Standard office and gaming chairs are not built for big and tall people. They cower before our broad frames, shudder beneath our weight and generally fear us. The SecretLab Titan, built for the larger-than-guy-sized gamer, has no fear.
Finding a comfortable place to sit for long periods is not an easy task for the big and tall. I stand at 6'6" and have a very broad frame. I generally hover around 136kg, depending on how much of a damn I am giving about my weight. I have killed many a flimsy folding chair in my time, and my office seating tends to fall apart after a year or two of extended use.
To make matters worse, I have a very long torso and relatively short legs. At six and a half feet tall I have a 32-34 inch inseam, which is about the same as that of my foot-shorter wife. When everyone else in the aeroplane is resting their heads, my headrest tries to function as a just-below-the-shoulder-blades-rest. I do my best to score window seats so I have something to lean against that isn't my fellow passengers.
Every couple of years the quest for a new chair begins, and I generally end up settling for something extra large from Office Depot. Then I sit incorrectly for the next two years, slouched forward so the headrest has a tiny hope of fulfilling its function. My current two-year-old chair is a wobbly mess of broken hydraulics and cable-eating wheels.
I'd read about Singapore-based gaming chair maker SecretLab from Alex's review, who wrote about and quite liked one of the company's smaller models. When the company announced it was starting to sell in North America, I started eyeing the more substantial Titan.
Now I've put my arse all over it, and it's almost everything I had hoped for.
What It Is
The SecretLab Titan is a gaming chair, which is a chair specifically designed for gaming. Often designed to resembled racing car seats, a gaming chair is specifically designed for long periods of sitting on one's arse holding a game controller or hovering over a mouse and keyboard.
The Titan is a gaming chair designed for long periods of sitting on large, tall or weighty asses. The seat is designed to accommodate people as tall as 6'4" and 130kg, which to someone my size is close the hell enough.
Where many gaming chairs lean towards flash colour combinations, most of SecretLab's line is relatively subdued (the Throne model being the exception). Aside from the company name and logos on the seat, the Titan wouldn't look too out of place in an office environment.
The Titan normally runs $US490 ($638), but SecretLab has it up for preorder now on its U.S. website for $US359 ($468) (you have to use access code EXCLUSIVE737 to shop, as they're still in early access mode). SecretLab only sells direct.
I generally spend around $US300 ($391) on an office chair ever couple of years, so it's not that far outside of my personal range. Considering I spend at least 70 hours a week sitting in my office, it's worth it.
What I Did With It
First I let the large box the Titan came in sit in my living room for a week as I made room in my smallish home office. My children used the box as an "imaginary trampoline" for a bit, though nothing seems to have been damaged by their childlike love of breaking all the things.
One evening, after those little monsters went to sleep, I spent about 30 minutes putting the Titan together, all by my lonesome. The box contained all the tools and parts I needed. I had a little trouble threading the plastic handles over the tilt and height adjustment bars under the seat, but otherwise everything went smoothly.
There aren't many pictures of the chair in my office, as my office is a damn nightmare right now
It took me a couple of days to get used to using the Titan as my everyday office and gaming chair, though this wasn't the Titan's fault. I've just been sitting in shoddily-designed pieces of crap for so long that my back and legs were not used to proper sitting posture. It's pretty sad when I write it out like that.
I've been buying chairs because they were large enough, but more often than not a large enough office chair is a glorified half-bucket with a back. Chairs like that really screw with your back and legs, plus sitting in a relaxed posture makes it far too easy to doze off after a long night writing a gaming chair review.
The Titan kept me upright and attentive, which seems like a good thing for a gaming chair to do. More on that as we get around to . . .
What I Liked
Strong and Stable: As mentioned previously, I kill office chairs, rendering even the most reinforced seat somewhat wobbly after a couple of weeks of use. I'm constantly shifting, turning, leaning, reaching, and otherwise putting a strain on these poor things. I used the Titan for a good month and change, and it was just as stable as it was the day I put it together.
It remains to be seen what happens to the Titan with prolonged use, but lasting a month underneath a man a couple dozen pounds heavier and two inches taller than its recommended specs sure is something.
Super Adjustable: While plenty comfortable in its default state, the Titan offers plenty of options for adjusting itself to your particular seating preference. The seat tilts. The back tilts independently, from 85 to 165 degrees. The armrests feature adjustable height, as well as inward and outward swivel. The seat raises and lowers smoothly on a class 4 hydraulic piston.
In other words, there are plenty of things to fiddle with while waiting on loading screens, matchmaking or long, boring planing meetings.
My Back Is In Love: Between the Titan's ergonomic design and the built-in adjustable lumbar support, my back has never been happier than it has over the past month. The aches I regularly experienced after prolonged periods in my normal office chair were quickly forgotten. I did not even know lumbar support was a thing I needed. Now it's hard to live without.
Keep in mind, this is me coming from a chair I'm most comfortable curling up in, so any chair promoting proper sitting posture would have the same effect. The Titan is not a magical back fixing device, but it's definitely the sort of chair I should be sitting in.
Well-Constructed: The Titan is built on a steel frame, padded with shape-keeping cold-cure foam wrapped in hand-stitched synthetic leather. The whole thing rests on top of a strong aluminium frame rolling on rubber-coated wheels that have no trouble with my horrible carpet. It certainly doesn't feel like something I assembled in my living room while watching Food Network.
Man, who doesn't like giant golden Ts? It's almost presidential.
Plus It Looks Nice: I am not a hot young esports personality, a wacky shouting streamer or a PR person trying to make their trade show booth as colourful as possible. I am a middle-aged man who sits in his office writing about video games all day long. The Titan's subdued look fits my gaming personality to a stylised T.
What I Did Not Like
The Neck Pillow: It's not a neck pillow, it's a head pillow, and that's not technically SecretLab's fault. If I were two inches shorter, as recommended by the manufacturer, it would be fine. So not really a criticism of the chair, but lamentation over being some sort of mutant.
They look like hard plastic, but they're actually firmly padded with a synthetic leather coating.
Maybe Let Those Armrests Adjust A Little Bit More: Again keeping in mind that I am a broad person, the armrests are a bit too close for comfort. A couple of screws on the bottom of the chair let the arms pull out another two centimeters on either side, which doesn't help much. It's not unbearable, but I would have been slightly more comfortable with another inch on either side. Yeah, I'm picking nits.
I've been sitting wrong for years, and it took SecretLab's Titan to get that point across. Sure, I've been to gaming functions where gaming seats were all over the place, but always the regulation-sized ones, meant for the sort of people who look very sad when they realise they are seated next to me on an aeroplane.
The Titan showed me the way, and it did so with a lovely blend of solidity and style. Now that my eyes have been opened to the sitting joy of larger-sized gaming chairs I've got my eye out for similar products, but I'll always remember my first. The SecretLab Titan is fine place to spend hours on your copious end.