Review: Vertagear SL5000 racing chair

The market for racing chairs is being flooded by different manufacturers and options which creates confusion, so we’ve spent time with the Vertagear SL5000 to put it to the...

The market for racing chairs is being flooded by different manufacturers and options which creates confusion, so we’ve spent time with the Vertagear SL5000 to put it to the test as your next gaming chair. The racing-style gaming chair promotes comfort and ergonomic support for extended periods of time, exactly what you need if you’re regularly playing into the early hours.

Design

While chairs absolutely have to hit the mark on comfort and features, the also have to look good doing it. I actually really enjoy the design of the SL5000, its unapologetic about its racing design with big side bolsters and accent leather stitching and even slots in the back for a racing harness. Its almost as if this was ripped out of a car, had wheels bolted to the bottom of it and it rolled up to your desk ready to go.

I’m someone who tossed out the factory seats from my car and installed Recaro racing seats in place, so I’m completely on-board with this style. While the function of a racing seat, compared to a normal chair, is that they’re designed to hold you in around the corners, but they’re also designed to be comfortable. When looking at this gaming chair, I hoped it would deliver on a similar level of comfort, even during a long session, like a long road trip, thankfully, I’m happy to report it does.

Our review unit is the black/white combination, but the chair actually comes in 5 different colours to suit your style (or your room). There’s black/blue, black/green, black/red and black/black combinations to choose from. Personally I think many will choose the black/black combination as a ‘safe’ option which I understand, but remember this isn’t an office chair, its proud of what it is, a racing chair, predominantly targeted at gamers. Personally I went with the white/black combination to fit with the black/white office decor while being a little more visually interesting than the black/black combo. If you’re someone who likes to be bold with colour, then the red, green or blue, is a no brainer and the choice for you. Given many gamers who buy these chairs will fall into team Xbox or PlayStation, it would have been great to see these colours match closer to Xbox green and PlayStation blue.

The adjustable back moves through angles between 80 to 140 degree. To explain that in a different way, you can basically lay down in this chair which for extended VR sessions in something like the Oculus Rift, may be a great experience. The steps between the angle adjustments are nicely incremented to find a comfortable angle for your preference.

The lower seat also has some adjustability by pulling out the left lever, then pushing your weight forward. While the seat tilts forward, its to a bizzare angle, one you’d never actually sit in, so not sure how beneficial this is. In terms of height adjustment, it could be better, while the top-most position is perfect for my current desk, a taller person, with a higher desk, would definitely want a higher seating position.

In terms of construction, the product is made from premium PVC leather with stain and water resistant. The SL5000 model has extra dense foam padding that adds great support and comfort. There’s a neat trick that’s done in the design of this chair and that’s in a center strip that runs up the backrest that is a ‘breathable open-cell structure’ allowing heat to dissipate, rather than being trapped behind you. There’s nothing worse that seats that don’t breathe as you’ll become uncomfortable quickly and hot and sweaty isn’t good for anyone. While we’re not in the middle of summer, so far, my experience has been that this chair is comfortable. If you’re after a chair that really breathes, then you should consider some of the others, like the Triigger 350 in the Vertagear range that’s a mesh-backed chair.

Now for the wheels. The chair rolls on 5x Penta RS1 65mm racing-style casters which connect to a reinforced 5-Star black base. If you choose a colour (including white) the casters are accented with the matching colour which is a nice touch. On the carpet of my office, the chair rolled smoothly in any direction and felt stable at all times. If you’re on floorboards or tiles, the rolling resistance would be significantly less, so you may wan to consider the $10 option to upgrade to 3″ casters with an autolock feature.

Comfort

The Vertagear SL5000 racing chair fits my body like a glove. I’ve used plenty of chairs over the years and almost none were built to fit someone my height, around 6’3′. Thankfully this one is. The rear lumber support is perfectly placed to support my lower back, the seat width matches my hips perfectly before wrapping upwards to hold me in place (not taking corners at 60km/h, but its the same principle).

