Massage Chair Review: Panasonic EP 30004 Real Pro Ultra

by James Knolan

The focus of this review is the Panasonic EP 30004 which is part of the Real Pro Ultra series of massage chairs. Unlike most massage recliner reviews, we follow a systematic approach to the review process. We review 5 important areas of the purchase of this product. The 5 areas we use for the review include: Warranty & Customer Service, Comfort/Ergonomics, Ease of Use, Features and Massage Therapy. The overall rating is given by adding up the points earned in each category for a total possible score of 100 points. Here is our evaluation of the EP30004.

Warranty & Customer Service: With any electronic equipment or big ticket item, warranty protection is critical. Although, most massage chairs are built well, there are occasional problems. In this case, you want to make sure you have adequate protection. The EP 30004 comes with a 3 year parts and 1 year labor warranty from the manufacturer. We find this as fairly short and recommend you consider purchasing an extended warranty if it is offered. Customer service is dependent on the retailer the chair is purchased and is thus highly variable. Panasonic earns a 15 in this category.

Comfort & Ergonomics: To provide relaxation, a massage chair needs to be comfortable to sit in. Also, the design of the chair must be ergonomic, so you do not have to struggle to make adjustments with the chair. The Real Pro Ultra has soft padded armrests. The head pillow can be adjusted for each user and is also detachable. The chair back and seat are plush when seated. The leg ottoman can be adjusted up to 5 inches of additional extension. The controls are located in easy and accessible areas. The EP-30004 is well designed for comfort and ergonomics. We rate this recliner an 18 in this category.

East of Use: The massage chair industry increases the functionality of its chairs every year. With the increase in functionality comes increasing complexity of controls to run them. Our ease of use category is for making the controls of the chair as intuitive as possible for the user. Panasonic is one of the premier electronics companies in the world, so we expect them to completely understand this issue. Panasonic has pioneered the use of a ?Voice Guidance? system in their chairs to help consumers with ease of use. This interactive system enables novice users to quickly understand and use the chair to maximum benefit. The remote is very cleanly designed and intuitive. It is not cluttered like many controllers we evaluate. The remote comes with memory functions that can remember the favorite massages of up to 4 different users. Manual controls are located in the side panel of the remote. Overall Rating for the Panasonic EP 30004 for ease of use is 19.

Key Features: There are two important features we want to point out with this chair. The Junetsu massage technique and the shoulder stretch. The Junetsu massage is an ultra fine kneading massage. It is based on how a professional massage therapist loosens up tight muscles. There is a one second thumb like pressure applied with a spiral circular motion. This has the affect of reverberating down through the muscles to the bone. It is very thorough and invigorating. The other key feature to point out is the shoulder stretch. This unique feature is accomplished by activating the air bag in the arm rest to firmly hold the arm. The chair back then reclines to stretch out the arm and shoulder. This is excellent for increasing the mobility and flexibility of the shoulder area. We give the Real Pro Ultra a 19 for its new features.

Massage Therapy: This massage chair comes with five automatic courses. It includes a Body Scan which is also customizable. Ultra-fine kneading or Junetsu has been introduced to the full complement of Quad-style massage techniques, including Shiatsu, Swedish, fist kneading, and grasping. Between the automatic and the manual functions there are up to 372 combinations of techniques available in this recliner. There are reflexology pads built into the foot wells that pinpoint areas that will instantly increase blood flow and energy throughout your body. These plates are adjustable and removable. You also have both a lower body stretch and the shoulder stretch. This chair has a virtual arsenal of massage techniques to cater to your every need. We score the massage therapy of this chair a 19.

The Panasonic EP 30004 rates as a 90/100. We really like the new and innovative features of this recliner. The shoulder stretch is another important advance for massage chair technology. The Junetsu massage technique provides good deep penetration for those hard to get at areas in the back. The remote is simple to use and comes with the voice guidance feature. The manufacturer’s warranty is a bit on the light side and should be beefed up with the purchase of an extended warranty. The only point of concern we have is the industrial look of the chair. We do not understand why Panasonic continues to neglect the design aesthetics of their massage chair line. But overall, this is a very solid chair from an important manufacturer. If you are in the market for a luxury massage chair, then this one should be on your short list of choices.

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