When WellPlayed Managing Editor Zach Jackson hits you up to ask if you’d like to review a gaming chair, you ask few questions. Especially when your current seating solution is a cheap, mesh Amart job that’s been slowly but permanently turning your spine into one of those green squiggly sculptures they have up in the Perth CBD.
So that’s how I came to be in possession of the Boulies Elite Series Gaming Chair, which admittedly I hadn’t heard of until that point. But before I get stuck into the chair itself, our story begins proper at my local post office. After an unsuccessful attempt at delivering the chair while I was at work, for whatever reason it was taken to my local Australia Post for me to pick up myself. Upon arriving and presenting the Missed Delivery notice I’d received in my letterbox, the staff behind the counter exchanged what I could tell were concerned glances. One of them points to the back corner of the tiny St Kilda post office branch, where a rather large box is sitting in full view.
“We couldn’t fit it in the back room, sorry.”
“I hope you brought a trolley and someone to help you carry it out.”
I had not.
I promise you the packaging looks a lot nicer before you push it down Fitzroy St by hand
I enjoy living a mere five-minute walk from my local post office. It means that I can easily pop by whenever I need to send or receive parcels on my way home from work. It also means that, should I suddenly be burdened with a 24kg box that’s big enough for me to comfortably nap in I could feasibly get it home. Suffice it to say but that thing sat at the bottom of my apartment stairwell for a good couple of hours before I felt my back and shoulders were prepared to haul it any further than I already had.
Once the chair was inside my apartment and I’d had a few glasses of water and mustered the energy to actually unbox the thing, I was met with a surprisingly simple setup. Inside the box is the backrest, seat, wheel base, castors, gas lift and seat pivot mechanism as well as the optional support cushions and a small packet of tools.
As someone who’s put together a decent amount of IKEA furniture in the past I was prepared to set out a space for organising a litany of screws, washers and the like so that I could squint at the included instructions and attempt to figure out which ones went where. No such issue though, as the Boulies chair actually ships with the small amount of screws it requires already pre-seated in the chair pieces, so it’s as easy as quickly removing them by hand, slotting the pieces together and chucking the screws back in using the included combination Allen key and screwdriver (which I’ve dubbed the Allen Screwer).
Between the minimal small parts and the clear, multi-language instruction sheet with very handy photo examples, putting together the Boulies Elite Series chair took less than 20 minutes. I did have a spot of trouble along the way with a fabric cut on the backrest that didn’t properly line up with one of the screw holes but that was quickly fixed with a pair of scissors and only affected a portion that gets covered up in the final stages of the build. It’s absolutely one of the easiest furniture builds I’ve ever done, which was a nice surprise after Zach noted in his Secretlab Omega 2020 review that these things can be an effort to put together solo.
Once assembled, the Elite Series chair is a handsome and understated beast with a silhouette that commands the room without drawing unnecessary attention. The model I was given for review came in the muted steel blue colourway, rendering the complete look a far cry from the gaudy image that is typically conjured when thinking the term ‘gaming chair’ is spoken.
So with the chair all set up and my old one donated to my cat Bernie, I was ready to give my arse the life of luxury and comfort it so desperately deserved. My earliest impression of the chair, at the moment where bum and back first made contact with the Elite Series, was “Oh God, my spine is quite wrong, really.” The curvature of the chair back is designed to fit the natural bone structure of a seated human, which I’m sure is fantastic for anyone with half-decent posture. For me it took some adjusting to, as well as adjusting of the seat mechanisms, but soon enough I’d settled into its gentle groove and found a level of comfort in sitting upright that I’d been missing for the longest time.
The true test of a good chair though is, of course, the ability to sit in it for extended periods of time such as a full day of working from home or streaming ten straight hours of Uno for PC. The Elite Series’ chunky seat is quite firm, but held up nicely even under my discerning buns. The real winner though is the combination of ultraflex PU leather and microfibre suede that makes up the surface of the chair, which looks premium, is immediately comfy and feels like it’ll last. The leather portion is perforated too which helps the chair breathe and makes it great for all-day use. Opinions on materials will naturally differ, but what’s here is certainly a huge step up on the plasticy-feeling faux leather on lesser seats.
Bernie Test – Passed
Not only is the baseline comfort of sitting in the Elite Series top notch, but it’s got a full complement of adjustability features to make it just right. The obvious tilt and height settings of the back and seat aside, you’ll also get eight-way adjustable armrests to help mitigate arm and wrist discomfort as well as two included memory foam cushions that can be added on for extra support. I made the mistake of attaching both to the chair to begin with, which was not helpful at all, but after rocking just the lumbar support pillow at the base I’ve found a really good level of both support and comfort that’s also helping with my terrible posture. I’d call that a pretty big win.
If there’s one thing that threatens to drag the entire Boulies experience down, it’s the chair’s less-than-mobile castors. They’re unusually stiff, making the chair difficult to roll especially on a carpeted surface. As it is now, the chair that I was given to review refuses to glide along my floor and instead stays stationary, meaning I have to awkwardly shuffle into it to sit down at my desk, which is less than ideal. To ensure it wasn’t just a one-off I had a read of the reviews of the Elite Series on the Boulies website and discovered I wasn’t alone, so it’s either a baked-in design issue or at least widespread enough to be something to think about before making a purchase.
Hesitant as I’ve been to add a ‘gaming chair’ to my home setup over something more unassuming, the Boulies Elite Series chair came as a reminder that it’s possible to get a good mix of both. With handsome looks, a well-rounded feature set and great comfort it’s a serious contender that comes in at a slightly less eye-watering price point than its biggest rivals. Stiff wheels are definitely a glaring issue that might put some punters off, but there are otherwise very few things I could knock this chair for. If you’re looking to take your gaming or WFH setup to the next level but despise the thought of furniture with racing stripes this might just be the chair for you.
Review unit supplied by the manufacturer
If you would like more information on the Boulies Elite Series gaming chair or would like to purchase your own, you can find it all here.