Introduction

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Over the last several years, there has been a shift in the DIY computing industry to one that’s focused almost entirely on gaming. Gamers and content creators alike spend untold hours in front of their computers trying to make a living. In a sense, I’m no different as I work two jobs that are both dealing with computers. One of my favorite hobbies is PC gaming. Between those three things, I’m essentially in front of the computer most of the day.

Obviously, our readers spend varying degrees of time in front of the computer, but if you are like us, you find yourself there a significant portion of the day. While you can often get away with a cheap chair from your local office supply store in your early 20’s, as you age investing in a good chair for your computer starts to make more and more sense.

Of course, there are a lot of computer-related peripherals targeted towards gamers. There has been a rise in “gaming chairs” over the last few years. Today, we are taking a look at the Secretlab TITAN 2020 Series, specifically the (Secretlab Dark Knight Edition), and seeing if going with a gaming chair makes sense or if chairs with a gaming slant are just gimmicks.

Background

Being that this is our first chair review, we don’t have much in the way for comparisons. However, I have used the Raynor Ergohuman ME7ERG and Herman Miller Aeron extensively. While not gaming chairs, they are higher-end options for office use. These are ergonomic chairs designed for use over extended periods of time and make good comparative baselines as far as chairs go. These two models are often considered some of the best options available and even pop up in gaming chair threads as recommended options.

Gaming chairs are so popular, that Herman Miller has even created a special version of the Aeron chair that features Logitech branding and is indeed marketed as a gaming chair. It’s $1,500, but near as I can tell it’s the same as any standard Herman Miller Aeron aside from one or two cosmetic changes.

About Me

While I loathe talking about myself a whole lot, in this instance it’s necessary. After all, chairs are highly subjective territory. When we are talking about motherboards or CPUs, there is objective data. Chairs are largely subjective. My physical characteristics are therefore pertinent as chair sizing, weight ratings and certain medical considerations become relevant in that case.

I sit in chairs for anywhere between 10 and 20 hours a day. Just to give you an idea, I am six feet tall and 230lbs. As you can imagine I’m hard on chairs. Most office chairs are simply not designed for people as heavy as I am. I’ve been heavier in the past as well which hasn’t helped my old chairs last. I have back issues as well. I need a chair that’s comfortable and for me to use it without back pain, I need unparalleled lumbar support. In fact, my personal search for a new chair largely led to this review’s existence.

Secretlab

Secretlab is a company well known in the gaming industry for providing comfortable and well-made chairs that are often adorned with logos from various video game franchises. Other companies such as Noblechairs are getting in on the action, but Secretlab pioneered the practice or at the very least, made it famous. the Cyberpunk 2077 chair is frighteningly yellow, but it made headlines in tech news outlets and sold out pretty quickly.

The company has a good reputation for quality, durability, comfort, and style. However, it’s not as though the company hasn’t had problems from time to time. I’ve heard of issues occasionally which the company reportedly takes care of quickly. That said, the 2019 models were known for having some issues with the PU leather versions. This was supposedly correct for the 2020 models. So far, I haven’t heard of any issues with the current PU leather chairs.

The company offers a range of models. The Secretlab Omega is the standard model that’s sized for average people. By that they mean, more average height and not overweight. The TITAN and TITAN XL are designed and spec’ed to handle greater weight limits and therefore have some design differences and cost a little bit more. All Secretlab chairs come in a variety of colors, fabric choices such as Softweave fabric, PU leather, and Napa leather. However, for some reason, most of the choices are restricted to the Omega and standard TITAN models. The TITAN XL has only two fabric and color choices listed on the website.

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22 Comments

  1. Great review Dan!!!!!!

    Looks to be a great quality chair. As you pointed out, who knows what the outcome will be in the "long haul" but like you said, if the first 30+ days is any indication it should hold up pretty good.

    1. The base price is now $429.
      Thats a pretty steep price, but I think it may be worth it. My only concern would be
      holding up in the long run.
  2. Very good review. I almost bought one of these exact chairs but they were backordered and I didn’t want to wait. I ended up getting one of the Staples branded "gaming chairs" at my local store for $199 and am really impressed with it although it doesn’t have the features of the Secret Labs.

    Almost all the reviews mention the hard cushioning and almost all of them come to the same conclusion, that while it’s not quite as plush as some other chairs, over long periods, the support it offers is really class leading.

    I still may end up with one of these chairs eventually. My son’s chair is getting pretty wore out so it might be time for a hand-me-down lol. And I have to admit, the Batman logo is half the reason I want one of these!

  3. I just need them to make it in mesh… I bought some ergohuman Chinese knockoff off Amazon because I needed something.
  4. Wife has back issues from an accident way back when, and were both getting to an age where ergonomics make all the difference in the world.

    So Herman Miller is pretty much it for us.

    I’ll leave the side bolstered racing seats in the car. For short trips.

