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Published on March 26th, 2011 | by Greg


Playseat Elite Office: Game of Thrones

When you think of im­por­tant gam­ing gear, a few things leap to mind. Your mouse, key­board, gam­ing rig or con­sole are crit­i­cal- not to men­tion a good set of speak­ers or head­phones. An of­ten over­looked- but equal­ly im­por­tant el­e­ment- is your seat­ing. And, more broad­ly, this goes for work­ers and man­agers as well- a cheap desk chair is a poor in­vest­ment; buy­ing a qual­i­ty one is eas­i­ly worth it. Like a good mat­tress, ex­cel­lent seat­ing can be an in­vest­ment that you use for eight or more hours a day. And there are plen­ty of de­cent desk chairs out there- from high-end Her­man Miller to var­i­ous er­gonom­ic mod­els. What there wasn’t, un­til re­cent­ly, was a good desk chair that al­so of­fered the fea­tures that gamers need. This prod­ucts is aimed at those of you who just like stay­ing late at the of­fice to put in some ex­tra hours “work­ing” on Minecraft.

The Play­seat Elite Of­fice might not save the world- but it could change the way you play World of War­craft, or any oth­er game. PC gamers know what they need from a good chair- var­i­ous lev­els of ad­justa­bil­i­ty, arm­rests that are com­fort­able, sol­id cush­ions for se­ri­ous ses­sions. And the Elite Of­fice chair hits those marks, and goes a few steps fur­ther. It isn’t per­fect- it’s odd­ly un­even- but it is the best desk chair for gamers that we’ve seen.

We quick­ly re­al­ized that it wasn’t a chair to be tak­en light­ly. In fact, we had trou­ble haul­ing the box up our stairs, as it weighs some­thing like 70 pounds. Once we got it in place, we start­ed as­sem­bly, which was pret­ty easy and took maybe thir­ty min­utes to­tal. It’s nice that nec­es­sary tools were in­clud­ed, and the in­struc­tions were clear and con­cise (with one im­por­tant ex­cep­tion that we’ll dis­cuss soon). And you’ll quick­ly see where the weight is- the base is sol­id met­al (an­odized alu­minum), the bolts are big, and it’s clear­ly well-con­struct­ed. The rat­ing on the Elite is up to 270 pounds, where­as many of­fice chairs top out around 220.

We sat down, and no­ticed a few things im­me­di­ate­ly. First off, it’s com­fort­able, but it’s no Aeron. There isn’t quite the lev­el of ad­justa­bil­i­ty that ex­ists in some chairs- lum­bar sup­port is weird, and the vel­cro con­nec­tions make the seat squeak at times. The seat looks and feels quite a bit like leather, but is ac­tu­al­ly vinyl- it holds up well against spills and use, but is a lit­tle less com­fort­able or plush. The plas­tic holes in the head sup­port were un­nec­es­sary and un­com­fort­able, but they do look cool. The cast­ers are in­dus­tri­al strength, roll nice­ly, while weight is bal­anced well and even af­ter a cou­ple of weeks of heavy use the chair still looks new. Com­pared to oth­er mid-range desk chairs, this one looks and feels bet­ter, and it swivels more smooth­ly than any chair we’ve ev­er had.

So far, so good- but it’d still be just a pret­ty de­cent desk chair. In fact, the gamer-di­rect­ed fea­tures were a bit odd. There aren’t speak­ers built-in or any fan­cy giz­mos like that- the gam­ing ad­van­tages of this chair lie strict­ly in a spe­cial pair of re­mov­able A.A.R.M.S. [An­odized Alu­minum Read­justable Me­chan­i­cal Sur­faces]. No, we’re not kid­ding. Ba­si­cal­ly, you pop on these ad­di­tion­al heavy met­al pieces that can hold in­clud­ed sur­faces to serve as your mousepad or place for your key­pad or gam­ing con­troller. There are a num­ber of is­sues that we im­me­di­ate­ly saw- for starters, the in­struc­tions in­clud­ed in our box don’t ad­dress the A.A.R.M.S at all. We checked, dou­ble-checked, and though it was fair­ly easy to fig­ure out, it was still a weird omis­sion. We should note that our man­u­al did not say “Elite” and may have been an ear­ly mod­el. An­oth­er small is­sue is that many gamers al­ready have spe­cial mousepa­ds that they are used to play­ing with, with dif­fer­ent sur­faces for dif­fer­ent con­di­tions, and that it would dif­fi­cult to use them with this sys­tem. The er­gonom­ic place­ment of the mouse al­so did not feel bet­ter, even af­ter ad­just­ment- our oth­er hand was still on the key­board in our case, as the sur­faces aren’t re­al­ly large enough for a full-size key­board. This left our arms in dif­fer­ent po­si­tions, feel­ing a bit un­nat­u­ral.

Fi­nal­ly, for a chair with some clear at­ten­tion to de­tail and build qual­i­ty, a cou­ple of parts still feel cheap and serve to ru­in the over­all ef­fect a lit­tle. The seat can fold down and tilt back­wards in a pret­ty nice way, but the en­tire han­dle cov­er is chintzy. Al­so, it’s easy to grab that han­dle, pull up, and find your back sud­den­ly be­ing pushed for­ward with a fair bit of force- not a nice sen­sa­tion. Al­so, the pic­ture is a bit mis­lead­ing- the gam­ing sur­faces in­clud­ed do not look like what are shown in the pic­tures. We would’ve been able to pass over any of the lit­tle things as mi­nor and bare­ly wor­thy of note, ex­cept for the price. The list price on the Play­seat Elite Of­fice is $749- not un­rea­son­able for an well-made of­fice chair, to be sure, but a bit on the high side con­sid­er­ing the flaws. We found it on­line for un­der $700, avail­able in ei­ther black or white. It’s now our fa­vorite chair for PC gam­ing, and it looks pro­fes­sion­al enough that vis­i­tors can eas­i­ly mis­take it for a so­phis­ti­cat­ed throne. But a few small nig­gles keep us from whole­heart­ed­ly rec­om­mend­ing it, or re­plac­ing the rest of our fur­ni­ture.

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About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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