Herman Miller x Logitech Embody Gaming Chair Review
By: Stephen Machuga
I heard someone once say something to the equivalent of “You spend a third of your life in bed, you should always pay for an expensive bed.” I took that advice to heart, stopped trying to save money on rinky-dink mattresses, bought an expensive bed, and never looked back, groaning with ecstasy every time I get into bed at night.
The Herman Miller x Logitech Embody chair is another one of these conversations I had to have with myself multiple times. Do I spend an absurd amount of time in front of my computers every day? Yes. Do I spend more than a third of my life in front of these damn things? Absolutely. So why am I sitting on a regular gaming chair? My lower back had been bothering me since an unfortunate “run in” with a bad driver, who rear-ended me while I was parked at a red light. While I had a pretty sweet looking red-and-black Stack Up branded gaming chair, I could spend 2-3 hours in it before I would have to stand up, crack my back like the old man that I was, and generally think about not working at my desk to give my back a break.
One by one, streamers that I watch on Twitch had been switching out their gaming chairs with extremely expensive office chairs from Herman Miller. The transition had not been lost on me, but at the time, the chairs that they had been getting handed to them (as influencers) or purchasing were upwards of $800, and I wasn’t mentally prepared to plop down that kind of change on yet another chair.
Then Herman Miller announced its partnership with Logitech, and their first foray into the “gaming” space with their Embody gaming chair, and I finally decided to pull the trigger on getting one. I went to their website, pulled out my wallet, tried not to choke on the $1500 price tag (and don’t forget the $160 in taxes, but free delivery!). Some of the things I was paying for with this money? A 12-year (twelve?) warranty, it’s made of 95% recyclable parts and made in the United States at a 100% green-energy facility. As we all know, this same chair could have been made in China with slave labor for $1.89, but because it hits all the right social responsibility notes as an American citizen, all that is missing from the checklist is that the chair is an upstanding member of its church and it loves its mama and apple pie.
And so, I ordered one, only to be a little taken aback with the announcement that my chair would take 5-6 weeks for delivery. In an era of “two day Amazon delivery is too slow for me”, I was a little peeved. I wanted this magic chair, and given the way 2020 had been going, Lord only knew where we were going to be in 5-6 weeks time. But, I’d already both financially and mentally committed to the damn thing, so now all I could do was wait.
Ordering the chair on July 25th, I’m typing up this article as I’m sitting in the chair on August 29th, so they were a little faster on getting it to me from where they shipped it from in Ohio. I just envision some master craftsman spending weeks with a lathe and tools handcrafting the weird polymers in my hand-tooled gaming chair (of course, that’s not how it happened, but whatever).
The unboxing was a ceremony in and of itself. The box, marked fragile and “this side up”, was, of course, delivered on its side (thanks Fed-Ex). I removed my other chair from my work area and immediately figured I had a 30-60 minute assembly job in my immediate future as I had with my other gaming chairs: putting on the wheelbase, tightening lug nuts with an allen wrench. Nope. A few quick cuts with a box cutter through some side tape and the box simply fell away with a few clean box folds to reveal….duh, duh, DUHHHH: THE CHAIR.
The whole time I was removing the plastic and other wrappings, I just kept thinking to myself not to destroy the box too badly because the Herman Miller x Logitech Embody chair has a 30-day money-back guarantee, and if this damn thing wasn’t an orgasmic experience, I absolutely was planning on returning it.
Of course, as most high-end items go, it had a variety of unnecessary box fillers, such as a 14-page instruction booklet in seven different languages that simply directed you to their website for instructions on how to properly adjust your chair settings. It also came with a stamped certificate of authenticity, which again, gives it an expensive feel.
So, how is the chair to sit in? Yes, 1000 words later, we’re finally getting to the damn point (sorry). As I noted earlier, a lot of gaming chairs have pillows around the top of them for neck support, and around the lower spine for lumbar support. The Embody has neither. Instead, the chair contours around your lower back naturally. When I got rear-ended in my car, the gap between my lower back and the driver’s seat smashed it into my tailbone because I wasn’t sitting flush with my tailbone against the seat. It was the equivalent of someone hitting me right above the butt with a cushioned 2x4 at 45 miles an hour. The Embody, as I sit here, there is zero gaps between my tailbone, spine up to my shoulders, and the back of the chair. That, in and of itself, is quite the feat, and that was my plopping into this chair with no adjustments.
The chair is not made for oversized folks. I’m 250 pounds and 5’11”, and while the arms can be adjusted outwards to fit my bulk, I immediately think of Stack Up’s Director of Communication, Skatch, who is extremely bear-like, and can’t help but to think that one of these is never going to work for his kind.
The “instruction guide” which led me to the website, which is functionally useless. For $1650, I expect a chiropractor to deliver the chair, and then proceed to fiddle with the various knobs and handles to “fit” me to the chair shouting “VOILA! PERFECT POSTURE!”. There are a variety of levers and knobs on the chair, which I can generally figure out on my own, but I shouldn’t have to. I paid a premium here, there should be at least be detailed “fitting” guides on the website with attractive co-eds with pink hair pounding cans of Mountain Dew while showing me how to get proper lumbar support.
There specifically is a weird seat adjustment that allows you to extend the seat forward to fit better behind your knees, but I’m literally just grabbing on the handles and jiggling. Customer service Monday-Friday 10-5 PT. Aaand, it’s Saturday. Of course.
After a little bit of internet research, I found just the thing. There is, in fact, exactly the “how to set up your fancy new chair” video guide which helps you adjust the chair in all the right spots.
While I’m dinking around the internet, looking for guides on my chair, I stumble across the fact that Herman Miller has been selling their Embody chair for years now. As a matter of fact, the core Embody chairs have more (and pricer) options on the website, such as different color combinations as well as hard floor casters. After a little bit of research into why this chair is specifically designed for gamers, it appears the difference is a “cooling foam” technology in the seat. What does that mean? The Logitech branding crossover appears to be little more than stamping the Logitech brand on the body of the chair and saying it’s “for gamers”. I’m not sure. I don’t know what Logitech has to do with any of it. But the marketing hype tricked me and here we are.
Okay. Now that the chair is 100% adjusted and a few days have gone by....it’s fairly surprising. My elbows are now comfortably resting on the chair’s armrests after I raised the chair height to allow my feet to be planted firmly on the floor. I literally just removed my ergonomic wrist rest pillow from both my keyboard and mouse, because now my chair is fitted not only to myself, but to the desk that I’m sitting at, so my wrists are not at an angle to the keyboard. Everything...fits. Huh. All the extra butt/back/wrist pillows that I had in an attempt to make the chair and desk I was sitting at work together, now everything is set up the way (I guess) it is supposed to be.
All these years...have I been doing it all wrong? Huh.
The adjustments bringing me in line with my desk set-up is already an interesting new twist to my office space. I’m a little less “grumpy old man keeping my receipt so I can quickly return it” and a little more “well, I guess I’m stuck with this chair” mindset. I’ve been in the chair for a few hours at this point, and my lower back feels...good. The soreness from my other chair is being met with a different level of stiffness, but it doesn’t hurt. The price tag still makes me throw up in my mouth a little, but going back to the idea of spending a third of my life in front of my machines, I guess it makes sense. With how much I’ve spent over the years on games, gaming PC rigs, graphics cards, and other absurd purchases I didn’t blink an eye at, having a chair of this quality as a guy in my 40s is almost a necessity at this point.