The term "desk chair" may be obsolete. That, anyway, is the conclusion that Steelcase has reached after conducting what it says was a study of 2,000 people in 11 countries — and how they sit.
Steelcase says people don't just sit upright in their chairs anymore. In this age of phones, tablets and laptops, people slouch and lean back and curl up in all kinds of new ways.
According to Steelcase, if you don't have the right chair, various sitting postures can lead to fatigue, pain and injury.
And it's important to move around, to shift, to avoid hours in the same position. Otherwise, you might "decrease blood flow in the legs."
The fruit of all of this research, study and philosophizing is the new Steelcase Gesture chair, available later this fall for $980. It's supposed to be the ultimate work chair — "a new sitting experience," the company asserts.
It certainly is comfortable. And it certainly is adjustable. Like most office chairs, you can make this one taller or shorter when you press a lever on the chair's stem. The chair spins easily and rolls extremely easily on its five ball-bearing feet.
The back can recline very far without risk of toppling backward. You can adjust the tension on the spring, too, so that it goes back and forward more or less easily. You can lock the back into one of five angles with the flip of a lever.
By turning a knob, you can move the seat forward or backward relative to the back, to accommodate the longer or shorter of limb.
The armrests are miracles of mobility. By squeezing a lever under each one, you can move them independently up or down, inward or outward.
And, so, yes: This is a wonderful chair. It's supremely comfortable, impressively adjustable, exceptionally supportive.
But just how much of a breakthrough is the Gesture chair? After you clear away the smoke from those arguments about our modern mobile gadgets, is the Gesture actually any more flexible than its rivals?
I made a pilgrimage to a couple of high-end office-furniture stores to find out. And here's the baffling thing that I discovered: The Gesture is, at best, only a small advance.
More mysteriously, the Gesture isn't even that much of a leap beyond the Leap, Steelcase's own earlier adjusto-chair and its most popular model. You can adjust the Leap in all the same ways as the Gesture — more ways, actually — and it costs $100 less.
Now, the Gesture looks much more modern, much more sculptural and much classier. It says "high-tech executive" more than "worker bee with sciatica." But all that stuff about a "new sitting experience" — that's clearly baloney.
Fortunately, there are plenty of chairs that could serve you well. And you don't have to pay steep, designer prices, either; many other ergonomic chairs, made with more plastic and fewer adjustments, are available in much lower price ranges.
The point is not that you should buy a Gesture chair. The point is that you should buy a good, comfortable, ergonomic chair.
David Pogue is the New York Times' tech columnist. He can be reached at davidpogue.com or @Pogue on Twitter. See full columns at fresnobee.com/pogue.