A gaming chair review must, by necessity, begin with a pondering of just what a gaming chair is? We have wondered upon this before and concluded as we always do, that there is nothing of actual gaming benefit in any of these chairs.
In fact, they can be detrimental to your gaming. With all of them looking like seats from a sports car, it is ironic that driving games are terrible in gaming chairs because when you push the pedals, you push yourself away from the game as the seat glides gracefully away from where you want to be.
But some small things compensate. The armrests are adjustable for height and distance apart, which can help you get your mouse-hand elbow set just so. That’s about it, game-wise.
But you need to sit on something as you game, and the sporty look of these things can make you feel a bit pro, if that’s your thing.
The Gamdias Achilles M1-L is special in two important regards. First, and let’s get this out of the way, it has RGB. Yep. Around the back, edging the two holes where your pretend seatbelts don’t go, are RGB strips that illuminate in a rainbow of cycling colours, quite bright they are, too, even shining well in a bright office. With the lights off they look spectacular – for those watching you from behind… sadly, the coolest thing about this chair is something you just won’t ever appreciate as you game, because it’s behind you. But still. RGB in a chair.
Power comes via a USB that pokes out from the seat base. A 2m cord comes with it to plug into something you will tear from its mounting when you forget it’s there as you spin around to tell Mum why you can’t eat dinner for another five minutes. Or use a powerbank, and add keeping it charged to your list of I-am-wasting-my-life tasks. Sarcasm aside, the Achilles actually has a Velcro sealed pouch right beside the USB port for the battery pack (not included). Colour us impressed. And, you can run a Gamdias app if you connect the USB to your PC and customize the colours and effects. Yep.
The other big win for the Achilles is the price, which is a class-beating $249 at MSY. Most gaming chairs are close to double that and there’s really no reason why that should be. And they don’t even have RGB! Build quality is more or less the same for all chairs that we’ve seen, and it’s all down to personal taste when it comes to style. Leather pushes the price up, obviously, and the material used in this one is a decently soft and plush vinyl.
But as good as that price is, you can plant your bum in something even cheaper. The Bathurst from Officeworks is $148, looks pretty racy, though is just in black, and the seat is flat on that one. Game chairs, including the Achilles, are proper bucket seats with bottom and side bits that make you feel properly cosseted in.
The Achilles was comfortable during the two days I test-sat it, but the bum area combines a cavity in the wrong place with cushioning in the wrong place to make it initially uncomfortable – and yes while you grow into it (I got settled in after a day) – with a chair you really should feel at home straight away. Worse, the layout of the middle back and bum area encourages you to slouch, there’s really no other way to sit in this chair, and that’s not healthy. Yes, there are included cushions but they are too big and unyielding and only compound the poor ergonomics. A small and thin cushion would make things ok so if you buy this chair, steal something from Nana’s couch to complete the experience.
Gamdias gets a thumbs up for the QR code on the box that starts a video assembly tutorial, and another bit of praise for the gigantic Allen key with a handle. That’s a nice thing, even if you only use it once.
The wheels don’t glide well on carpet and have stiff rolling resistance – and that’s fantastic, for the aforementioned driving game liability. Good stuff.
The seat leans almost all the way back. Why, I don’t know, but it does. When upright, though, the headrest area is slanted way back, too far back in my book, so you will need to employ one of the strap-on cushions if you want to actually rest your head.
Apart from all that it’s a sporty looking $250 chair that glows in the dark. Which is something I know many people will love.