As a market, gaming chairs have become something of a slow-motion explosion. A genre of furniture that used to consist of just a handful of recognizable brands has continually expanded to add new entrants that were already well known from the office furniture world and a slew of brand new startups, all vying for the right to hold up your butt while gaming.
Today we’re looking at an entry from Mavix, the M9. This chair, which sits at the top of the company’s current lineup, skips the racing seat aesthetic many manufacturers opt for in favor of a more minimalist, ergonomic take on the category. Mavix’s attempt to differentiate itself from the masses also extends to some optional customizations that are rare in this space, including a heating/cooling/massage add-on and some of the most unique arms I’ve ever come across.
Let’s take a deep dive into Mavix’s take on a high-end gaming chair by examining how the M9 performs while gaming, working, and relaxing. We’ll also cover the performance of the individual components of our review unit, and whether or not those optional add-ons are worth their upcharge.
|Upholstery type||Mixed (M-Breeze fabric and Advanced Tensile Recovery (A.T.R.) Fabric)|
|Headrest available||Yes (included)|
|Padding type||Memory foam|
|Caster type||Locking in-line skate style casters|
|Seat adjustments||Height and depth|
|Back rest adjustments||Height, angle, recline tension|
|Armrest adjustments||Standard: Height, depth, angle | FS 360: Height, depth, angle, pad rotation|
|Available colorways||White, Black, Black & White, Black & Glacier|
Mavix’s entire line looks similar from a distance. All feature a nearly identical seat and backrest shape, and include the company’s trademark “Dynamic Variable Lumbar” support, which allows the bottom portion of the backrest to flex separately from the top, to help support each unique user’s form comfortably and ergonomically.
The differentiation between the budget-conscious M4, which begins at $444, and the M9 we’re reviewing here, which starts at $999 (see what they did there?) is in the details. More accurately, it’s in the adjustments. Although the entire line is designed to mold itself to the user’s body, the M9 goes further by including a plethora of user adjustments. These include standard fare like seat height and recline tension, and rarer tweaks, such as back height adjustment and seat depth.
The seat, back, and included headrest are designed to be equally well-suited to use at a desk or for casual relaxation while console gaming or just watching a video. Mavix even claims the M9’s 127-degrees recline makes the chair a great spot to catch a quick nap, something I made sure to test myself.
Optional add-ons like the Elemax heating/cooling/massage and FS 360 armrests combine with the default configuration and adjustments to provide a design that’s one of the most customizable (both at the time of purchase and once you’ve got it set up) that I’ve ever used. This expansive set of variables can be both a blessing and, occasionally, a hindrance, as we’ll discuss further on in our review.
The M9 uses a mesh-like woven material, which Mavix calls its Advanced Tensile Recovery (A.T.R.) Fabric on the lumbar support and its M-Breeze fabric everywhere else. The ATR fabric allows air to pass through freely, which helps the Elemax system’s heating and cooling efforts. The M-Breeze material offers less airflow, but still breathes better than the more standard leatherette materials it visually resembles.
Aside from the self-supporting ATR mesh on the lumbar, the rest of the backrest, the headrest, and the seat use the company’s Cool Gel M-Foam for padding, which is designed to provide ideal support without allowing excessive heat build-up.
The frame of the unit is a combination of metal-primarily in the central gas lift cylinder, back support, and seat base-and extremely rigid plastic. The M9’s standard 4-D arms use a similar combination of metal and plastic for their support structure, with a firm but pliable material topping their armrests. The FS 360 armrests, which we’ll discuss in more detail below, do the same.
Lastly, the M9 includes locking, in-line skate-style casters designed to work well on everything from hard floors to dense carpeting. I can confirm right here they do this exceedingly well, removing any need for the upgraded replacement casters I recommend for many other chairs.
Shipping and setup
The M9 is shipped with some assembly required. The box it came in arrived looking like it had been in a particularly vigorous soccer match between several giants, something that was entirely the shipping company’s fault, not Mavix’s. Thankfully, none of the contents were damaged, a testament to the strength of the cartons Mavix uses.
