It Doesn't Take Long To Put Together A $1299 Chair

There's no shortage of options in the market for gaming chairs. But what if you want something a little more luxurious?

I'm fortunate to have owned and tested a few gaming chairs, and it's been fun seeing their evolution over the last few years. There's a wide range available in Australia now, and more and more traditional peripheral brands are getting in the butt-comfort market.

How Long Does It Take To Put Together A Gaming Chair?

While gaming chairs can be remarkably comfortable, they can also be a little fiddly to put together. So myself and Gizmodo's Campbell Simpson decided to test something — how long would it take us to put one together?

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A couple of years ago we had some fun putting together a black and gold-trimmed offering from noblechairs, which is still in our office today. We've also tested some of the Secretlab line, a brand from Singapore that's been doing some manufacturing in Australia for the last couple of years.

Not long ago, we got the latest in their line: the Secretlab Omega Napa. Unlike Secretlab's original offerings, which are priced around the $450-550 mark, the Napa is "a new level of premium".

$1299 to be exact.

The box the Napa comes in; it's about the same size, give or take, as Secretlab's previous offerings. Image: Alex Walker (Kotaku)

The major difference between the Napa line, and where the substantial premium comes from, is the inclusion of napa (or nappa) leather. It's a generic term, and usually refers to a leather that's soft and supple. Napa leather is often dyed — usually through tanning — and commonly found in shoes, handbags, car interiors, furniture, and so on.

The entire chair isn't decked out in napa leather though: the base of the seat and backrest are, while PU leather is used on the back and slightly underneath. The lumbar cushion now uses memory foam, while the head cushion is velour.

After building a few chairs, you get to see some of the little changes that manufacturers make over time. Perhaps the biggest one is the way instructions are laid out. There's a giant sheet included in the box that's easy to read, properly numbered and with lots of clear photos. The larger size — apart from being easier to photograph — was super helpful, and certainly beats having to load up YouTube instructions or a separate PDF.

But irrespective of what brand of gaming chair you buy, the construction tends to follow the same path. Take the wheel base out, flip it over, and install the wheels. Once the piston's in, you then get to work on the chair, removing the screws so it can be attached to the bracket on the backrest.

Most of the pieces laid out on the floor.

Aligning the bracket is really the hardest part: it's the only part that requires a good bit of physical force to keep everything aligned while you get the screws in. It's also the point at which you can remove the armrests, which is mandatory for me since I like to cross my legs in a chair like a tool. (The armrests have been improved, though: they're a little more flexible, a fraction wider, and softer on the elbow.)

From there it's a case of propping the chair up so you can align the tilt mechanism properly — having the large photos makes it easier to get the alignment correct. Once that's on, you're really just dropping the chair onto the hydraulic piston, and then your butt can grace a new throne.

The question is: could you possibly justify spending $1299 — about the same as some gaming ultrawide screen monitors, or perhaps a solid end-of-life 55", 60" or 65" TV — on a really comfy chair?

That's a tall order. It does get a lot easier when you break down the math — how much time do you spend sitting on your arse at the computer, every hour of every day — but the initial outlay is just far, far too much for a lot of people. And that's even when you consider that you're likely to keep the same chair for five or more years, unless something untoward happens. And even if you set five years as the limit for a chair — and almost every chair should last well beyond that — you'd only be spending about 71 cents a day.

The full spec sheet for the Omega Napa, as tested.

So financially there is some justification. But as a fun aside, it's nice to see that the chairs are much easier and quicker to put together. The last time I timed this, it took just over 40 minutes. This time, it only took a smidge over 26 minutes to have our butts on the Secretlab Napa out of the box. I'm still not a fan of the side covers that force you to screw through the PU leather though — surely there's a better solution, or maybe the holes could be pre-punched in the factory.

The styling has gotten more office appropriate, too, although I don't know many who would dare rock the wine red/cream combo in an office. On the plus side, Secretlab have started offering an all-black option for their standard Omega and Titan models, the regular versions of which Mikey and I tried below.

Secretlab Omega Stealth Review: Gaming In Comfort

I'll let you in on a little secret: the best gaming chair I've ever had has always been a second-hand affair. My latest purchase was a furnished offering from a local retailer, and before that I had a full-sized, comfy armchair acquired from a warehouse sale.

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SecretLab Titan Review: A Big Gaming Chair For Big Gaming People

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.

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You can find more info about the Napa over at the Secretlab website.


Comments

    I have the Omega Titan, it's pretty good but the base is too firm. I have to keep a soft throw on it to stop my ass from going to sleep. Needless to say if it's a problem on the premium leather edition I would want my money back.

      It's a little softer than that (but still closer to firm than soft, on that scale of things).

    In other news, I have a new office chair now :)

      Seems like $1300 leather is wasted when you're sitting on it in cotton or denim pants. Surely to do it justice you'd have to go for bare skin right?

        Only after you've oiled yourself up of course

        Surely to do it justice you'd have to go for bare skin right?

        How do you think he made sure no one else would sit in it?

        I'm not sure about for desk chairs. But I prefer leather seats in cars for its durability rather than comfort.

    You're just paying stupid amounts for the leather bs, the PU version of this chair has been updated too and is only $499.

    Also I have the titan and don't recall screwing through any of the the PU leather at all?

    Last edited 30/07/18 4:44 pm

    My wife is a tad 'particular' about having things 'just right' and disappeared my old gaming chair for a luxurious vintage office chair to go with the massive lawyers desk I have my rig on...nice, but it has virtually no back on it and is therefore next to useless for me...and cost near $1000. I envy you guys...

      That's tough man. It's your spot, you should be able to deck it out the way you want it.

      I'd be pissed if my partner did this. If it has to be just right then she can find something that also works for you and not just with the rest of the decor.

    At $1200 save up the extra $300 and get yourself an Herman Miller Aeron. No leather to sweat on.

      Wow, they've gotten expensive. When I bought mine 5 years ago, it was about $1200. I guess this is mostly down to the change in the exchange rate.

    The chair appears to have a lot of similarities with my $499 Vertagear PL6000. The quality is nothing like what you would expect from a chair of this price, lots of hard surfaces and plastic, and the thin metal seat bracket broke right through after using it for only 14 months. (I'm 35kg under the maximum weight loading quoted for the chair.)

    Sadly, I got sucked into the purchase by many glowing reviews from reviewers given free 'test' chairs, but I should have paid more attention instead to user reviews from people who actually paid for one, a number of who report having idential problems to mine.

    In the future I will be staying the hell away from Vertagear, whose reputation seems largely based on huge margins (the false perception that price = quality) and aggressive product placement and reviewer giveways.

      I've not tried or tested Vertagear chairs, although I've seen them around a bit. They're imported by PC Case Gear, right?

        Yes. Actually, having a closer look at the photo enlargement, I wouldn't be at all surprised if these were coming out of the same factory.

        Last edited 30/07/18 6:50 pm

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