It was a thrilling experience getting home from work and jumping into assembling my first promising gaming chair in years. After nine months with a constantly screaming back and a rigid, hard dining chair by my desk that just doesn’t put in any work – I was ready for a change.
That big, sexy, silhouetted black Razer insignia. Both cardboard flaps tattooed with an invitation to get on in. “For gamers. By gamers.”
I shivered. Only my partner talks to me that way. The cats dashed out of the office and the door shut behind them. Nathan is about to get wild.
Right from the moment you run the box cutter down the centre of the carton, unboxing the Razer Enki X is a theatrical experience. Arriving in September and already knee-deep into another unwelcome lockdown, I have developed a parcel addiction. Yet many of the parcels I have received have not thrilled like this, where the manufacturer expected me to shred into the box like a high-glucose child at Christmas. Right from the whopping green 85x65cm instruction sheet to the ludicrous ‘builder gauntlets’, there is a very confident presentation to the unboxing.
I love that the Enki is considerate enough to come supplied with protection
After making my peace with the dining chair and booting it out the back, it was time to slip on my gamer gloves and get down to exploring. A single, compact plastic case is the extent of the loose components. It contains a couple of spare bolts and a fist-grip screwdriver so you can really get those rotator cuffs into the exercise. You’re building a gaming chair where the assembly could barely be easier, and you’ve got your protective handwear, hardhat (if inclined) and screwdriver to make the few cumbersome connections feel like an achievement.
I can proudly say that the few pre-installed screws that need loosening were all snugly installed and no exertion or power tools were required. Installing the backrest to the seat and the base to the gas, the chair was upright and ready within a tidy 15 minutes. The prominent QR code that links to an assembly video on the front of the manual is a nice accessibility feature ensuring a smooth setup.
That is not to say that the installation instructions are flawless. Assembling the chair is a breeze, but the graphics for operating the chair aren’t always clear. The racing chair initiated will know this, but the instructions do not demonstrate how to recline the chair by pulling out the gas-lift lever. There is a vague image printed on one of the internal cardboard cartons that suggest pushing the lever towards the floor, which is fruitless. Another graphic seemed to suggest that the armrests are 360-degree rotatable, which is not the case. The operating instructions are too easily missed after assembly and could have benefited from being printed somewhere other than the cartons.
The contrasting EPU synthetic leathers look nice and feel great
More unimpressive is the reclining chassis itself. Though there is a pressure adjustment to determine how much resistance there is when leaning the entire chair back, I would often have to push my feet against the floor if the backrest was anything but virtually horizontal. Even with the backrest partially reclined, I would still have to push through my heels to distribute enough way to tilt the chair back. Unlike the more expensive Enki that can perform an impressively laid out 152-degree incline, the Enki X plays it safe and doesn’t want to tip you from the stern.
The only remaining concern rests with the ergonomic support of the Enki X. Unlike the Enki, there are no support cushions to assist with lumbar support or on the headrest. While the chair is engineered for full-day (or what is assumedly eight-hour) sessions – those whose backs require that extra TLC may be left wanting. At my height of 185cm, I found the lumbar support curve in the backrest to be too low. Sitting with a correct posture that aligns one’s rear on the cushion and back with the backrest, my tailbone would uncomfortably press against the hard lumbar curve. The lumbar curve seems positioned best for those a bit shorter than 185cm, and everybody else may want to consider the pricier Enki model or invest in an aftermarket lumbar cushion.
The rest of the design and chassis does confidently compete with the best in the premium gaming market. The EPU synthetic leather material used on the cushion and backrest provides nicely contrasting leather and velvet-like textures that have maintained good temperature regulation and have confidently resisted my cats’ claws.
While the recline won’t tip the chassis, you may not get the weightlessness that makes reclined VR a winner
Adjusting the chair to get the correct feel for your desk setup is a breeze, supported by an overall sturdy product that justifies its price point. As an entry-level chair on the premium gaming chair market, the castors and chassis base have solid metals and hard plastics that will scoot around the room with ease. The adjustable arm height is generous and topped off with a three-directional x-axis arm swivel. Backrest adjustment can be a little more challenging, with a surprisingly stiff lever. When the right reclined position has been found for you, you will battle with the lever to get the backrest to comfortably lock. Yet this is only a small gripe that many will dismiss, as having some slight adjustment rigidity is a small trade-off for an overall robust and sturdy chair that Razer has confidently slapped a three-year warranty onto.
Going from a long-term dining chair to the Razer Enki X feels like a godsend of an upgrade. Although it can be argued that the chair does not go far enough to address ergonomic lumbar concerns that seem absent from the premium Enki model, it can easily be amended with an after-market lumbar solution. With its sub-$500 price tag, the Enki X forgoes any typical Razer excess such as RGB lighting to deliver a piece of gaming furniture that achieves the minimum comfort standards of a premium gaming chair. Never mind that unboxing and assembling the Enki X is one of the most impressively tactile experiences you can get delivered to your door during a pandemic.
Review unit supplied by the manufacturer