Autonomous is a tech company that sells office products and gadgets that has made a name for itself in a few different ways. They have some fancy robots, but the main draw from this company seems to be their low price point for promised high-quality goods.
I use their SmartDesk (simply because it was cheap and I saw it on ProductHunt). So far it seems OK, but there are a lot of complaints from others that the desk breaks down quickly due to poor parts. It’s the same type of desk like others of the same variety like I covered in this article (just cheaper), but their latest product, the “ErgoChair” has seen a few mishaps even though it’s just launched in November of 2016.
ErgoChair Kickstarter Banned – Is Autonomous A Good Company?
Autonomous had their Kickstarter banned after raising $614,000 towards their ErgoChair lineup. These chairs were offered as early purchases with a few discounts.
However, while no one found out why the campaign got banned a lot of people have speculations that Autonomous was just reselling a previously manufactured chair. We covered the full story here, but others have already found other chairs on other websites that look identical but just cost more. In fact, I even manged to find the ErgoChair on Amazon, listed as a different brand.
Here’s a similar one on NewEgg manufactured by the same brand, Vifah. It’s also strange since I can find the same company, Vifah, selling similar desks that Autonomous sells. I can’t tell if it’s the same company or what! I found a comment on YouTube that does give some perspective “One more thing to note, the owner of Autonomous seems to be a Vietnamese guy. Vifah is a Vietnamese company. I’m sure there is some collusion or cross-pollination between the two that is not obvious on the surface.”
This would fit in with Autonomous’s “niche” of selling similar products just at a lower price point. Autonomous never did come out and explain what happened which is very questionable. I’ve tried to contact them myself numerous times or even asked for a chair to review it to change my mind of the company, but they aren’t interested.
The company is a startup which means they might be new to the game, and most of the customer support seems very “brash” and to the point. Perhaps they are a victim of their success, and they are having trouble fulfilling and managing orders correctly since a lot of people in the comments on the Kickstarter campaign seem to be having problems with reports of shipped chairs resulting in the wrong colors.
Is the ErgoChair a Good Chair Still?
Briefly, after the Kickstarter campaign ended, we saw the chair dip down to $199 as an incentive for people to reorder. Now, however, it’s $249. Compared to high-end ergo chairs that the company tries to compare the product to, this is a small price to pay, but there are a lot of other chairs out there that fall between the $200-500 price range.
Here’s a similar chair from HON, with decent reviews, and another one on Amazon with a headrest. I can’t deny, however, that the ErgoChair–whether it is designed or stolen by Autonomous, it does look quite sleek and comfortable. Even if the chair is original or not, made by Autonomous or Vifah, it can still have a place in some people’s office. In fact, some people do seem to like the chair after all.
One user I found on Reddit, finds the materials are very well built which makes the chair feel both heavy and sturdy. The cushion is big, and the lumbar support and headrest make for a pleasant experience. Some limitations include a semi-small height limit, and the chair doesn’t let the bottom cushion tilt (some chairs can do this like my Office Master chair I used in this review). The same user described the chair as feeling “therapeutic” which is good since that’s how most ergonomic chairs are supported to feel.
However, another user on YouTube, one “counteru strike” found their own set of problems with the chair. Since he’s tall, he found that “the thing barely goes down far enough for both my feet to sit flat on the floor without applying too much pressure on the underside of my thighs. The seat… damn.. the seat is hard as hell!!!!”
Some other downsides to the chair could be its questionable background, and the fact that it takes a month to ship and $50 to ship it. You might want to bookmark this same chair on Amazon to check for a lower price and smaller shipping price.
So is the ErgoChair worth $250?
I guess it depends if you want to take a little risk. However, since you can’t test it out before buying it, I might skip this one and stay with a chair a little more well known–like the more expensive but well worth it, Steelcase Leap or Herman Miller Embody.Or check out this article we did making an extensive list of the best ergonomic chairs of 2017.