable” (there’s also a fabric option that we didn’t receive or test.)
  • Cannot adjust armrest height
  • Cannot adjust the width of the armrest
  • Cannot adjust the angle of the armrest
  • Cannot lock tilt anywhere other than fully upright
  • No headrest

The ugly one

  • Shenanigans with the asking price – currently listed as “$1,199 / $799 / use code 2020 for another $200 off.”

List image by All33

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