From an outsider’s perspective, it seems like a gaming chair arms race has been raging for the past few years. Less time at the normal office and more time at home, in front of our own personal computers and displays, has proliferated the demand for comfortable seating options designed for gaming. Just as traditional mouse pads were once replaced with specialized alternatives for long play sessions, so too has the humble office chair.
So far, I’ve watched this scene develop from my standard, Staples-brand stenochair on the sidelines. But no longer, as I’ve now waded into the fray with the E-Win Flash XL.
The company’s automotive origins are shown in this model and its polyurethane leather body. Aesthetically, the Flash XL is what you’d probably expect from heavy-duty gaming chairs, but when you see it in person, the texture of the materials is immediately noticeable.
Its other claim to fame is its industry-leading maximum weight limit of 500lbs. I was drawn to the Flash XL first for its look, and then for its height rating; at around 6’1”, I wasn’t sure I wanted to chance E-Win’s next highest options, which cap out at that height. I’m nowhere near its weight limit, but it is nice to have absolute certainty that the chair can handle the burden if my kids come crashing onto my lap while I’m working. Larger gamers will certainly appreciate this sturdy build as well.
While the quality of the materials impressed me immediately upon opening the box, that quickly gave way to some frustration during the assembly process. I’ve built rooms worth of Ikea furniture in my lifetime without many headaches, but the instructions for this chair were considerably lacking. I’d almost have preferred Ikea’s wordless pictograms over the pictures and shoddy instructions printed for the Flash XL.
“The company’s automotive origins are shown in this model and its polyurethane leather body.”
Ultimately, I ended up consulting a few other video tutorials and using my best judgment to finish assembling the chair. The biggest problem was aligning the backrest to the seat; even with help holding the backrest up while I tightened screws, keeping everything lined up was difficult. Installing the hydraulic kit into the base didn’t feel quite “right” either, and I was skeptical to test the seat out at first.
Once put together, however, the Flash XL immediately proved its worth. As mentioned, I’ve used a generic brand chair for the last decade or more. Nothing against the chair, but over time I slipped into some bad habits like crossing a leg or leaning too far forward. Just by virtue of having the lumbar pillow though, I’m already back to sitting straight (most of the time), and less like a goblin hunched over his keys.
As an added bonus, my cat is no longer hogging my chair when I go to start working, so I don’t have the emotional burden of evicting him from his sleeping place. I haven’t yet had the opportunity to test the leather’s stain resistance to pet hair or drink spillage, without deliberately dumping coffee on it, but I stand pretty confident that it would hold up well, given the quality of the material.
A full suite of levers and buttons help you customize the way you sit. If you feel so inclined, you can recline the Flash XL to an impressive 155° and maybe even catch a little shuteye. It’s not something I see myself using, but it did feel considerably comfortable. Most impressive and useful, I found, was the positioning of the armrests. Each can move in sideways with the press of a button, and can be angled in, out, or neutral. I found this more useful for when I’m playing games on the TV beside my monitor, but it still made a difference when typing and gaming on my main display.
After two weeks of testing, I think I’ve finally tweaked the Flash XL where I want it to be, but the neck pillow remains somewhat useless for me. At times, it even seems to be a hindrance, subtly pushing my shoulders out where they would normally rest in a more natural pose. But otherwise, I’m finding my posture is much improved after an afternoon of research or an evening of streaming.
That being said, most of the levers are more stubborn than I’d like from a chair at this price point. At $700 CAD, I shouldn’t have had this much difficulty getting the controls to engage—just to adjust the seat’s height, the most basic setting—nor should it have been such a pain to build.