I do, however, wish there had been more internal padding used between the individual components of the chair. The inner box containing the M9’s casters had broken open completely by the time the chair arrived, leaving them free to rattle around on their journey. Again, this caused no damage, in my case, but I can see how it easily could have.
The assembly process revolves around a blister-pack card that includes all of the hardware you’ll need, some spare bolts, and a surprisingly nice, T-style wrench hex. The little square document in the pack, which I initially mistook for assembly instructions, was just a single piece of cardboard directing me to the assembly video produced by Mavix.
While I found the video helpful, I would have preferred the inclusion of a more traditional manual, either a physical one or an online PDF. Thankfully, the majority of the assembly process was simple enough that I likely could’ve skipped the instructions entirely. That said, there were a few sticking points, even after having thoroughly watched the video.
The first issue was with the standard armrests, which I used during the chair’s initial assembly. The supports that the armrests screw into include slots for the screws, allowing some horizontal movement. I’m not sure if this is a purposeful design decision to allow the user to adjust the width between the armrests. But, if it is, it’s not referenced anywhere in the provided video. This led to my first attempts at installing the arms resulting in one armrest sitting closer to the seat pan than the other.
It was an easy issue to fix. I loosened the bolts, pushed the arms to the outer extremes of their mounting slots, and tightened them. This was less of an assembly issue and more of an oversight in the instructions.
Speaking of oversights, the second speedbump came from a small hex wrench and a pair of small set screws included with the headrest. Again, there was no reference to these inclusions in the video or within the scant documentation. I attempted to suss out the hardware’s purpose but eventually gave up. Again, a bit of extra documentation could have solved this mystery.
The clear markings on the hardware card still helped me complete the assembly in about a half-hour. I could have done the job faster with help, but I flew solo to simulate a worst-case scenario any customer might run into. All in all, it was no more traumatic than assembling your average Ikea shelf.
Installing the extras
While the above section covers the standard setup process, I should also outline the process of installing the two optional extras Mavix sent along: the Elemax system and its brand-new FS 360 arms
First, the FS 360 arms are installed via the same process as the standard armrests. At this point, I was aware of the aforementioned mounting slots, allowing me to align them right the first time. The process of swapping out the original arms for the FS 360 arms took about 5-7 minutes and required no instructions.
The installation of the Elemax system was a bit more confusing.
The Elemax add-on is a semi-soft pad that’s inserted within the “Dynamic Variable Lumbar” support. Adding it takes a bit of effort, particularly when tucking it into the surrounding plastic structure without producing any major buckles. Once it’s in place, you insert a plastic cover that holds it in place without obstructing the control cluster of three buttons or the charging port, both of which are located on the right side.
The confusion came in when I noticed that the Elemax unit I’d been sent included two elastic straps that ran over the two built-in fans that provide the unit’s heating and cooling airflow. Once again, these straps weren’t present in the instructional videos or literature, and I was left to take my best guess as to their purpose, and where they were designed to rest. This confusion was exacerbated by the fact that the straps seemed likely to interfere with the airflow of the fans. Eventually, I installed the Elemax unit with the straps below the plastic cover and tested the airflow. Since it seemed unobstructed, I moved on, adding one more mystery to the list.
As mentioned above, the M9 is an very adjustable chair. So adjustable, in fact, that the company created a 5:44-long video just going over all of the ways it can be adjusted.
The adjustments include seat height, recline tension, backrest angle, seat depth, armrest height, armrest depth, armrest angle, armrest spacing, backrest height, headrest height, and headrest angle. That’s all based on the standard configuration. If you add the FS 360 arms to the mix, you can bump those 11 adjustments up to about 14 or 15, depending on how you define those made available by the FS 360 armrest’s many pivot points.
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All of these many adjustments enabled me to precisely dial in every aspect of the chair’s dimensions for my height, weight, and preferences. However, the sheer number of options made the job a bit daunting. Adding to the difficulty was the fact that the left and right control clusters under the chair looked almost identical, despite controlling entirely different aspects of its adjustment. There are markings to differentiate them, but they’re almost impossible to read while seated.
