The E-WIN Flash XL is a no-frills gaming chair with a minimalist visual style, solid construction, and comfortable seating. It can support up to 550lbs and offers a wide seat pan and extended height to make it more appealing to both big and tall users. But despite the good qualities it brings to the table, its $499 price point makes it all the more unfortunate that it also comes with a glaring safety problem that could deter some buyers.
Our review of the Flash XL will help you determine if this is one of the best gaming chairs you can get today or if its safety concerns outweigh the chair’s positive benefits.
E-WIN Flash XL review: Price and availability
The E-WIN Flash XL gaming chair is available directly from E-WIN's site for $499. The model sent to Tom’s Guide for review comes in three variations: solid black, gold, and black with white accents. It's worth noting, however, that E-WIN sells a slightly trimmer and shorter version of the Flash XL with red, blue, or pink accents for a bit less for those seeking a gaming chair with a smaller form factor.
In this same upper mid-tier price range, you could score something like a Secretlab Titan, which is a higher-quality chair that is certain to be significantly safer. But we'll discuss safety more below, as there's something pretty important to note about the Flash XL in that department.
E-WIN Flash XL review: Design, comfort and safety
The Flash XL is an unassuming gaming chair that doesn't do much visually to stand out from the generic offerings you'd generally find at a local office store, but whether that's good or bad will depend entirely on your preference. Its diamond-shaped stitching gives it an ever-so-slight elegance, though I wish E-WIN would've exercised a bit of subtlety with its branding instead of slapping its white logo on the top of the chair, which sticks out next to the all-black material. Overall, though, I like the Flash XL's rather plain aesthetic for my office setup, but if you're looking for something more visually-striking, this one isn't likely to tickle your fancy.
The stain resistant polyurethane leather has a nice texture and doesn't give me any concerns about longevity, but it does heat up after extended periods of sitting due to a lack of breathability. The material also picks up oil very easily, meaning that your skin or hair may leave a spot on the headrest even when you're clean. None of this is terribly uncommon for polyurethane leather, but it's worth keeping in mind.
In terms of comfort, the Flash XL's foam is firm but supportive. I've spent somewhere in the vicinity of 50 total hours seated in the chair so far, and I haven't experienced any of the numbness or soreness I've often dealt with in similar gaming chairs. Whether the foam will hold up over years of use is yet to be seen, but I have no complaints about general comfort of the seat and back cushions at this stage.
The Flash XL's adjustable armrests allow users decide how high they'd like their elbows to rest when at their computer, and the ability to adjust them in and out as well frees up extra space when needed. They've got just a bit of cushion in them that keeps them from being uncomfortable to lean on, though your mileage may vary based on your posture.
Speaking of posture, I've enjoyed using the Flash XL's head pillow due to being able to adjust it so easily thanks to its built-in magnet system, and its helpful support for my neck is welcomed. Sadly, the lumbar pillow fares far worse. It's unusually stiff and feels far too aggressively rounded, forcing you to sit straight up with an unnatural curve in your back that is too intense to actually be ergonomic. I ditched it after an hour of pain and never looked back, and I found that the curve of the chair's built-in lumbar support is much more subtle and feels great.
The standout feature of the Flash XL should be its oversized seat pan and extended height — and in some ways that turns out to be true. As a tall but average-sized person, I've found that the extra room provided helps me feel less cramped while working and seems to allow me to sit for longer periods of time without becoming uncomfortable or restless. Unfortunately, this feature is also where the Flash XL reveals itself as a safety hazard.
Despite being comfortable and roomy, the oversized seat pan is directly at odds with the measly 24" wheelbase. Like many gaming chairs, the wheelbase is not aligned with the center of the chair, instead lining up with the rear to support its ability to recline. In this case, the small wheelbase can't provide stability to the front portion of the chair, which can lead to it regularly tipping forward when users lean to pick something up or simply sit slightly too far forward on the seat pan. I've nearly tipped it forward enough times that I can say that this is a major safety concern that should absolutely play a part in your consideration of the Flash XL.
E-WIN Flash XL review: What’s adjustable
The Flash XL has all of the standard features you've come to expect from gaming chairs, such as general height adjustment and reclining to the point of being borderline horizontal. The latter works great and feels relaxing and sturdy, though it serves as another reminder that the same can't be said for the stability of the front of the seat pan.
The head pillow and upper segment of the chair both contain magnets, which allows you to easily snap the pillow nearly anywhere you'd like within the area where your head and neck rests. The lumbar pillow, meanwhile, is added to the arrangement via straps that run up through the two holes in the top of the chair, making it an annoying accessory to attach and unattach.
The 4D armrests can be lifted for taller users or lowered to meet the height needs of shorter users, while they can also be adjusted inward and outward to grant some more space. If needed, they'll even slide forward and backward, though I suspect that most people will find their initial placement fine in that regard. Even so, having so much customizability is never a bad thing.
E-WIN Flash XL review: Assembly
Assembling the Flash XL is a mostly straightforward affair of connecting a handful of pieces together using the included screws and allen wrenches, and there's little here that isn't industry standard for this type of thing. There are instructions available with helpful visual aids if and when you need them, but it shouldn't prove insurmountable even without them given how few pieces there are to piece together.
That being said, trying to connect the back of the chair to the seat pan can be slightly difficult due to the tight fit. This is exacerbated when trying to line up the holes in the back of the chair with the ones on the seat pan, as each adjustment requires an awful lot of force because it's all wedged together so tightly.
But even with that slight inconvenience, you should find that the rest is painless and that the chair can go from the box to being fully built in under 30 minutes. This can probably all be perfectly achieved solo, but it can't hurt to have a second set of hands for helping you hold the back on the seat pan or lift the chair and place it on the hydraulic cylinder near the end of the job.
E-WIN Flash XL review: Bottom line
The E-WIN Flash XL is a comfortable chair with a lot of room to spread out and get cozy while gaming or working. Unfortunately, due to the size and placement of its wheelbase, the chair is capable of tipping over when pressure is applied near the front of its seat pan. And while some buyers may feel comfortable adjusting to this potentially dangerous issue, there's really no reason an oversight of this magnitude should've occurred in a product with such a premium price point. As such, there are just too many gaming chairs that offer more stability and features in this upper mid-tier range to recommend this otherwise well-rounded chair.