E-Win allowed me to pick my poison and I decided to test out the pricier end of the spectrum. The E-Win Flash XL struck me as the pinnacle of what the company had to offer. Is it everything I ever wanted? Is it too much? Is it necessary? Stop asking so many questions.
What’s in the Box?
First off, I will always give props to E-Win for packaging their chair properly. The corners of the cardboard box are reinforced and any fragile plastics are kept a fair distance away from the walls of the box. Short of someone stabbing a knife into the center, the chair is likely going to arrive intact. Leaving the pillows attached to the backrest simplifies the building process and makes a good first impression. E-Win also left a fair number of spare parts which is always a winner in my book.
Putting it together
Assembly of your first chair will always seem like a chore. However, I can’t say I had much issue finding any screw holes in the backrest assembly. Hopefully newcomers won’t either with the Flash XL. The instructions are… weirdly described. Pro tip: follow the arrows between build instructions rather than reading left to right. They decided to snake the pictures instead of place them in a natural reading order. There aren’t so many pictures that you’ll miss a step, though, but it will read funny. The caster wheels didn’t feel particularly difficult so long as you can center your thumb over the pin. With any chair build, the backrest/seat connection and caster wheels will frustrate you the most. I personally didn’t have an issue this time around, but I’ve done it four or five times now.
Construction and stability wise, the Flash XL was built for a slightly larger frame. And by slightly larger, I mean two inches more of waist. While not significant, if your butt is not fitting in your average chair by a narrow margin, fork out for one of these. Personally, I’m less likely to sit properly in any chair, so cross-legged in the seat is less of a stretch here supposing I fan out the armrests. I love the 4D armrests. The slacker in me who is going to sit back and use a controller instead a proper mouse and keyboard loves that I can fan the armrests out to put my elbows down comfortably. 4D armrests move in your XYZ dimensions as well as rotate. At this point, I can’t go back to a gaming chair without them.
Flash XL Base Stability
The base is a solid metal construction, thick material but hollow underneath. Structurally you might worry about that, but it’s sounder than you’d think. I’ve seen chair bases fail two ways, thin metal and multiple points of failure. One chair Josh and I looked into worked well until one whole leg of the 5 point base rotated sideways. A thin aluminum wasn’t enough to handle it. An issue I came across with an older 5 star base was that it seemed sturdy with interlaced structure reinforcing a normally hollow base. Turns out, a differential in surfaces (one leg on tile, the others on carpet) popped off one of the legs. What in theory should have been reinforcing actually created extra points of failure. The hollow underside in conjunction with a sturdy thick metal should dissipate impacts across the entire leg much better.
Flash XL Back Stability
The lower back pillow is one of those features that I imagine the average buyer removes and never looks back. As time goes on and your body starts falling apart, that pillow is a lifesaver. I’ve dealt with a lot of back issues as of late and I absolutely need that pillow, despite preventing me from making use of the backrest. In the event you remove all of the pillows, I will say that the Flash series has the kindest headrest. Too many of the chairs punish your skull if you remove the pillows, leaving a solid piece of plastic to collide with. The flash series has the least obstructed surface area for head collisions. The only improvement for the chair on a whole would probably be breathable PVC leather, otherwise it has everything I want.
Is it worth the price? If you have a bit of a wider waist than the average chair seems to hold, probably. If you are significantly lacking in space that two inches isn’t going to cover it, then no. This chair has everything I want in a chair, but the price difference for the extra couple of inches of waist seems unnecessary. If the chair was significantly wider, however, it’d suffer from armrest and posture issues. The Flash XL fills a very specific need that probably isn’t worth the extra amount of money that you could save on a slightly different chair.
Ultimately, I couldn’t ask for more in a chair, and therefore deserves Hardware Hounds’ Great Function award and Great Style award.