In a Nutshell:
This feature-rich chair improves on the very few shortcomings of the original Novo design. With a good mix of both therapeutic features and convenience flourishes, the Novo XT2 is recommended for anyone who can afford it.
Overall Massage Quality
Ease of Use
Value for the Money
Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired?
Have you been on the hunt for a top-notch massage chair offered by a world-class company to help ease the pain in your aching back and feet after a long day’s work?
A massage chair that not only looks terrific but is loaded with both therapeutic and convenience features designed to transport and relax you?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, then you’re going to love our in-depth Human Touch Novo XT review. The XT2 is an upgrade of the Novo XT, which itself is an upgrade of one of the company’s older models, the Novo, which is an excellent chair in its own right. The XT2, however, takes the base model’s excellence to a whole new level.
In the following sections, we’ll take an in-depth look into everything this amazing chair can do and fill you in on the few shortcomings it has, so you can decide for yourself if this is the model you’ve been searching for.
Even if you opt to go with some other make or model, we think you’ll agree; this is a fantastic piece of engineering and a remarkable chair. Let’s jump right in and see what the Novo XT2 has to offer!
Human Touch Novo XT2 Chair Overview
Human Touch is known for producing evocative, compelling designs. These aren’t ordinary, clunky-looking massage chairs; the company makes massage chairs that are equal parts form and function. Most of their designs are gorgeous, and this one is no exception.
It’s got a decidedly futuristic look that won’t appeal to everyone, but on the whole, we think most people will like it. Even if it doesn’t blend well with your particular home décor scheme, that doesn’t necessarily mean it wouldn’t be a good fit for your home; only that you’ll want to use it more as a centerpiece for the contrast it brings to the room.
Human Touch Ascent Series Novo XT2 Chair Specifications
Here are some basic stats to give you a general feel for the chair:
There are a couple of things to talk about right off the bat here and a few things we’ll have more to say about later in this comprehensive Human Touch Novo XT2 review.
For starters, we’d like to draw your attention to the fact that this is a big chair, likely to dominate whatever room you decide to place it in. And given the chair’s weight, it pays to work out exactly where you want it right up front, so you don’t face the daunting task of trying to relocate it later.
Also, note the length of the massage track, which is one of the longest in the industry. That, combined with the fact that the chair will accommodate users up to 6’9″, means that even taller users can expect a comprehensive massage experience that will cover most of their body.
Hybrid L/S-Track & 3D Quad Rollers
The single most significant improvement we noted between the base Novo model and the XT2 is the fact that the XT2 uses quad rollers with 3D technology, whereas the original Novo utilized dual rollers without 3D tech.
The inclusion of quad rollers brings the XT2 up to current industry standards, and the addition of 3D technology, which allows the rollers to move up to 3″ away from the impressively long massage track, makes for a deeper, better, more satisfying massage in general.
These technologies paired with the super long (50″!) massage track are exceptional. We love it, and we’re sure you will too!
3D Body “Scan”
As good as the rollers are, we found the body scanning technology to be a bit underwhelming. It’s not a huge issue, but it is something to be mindful of.
Many top-notch massage chairs have an all-automated body scanning routine. You sit in the chair, and it scans you, making on-the-fly adjustments to be sure it hits all your pressure points optimally.
If the body scan fails to render a perfect result, there are options on the remote that allow the user to tweak the roller position for additional fine-tuning.
We wish Human Touch had taken that approach.
Instead, there is no body scan here. You’re presented with nine different presets on the remote. Start by selecting the one you think will offer the best fit; then, if the position of the rollers needs further tweaking and fine-tuning, you can do that.
It’s not as seamless and automated a process as it could be, but it’s certainly not bad, and we didn’t deduct much from the chair for it.
We will note, however, that it’s not a state-of-the-art feature implementation, and the company could have done a better job here.
A great massage experience isn’t defined by roller technology alone. The massage techniques and pre-programmed massages on offer matter, too, as does the presence of Zero-G seating.
Inspired by NASA, Zero-G seating sees massage chairs that offer it to recline the user to a position where their knees are elevated slightly above their hearts, which leaves one with a feeling of weightlessness.
Research has shown that sitting in this position offers a number of therapeutic benefits, including helping to improve circulation, lower blood pressure and facilitate faster post-operative recovery.
In addition to that, though, Zero-G seating enhances the overall massage experience, using your body’s weight to press you more firmly against the seatback, which allows the rollers to render a deeper massage.
Not every chair offers Zero-G seating, and when you find the feature, you’ll see it implemented with from 1-3 offered Zero-G seating positions. Given the price of this model, we would have expected to see three different Zero-G seating positions on offer, but the XT2 only offers two.
