What would you do if you thought current gaming chairs were just too expensive for what they offered? Make your own? Well, that's what two plucky Singaporeans, Ian Ang and Alaric Choo, did, and the end result is the Secretlab, a thriving one year-old business that makes affordable gaming chairs.
The Secretlab Omega caught my attention the moment I laid eyes upon it. I normally shy away from the gaudy colours of such rigs -- Secretlab's first chair, the Throne, and its successor, the Throne V2, is similarly flashy, but the company's more conservatively designed Stealth model is one that would fit perfectly in the office with its dark black leather looks.
Even without the racing stripes and eyecatching colours, the Omega comes packed with all the ergonomic goodness you would need, as well as a wide variety of controls that you can tweak to your comfort, and a price point that's ridiculously affordable in my part of the world, Asia. When it comes to costs, Secretlab is shaming the expensive asking prices of its competitors.
While it usually retails for S$629 ($440, £350and AU$590), the Omega will have an opening price of $469 ($340, £220 and AU$465 ) when it goes on sale today. I loved using the chair during the four days I spent with it, and I'll very likely grab one myself when it goes on sale.
Unfortunately, Secretlab doesn't yet have plans to ship to countries outside of Asia for now. However, Australia is one market the company is planning on selling its chairs in. If you're keen on getting one, you may want to drop them a line at the website, though bear in mind shipping won't be cheap if you live far away, and you may not be able to benefit from local warranties.
The Omega is generously padded with foam covered with leather. The leather does help somewhat in keeping you cool. Those in particularly humid climates may find the leather aesthetic ruined by sweat marks, but if you're in an air-conditioned environment, you'll enjoy the cool feel of the material.
Despite looking more innocuous than most gaming chairs, the Omega is still certainly designed like one. The shape itself resembles that of a racing car seat, and if you choose the flashier option, the Omega Classic, it'll come adorned in white accents that contrast with the black leather. The Stealth version is a lot plainer, but the carbon fibre textured sides keep it interesting.
Secretlabs have also reinforced the frame of the chair, which should be able to handle weights of 100kg (220 pounds) -- though I'm told it can support up to 150kg (330 pounds). The chair also comes with a neck rest and lumbar support cushions.
The only flaw I found with the Omega is the metal used for the base. If you're the type who rests your feet on a seat base, you'll find the cold and somewhat sharp edges uncomfortable.
One thing that bugs me about office chairs is usually the lack of controls. Most are usually capable of just height adjustments, with some options to adjust the backrest angle.
Not everyone sits the same way; I personally prefer leaning backwards while typing (though apparently this is actually not very good for your posture), while some prefer to have the backrest forward to maintain a straighter posture. For others, it may also be the height of the base, the angle of the backrest or the space between the two parts that that bugs them.
Thankfully, the Secretlab Omega addresses these issues. Like its more expensive, higher-end brethren, the Omega lets you adjust the chair to your personal preference. You can adjust a layout that's unique to you -- I got a kick out of having one armrest higher than the other, though that's not really practical.
You can also adjust the angle of the backrest -- all the way flat, if you so desire for napping purposes -- as well as the tilt of the chair, which also lets you lean back. If you don't like this, you can also lock it upright, or if you prefer to sit at a 45 degree angle all the time, this can obviously also be accommodated for.
If the earlier success of Secretlab's first gaming chair, the Throne, is anything to go by (Secretlab claims they've sold over a thousand), the Omega will likely be a hit as well. You can get all the features of a more expensive chair without having to break the piggy bank, and it also somewhat matches the price of the cheapest DX Racer chair here (S$469) in Singapore. If you're thinking of a new seat for long sessions of gaming, look no further.