Secretlab’s Titan Evo Raises the Bar for Gaming Chairs

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Gaming chairs don’t help you play games any better, as manufacturers would have you believe. They usually just emulate the racing seat aesthetic and often come with more adjustability options than your standard, cheap office chair. But there are a lot of these types of chairs out there, and not every company gives much thought…

Secretlab’s Titan Evo Raises the Bar for Gaming Chairs
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Gaming chairs don’t help you play games any better, as manufacturers would have you believe. They usually just emulate the racing seat aesthetic and often come with more adjustability options than your standard, cheap office chair. But there are a lot of these types of chairs out there, and not every company gives much thought to comfort or durability. 

That’s where Secretlab stands out. It was founded in 2014 by former esports gamers Alaric Choo and Ian Ang, and the company quickly built up a reputation for quality by using better materials and offering a decent warranty (three years, but it’s extendable to five years for $50 or with a social media post of your chair). Its new Titan Evo 2022 Series gaming chair is more refined than ever, with improved support and better durability. 

Under the Seat Changes

I didn’t have any trouble assembling the Evo. The finished product has an angular design with a gold T on the backrest alongside Secretlab logos, carbon fiber effect panels, and red stitching set against the black polyurethane leather (PU). It’s clearly a gaming chair, but it’s not as garish as many others out there. There is a wide range of other color schemes and finishes, all more striking than your average office chair.

The first thing I noticed after hopping on the seat is the firmness of the cold cure foam. This type of foam maintains its shape for longer periods of time. It was jarring at first, but it’s very supportive and proved comfortable for hours of continuous sitting. 

Secretlab says the Titan Evo 2022 has been in development for two years. If you’ve seen its predecessors, you’ll be wondering exactly what took two years because it looks very similar. But the improvements are all beneath the upholstery. First off, it now comes in more clear sizing options: Small, Regular, and XL. 

The company has also gone all-in on magnets—the memory foam pillow, swappable padded armrests, and panels that hide the side bolts are all magnetized, so you can easily take them off or plop them on. The magnetic pillow is one of my favorite parts of this chair. It’s fun and does away with the unsightly strap around the back. It doesn’t slide out of position easily, and the layer of cooling gel inside is very welcome on a warm day. 

The idea of swappable magnetic armrests seemed more gimmicky. The set that comes with the chair is perfectly fine, and I wondered why anyone would switch them. But Secretlab then sent me some Technogel armrests to try, and … I get it now. They’re amazing. Not only are they incredibly soft and supportive, but the gel also has a cooling effect. They’ll be an optional upgrade soon, but there’s no word on pricing yet.

Most importantly, the Titan Evo offers greater adjustability. Having more ways to adjust a chair means you can have it precisely conform to your body, helping you sit more comfortably and ergonomically

Dials on the left and right adjust the height and curvature of the lumbar support to fit your spine. This enhanced lumbar support is the greatest improvement over previous Secretlab chairs and encourages good posture. The levers beneath the Titan Evo adjust the height and apply a tilt lock, and there’s a recline lever on the right. I appreciate the wide range of the recline, but if you lean back as you pull the lever, it can stick and then ratchet suddenly in an unpleasant way. The armrests are fully adjustable too. You can move them back and forward, side to side, adjust the height, and change the angle.

Photograph: Secretlab

You get a nice range of adjustments for a gaming chair, but it falls slightly short of high-end office chairs, like the Steelcase Leap or X-Chair X3. Both those chairs move with you if you lean forward, but I regularly felt like I had to remember to sit back properly in the Titan Evo. There’s also no seat depth adjustment so picking the right chair size is crucial; ideally, you want to leave around three inches between the back of your knee and the seat for optimal support and comfort.

I missed my usual X-Chair, but I enjoyed sitting on the Titan Evo. It’s comfortable and supportive, and I didn’t develop any aches or pains after more than a week of long days and nights.

Heat Up

The biggest problem I had was the heat that built up in my lower back. Within an hour of sitting in the Titan Evo on a hot day, my back was drenched. Secretlab has its own special PU leather blend, which it claims is 12 times more durable than regular PU leather, but it’s just not a breathable material.

You can pay extra for SoftWeave fabric or genuine Napa leather upholstery. I tested the SoftWeave on an older Titan model some time ago and while I prefer it, the heat still builds up because there’s no gap at your lower back. Most Steelcase chairs, for example, have a gap that improves airflow, and chairs like the Herman Miller Aeron employ a mesh back. My X-Chair combines the two. It may seem like a small thing, but when you’re sitting in a chair for hours, sweat can be a big problem.

Should You Buy It?

A big part of Secretlab’s success is the balance its chairs offer. You get the racing aesthetic, the adjustability, the comfort, and the quality at a reasonable price. The Titan Evo with PU leather costs $429 for the small, $449 for the regular, and $499 for the XL. It certainly beats similarly priced chairs from the likes of Razer, Corsair, and Andaseat. 

It’s pricey but all the other office chairs I’ve mentioned cost several hundred more. The fairer question would be whether to go for a refurbished high-end office chair or a brand new Secretlab Titan Evo. That decision comes down to how highly you prize the style. If you’re happy to accept a typical office chair aesthetic for slightly finer control and support, go with the refurb. But if you crave this gaming style, the Titan Evo is one of the prettier ones around.

Competition in this space is growing stiffer. If you’re willing to spend more, I like Mavix’s range (it’s the sister company of X-Chair). If you don’t mind spending a lot more, the Herman Miller X Logitech G Embody is the pinnacle. 

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