Flexi-Chair Oka Office Chair BS9 review: a boon for long work sessions

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in General Discussion
You know that you shouldn't sit working for long periods at a time, but you're still going to, and the Flexi-Chair Oka Office Chair BS9 stays comforting, and supporting, throughout.

It's not yellow, it's orange.
It's not yellow, it's orange.


Some companies just try to get you coming and going. AppleInsider previously enthused about a Flexispot exercise bike and desk which practically tricks you into being more active. Now the same company has an office chair that realises that sometimes you need the opposite.

Sitting for protracted periods is never going to be great for you, but we all do it, and we all do it a lot. The Flexi-Chair Oka Office Chair BS9 aims to make those long days much more bearable, to give you comfort and strong back support.

Not to make this an extra short review, but it succeeds. There is an issue that it is initially available only in the UK, but the company expects it to be in the US soon.

Which means depending on where you live, you may have enough time to ponder the chair's color.

Design - Color

Flexispot sells this BS9 chair in one color, which it says is orange. The company is telling you the truth. It might be a touch, just a tiny touch, on the red side of orange, but it is orange.

Except if you look at the website's photography, you will vow that it's yellow. So if you buy expecting yellow, you're going to be disappointed.

It would actually be great to have more choice of colors, but you're not going to be looking at the chair much. There's the start of the day, the end of the day, lunch if you remember, and whenever your Apple Watch tells you it's time to stand up.

Other than that, you park your backside in the chair first thing and never look back. Or sideways. Or around.

While you don't look, though, you do feel. The slightly-shaped backrest presses into your lower back just right. It makes you feel like you're sitting in the best position, that your posture is correct, but also that it's not forced.

This is a comfortable chair that is also good for your posture and body, and although this has to be only subjective, it feels excellent even over an extremely extended working day.

You shouldn't lean back too much in, though. You can and it gives nicely, but if you lounge back in it a lot, the chair seems to expect it.

The firm press at your back gives way a little. It remains firm enough, but it's like it anticipates your slouching and it doesn't feel as strong.

There is a tension tool on the underside, a large knob that in theory you can turn to fix this and tighten up the back. In practice, that knob is already so tight that it's hard to budge.

Design - parts of the chair

You need to assemble the BS9 and it comes with typical illustrated instructions. For the most part, these are as clear as they can be, but it is possible to fit the seat the wrong way around.

That's not disastrous, as the seat is only subtly shaped, you could get away with it being backwards if you were too lazy to undo the screws. But the chair's wheel and gas cylinder mechanism fits slightly awkwardly unless you've got the seat facing the right way.

So it would be good for that seat to have some kind of front/back marking. It's a small thing, though, made smaller by how if you just spent a minute longer looking at the illustrations you'd probably get it right.

As well as the seat, back, and mechanism, the BS9 comes with roller feet and two arm rests.

These rests are quite truncated, and have a slight tilt to them. So they're not the kind of arms where you could balance a mug of coffee, they're the type to help position your arms, and so therefore your hands, in the optimum ergonomic way.

Look at the nice chair, not the untidy office.
Look at the nice chair, not the untidy office.

Design - materials

The makers describe the chair as being made from a black nylon base with PU (Polyurethane) rolls. The arm rests and assembly feels like strong, durable plastic, and the main parts of the seat are a woven material.

The back features this orange material -- it is orange, it is -- stretched out over a frame. It's stretched tight, but has enough give in it that the overall effect is a combination of soft and yet solid.

That same material is stretched out over the seat, and has a similar mix of firmness and softness. The seat is also slightly shaped so that, depending on your height, the front fits very nicely behind your knees.

BS9's seat height is also adjustable, from 44.5 cm to 53.5 cm. That's not a giant range, but the back is also adjustable, this time between 119 cm and 129 cm.

So in combination, you might take a time to settle on the arrangement that is best for you, but there are a lot of options.

Long-term testing

Chairs are subjective and always will be. What can help with subjectivity, though, is to try multiple chairs.

So entirely in preparation for this review, please note IRS, we broke several. It wasn't deliberate.

Instead, it was a genuine search for a chair that could be used for extensive periods without making us regret our choice of lifestyle so much that we'd move to the Flexispot exercise bike.

So over some months we tried an antique Captain's Chair which was fantastic, but the wheels snagged on office carpet and eventually snapped off. We tried a basic office chair, but the metal frame was so constricting that it was only comfortable for short periods -- and then that frame came loose.

We tried a bar stool and there's no call to ask why we happened to have that. And we tried a generic, no-brand, office chair which was comfortable for longer, but not much.

After perhaps five hours, we'd end up having to swap between that metal-framed basic chair and the generic one, because it was getting painful to continue in either for the whole day.

In comparison, the BS9 has been sat on for weeks of working days ranging from 4 to 16 hours -- and it remains comfortable.

The rear of the chair is shaped to support your lower back
The rear of the chair is shaped to support your lower back

Should you buy

Take a wild guess. In all seriousness, you and we should watch how long we spend at a desk, but our comfort, and our posture, are helped by having a chair like this so yes, you should definitely buy it if you're in the UK.

If you're in the US, check that it's available and if it is, you're sold, go get it. If it isn't yet, Flexispot does sell a range of office chairs. AppleInsider only tested this and the Flexispot exercise bike and desk, but both are premium quality at what isn't a premium price.

Pros


  • Solidly comfortable over protracted periods

  • Mostly easy to set up

  • Provides strong lower back support

Cons


  • No choice of color

  • Assembly instructions could be a fraction clearer

  • US availability is coming

Rating: 4 out of 5

Where to Buy

The Flexi-Chair Oka Office Chair BS9 is available direct from the manufacturer, Flexispot. It's on the UK site now for $410, and is reportedly coming to the US official site.


Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 1
    dewmedewme Posts: 3,946member
    Fwiw, you can usually change the wheels on office chairs if you don’t like the ones that come with the chair, or if the ones that come with the chair don’t work well with your flooring material. I’ve taken a liking to the rollerblade style wheels with ball bearings. They handle different flooring types and transitions better than any factory installed wheel I’ve used. I have my office configured as a big U shaped array of tables on a hard surface. I can roll around from table to table very easily and even roll around the entire space on the chair. These suckers like to roll.

    Nothing irritates me more than hard plastic wheels that scrape up and mar your hardwood/laminate/luxury vinyl flooring or rip the pile out of your carpet. Plastic pads on top of carpet help save the carpet but keep you confined to a small piece of real estate. I like to roll. The only issue I’ve found so far with the rollerblade style wheels is that they roll too easily in certain situations. If you bounce up out of your chair the chair may move quite a bit - backwards. You’d better turn around and make sure your chair is where you expect it to be before you flop back down. Also, if you use the rollerblade style wheels on a drafting chair you have to climb-on and dismount from the chair a bit more carefully if the chair is on a hard surface. I use the rollerblade style wheels on both my desk chair and my drafting chair and could not be happier. 
    edited October 18
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