I returned to Texas last week to visit my friends at Luraco and Osaki/Titan companies. I spent Tuesday afternoon at Luraco checking out their new iRobotics 7 massage chair and Wednesday morning visiting Osaki to check out their new “digs” and the new Apex massage chair line, which they just introduced…particularly the Apex Ultra. I had a wonderful time and learned an awful lot about these new chairs.
I’ll start with the exciting new iRobotics 7, which should be fully functional and ready for deployment in about 3-4 weeks. Even before I arrived at Luraco’s headquarters in Arlington, I had seen pictures of the new model and was quite excited to see it. I liked the design and the feature-set that they sent me to peruse prior to my trip. Here are the points I want to mention from my experience with the chair.
(I should mention that the software is not fully functional yet, so I was not able to fully appreciate the versatility of the chair. It is the software that the engineers are still working on that is keeping the chair from being distributed for another 3-4 weeks. But, I was able to have a quite an experience with the chair despite the software delay.)
1. The touch-screen remote control is the coolest thing I’ve seen in a remote control…ever! It is patterned after an iPhone. It looks and feels like an iPhone interface. It is easy to navigate around the remote with it and is very responsive. It is the first touch screen remote I’ve ever seen and I like it a lot. The icons are large and easy to read (particularly nice for those of us who need glasses now for everything!) and with the icons come great versatility, making it easy for the user to adjust chair settings.
2. The chair is about the same size as the iRobotics 6SL, but it looks sleaker and narrower. It comes in 3 colors: camel (creme), chocolate brown, and black. It can be assembled in about 5 minutes, so they say. Most of the larger chairs, nowadays, come with arm rests that need to be attached during assembly. Hands down, I’d say that the arm rests are the hardest thing to assemble. So, to have something so easy will be a breath of fresh air for any chair buyer.
3. The user can save any manual massage program. I have only seen that memory function in the Panasonic and Johnson chairs in the past. It is a nice, convenient feature that allows users to revisit a program they customized for themselves with the manual settings.
4. Mechanical foot rollers that have the ability to change direction and speed. The rollers have an interesting design; one big roller with smaller rollers attached to each “spoke” of the larger roller.
5. Calf rollers. A rarity in massage chairs, but something that will become increasingly popular now that mechanical foot rollers are so commonplace.
6. Full body heat, PLUS the ability to adjust the level of heat intensity with the new remote control interface!
7. A system passcode (just like with your iPhone) that replaces the archaic key and power switch in the back of current chairs. If you don’t want your kids or grandkids to play with the chair when you’re not around, instead of unplugging the power cord or turning off the power with a key, all you have to do is NOT tell your kids and grandkids what the passcode is for your chair! Now, doesn’t that make sense?
8. Chair parts imported from Taiwan (NOT mainland China) and the chair is assembled here in the USA. Every new order gets assembled in their headquarters in Texas and then tested before it is shipped out to you. You can bet that the quality control is much better this way…and that you are getting a chair shipped to you that was assembled on the same land mass. A much better chance of keeping the failure rate low!
9. Factory warranty will be 3 years parts & labor. An extended warranty will also be available, but they are not yet completely sure how long or what the cost will be of the ext. warranty.
10. Price will be $8499.
Very nice chair, with quality components and American design, engineering, manufacturing, quality control, and testing. I am really looking forward to having this chair in my showroom when it is ready to go.
The last time I visited Osaki, they were in their old facility. Well, now they are in their expanded, huge facility in Carrollton, TX and it is fantastic. They have a very good sized massage chair showroom, plus an enormous regular furniture showroom. The warehouse is stacked full of chairs and I couldn’t help but wonder if the 70,000+ sq. feet is still enough room for all they have going on.
Osaki/Titan just introduced their new Apex line, which consists of 3-4 chairs. I was most interested in trying out the Apex Ultra, as it had a great appearance and feature-set. Well, I got the opportunity to sit on that model and here are my observations:
1. Extended roller track. I am a big fan of these L-track chairs and the Ultra did not disappoint. The rollers were quite intense, particularly noticeable in the neck and shoulder area. If you are looking for an L-Track chair with a deep neck massage, this one fits the bill.
2. Just like the iRobotics 7, the Ultra has calf rollers. Again, it is a nice feature that I think we’ll be seeing more of in the future.
3. Adjustable width shoulder airbags. The shoulder airbag housings can be moved towards or away from the user’s shoulders, to accommodate thin folks as well as broad-shouldered folks, respectively. A nice little touch.
4. The programs are not named on the remote control, but only listed as #1-5. If you want to know what each program is titled and what it does, you’ll have to check out the owner’s manual for a quick reference of program names.
5. This chair will, as with most Chinese-made chairs, come with a 1 year parts & labor warranty, with a second year of parts and a third year of structure coverage. Extended warranties available too.
6. MSRP is $5495 but our retail price will be $4395. I should have this chair up on our website by tonight or tomorrow.
Well, that sums up my visit to Dallas. It was so cold when I was there…part of the winter storms that have hit the east and south, no doubt. It was so great associating with other people in my industry and to talk shop for two days. I just loved it.
Dr. Alan Weidner