Between mixing up the left and right, and having to rise partway or all the way out of the chair (per the aforementioned video’s instructions) to adjust some aspects (backrest height and headrest height/angle, in particular) the adjustment process may have taken me longer than the assembly process.
Luckily, once I got past that initial learning curve, and got used to what the mirrored left and right control clusters did, I appreciated the broad range of tweaks.
I can’t wrap up the Adjustability section without talking about one of the most adjustable accessories I’ve ever seen on a chair: the FS 360 armrests.
The standard 4D armrests used on the M9 feature the same four adjustments (mentioned above) found on most high-end gaming chairs. Meanwhile, the FS 360 arms replace them with something unlike any other armrests I’ve ever used.
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The only mundane adjustment is their height, which included an impressive number of detents, allowing me to perfectly match the arm height to the height of my desk. Aside from this, the arms seem, at first, to be more like helicopters than typical gaming chair parts.
Unlike most armrests, the FS 360 arms pivot where they mount to their vertical support. This provides both width and angle adjustment. You can also lock them at a straight or 45-degree angle, or manually place them anywhere across almost a full 360 degrees. The only impediment to spinning them in a complete circle is the backrest. The result is an armrest that can be placed in any practical position you can imagine or shifted out of your way entirely.
This is enhanced further by the arm pads themselves. These nicely textured, just-cushy-enough pads slide forward and back, and also rotate. This makes it possible to flip them around completely, and to angle them to the ideal positions for typing/mousing, or performing any other activity on your desktop you may get up to.
Simply put, these are the most flexible arms I’ve ever used on any office or gaming chair I’ve ever tried. True, $165 for the optional FS 360 arms, on top of the cost of whichever Mavix chair you’re purchasing is a substantial upcharge. But, I think the FS 360 arms are the single most important feature across Mavix’s entire product catalog, and I’d definitely recommend springing for them if you decide the M9 is right for you.
I will add one caveat: If you’re an individual with mobility issues, or someone that leans heavily on your office or gaming chair’s arms to rise from it, I wouldn’t recommend using the FS 360 arms unless you keep them in the straight or 45-degree locked position. Any significant pressure on the arms causes them to pivot, as intended. This could result in a fall for individuals that need help getting out of their chairs. This won’t impact the majority of potential customers, but it’s worth mentioning to protect the folks it might affect.
The Mavix M9, and indeed its entire current line, leans towards the ergonomic side of the spectrum. This means the chair’s designed to be more supportive than cushy, with a seat pan, backrest, and headrest that were created to help you maintain a proper posture. That doesn’t mean it’s, in any way, uncomfortable; it just doesn’t feel like sinking into a cloud.
This is a good thing for a chair that you’re likely to be spending eight or more hours in per day. The ergonomics of the M9 and other Mavix chairs are trying to keep you from slouching into the unhealthy positions those soft, cloud-like chairs can encourage.
In this case, the range of adjustments mentioned above makes it possible to dial in the chair to the exact parameters you need to meet your height, weight, and preferences, creating a sitting experience that’s both active and comfortable. It may take some time to adjust if you’re used to a formless, heavily padded chair, but your body will likely feel better in the long run.
While you make that adjustment, the M9 still feels quite luxurious in some ways. The M-Breeze material, which covers everything but the lumbar support, is truly one of the highlights of the chair. Despite being synthetic, it feels like fine, buttery leather. It’s wonderfully soft, repels minor splashes well, and does an excellent job of covering the memory foam padding used across the seat.
That padding remains consistently cool and provides excellent support. This is also thanks to the seat pan’s rigid support and ergonomic shape. Both combined to prevent numb spots from sitting for extended periods.
The front of the seat is also nicely rolled-off, preventing uncomfortable pressure on the thighs.
The backrest feels good as well, but not quite as great as the seat. No matter what combination of adjustments I used on it, it never felt like my back was being as perfectly supported as my rump. Still, it was by no means uncomfortable, and I finished every workday using the M9 with no back pain.
