UK price (as reviewed): £374.99 (inc. VAT)
US price (as reviewed): $469.99 (exc. tax)
Chairs are an often-overlooked part of a setup when people compare their builds. However, similar to how the average person spends 26 years in their bed, we spend a lot of time in our chairs. In the simpler, non-RGB times the main options were a cheap chair from Argos that provided poor posture or an expensive chair such a Herman Miller Aeron, which while expensive, does leave room for improvement if you want to sit back and relax. In between these two lines is where the gaming chair market has positioned itself.
The new noblechairs Epic Black Edition in the vinyl/PU hybrid leather material is the chair we’ve had in the labs this week and we’ll be taking a look at today. Coming in at £375, I'll see if this chair can really prove more valuable than what would likely be a significant upgrade to your machine's hardware.
The chair arrived in a large black box that weighed around 28kg. After some pushing and shuffling, I got it into the studio ready to put it together. Upon opening the box, I first took everything out and laid it out to see how much there was to put together. Overall, the chair consists of four main parts that need to be assembled; the wheels, the control and base area, the bottom of the seat and the back. Everything came wrapped in plastic to prevent any scratches and the box was sufficiently filled with cardboard to prevent anything from bouncing around in shipping.
An accessories box is also included which contains all of the bolts needed with spares, a tool with an Allen key on one end and a Phillips-head on the other, and the plastic that goes onto the base of the chair so you can control the rocker and height. The instructions that come with the chair is the highest quality I've seen included, not only with any chair but possibly any product bit-tech has reviewed. With a wonderful gloss finish and easy-to-read instructions, light on text and heavy on very clear images, it was a breeze to read and follow the instructions. The instructions recommend having two people to assemble the chair, which we did, but in a pinch you could do it with one person, but I'd highly recommend having someone to help. noblechairs also provides a short, four-minute video on how to assemble the chair on the website. We've also made a short video showing how easy it is to put together.
Being one of the only things not attacked by RGB in the gaming space, the chair comes in all-black with silver accents in the holes by the top back of the chair. During testing, I was sitting in the chair for around eight hours a day for a typical five-day week (slacker - ed.), and this was after coming from using an older noblechairs Epic chair for around six months, one that has stitching on the seat. This chair is a massive upgrade over the previous version that I had due to there being less stitching, enabling a softer feel. After some discussion, it seems that the chairs with no stitching have more points that can move and in turn allow the material to flex more for a comfier experience. The old chair is by no means uncomfortable, but after sitting in the new one, it’s clear this seemingly small change makes a massive difference. The claims about this new material being breathable seems to be spot on, too, as I’ve never felt hot in the chair, which I’ve felt in a few of the competitors' chairs. Another point to make is that the wheels on the chair are surprisingly smooth and, most importantly, quiet. At no point have I had any complaints even when on Discord and moving the chair about with a mic on my desk.
The adjustments on the chair have all worked perfectly for me, while passing the chair around the office no one was unable to work them and not find a comfortable position. The lever on the right allows you to go from a full-upright position to a close to horizontal position that I could easily see myself falling asleep in. A party trick demonstrated by other gaming chairs is the ability to go fully horizontal which noblechairs has restrained from this in order to obtain certification for use in certain workplaces, which shows gamers aren't the only target for this chair; noblechairs is going after professionals, as well. The amount of play in the rocker can be tuned using the knob on the bottom or turned off completely with the lever on the left side of the chair. The armrest, meanwhile, allows a wide range of adjustment using multiple buttons, offering a setup that anyone ought to be comfortable in. The one downside I've found is that, unless leaning forward, the ratcheting system for the recline of the chair can make a horrible noise, and if you then don't properly set the seat in the right place it will make a loud noise while it clips into the nearest increment of recline.
The chair also comes with lumbar support and a pillow that attaches to the chair with elastic and some clips. At first, I was sceptical on these as I'd attempted to use them in the past and ended up lobbing them at someone in the office. This time, however, I followed the instructions and they're surprisingly comfortable. The lumbar-support pillow takes a little while to get used to, but after adapting, it's very comfy to use. The one complaint about it I have is that it occasionally tends to come loose or will shift to one side of the chair, but they don't happen often and are easy to fix.
When I came into this I was sceptical about the whole gaming chair experience, even after using previous chairs in the office. After testing the chair for a week, it has been pleasantly surprising. The previous version I used at the office was nice but wasn’t enough to convince that the price point was worth it over the generic chairs I used to buy for £50 every year or so. The new noblechairs Epic Black Edition, meanwhile, is enough to convince me that this is a vital part of my setup, so time and money ought to be spent on finding a chair which isn’t only ergonomic, but also allows you to recline back and relax. Solid support, good ergonomics and excellent build quality all lead to a bit-tech recommended award.
November 6 2020 | 17:30