The majority of you will no doubt be sitting at a desk reading this, and indeed a chair is the place you will all spend many hours gaming and/or working. It is important then, for the chair you use to be not only supportive, but comfortable for those extended periods of use.
Today, I am going to stray away from the usual technology review, to bring you my thoughts on the noblechairs EPIC series real leather chair that I have been using for several hours a day, for just over a week.
This chair was kindly sent to me by UK retailer, OverclockersUK. Thankfully, our overseas readers are not left out, as there are a host of global noblechairs resellers. To find your closest stockist, please check out their merchant page.
As a side note, it is worth mentioning that you will find OverclockersUK stock the full range of colours and models in the EPIC series, something not all the other resellers offer!
The model I will be reviewing today is the EPIC real leather chair, in brown with beige contrast stitching. The real leather models are priced at a shade under £490 ($550), with the faux, and imitation options coming in much cheaper at £309-£315 ($378-$385).
At these prices, some high expectations are set, so let's find out if the EPIC lives up to the name.
|Materials||Real leather (front and sides)
Faux leather (back panel), PU (armrest)
Aluminium (wheel base)
|Colour||Brown with beige stitching|
|Height adjustability||49.5 -59.5 cm|
|Backrest adjustability||90° - 135°|
|Armrest adjustability||Pivot (3 settings), slide (forward, back, sideways) and height|
|Rocking angle||Max. 11°|
|Neck and lumbar support||Adjustable velour pillows|
|Net weight||27 kg|
|Weight support||120 kg|
Materials and assembly
Assembling an EPIC is very straight-forward. I had no problem figuring out the components without checking the instructions (which are actually very clear!).
I was surprised at how light the backrest was, the materials used are real leather on the front facing areas, with faux leather on the back.
The armrests come pre-assembled and attached to the seats via the same nuts used to screw on the backrest and base.
Everything feels good quality, and the smell of leather fills the room. although spoiler alert, the smell will become less obvious after a week as your nose gets used to it, which is a shame.
The gas lift is smooth and does not have any excess play like on some cheaper chairs. I found that the lowest height setting was not as low as what I am used to on the Ikea Markus, but I think this is mainly due to the thickness of the seat and base that houses the reclining mechanism, which is more like a manual car seat than a desk chair.
There are a number of controls and features to get the most comfortable seating position, whether you are lounging or gaming. I found myself using different armrest positions for different tasks.
One small gripe I have is with the pivot adjustment on the armrests. They are quite stiff, requiring extra force to rotate between each of the three positions. I have a feeling the stiffness might loosen as time goes on.
I would also have liked to have seen curved edges on the inner side of the armrests, because they are quite straight cut (as shown in the photo above), whereas the outer side is sloped and curved.
From watching media, to photo editing and gaming, I found the foam cushioning to be firm, but comfortable. By comparison, my Ikea Markus has much softer foam which feels like after a year, will lose some of its sponginess.
It is enveloped by ergonomically shaped upholstery made of dimensionally stable cold foam, whose high density of 55 per cent allows any of the noblechairs to retain its shape even after prolonged use - noblechairs.com
The included velour pillows feel ultra plush. I found them to add additional comfort to the already comfortable backrest, extending neck and lumbar support, which was especially welcome during a three-hour wedding photo editing session.
The pillows are zipped around foam padding, so can easily be cleaned.
One of the benefits of having armrests that adjust in so many ways is that you can position them to suit any task. For example, during gaming I like to have the right armrest at desk height, and pivoted out with the base slide sideways to the right. This provides my arm a soft rest and caters to all mouse movements, effectively extending the desk length for this purpose.
The seat and side bolsters provide ample support all the way up to the shoulders, so no matter what angle you sit at, you are comfortable. I also like how the diamond quilted stitching creates soft pockets to add some additional comfort, as well as adding to the premium look with the contrast stitching.
Genuine leather does require regular maintenance to keep it looking and feeling fresh. A desk chair could typically be used daily, and for hours on end. Without proper care, leather seats may end up looking tatty in just a couple of years.
A damp microfibre cloth is all that is needed to keep leather surfaces free from dust and other contaminants. But as the years go on, leather will start to dry and crack. To combat this, products designed to prolong the life of leather by feeding moisture into the hide, and creating a dirt resistant barrier are recommended.
I prefer cleaning and feeding leather with automotive leather-care products. My weapon of choice? Gliptone cleaner and conditioner kit, priced at under £13 ($15). As an example, after 12 years and 87,000 miles, my car seats still look like new using the above.
High-end ergonomic chairs like the Herman Miller Mirra series, or the Steelcase Leap may be better chairs, but they also cost considerably more. I feel that the EPIC real leather chair offers a lot of chair for the money, and already has many of the ergonomic controls of more expensive chairs.
The major plus here being that this is wrapped in genuine leather, although noblechairs do offer a cheaper imitation leather option, for those who do not want real hide.
As for negatives, one would have to be the wheels. They are made of high strength plastic, and noblechairs say they are designed for use on both soft and hard flooring, but I think including a set of rubber wheels would have been even better option.
I have hardwood flooring, and as with all chairs with plastic wheels, I found they collect up dust on the surface and end up becoming noisy, or adding friction when moving the chair. Rubber wheels would at least dampen this issue.
Overall, I think the EPIC real leather chair is good value for money. noblechairs have clearly put a lot of thought into various aspects of this series, and it shows in the quality of materials, controls, and styling used.
I had never heard of noblechairs up until recently, so this has been an ideal opportunity to see what they have to offer, and I have come away very impressed.
Aside from the few minor gripes and desirables mentioned, I am pleased to give this an 'Excellent' rating!