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Office Grand Prix
WHILE gamers have long enjoyed marathon battles seated in comfortable chairs modelled after race car seats, there are now models more suitable for the office crowd.
Instead of merely toning down on the loud colours to fit the executive environment, or having thicker and more comfortable cushioning, international chair maker DX Racer has launched a seat that comes with a sliding leg rest, which enables their CE120 FT to almost recline into a bed, much like some airline's business class seats.
Not to be outdone, local start-up Secretlab is pushing its Titan, which comes packed with an adjustable built-in lumbar support.
Secretlab Titan S$699
WHILE the styling of the various chairs from Secretlab can look similar, the models have key differences. The entry level Throne V2 offers great comfort, but it pales in comparison to the more luxurious Omega series, which offers thicker cushioning.
Their latest Titan series is also a step up from the Throne V2, but it differs from the Omega in that the seat itself is flat, and not inclined.
So while the incline on the Omega feels as if the chair is cradling your posterior, the Titan, which is just as comfortable, feels more like a normal seat.
The seat itself is also wider than the Omega, which makes it more comfortable for heavy-set folks. Because it is designed like a race car seat, with wing-like cushions at the sides of the seat and backrest, there is no mistaking its race car inspirations.
To counter its more prominent looks, Secretlab has wrapped the Titan in smooth black upholstery, with thick red threads lining the edges of the seat. Some areas of the upholstery have a more intricate embroidered design, which gives the chair its more distinguished looks.
Feature wise, the back of the Titan reclines to an almost flat position. Combine this with a multi-tilt chair suspension, and the chair is just several degrees away from being as flat as a bed.
The multi-tilt suspension, which tilts the chair back ever so slightly, takes some getting used to though, as there are times where the fully reclined chair feels like it might topple over. Thankfully, it is merely an irrational fear, as the wide, five-wheeled base makes tipping close to impossible.
But the true gem in the Titan is in the hidden lumbar support built into the backrest itself. A small, ridged knob at the left edge of the seat controls the degree of support, and the rise of the lumbar backrest when the knob is fully rotated is barely noticeable to the naked eye. Because it is built into the seat, the protrusion is not excessive, but its presence is obvious. When you lean back, there is a bump along your lower spine and after two weeks with the chair, its presence became the default setting.
Despite its subtle appearance, having it was so comfortable such that its absence was immediately felt when removed. One wonders if Secretlab could have simply carved out a backrest with a more prominent bump to begin with, and do away with the knob, but that might not fit all body types.
The knob itself is easy to twist but it is placed too far up the left side of the seat, such that there is no way to simply move your right hand back, to adjust it easily. The awkward angle in which the knob can be reached, together with the twisting motion needed to rotate the knob, means that it is more comfortable, but inconvenient, for users to get off their seat to make the adjustment.
Still, this beats the Omega, which offers a separate small cushion for lumbar support. This cushion can only sit at the base of the backrest, and it is not a one size fits all solution for different body lengths.
One thing that users should note is that the position of this support, in relation to your spine, shifts when the backrest reclines, and its impact will be different for those of different height.
For those who want to take a quick nap during lunch break, it is better to dial down the lumbar support. But if you want comfort while banging away on your office computer, the Titan is the support your body needs.
DXRacer CE120 FT S$649
LONG-TIME fans of DXRacer chairs should celebrate, as prices for these well regarded gaming chairs have fallen recently, likely due to the intense competition in the local marketplace.
The CE120 FT is a massive chair that dials back on the prominent curves of a race car seat, and replaces it with a double layer of cushioning.
Like the Secretlab Titan, this luxurious seat also offers the same, bed-like recline with multi-tilt support. Its wider seat also means this chair is built for larger folks who might want the comfort missing from most generic office chairs.
Its all-black upholstery gives it a more executive look, and there is only the embroidered white logo to give it some colour.
The headrest has a protrusion, so there is no need to strap an extra pillow for head support, and in the rear, there are four pockets for users to keep things in, though they are all out of reach to anyone seated on the chair.
Unlike the Secretlab Omega, this comes with a lumbar pillow that can be strapped around a flap on the back rest, for those who want back support. As the flap takes up more than half the length of the back rest, users can adjust the position of this lumbar pillow accordingly. Unfortunately, the use of velcro and the tight fitting flap means it can be a chore to keep removing or attaching the lumbar pillow. Normally, this would not be an issue but if the chair is fully reclined, the presence of the pillow, which now sits further up your back, feels obtrusive and uncomfortable.
But the hidden feature here is a leg-rest extension that folds under the seat itself. To use it, simply lean forward and extend the leg rest. Once extended, users have to flip over the cushioning that their legs rest on.
The length of the extension is fixed though, so taller individuals might find it better to bend their knees to position their feet on the cushion, or they might find that the cushion will end up supporting their calves instead.
The great bit about the DXRacer CE120 FT is that one can truly sleep on the chair, without having one's legs dangling aimlessly by the side, or firmly planted on the ground.
The bad thing about this chair, aside from its rather geeky technical name, is that the fully reclined seat with extended leg rest takes up a lot of space, so unless you happen to be the boss, or have your own office, it might be a bit obnoxious to have it in your narrow office cubicle.
That said, the fully extended recline means this is a great gaming chair for console players. With a controller comfortably in hand, it offers a relaxing way to actually lean back and play the latest chapter of the latest game.
And if you have ever wanted a La-Z-Boy, this is a close alternative to the actual thing, but with wheels to roll around the office or living room.