The chair foam is dense, designed to support an impressive 150kg, while being durable for the long term. This means its a firm ride, but anyone who’s bought a chair that’s soft is also familiar with how quickly that softness fades as the foam gives up. Its enough to make the quick sale, but not good for the long term. This chair feels well engineered and in its second generation will likely outlast many of its competitors. You can also see the quality of stitching is exceptional.

Personally I tried the included lumber support cushion, but instantly knew it was too large for me and I actually didn’t need it, the default back of the chair works great for me. The headrest is required and mine is now well used. While I don’t rest against it 100% of the time, its there when I need. If I’m honest, I’m not in love with the look of the strap stretched around the top of the chair to attach it, however this does make the removal easy should someone else jump on your chair and not need it.

The adjustable arm rests have 4 axis of adjustment and given how critical arm rest position is to your overall ergonomics. These place your elbows at the right height to avoid strain on your neck and shoulders, while positioning your forearms at around 90 degrees to your keyboard. Everyone is different in their proportions, so having this level of adjustability is essential. One downside if found is the buttons on the inside of the armrests, that control the back/forward position of the armrests, often caught headphone cables. A simple fix in future models would be to position these on the outside, rather than the inside of the arm rests.

 

Assemly

Regular readers will have seen the unboxing post, but if you missed it, I captured the assembly process. Typically the process should take you around 10 minutes, but stopping to take video, it took me around 45 minutes. The process went smoothly, with the only exception being incredibly tight bolts that needed to be first removed, before adding the gas lift. The included tool didn’t provide enough leverage to do the job, but after grabbing my set of allen keys, the process was simple.

Specifications

Buying a chair is a very personal decision and to ensure this is the right one for you, you need the detail. Below are the specs for the chair which should help you appreciate its physical scale, as well as its capabilities to match with your body size.

Model: VG-SL5000
Max Load: 150 kg / 330 lbs
Materials: Steel (frame), High Density Foam, PVC Leather, Aluminum Alloy (base)
Package Dimensions: 83 x 72 x 37.5 cm / 32.6 x 28.3 x 14.8 in
Overall height (incl. base): 1235-1335 mm / 48.6-52.6 in
Backrest Width (shoulder): 490 mm / 19.3 in
Backrest Width (lumbar): 520 mm / 20.5 in
Seat Width: 575 mm / 22.6 in
Seat Depth: 480 mm / 19 in
Net Weight: 24.7 kg / 54 lbs
Gross Weight: 27.9 kg / 62 lbs

Price and Availability

The Vertagear SL5000 racing chair is available now in Australia from online retailers like PC Case Gear for A$379.00, on sale from a normal A$499. If you’re outside Australia, you should check out the Vertagear website. The package includes the chair (assembly required), head/neck pillow, lumbar support, and casters.

Overall

This chair is remarkably comfortable, even during extended sessions at the desk. This makes it a great option for those looking for a new chair for the home office, or for the bedroom desk, come gaming setup. Forget the cheap $100 chairs, if you’re serious about seat time, then you need to invest in a serious chair, you’re body will thank you later.

The Vertagear SL5000 racing chair works for me, it fits me like a glove, the right height backrest, the right depth and width seat base, but humans are all different and buying a chair, has to match you. While there’s certainly some tolerance for different body sizes, this won’t suit all people. I wish the height adjustment was greater in range and the arm rests could be improved with some soft padding, rather than hardish plastic.

Those small issues aside, the build quality and comfort available here absolutely warrants the price tag and if you’re quick to grab the special at PC Case Gear, at A$379.00 this is a seriously good chair for the price. Many of its competitors are close to double that.

All things considered, this chair would be very comfortable wheel into your home office or gaming room and if you’re in the market for a new chair, you should definitely consider it.

 

9.2
Review: Vertagear SL5000 racing chair
The Good
  • Comfort
  • Build quality
  • Design
The Bad
  • Height adjustment limited
  • Hard plastic armrest
  • Design
    9.0
  • Comfort
    9.2
  • Value
    9.5
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Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis.