In this segment of Keeping It Real, real-life customer Christopher shares a detailed review of his new Novo XT Massage Chair.
"I purchased this chair to replace an Osim iMedic 380 that was very worn. At almost ten years old it still worked perfectly, but the vinyl covering was ripped from heavy usage. When I started researching a replacement chair, I learned that some of the newer chairs have an L-track which allows the chair to massage the glutes. As a cycling enthusiast, I decided that my new chair should have this feature as I had always wished my old chair could do this.
Although I had read that the Japanese chairs tend to be a bit more sophisticated and of better quality, I had to rule them out as they don't have this feature or foot-rollers—another feature I wanted. Given that my previous Chinese-made chair never had technical issues, I don't consider this overly risky. I settled on the Novo XT as it was the only chair to my knowledge that had a 3D L-track at the time of purchase. I did not try the chair in-person before ordering.
Following are some of my opinions of the Novo XT. Keep in mind that I also get weekly massages from a massage therapist, so my standards for massage are high.
The chair looks good and seems well-built. In my opinion (very subjective) it's the best looking massage chair I've seen. That may not be saying much, though, as I think massage chairs are pretty ugly as a whole. This, at least, is not an ugly chair. The upholstery is tasteful and convincingly leather-like. Definitely a step-up from the vinyl-like material on my previous chair. Hopefully it will be more durable as well.
The L-track does not reach the upper hamstrings, but it does reach the upper to mid-buttocks. You get a decent glute massage with the Novo XT. Additionally, the hip airbags press the IT bands to a certain extent and on some settings can be quite powerful.
Neck, shoulder, back massage is good. It's nice to have the 3D feature which brings the rollers in or out to adjust intensity and as a massage technique. Helpful, because not every user prefers the same level of intensity.
I had initially thought that it was not possible to adjust the intensity for Auto Programs. While this is true for the 3D rollers, I want to mention that adjusting the intensity of the airbags massage (called Cloud Touch on this chair) is possible in all programs, manual or automatic. In fact, Cloud Touch intensity is easily adjusted by pressing the left or right arrow keys on the circular pad of the remote. It's not necessary to enter the settings menu to make an adjustment, although it can be done there as well. In addition, the display does a good job of showing you what the current Cloud Touch intensity setting is.
Although it seems as though the remote allows you to adjust 3D roller intensity with the auto programs, you'll notice in use that after you make a change, the auto program will quickly take over. In other words, if you choose "soft," in the auto program, it won't stay on that level. Now that I've used the chair more, I understand why it's designed this way. When choosing an auto program, the 3D rollers are used at various levels during the massage. At certain times and positions the massage will be deep, and others times it will be soft. This better mimics the techniques of a massage therapist.
In addition to intensity, the 3D feature is used as a massage technique with the automatic and deep tissue programs. The rollers can push into the tissue and not just roll or tap over it to create a stretching or hand-pressing sensation. This chair also has a true 3D mechanism. The effect is not created by simply inflating or deflating the surrounding airbags. Very nice.
Hand/forearm airbags work well. I don't have a lot of experience with these systems, but can't imagine them working much better. They inflate the different zones of the hand, wrist and forearm sequentially which is relaxing and therapeutic.
At first, I did not find the stretch feature to be very useful, but I've been surprised to find that I'm actually using the it. It's not an intense stretch, but I'm starting to like it, nonetheless. The default is to have the leg extension go down when stretching, but I've switched it to go out instead and this seems better to me.
The chair is specified for users up to 6'-9", but at 5'-10", trim and average build, I need to use the second-to-tallest setting for the proper neck height. I'm sure someone taller/heavier can use the machine, but even I find the chair to be a bit more cramped than expected. My understanding is that this is one of the larger chairs, so I'm glad I didn't get one that was smaller.
Calf, leg, foot massage is good. Foot rollers can be a little intense, but adjusting the overall massage intensity in the settings seems to be able to lessen the pressure. This is only possible in the manual program, though. Moving the leg module out with the remote also helps and that's possible at any time with any program.
The chair does not do a body scan before each program. Instead, it allows you to choose your height setting before each program begins. Fortunately, it generally remembers the last setting that was used. I prefer this, as it's faster than having to wait for a body scan simply to figure out your height. You can quickly adjust the back rollers so they don't hit the top of your head or miss your shoulders and you still have the option to change the setting at any time. It takes a little experimenting to figure out your "number," but then it becomes easy.
The chair does self-adjust for leg length which does not take much time and works pretty well. Leg setting is also easily manually adjusted at any time, if necessary. As I wrote above, extending the leg module outward can help if the roller effect is too intense.
To sum up, this chair has the ability to give a very good massage that is relaxing and therapeutic. It is good-looking, sturdily built and the upholstery feels and looks great. The 3D L-track is what separates this chair from most others and it works well to reach the glutes and as an added massage technique. The chair is comfortable while massaging and creates a nice cocoon-like feeling. Used as a lounger, the chair may feel hard and uncomfortable and the cocoon-like design works against it. It's a bit noisy, but not a deal-breaker. Remote control is good when using automatic programs, but just OK when using manual selections. The remote's intensity settings are confusing until you figure out that they're only applicable to the manual program. The remote's display, though, is very good."
-Christopher, Real-Life Cutomer