Monday, September 21, 2009

Review: Sanyo DR-7700 Massage Chair Recliner

By Rob Pierson

Our goal is to present a potential massage chair buyer with a comprehensive and unbiased review of a given massage chair. We have developed a 5 category system to evaluate a massage chair. We give equal weight to each category and give 0 to 20 points rating and then add them up to present an overall score. Our categories include Warranty & Customer Service, Comfort/Ergonomics, Ease of Use, Features and Massage Therapy. This systematic approach forces us to a disciplined method of evaluating a massage chair to help guide anyone looking at massage chairs. The Sanyo HEC-DR7700K shiatsu massage chair price is in the luxury range of $4,000 to $5,000.

First is how the manufacturer rates in both warranty coverage and customer service. The manufacturer needs to stand behind its product. Sanyo gives a 1 year labor, 1 year parts and 1 year in-home service as well as 1 year shipping. Panasonic puts a machine life cap of 1,000 hours of use. Sanyo gives a relatively short warranty which is on par with Panasonic but lower than most manufacturers. The electronics company's such as Sanyo (or Panasonic) work off selling extended warranties. Sanyo now offers in-home technician service and may pay for shipping for the first year (not always clear). They have a national hot line with 24/7 service. Customer Service and turnaround time is average. Overall Rating for Sanyo warranty and customer service is 14.

Comfort & Ergonomics: A massage chair needs to be comfortable and fit the body. Otherwise, you will only use the chair for massage. The chair back of the DR7700K is comfortable and the upholstery is well padded. The head pillow is soft and the thickness is appropriate. The seat is ok and the armrests have sufficient padding. The footrest is comfortable, but cannot be adjusted. If you are 5' 10" or more, then your knees must be bent when the footrest is raised. This is a bit restrictive for a large portion of the population. Our rating in this category is 15.

East of Use: Ease of use is defined as how intuitive the controls and how complicated are they to use without reading the instructions. Sanyo is known for its stereos and other electronics with advanced features. The remote control of the HEC-DR7700K is fairly simple and intuitive to use. Select from 4 automatic programs and sit back and relax. One button takes you to the Zero Gravity position. The Sanyo remote contains manual massage controls in a side panel. The sub-remote, unfortunately is tethered by a cable to the chair. Overall Rating for the Sanyo HEC-SR7700K for ease of use is 19.

Key Features: The most prominent features of the Sanyo HEC-DR7700K are the GK Rollers and Zero Gravity. Zero Gravity is a leaned back position where the pressure from your body evenly distributed across your back and your knees are above your heart. The GK Rollers are jointed massage heads that push outward from the chair back and can grip your shoulders. The most impressive feature is the GK rollers as they bring a third dimension into the robotic massage world. The sensation of the rollers coming over the top of your shoulders is an important advance in massage chair technology. The massaging capabilities of the Sanyo HEC-DR7700K are solid. Our rating in this category is 18.

Massage Therapy: The DR7700K has 4 full body automatic courses, 5 massage speed settings and in a total combination of 83 manual massage courses. The manual massage techniques include the following: Shiatsu, Kneading, Tapping, and Kneading & Tapping. Additionally, because of the GK roller system, Sanyo offers Grip, which is a squeezing sensation. Sanyo incorporates various stretches. The DR7700K massage chair uses 24 airbags with projections that perform a shiatsu massage on the calves and an undulating sole shiatsu massage. There are a wide range of massage capabilities and the GK rollers add a critical third dimension. Our rating in this category is 19.

How does the Sanyo HEC-DR7700K stack up? Overall, our rating of the Panasonic is an 85/100. Sanyo brings some cutting edge technology with their GK Rollers and Zero Gravity into its massage chairs. The design is fairly modern leaning toward minimalist. The controls are fairly well designed and easy to use. Main drawback is the weaker warranty coverage and added expense for an extended warranty as well as the footrest not being adjustable. Otherwise, the Sanyo HEC-DR7700K has solid technology and is fairly effective in delivering relief. Hopefully, Sanyo will design more for the American market and include more ergonomic chairs in the future, but for now the HEC-DR7700K is a solid choice.

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