Take a stroll around your nearest German car dealership and you will notice that higher-end models on the showroom floor tend to have exquisitely upholstered leather lashed all over the cabin.
Such fine grain leather has a supple feel and a distinct smell. Needless to say, these models often command a premium price, after all, you do get what you pay for.
noblechairs is no different in this context. The recently released ICON range offers what noblechairs dubs "top grain", and once again, I have been given the opportunity to try out their latest offering thanks to our friends at Overclockers UK.
Last year I reviewed the EPIC series, and whilst some of the technical details and features remain unchanged for the ICON range, there are some notable differences, such as backrest design and load capacity, although the main difference is in the leather quality, which is now premium hide.
The whole ICON range is available in seven colour styles. Three of these are in top grain real leather, Cognac/Black, Midnight Blue, and Black. The remainder sport faux leather, and noblechairs makes note that the latter is of course vegan-friendly. The prices are £519.95 ($687 / €582) for the real leather options, and £329.99 ($436 / €369) for the faux leather.
Real leather (front and sides)
|Colour||Black with black stitching|
|Height adjustability||48 -58cm|
|Backrest adjustability||90° - 135°|
|Armrest adjustability||Pivot (3 settings), slide (forward, back, sideways) and height|
|Rocking angle||Max. 14°|
|Neck and lumbar support||Velour pillows|
Materials and assembly
Assembly was exactly the same as the EPIC series, straightforward and, once again, no need to even use the manual.
As with the EPIC chairs, the ICON looks very much like a car seat once assembled. The difference now is that instead of an all-out sports seat, the ICON resembles more of a grand tourer, a refinement over its smaller brother, if you will. The revised backrest design certainly helps here.
The wheels remain unchanged from the EPIC, and this was one of my negative points. I would have liked rubber lined wheels on the premium model at the very least. On wood or hard flooring, the plastic wheels make too much noise and cause some scuffing.
A floor protector or a rug is a must.
The number of adjustments are the same as noblechairs' other model ranges, but the ICON refines the ergonomics. I am pleased to see that they have changed the armrest design to no longer have the sharp cut inner edge like on the EPIC series.
Other seat controls are easy to find and use without looking at them. Simplicity is key to good ergonomics, and noblechairs did a fine job here.
There still is no way to adjust side bolstering, this is one thing I wished was available on the EPIC, and the same goes for the ICON. It's a shame, because inflatable pillows on the bolsters would have made a considerable difference to ergonomics for all sizes of person.
The included velour neck and back pillows are welcome, and add additional support for those areas.
Comfort and Maintenance
Regardless of the lack of bolster adjustment, the top grain leather improves comfort from the leather on the EPIC series. It is softer, more supple, and generally more comfortable.
You can even see the quality of the leather through the photo above, it really is superb quality and the "top grain" claim holds true.
The support pillows are also high quality, but unlike on the EPIC chair, the pillow for back support only has a lower back fixed position. Because the backrest has no holes above the shoulders, there is no way to strap the back support pillow in, then adjust its position.
Premium leather requires a slightly higher level of maintenance to keep supple than normal leather of course. Thankfully, maintenance isn't expensive, but it may be required more often to keep from going shiny.
For this, I still highly recommend Gliptone's leather cleaner and protector combination. Both can be found at most decent car cleaning retailers, as well as eBay and Amazon.
The ICON real leather chair is not cheap, £520 can buy you a lot of other chairs out there, and some of them might have more features. But with the ICON, I feel it's the quality of the materials used that commands such a price. That, and the super simple controls.
Simplicity and quality are the words with which I would describe the ICON Top Grain.
The diamond quilting as well as the stitching quality look and feel great, and because it's high-grade leather, the longevity should also be excellent. Think car seat levels of lifespan with the correct maintenance.
This is the second noblechairs product I have reviewed, and once again I am pleased to give this a good rating. I am knocking off a mark this time round because, at this price point, I do expect there to be a little more adjustability, especially in the side bolsters, but otherwise an all round great chair, and not just for gaming either.