More often than not, when you think of putting together a build for a new gaming system, one of the last things on your mind is a chair. For most of us, we head down to the local Ikea and get something affordable and decent. I had an opportunity to spend some time with the Vertagear SL5000, retailing for $349.99, and it has me rethinking those thoughts.
Gaming has come a long way from when I was a kid. My friends and I would sit down on a box or bed or any old chair to play games together. But the gaming “experience” isn’t just about the games or the systems you play them on anymore. There are “gaming” peripherals, "gaming" energy drinks, “gaming” mouse pads, and "gaming" chairs, which is what we’re talking about today.
Let’s be honest, most of us think the chairs look cool and would be nice to have, but tend to look at that price tag and think to ourselves, "but I could get a good GPU for that much money." Thus, so many of us end up with office chairs that cost $30-$60 and pay the price. It's only in the years after that we notice possible lower back pain or even neck pain. The old saying is, "you get what you pay for." Is it then now time to consider a "gaming" chair a part of any new system build? Let's look at what the Vertagear SL500 offers us.
Vertagear has several types of gaming chairs on offer. From their racing types of the SL series and the PL series to their high-end ergonomic Triigger series. The SL5000 is designed to give a wide range of adjustabiltiy that provides gamers with the best comfort and ergonomic support in every position for extended periods of time. It features a high backrest to provide greater neck, shoulder, and lumbar support. It features an angle adjustable backrest that can go from 80 - 140 degrees, a 5-star base (made from an aluminum alloy) with soft-glide wheels, adjustable 4-point armrests, and adjustable tilt tension mechanism with locking system, adjustable seat height, premium exterior/padding, and removable neck and lumbar support cushions.
The adjustable backrest can smoothly go from straight up lying completely back. I found this feature really nice as I use my chair not only for PC gaming, but console gaming as well as watching my tv or online shows. I could lay back and enjoy a nice relaxing movie and switch over to gaming with ease. With as high as the backrest was my head and shoulders felt solidly supported.
The 5-star base is of a solid construction and moves effortlessly on either rug or tile floor. Upwards from the base, the piston smoothly lowers and raises the chair smoothly and the tilt mechanism can easily be adjusted towards your body weight allowing you to rock back and forth easily. It can also be locked for those who prefer not to rock back in their chair. Towards the front of the bottom of the chair is the knob which can adjust the height of the seat, allowing you to adjust for the best angle in relation to your desk.
This is the first time I've ever used a chair with a 4-point armrest. At first, I was wondering why so many options in a simple armrest, but as I used it I came to understand the benefits. Adjusting the armrest up or down allows for keeping your elbows parallel to your desk for keyboard use, while lowering them makes for comfortable controller use. I felt and came to like the difference that could be had as I leaned back with my controller with the lower armrest configuration. You can slide both armrests back or forward to better adjust for elbow placement. They can also be angled in or out. The armrests base is made of a solid plastic while they are covered with a soft touch material that you can rest your elbows on without causing pain over time. Even for non-gamers, the flexibility is something to appreciate.
The exterior is made from a high-quality PVC leather with stain and water-resistant characteristics. In testing this, water was wiped clean off without a hassle). The leather is made with a breathable open cell structure to limit the amount of trapped body heat. The foam padding in the SL5000 felt both supportive and comfortable. The bottom and sides easily held my weight and felt good to sit in.
The lumbar support cushion was on straps that you looped through the top holes of the chair and could be adjusted up and down with no problem, allowing you to position it in the best spot to help your lower back. The head cushion had a strap that you stretched across the top of the chair and could be moved a bit up or down to support your head and help your posture.
So those are the features of the SL5000, but how does it feel to sit in? I spent over a week sitting in it as I played games, watched movies and typed at my computer. I had a tendency to slouch in my previous chairs which wasn't good for my back or neck. With the SL5000 I found myself not slouching. Because every time I did. The lumbar and neck cushions would feel out of place and remind me to sit up. So, over the week I had fewer aches and pains in my lower back and neck. The ability to lean back in the chair while adjusting the armrest made for some of the most comfortable console gaming I've had in quite some time. As a side note, the SL5000 was exceptionally easy to put together. My previous chair has taken me close to 30 minutes to assemble, whereas the SL5000 took all of ten minutes, start to finish. It came with an allen wrench with a custom Vertagear handle.
My dislikes were all minor. The bottom sides of the chair (which are supposed to simulate a racing bucket seat) can make for a tighter fit for people with wider legs causing some increased heat/sweat in that area from the leather of the chair. I also felt that the head cushion could've benefited more from having an elastic cord that could be buckled through the top holes much like the lumbar support instead of stretching around the headrest. But again, just minor complaints.
Overall the Vertagear SL5000 is a premium racing chair well worth its cost. My back and neck have never felt as comfortable or supported as they do now. It's well worth anyone's time to consider spending quality money to get a quality chair. A pain-free back and neck allows for better concentration while gaming and an overall better experience.
Check out Vertagear’s website for more details on their chairs.