That’s hardly a deal breaker, of course, but we were a bit disappointed. After all, if you take a look at the specs of the mighty Kahuna LM6800, you’ll find that despite being about one-third the price of this model, it comes with three Zero-G seating positions!
In any case, the presence of two will satisfy most users and is a strong, if not an excellent implementation of the feature.
Designed with Space-Saving Technology
We said at the outset that the Novo XT2 is a big, burly chair. It is, but it’s also designed with space-saving technology, which means you may be able to squeeze it into a smaller room than you think.
Most reclining chairs need at least a couple of feet of clearance between the seatback and whatever wall you place it near if you want to use the recline function. The original Novo model required nine inches of wall clearance, while the Novo XT needed five. Now, the Novo XT2 needs only two inches! That’s both amazing and impressive!
A Tremendous Number of Options Available
There are three ways a company can choose to implement massage features. They can opt to make the process highly automated, relying heavily on pre-programmed massage routines; they can skimp on automated routines and open up every aspect of the massage to tweaking via the remote; or they can try for a middle ground approach, opting to do some of both.
Human Touch uses a middle-ground approach, but one that skews heavily in favor of automation, offering an impressive thirty-five pre-programmed massage routines. Simply select the one you want to try out, push the button, and relax.
We like that approach because we sense that most people prefer well-considered pre-packaged options with some room to tweak the particulars as opposed to being presented with a vast “massage toolkit” and having to spend days or even weeks learning what all the options mean and do before they can start cobbling together their custom massage routines.
Granted, you’d probably prefer the latter approach if you’re a diehard DIYer and tinkerer. Still, in terms of mass-market appeal, most people love the push-button simplicity of the pre-programmed approach, and Human Touch delivers that in style.
Even if you’re relatively picky about what you’re looking for in a massage, with 35 pre-programmed routines to choose from, you’re sure to find something you love.
Massage Programs and Techniques
Here’s a quick sampling of some of the pre-programmed massages you’ll find on offer:
In addition to those (and dozens more), you’ll also find the following massage techniques available, which serve as the basis for building your own massage:
The presence of Swedish and Thai massage is nothing short of amazing, making this feature implementation the best in class. You won’t find many back massaging recliners at any price that offer three advanced massage techniques! On top of that, you can select the intensity, and the speed the rollers operate, choosing between three different levels each.
On top of that, given the presence of 3D technology, you can also select deep tissue massage routines. Note that these may be too intense for hobbyist users. But if you suffer from chronic back pain, the presence of these routines will likely be among your favorite aspects of the chair as they render a wonderful massage with tremendous therapeutic benefits.
Finally, note that the remote offers a “zone massage” function, which enables you to interrupt any massage program running and focus the rollers where it hurts the most, giving you the power and control to get the relief you want and need exactly when and where you need it.
Amazing Air Massage
It gets better – although the Novo XT2 doesn’t have a huge number of airbags, this is an area where Human Touch demonstrates its design excellence.
The way they’ve engineered the chair, the modest number of Second-Generation airbags on offer are precisely positioned to give you an unbelievably good air massage that you can adjust through three different levels of intensity.
You can also activate the airbags selectively by the following body zones:
An increasing percentage of massage chairs on the market today offer heat in some form or fashion, and anytime it’s present, it’s always a welcome addition that provides tons of therapeutic value. Its presence here is no surprise, as the original Novo also offered lumbar heat. The feature implementation is, as far as we can tell, unchanged.
Sadly, there’s no way to adjust the temperature of the offered heat, and it’s limited to the lumbar region of your back (just as it was in the original Novo model).
We would love to have seen a temperature adjustment feature or heat in the footwells, but…no such luck. Even so, you won’t be disappointed with this feature!
We’re always glad to see body stretching in any form in a massage chair, but Human Touch’s implementation could have been better here. The company already offers Thai massage via the rollers, so adding an aggressive Thai body stretch would have been amazing.
As it stands, we view the body stretch as being a bit on the gentle side, but your mileage may vary. Perhaps, for you, it will be just the way you like it. Our view is, it could have been several shades more intense.
Calf & Foot Massage
Another superbly implemented feature, the calf and foot massage, is rendered via a combination of airbags in the footwells, along with dual rollers at the bottom of each leg port.
The foot roller speed and intensity can be adjusted independently of the rollers running along the massage track of the chair, allowing you a great deal of flexibility when it comes to customizing your head-to-toe massage.
Although we love this feature, we will take the opportunity to say again that it could have been even better if the footwells featured heat. If Human Touch modifies this model in the future, that would be the biggest item on our wish list of things we’d like to see added!
