Sanyo HEC-DR7700

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Sanyo HEC-DR7700

Pros

  • Huge array of options, neck and back massages work quite well, air comfort course is interesting, tons of flexibility

Cons

  • Some massages were too intense, leg and feet massage not enjoyable, very expensive

Bottom Line

If you have a ton of money to spare and feel like a massage chair would be a useful addition to your home entertainment setup then the Sanyo HEC-DR7700 is a pretty solid choice. While we didn't like everything it did this often comes down to personal taste, and the flexibility and customisation options are huge, so there should be something for everyone.

Would you buy this?

If you've been paying attention you may have noticed a more relaxed tone in our recent home entertainment reviews. Unfortunately this isn't due to a decrease in our workload nor a growth in the office liquor cabinet. No, the culprit is none other than the Sanyo HEC-DR7700 which is a fully controllable massage chair designed to complement your home theatre experience. With a huge array of controls and options this juggernaut of relaxation should prove to be a valuable addition to any lounge room; provided you can stomach the nearly five figure price tag that is.

The features list of this chair is absolutely daunting. It can massage most parts of the body, from your shoulders and neck right down to the soles of your feet and in a variety of different manners and combinations. Everything is controlled via a panel on the right-hand arm of the chair.

First up you have the four basic preset pattens: relax, stiffness, recovery and fine. Activating any one of these will turn on a sequence of massages designed with a particular end in mind. While these weren't bad we preferred to tailor everything a little more to our tastes.

If that's more your cup of tea you can instead pick which of the three key muscle groups you wish to work on (you can actually have two going at once if you like); neck and shoulders, lower back or leg and feet. We found the neck and shoulders to be the most effective here, providing a nice workout without being too strong or strenuous. On the flip side, the lower back at times became painful. Fortunately you can raise and lower the intensity, which helped a little in this situation.

The leg and feet massage is a little strange. It traps your legs using a series of inflatable airbags then runs a bar up and down your calves while small rivets work your feet. We didn't like this much at all. There is also an option referred to as an 'air comfort course' which takes the air part of the leg massage and throws in some more airbags in the lower back areas and cycles them around. It isn't really a massage in the traditional sense but it was quite pleasant on the whole.

Where the real fun lies with the HEC-DR770, however, is the full manual mode, which is squirrelled away behind a little door on the control panel. These buttons let you fully tailor not only the location but the type of massage. Feel like a gentle shiatsu? No problem. Or perhaps you want a thorough kneading. Go right ahead. There are a whole host of options here including tapping, gripping and the aforementioned two. Our personal favourite was the three different varieties of stretch, which slide up and down the entire back very slowly. You can fully customise the intensity and speed of the massage and can also fire up different combinations.

There are a few other nifty features too. The chair has a zero gravity mode which tilts it to a horizontal position, as well as built-in sole warmers to warm your feet. Sanyo has also included a new thumb sensor that if held in the proper grip helps personalise the massage a lot better. We found it did help a little but the improvements were fairly minimal and we tended to stick more with the manual modes anyway.

The chair itself is quite comfortable. It is adequately padded and quite large so it somewhat envelopes you as you sit. Even with the massage functions not operating, it is a fine armchair in its own right, although for this amount of money you'd want to use it every chance you get.

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