  5. The price is within the premium pricing range for a gaming chair but it appears to be worth the asking price.
    A Logo-less variant would be nice or the ability to upload your own image/logo/etc would be equally nice.
    I will have my eye on one of these post monitor upgrade/cpu upgrade.
  6. Very good review. I almost bought one of these exact chairs but they were backordered and I didn’t want to wait. I ended up getting one of the Staples branded "gaming chairs" at my local store for $199 and am really impressed with it although it doesn’t have the features of the Secret Labs.

    Almost all the reviews mention the hard cushioning and almost all of them come to the same conclusion, that while it’s not quite as plush as some other chairs, over long periods, the support it offers is really class leading.

    I still may end up with one of these chairs eventually. My son’s chair is getting pretty wore out so it might be time for a hand-me-down lol. And I have to admit, the Batman logo is half the reason I want one of these!

    I didn’t like them being backordered either, but as I said in the review I got mine much earlier than expected.

    I just need them to make it in mesh… I bought some ergohuman Chinese knockoff off Amazon because I needed something.

    I probably would have jumped on a mesh version. The mesh chairs are much cooler and on that front, nicer to sit in for long periods. Generally I don’t have a problem with this one, but my seating position is literally under the air conditioning vent in my office. When I slide the chair over to the test bench, if I’m there too long it does get a little hot. That being said, I’m getting used to it and it is getting cooler out, so it’s a little colder in my office.

    Wife has back issues from an accident way back when, and were both getting to an age where ergonomics make all the difference in the world.

    So Herman Miller is pretty much it for us.

    I’ll leave the side bolstered racing seats in the car. For short trips.

    I would point out that the supportive nature of the chair and whatever the padding is made out of is world’s ahead of mesh. Mesh chairs, for those who don’t know wear out eventually. The mesh on my Raynor Ergo human looks fine. Other than the arm rests falling apart, the chair looks the way it did when I first assembled it. However, sitting in it for long periods of time now creates pressure points in the glutes which effects the lower back. It also hurts my legs around the hamstrings too. The mesh certainly deforms more than usual when I sit on it. It’s a gradual process you don’t really notice until you do.

    That chair only became a problem in the last year. The previous 6-7 years I had it were all fine. It was one of the most comfortable chairs I had sat in until Kyle started reviewing chairs and I experienced the Noblechairs and some others. There are a couple real advantages to the Titan over the Raynor Ergohuman on the comfort front. The lumbar support system is far better on the Titan. They aren’t even remotely close. It’s leagues ahead. The head rest cushion, while less elegant than the adjustable headrest of the Raynor, is more comfortable as well.

    Compared to the Herman Miller Aeron, it’s largely the same thing. The arm rests on the Aeron aren’t likely to ever wear out but the lumbar support system is primitive and frankly, at that price point it’s a joke. It’s just a big semi-padded bar you slide up and down. That’s it. The Titan has a knob for adjustment that increases the stiffness of the lumber support the way a car seat would. The mesh of the Aeron is nicer than the Raynor in the sense that it seems to hold up much better. Even when it starts to give, I never felt the pressure points that I did on the Raynor. That being said, the Aeron also has what I consider stupid controls and it has no head rest.

    It is also more than double the price of the Titan. If you are set on mesh, the two leaders as far as I am concerned are the Raynor Ergohuman and the Herman Miller Aeron. The latter has some real advantages over the Raynor. Primarily, it can be purchased at sizes where it has greater weight ratings. My Raynor may have lasted longer if my weight hadn’t fluctuated over the weight rating to just below the max weight rating.

    The base price is now $429.
    Thats a pretty steep price, but I think it may be worth it. My only concern would be
    holding up in the long run.

    That’s a fair assessment. So far, I think it was worth every penny of the $469.99 I paid for mine. (I believe that’s the as configured price of mine.) As for holding up, so far I’ve had it for just over 60 days and it’s just like it was one day one, albeit more comfortable due to the seat cushion breaking in a little. There is no visual evidence of this, but the padding has softened slightly.

    The price is within the premium pricing range for a gaming chair but it appears to be worth the asking price.
    A Logo-less variant would be nice or the ability to upload your own image/logo/etc would be equally nice.
    I will have my eye on one of these post monitor upgrade/cpu upgrade.

    So far I think it is worth the price. I plan on providing an update after a year of use to see where it’s at and what you can expect. So far, Secret Lab has updated it’s offerings on an annual basis. There is a 2019 model, a 2020 model etc. So there may be differences in the chairs come 2021. However, you’ll get some idea of what to expect from longevity.

    Keep in mind, I use a computer far more than most people. I work two computer related jobs and I’m an avid gamer. I leave my computer chair to use the bathroom, 3 hours in the gym each day, and to sleep. That I do only 5 to 6 hours a night. So that’s an example of heavy use which is a good portion of the year. There are times where I indulge my other hobbies besides gaming, in which case I’m only at my computer for about 12 hours a day. So that’s the minimum duty cycle per day.

    In other words, my use case destroys chairs. Cheap Staples chairs that cost $130 barely make it a year with me. The nicer $170 Executive types are worn out in every way possible after 2 to 3 years. Flat padding, arm rests disintegrating, gas strut leaks, etc.