Another spectacularly well-implemented feature is the ottoman, which automatically extends to accommodate a wide range of users of varying heights (from 5′ to 6’9″).
The auto-extend feature works how you’d expect it to about 95% of the time. On those rare occasions where it doesn’t adjust precisely the way you want or need it to, you’ll find buttons on the remote that allow you to tweak the ottoman’s position until it’s exactly how you want it.
MP3 Support, Bluetooth Compatible, and a USB Port!
Once more, Human Touch goes above and beyond and delivers another superb feature implementation. The chair has decent-quality built-in speakers (Altec Lansing) that are Bluetooth compatible and a built-in USB port so you can charge your phone while listening to your favorite music.
We’ve seen some reports of poor sound quality from the speakers but suspect this has more to do with a poor Bluetooth connection than with the speakers themselves, which are of good quality, and certainly better than you find in most other chairs that offer built-in speakers.
Random side note here, but the Novo XT2 also comes with eight pre-programmed soundtracks to help you relax. You’ll find nature sounds, thunderstorms, rolling tides, and the like. It’s a small thing and one of those finishing touches that we really admire and appreciate.
Sure, you can find those kinds of soundtracks online easily enough, but Human Touch really takes care of you. It’s just one less thing you have to worry about. We love it.
Surprisingly Easy to Use and Master
Although the chair has a dizzying array of features and customization options on offer, the wired LCD remote is well-organized, and you won’t have any particular difficulty mastering any aspect of the chair’s use.
Even better, courtesy of the vast array of pre-programmed massage routines, you’ll be able to plug the chair in, sit down, and start enjoying your first massage mere minutes after the chair arrives at your door.
Best of all, this is one of the few massage chairs that come fully assembled, so there’s not much for you to do when you get it other than decide where you want it, move it to that location, plug it in, and attach the wired remote.
Our only real complaint on this front is the fact that given the state of technology today, the choice of an LCD wired remote seems a little old school. Most of the top-of-line models on the market today have gravitated to touchscreen tablets to serve as the control module for their chairs, and we regard this as a bit of a missed opportunity for Human Touch.
It’s certainly not a deal breaker, but don’t be shocked when the remote’s screen doesn’t respond to your touch commands!
Final note: The remote can even be set to a variety of languages, so if English isn’t your primary language, Human Touch has you covered!
Pros & Cons of the Human Touch Novo XT2 Chair
As you can see, we like almost everything about this chair. It gets the overwhelming majority of things right. Sure, we had a few minor complaints (no heat in the footwells, no temperature adjustment for the heat, the body stretch could be stronger and more aggressive, etc.), but these are nits rather than full-blown complaints.
Honestly, the only real negative we can find with the model is its hefty price tag. You’ll pay a premium for the kind of quality and design excellence that Human Touch brings to the table, and that premium may put the Novo XT2 beyond the reach of some and perhaps even many potential buyers. It’s unfortunate but true.
At the end of the day, though, with so many robustly implemented features and so few weak spots in the design, this chair strikes a beautiful balance between therapeutic elements like heat and body stretch and convenience features like the superbly-implemented Bluetooth speakers and MP3 support.
The result is that this design appeals to an incredibly broad swath of the market. While it’s true that it’s probably not the ideal chair for someone suffering from a particular medical condition, that only applies to a tiny segment of the market. For everyone else, it’s a superb pick…IF you can afford it.
Human Touch Novo XT Massage Chair Review Conclusion
We love the Novo XT2! It’s one of our favorite designs by Human Touch, a company known for making excellent massage chairs.
We recommend the model for anyone, although in saying that, we note two things as we end this Human Touch Novo XT2 review. Call these caveats to an otherwise unreserved recommendation:
- As mentioned in the last section, the cost will likely put this model out of the reach of many, although it’s good enough that we’d recommend saving until you could afford it if you find yourself reasonably close. There’s no point in settling for second best!
- If you have a particular medical need, a chair more focused on therapeutic features might provide a more significant overall benefit. We regard this model as an exceptional “generalist” chair; something like the Luraco i7 is probably better suited to those suffering from certain chronic pain conditions.
January 2019 – We’ve updated our review of the Novo XT due to the release of the XT2. Although the Novo XT was only released in 2017, its model lifespan was incredibly short-lived and has been replaced by the XT2, a minor upgrade.
References & Resources:
- Human Touch, Official Brand Website.
- Human Touch Novo XT Manual.
- How Healthy Is Massage?, Dr. Weil.
- Massage and Diabetes, Diabetes Care.
- Stretch Your Calves: Why This Is So Important for Everyone, Dr. Peggy Malone.