My least favorite part of the support system was the headrest. It is very adjustable, but the adjustment process is downright frightening. The amount of force it took to budge the headrest made me worry I was going to damage it. Thankfully, it finally moved to where I wanted it and did a great job of supporting my head during active work and relaxation. I can confirm that it is indeed possible to nap in this chair.
Of the main components of the chair, this only leave the armrests. I’ve already extolled the virtues of the FS 360 arms above, so I’ll just say the standard 4D arms are still just as good as the armrests found on most high-end gaming chairs today, but they still pale in comparison to the adjustability of the upgraded option.
Now, let’s talk about Mavix’s trademark Elemax system. In the simplest terms, it’s a nice extra, but not something I’d call a must-buy. The built-in fans provide a nice, albeit modest, cooling or heating sensation for my lower back on sweaty or cooler days, and the massage function did feel pleasant when I was unable to get up for a stretch.
But the active posture and focused state I tend to be in when gaming or working meant I lost track of the Elemax being present much of the time. If you’re someone that relaxes more frequently in your gaming chair, you may appreciate this add-on more than I did.
Finally, there’s the aesthetics of the M9. This is, obviously, a matter of taste. I found the M9 to be on the understated side of the spectrum of gaming chairs. It could easily pass for a straight-laced office chair, and would look right at home in just about any setup, particularly in its Black (pictured here) or White colorways. Even the slightly flashier Black & White or Black & Glacier options are still pretty tame.
I will say the chair could have done with one or two fewer logos. Two full instances of MAVIX and the five-dot logo on the backrest seem like a bit…much. At least the logos on the headrest and backrest are well embroidered
As I mentioned in the opening, there are a massive number of companies all vying for the gaming chair space these days. A few standouts like Secret Lab have made a name for themselves toward the upper end of the racing seat style. Meanwhile, much of the rest of the market is trying to differentiate itself by adding unusual visual features like colorways themed around popular games or e-sports teams or even RGB lighting.
On the other end of the spectrum, you have companies like Herman Miller and Mavix, both of which took designs originally intended for the office chair market, made a few tweaks to them, and targeted gamers instead.
Opting to adapt existing designs rather than creating something wholly new might, at first, seem lazy. However, when it really comes down to it, PC gaming, and even console gaming, require pretty much the same conditions as office work: a good, sturdy, and comfortable chair that won’t make you feel awful after sitting in it, even for eight hours or more. Both of these companies were wise enough to realize that the target market matters less than the quality of the design.
Does this mean I think the M9 is a direct competitor for the likes of Herman Miller’s Embody gaming chair? Not exactly. The ergonomics of the back on the Embody flat out beat the M9’s backrest for me, though the seat is a tie. The Embody’s construction also feels a bit more likely to last you a lifetime. Of course, the retail starting price for the Embody is almost $800 more, or close to twice as much as the M9.
This leaves the Mavix M9 as something of a middle-of-the-road option, price-wise. It sits above the $200 to $500, or so, pricepoint of most racing style chairs, but below the $1500+ price point of boutique brands like Herman Miller, and its takes on gaming chairs. Appropriately enough, I think the quality falls right in the middle of those two ends of the spectrum as well.
The M9 won’t revolutionize your workday or gaming sessions, but it will provide a comfortable, ergonomic, and well-built seating solution that looks just “gamer-y” enough, without resorting to anything too outlandish. If the $999 price point is affordable to you, I’d absolutely recommend paying the extra $165 for the FS360 arms. With them on board, I think the Mavix M9 makes an excellent case for being one of the best gaming chairs in the upper mid-range of today’s best entries.
Alternatives to consider
If you prefer the racing seat style of gaming chairs, the Secret Lab TITAN Evo 2022 is the current king of that category. Our own June Wan gave it a 9.2 in his review.
The current king of gaming chairs, at least in this author’s opinion. It provides the most ergonomic support of any chair I’ve used, but it comes at a steep cost and doesn’t feature anywhere near the flexibility in its arms that the M9 does.
A chair from a company better known for its mice and keyboards, the Iskur is excellent for those lumbar support addicts out there that feel left out by many of the other racing seats available.