Well that’s a weird way to start a blog.
Basically, I’ve been really lucky during the COVID-19 pandemic. Both my wife and I remain employed, and my day to day operations remained the same, however I’ve shifted to a home office instead of driving in every day. Which, to be honest, suits me just fine.
There’s one caveat however – when I worked in an office surrounded by people, it was a lot easier to be physically active – getting up, wandering around the office to discuss current and upcoming projects, walking to grab a coffee or lunch, or even just to answer the door when a delivery arrives. Moving operations to my home means increased productivity from a distraction standpoint, but it also means I find myself leaving my chair a lot less than I did a year ago.
I’ll admit, not grabbing coffee and lunches at the local deli has saved me quite a bit of money so I’m happy for that. What I’m not happy about is how uncomfortable I’ve become working at my desk. Specifically, my chair. I have to say, it’s not the chair’s fault – it’s doing its best. But sometimes it’s just not enough. I tried to give it an honest run; however, after nearly a year, I’ve thrown in the towel. I discussed the chair situation with my wife, and I ended up letting her try out my daily driver chair for the days she worked from home. After a few days, she agreed – the chair had to go. I started looking at chairs and realized that for someone of my build, and the amount of time I’d be sitting at the desk, a gaming chair would likely be my best bet.
Before you say “but what about [insert expensive well-known office chair brand-name here]!”, the chair both my wife and I hated came from that very brand. It wasn’t a cheap chair. I’m sure it works great for some people, but I’m not one of those people. So I started reading reviews on gaming chairs, and review after review kept saying one thing; get the Secret Lab Titan series chair. Price-point wise it’s solid middle-ground, costing just over half of the expensive one I was giving up but was well below some other chairs I looked at. It was also more expensive than every other gaming chair that was considered a close-second in reviews.
After a lot of back and forth my wife finally said “listen, you know you’re going to end up with the Titan. Just order the Titan. You won’t be happy otherwise. Don’t bother settling.”
And so, I ended up purchasing the Titan 2020 in Black and Amber “PU 2.0 leather” (which is gaming-chair speak for not real leather). I waffled quite a bit on fabric versus leather and we decided that over time the leather would hold up better. This was strictly based on opinion and how all of our other fabric chairs have held up over the years. As long as I can keep my cats away from the chair, I should be good to go. Plus, the “2.0” version on Secret Labs chairs apparently means it’s better than other synthetic leather chairs. Time will tell, I guess. I went with the Black and Amber because I love the orange/black contrast, and both materials are PU 2.0 leather. (The next color option I was considering was 2.0 leather and PVC Vinyl; which I suspected may wear at different rates).
Secret Lab told me I’d be waiting for over a month because apparently everyone else is also looking at new chairs, however just over a week later, the chair arrived at my door. I didn’t actually see the delivery as my wife signed for it (I was on a conference call when it arrived). That being said, I can just imagine the delivery driver’s expression as he delivered the chair, the box it comes in is rather large and quite heavy.
I discovered this is for good reason – the chair IS heavy. Very heavy. Apparently it has to do with the steel frame that makes up the core of the chair. Apparently, according to people on the internet, most gaming chairs are made of cheap plywood secured together with hopes and dreams (and why would they lie?). I’m ok with a heavy chair however, the only time it was a problem was hauling it down the stairs to my basement office.
Secret Labs also did a very good job indicating which side was up and how to open the box. It seems like a ridiculous thing, but I have visions of people trying to break into the box using whatever knife is available and completely shredding the leather. Inside the box, covering the entire chair is a very handsome, albeit gigantic, instruction sheet. This did make it very easy for me to read the instructions while I was attempting to assemble the chair from a few feet away. Another really nice touch was the amount of thin foam packaging included. It gave me a work surface to build the chair on, and another one was used for kneeling on the ground. Whether or not this was their actual intention; it was appreciated.
There’s something to be said for a company that values their own product. I couldn’t help but laugh when I saw the floor coasters were surrounded in molded foam packaging. In fact, most parts came this way. Individually wrapped, bagged, tagged or otherwise carefully packaged. Whether or not it really makes a difference remains to be seen, but I’ve always considered the attention the company pays to the unboxing details are reflected in the product itself. Apple and Google’s NEST products are famous for this.
Assembly was very quick, and very painless. The only “gotcha” step regarding the recliner handle was indicated multiple times and has a failsafe set-screw preventing accidents. Everything else went together the way a well designed product should.
So here I am – writing this article, sitting in my Titan. And to be honest, I love it. It’s only been a few days, but so far my back is a lot happier and I feel more comfortable sitting at the desk. One thing I will note is the chair is a lot stiffer than I’m used to, but I see this as a good thing. The PU leather also smells heavily like fake leather but as someone who actually loves this smell, it doesn’t bother me in the slightest. The material, color, stitching, neck pillow, small design details and most importantly, my comfort, have reassured me that while expensive, I’ve made the right choice.
Now I just need to remember to keep the office door closed to keep the cats out.