  7. I would point out that the supportive nature of the chair and whatever the padding is made out of is world’s ahead of mesh. Mesh chairs, for those who don’t know wear out eventually. The mesh on my Raynor Ergo human looks fine. Other than the arm rests falling apart, the chair looks the way it did when I first assembled it. However, sitting in it for long periods of time now creates pressure points in the glutes which effects the lower back. It also hurts my legs around the hamstrings too. The mesh certainly deforms more than usual when I sit on it. It’s a gradual process you don’t really notice until you do.

    That chair only became a problem in the last year. The previous 6-7 years I had it were all fine. It was one of the most comfortable chairs I had sat in until Kyle started reviewing chairs and I experienced the Noblechairs and some others. There are a couple real advantages to the Titan over the Raynor Ergohuman on the comfort front. The lumbar support system is far better on the Titan. They aren’t even remotely close. It’s leagues ahead. The head rest cushion, while less elegant than the adjustable headrest of the Raynor, is more comfortable as well.

    Compared to the Herman Miller Aeron, it’s largely the same thing. The arm rests on the Aeron aren’t likely to ever wear out but the lumbar support system is primitive and frankly, at that price point it’s a joke. It’s just a big semi-padded bar you slide up and down. That’s it. The Titan has a knob for adjustment that increases the stiffness of the lumber support the way a car seat would. The mesh of the Aeron is nicer than the Raynor in the sense that it seems to hold up much better. Even when it starts to give, I never felt the pressure points that I did on the Raynor. That being said, the Aeron also has what I consider stupid controls and it has no head rest.

    It is also more than double the price of the Titan. If you are set on mesh, the two leaders as far as I am concerned are the Raynor Ergohuman and the Herman Miller Aeron. The latter has some real advantages over the Raynor. Primarily, it can be purchased at sizes where it has greater weight ratings. My Raynor may have lasted longer if my weight hadn’t fluctuated over the weight rating to just below the max weight rating.

    Wife likes the HM, the lumbar while just a sliding support is replaceable and you can get it in 3 different sizes.
    She has neck and lower back issues and sits very upright. Also she’s light, 90lbs or so.

    Chairs, of course are highly personal, and I appreciate your insight.

  8. Wife likes the HM, the lumbar while just a sliding support is replaceable and you can get it in 3 different sizes.
    She has neck and lower back issues and sits very upright. Also she’s light, 90lbs or so.

    Chairs, of course are highly personal, and I appreciate your insight.

    If it works, that’s great. But the way the lumbar support works on that chair is absolute bullshit in my opinion. Having to buy different sized parts and switch them out on an already ridiculously expensive chair is mind blowing. While I feel the design of the Aeron has long since been surpassed, I do think it’s a good chair. I enjoyed mine when I had it. You can’t deny the build quality and longevity of them either.

    As good as some of these chairs are, I don’t know that they can physically last as long as the Aeron or something like it.

  9. It’s a good looking chair. Looks well built. I’m sure it’ll hold up quite well. If my butt wasn’t parked in a Vertagear SL5000 it would definitely be on the list of possibilities. Well, actually it was on my list, but I got a smoking deal on the Vertagear.

    I think my only concern would be the casters. My Vertagear had similar casters that, over time, began to bend. It didn’t take long for that to happen. A year maybe. I’m not a heavy person either at 190 lbs. I replaced them with rollerblade style casters from Amazon.

  10. It’s a good looking chair. Looks well built. I’m sure it’ll hold up quite well. If my butt wasn’t parked in a Vertagear SL5000 it would definitely be on the list of possibilities. Well, actually it was on my list, but I got a smoking deal on the Vertagear.

    I think my only concern would be the casters. My Vertagear had similar casters that, over time, began to bend. It didn’t take long for that to happen. A year maybe. I’m not a heavy person either at 190 lbs. I replaced them with rollerblade style casters from Amazon.

    I’m rocking the stock casters for now. So far so good. But, I’m not easy on them given that I tend to push off my desk and slide across the carpet in my office pretty quickly at times.

  11. I should also mention. The rollerblade style casters, while awesome, will roll right over anything. Including your feet. And if you’re backing up and happen to place your bare foot on the caster it’ll grip your skin and pull it right in to the caster.

    But they really are awesome! lol

  12. The base price is now $429.
    Thats a pretty steep price, but I think it may be worth it. My only concern would be
    holding up in the long run.

    The price is within the premium pricing range for a gaming chair but it appears to be worth the asking price.
    A Logo-less variant would be nice or the ability to upload your own image/logo/etc would be equally nice.
    I will have my eye on one of these post monitor upgrade/cpu upgrade.

    My Freedom was like $1300 https://www.humanscale.com/products/seating/freedom-headrest-executive-chair

  13. The rollerblade style casters, while awesome, will roll right over anything. Including your feet. And if you’re backing up and happen to place your bare foot on the caster it’ll grip your skin and pull it right in to the caster.

    I haven’t tried this one yet… I am happy that they roll effortlessly over CAT6a, though.

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