Hardware Review: DXRacer Air Series Mesh Gaming Chair
Here’s the thing about any kind of gaming chair – it’s simultaneously one of the least important and most important decisions that you’re going to make when it comes to your personal setup.
On the one hand, well, it’s a chair. It’s a place to sit. It’s not a game, it doesn’t make your PC faster (I’ve checked), it doesn’t improve your skills or anything like that. It is, at the end of the day, a place to put your butt for an extended play session. It’s easy to see the high-end gaming chair market as being kind of superfluous in the right light.
At the same time… this is where you are going to be sitting for an extended gaming session. Let’s be realistic, if you are reading this site the odds are not bad that you have a marathon session with Final Fantasy XIV coming up soon when the expansion releases, and you are going to want to be comfortable and also sitting in a chair that neither makes your back feel like a crushed Slinky nor has you so insulated that you smell like you were just running the Boston Marathon in a snowsuit. The chair you have is going to have an impact on all of that.
With the preamble out of the way, let’s talk about the DXRacer Air Series Mesh Gaming Chair, which I had shipped to my house far faster than I expected in a handsome white-and-blue color scheme. (Actually, I’d argue it’s closer to a cyan than a straight blue, but that’s picking nits.) The chair retails for about $500 (specifically, $499 plus shipping and such) and is compatible with whatever you have put on your desk.
Form & Assembly
Assembly of the chair was actually far faster than I had expected when it arrived; if you’re used to flat-packed chairs, I was pleased to see that the build came with everything nicely partitioned, bolts already in the places where they needed to be, clear instructions on assembly, and the arms of the main chair already attached to make the whole process that much easier. The tool included was also nice and sturdy, and the whole thing took me maybe 30 minutes or so to unpack and fully assemble.
Once assembled, I found that the chair’s minimum height was actually a little taller than I tend to prefer, so that took me a little getting used to. The base chair has an adjustable lumbar support bar in the back, a headrest pillow (also adjustable on a wire frame), adjustable armrests in height, width, tilt, and depth, a nice recline and back adjustment… basically, anything you could possibly want to nudge around with the chair’s overall shape you can, usually with good range.
Aesthetically, the chair is a nice white-and-blue, as mentioned; however, there are other color options including black, white and red, and a pink version to satisfy your various sensibilities. It’s a bit gaudy, but it looks comfortably intimidating and I personally find it rather pretty. I’ve got no complaints about the look.
Let’s start with the good. Because the chair is in fact a mesh chair as opposed to an upholstered one, the whole thing breathes nicely and tends to leave you not feeling as if you’re swimming in sweat even if the room is hot. The airflow is one of those things you don’t notice immediately while sitting in it, but you probably feel less bunched up after sitting there for a while. That’s a welcome element to the chair’s design.
More notably, the whole thing feels remarkably solid. I find that a lot of mesh chairs feels like they have a rather flimsy makeup, but this chair is sturdy plastic over what I believe is steel body construction. It’s not going to stand up to being thrown down the stairs or something insane, but it definitely doesn’t feel cheap. (Seeing as it is not cheap, this is a good thing.) Also, don’t throw your chair down the stairs.
Here’s the biggest problem, though – it’s not actually super comfortable.
I want to cut a fine line here. Some of this is just due to my own personal preferences, and it’s entirely possible I’d have a different reaction if I were to, say, buy the various upholstered covers available for the chair as well. While these things do cost additional money, there is a refreshing variety of additional stuff you can buy for your chair, ranging from the functional (like cupholders) to aesthetic (like RGB lighting) and everywhere in between. Of course, upholstered covers would probably impact the airflow I just praised the chair for, so… swings and roundabouts.
And this is not an uncomfortable chair. I didn’t find sitting in it agonizing or anything. But the way I tend to sit meant that the headrest was something of a non-starter for me, and the lack of base upholstery means that the edges of the chair also feel a bit firmer. For someone with wider hips, it’s not necessarily the most comfy fit in terms of sitting down.
That’s honestly the biggest thing that hits me… well, that and the price. In fact, it’s the price that really winds up being something of a sticking point for me, because if I’m dropping this much money on a chair, I expect it to promise me a lot of comfort. There are things I like about the chair, places where it feels very solid and well-made, and I have no complaints about the customization options in terms of rests and padding.
I feel like this is one of those places where personal standards are going to make a pretty big difference in the value of this particular product. For some people, all of the optional bells and whistles that you can add on and the simple aesthetics and weight of the chair are going to be the most important part of the purchase. I freely admit that to a certain extent, I’m nitpicking comfort, and comfort is going to be a very distinctly different equation for everyone who sits in a chair.
But for $500 I expect something really comfortable, and… well, this just isn’t $500 for me. But for some people it might be. As mentioned, this is not a bad chair. It’s sturdy, it’s attractive, and there are a lot of things that I do like about it. The big sticking point for me is just the price, and I’d feel remiss in not noting that it’s a pricey chair that isn’t necessarily going to be transcendentally next-level comfortable for everyone. Still, if you’re looking for something that’s sturdy and has the option for modification and you’re willing to splurge, it’s well worth your consideration.
Review unit provided courtesy of DXRacer for purposes of evaluation. All pictures courtesy of DXRacer