Noblechairs' Gaming Chair Is For Firm Butts And Deep Pockets

Image: Alex Walker/Kotaku

Real talk: the noblechairs EPIC gaming chair is the firmest "gaming" chair I've ever sat my butt on. And I kinda like it.

The market for places to put your gaming butt is fairly fierce. Over the last years several new brands have joined the Australian market, some of which are even manufactured locally.

One of the more recent entries down under is noblechairs, a British brand currently only distributing their EPIC faux and real leather chairs through MWAVE and Scorptec. There's two basic options available to Aussies: a faux leather chair in black (with coloured trim) starts from $399. An esports themed version of the faux line will set you back around $469, although the features are largely unchanged, while the real leather version will set you back $699.

It's an awful lot to pay for a chair - but it's about the same amount you'd pay for a swivel chair with a headrest and armrests from a regular furniture retailer or IKEA.

Image: Kotaku/Alex Walker

As you'd expect, a chair in this price bracket comes with a few features. There's a velvet pillow for a headrest, a second cushion for lumbar support that hooks through the back of the chair, 4D armrests and cold foam upholstery. The armrests and casters themselves are made from polyurethane, while the base and frame are made from aluminium and steel respectively. PU faux leather is used from the back, front and side-rail covers for the basic model, while the full leather edition uses real leather for the front and side-rail covers.

The arms come pre-attached, making installation easier than most. Part of the annoyance of putting a "racing" or gaming chair together is the manual labour involved. But as I discovered during a livestream with Cam from Gizmodo, the noblechairs EPIC series made it a little easier by having the armrests already bolted into the base of the chair. You can always remove them later if you're the type who likes to sit lotus, though.

The actual base of the chair is surprisingly firm. We've got a few gaming chairs across the tech pod, including the Omega Stealth I reviewed last year, as well as a new offering from DXRacer. At home, I've also got a second-hand furnished chair that was my go to gaming lounge for several years, which is still going strong.

The firmness actually caused a bit of debate amongst us all. Danny, our publisher, preferred the softer seating of the Secretlab chair. Both are harder than the DXRacer in our office, which is too spongy for my liking. It's not right to say the noblechairs EPIC is hard; think of it more like really stiff foam memory you've ever sat on. It's good if you have a tendency to slouch.

The instructions are fairly clear. They're fairly straightforward to follow, and if you're not mucking around and have plenty of space to rotate the chair as you build it shouldn't take any longer than 15-20 minutes to put together.

Images: noblechairs

It's flexible enough, although it doesn't recline as much as some. The back will adjust up to 135 degrees, the same amount as the DXRacer F series but less than the 165o of Secretlab's Omega Stealth. That's not a dealbreaker in practice though - there aren't too many situations, especially if a seat you'll be working a lot in, where you're fully reclined.

The armrests feel out of place compared to the rest of the chair. It's fairly standard for gaming chairs to use polyurethane for the armrests, but it feels cheap compared to the quality of the rest of the chair. It's a quirk I've had with chairs of this ilk for a while. If you're spending R700 on a chair for the next several years, you might want something with velour or at least a little more padding. The armrests aren't uncomfortable - don't get me wrong - but they look out of place, and they feel it too.

The curved base is a nice touch. Like shoes or people's feet, something that gaming chairs often overlook is the base. The five-pointed star is rounded on the sides, rather than having a harsh edge. It certainly helps if you accidentally smack your foot against it (which can happen if you find yourself under the desk, playing around at the back of your PC case).

Larger gamers will want to look elsewhere. The real and faux leather chairs we tested have a rated limit of 120kg, and while in practice you can allow for an extra 10kg that still disqualifies plenty of would-be customers. It's also only 141cm tall from base to top, which means gamers 185cm/1.85m or taller will want to consider alternatives (like Secret Lab's Titan, or AKRacing's ProX line.)


Of course, the main killer - as always - will be price. Nobody wants to pay $699 for a chair, leather or not, even though most people end up using the same gaming chair for years on end. Put it this way: you're more likely to keep the same gaming chair for four or five years than you are your phone, graphics card, console, or smartphone.

If you're in an air-conditioned environment, you can probably look at the much more affordable faux leather series which starts from $399. That's the same territory as the Vertagear SL2000 chairs, but a fair chunk more than the DXRacer F line of chairs, the Aerocool Thunder TGC12 chairs, the AK Racing K7012, Arozzi Monza line, and almost all of the DXRacer offerings. (If you want to compare prices, it's best to do a quick search on StaticICE.)

There's a lot of competition for your butt these days. That said, out of the three we have in the office, it's the firmness of the noblechairs that I find the most comfortable. But with so many chairs using similar, if not identical materials, and so many similar features, you're best served heading to a retailer and trialling one out for yourself.

It's a lot easier to just buy something online. But if you're spending $300 or more, you want your chair to last at least three or four years. Your butt's worth it.


Comments

    @alexwalker Thanks for the article, what would you personal all round recommendation of a gaming chair be at this stage?

    Anyone else got recommendations on gaming chairs other than mentioned above? Something with headrest, full height and supporting someone 85KG etc... been looking around but would love some opinions from people who own similar.

    Last edited 11/01/17 10:33 am

      It's hard to say. A lot of gaming chairs are very, very similar. They're basically all using the same materials and construction, and I also haven't been able to test the several other brands on the market which you can get (some of which for noticeably cheaper than the noblechairs above). You really need to get your butt in one and see what you like for yourself - it's the only way to be sure.

      I would say that anything that isn't furnished or real leather tends to sweat more in summer, so you should keep that in mind. And out of the ones I've had access to, I prefer the noblechairs the most predominately because of the firmness. And according to a quick poll around the tech pod, I'm a bit of a lone wolf in that regard.

        Thanks Alex, guess I'll remain on the fence about any purchases for a bit longer then.. whilst I don't see an issue spending decent money on something I spend a fair amount of time in (something that can support neck and back properly seems very important there). I also don't want to jump the gun.

        From what I do understand though DXRacer is a bit overrated and primarily as popular as it is because they sponsor streamers etc? Any input there?

          not too far from the mark on DXRacer in that it is overrated but it is also still decent. My overall issue with gaming chairs though is their rigidity pretty much across the board. The are designed for sitting up straight and focusing intently on what you are doing. If you wanted the option to kick back and recline a bit while watching youtube or for some low impact games, I would consider trying a few standard office chairs with a wider arm rest spread and a larger incline on the head rest.

            I have a DXracer Chair, besides the awful arm rest (i tend to get sore elbows from them) they are solid design.
            I got one of the bigger ones (k series) due to being really tall (6'5 +) i had trouble finding good ergonomic chairs, and this chair has great support.

            One great feature is that even if you have the back flat out horizontal, its still hard to tip backwards. There have been times where i have tipped backwards on other chairs very easily and this is a good bonus.

            I would only recommend to people having a hard time finding something if they don't fit to smaller dimensions that most chairs cater to.

    That chair looks like it's leaning back with its arms behind its head.

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