I didn't really want to start this review off as some sort of philosophical, metaphysical pondering, but I do have to start this review with a very simple question. What is a Gamer Chair, or Gaming Chair? If we don't go down the funny route of explaining it away as a chair that plays games (indeed, see reader chairs and movie-watching chairs) then it is arguably a chair in which somebody sits when they play games.
But there's something else too, there are usual characteristics and design choices that go hand in hand with the title - gaudy or garish explosions of red alongside lumps of padding, all held together by leather or some other sleek black fabric. The Anda Seat T-Pro 2 doesn't really fit into the category, instead, it looks like a slightly steroid-injected office chair, but with a lot of the modern conveniences and innovations that have sprung up in the gaming chair space over the last few years.Is a gamer chair a gamer chair if it's not strapped in brightly coloured PVC or faux-leather? Read our review of the anda seaT Dark Demon premium gaming chair.
Here at Pocket Gamer we play and review an awfully large amount of games. However, due to the portable nature of the phones where we play our games we often have the luxury of playing our games from our sofas, or even our beds. That's not the case for most people who play mobile games though, and definitely not the case for most people who play games on a PC.
In most cases people are sat at a desk of some sort, floating about a meter away from a big screen, briefly spinning away from the keyboard they're tapping away at. For a lot of people, the way that we work has changed over the last year - especially in the UK, where we are based, where workers have all been encouraged to work from home. This has meant that there's been a lot more time spent at desks, at home, many more than before - and with that has also come an inability to get out and about... and with that comes aches, pains and exhaustion.
I'm not going to say that a good chair is like a caffeine boost, that's simply not true. But what it can do is give a little bit of extra support where there normally isn't any, and that can mean that if you're one of those people who normally shifts from leg to leg, or lays diagonally across your chair back, you're going to be much less likely to do that on a chair with adequate padding - especially if it's set to the right height.
I'm one of those people - the fidgeters - and as I start getting weary from sitting at a desk I start wrapping my body into strange positions. Like, one leg up, tucked close to my chest and the other dangling over the chair arm. Or, another one, laying with my head off the side of the headrest, one leg tucked under the other, which is in itself roughly in the right position. Both of these are fantastic ways to make me go from a situation where I can't concentrate, into a situation where I need to get up and pace the room in order to ease my lower back pain. This might be a sign of me getting older, but it's probably more related to my activity levels and the fact that I fell off of a lot of moving vehicles and tall buildings in my youth. I was actually quite surprised that I fidget a lot less with the support of the Anda Seat T-Pro 2.
As it turns out, there's a big reason why people who have chairs of this ilk continue to talk about them, it's because they're designed to alleviate stress from the parts of a body which are normally left sore after sitting in place for a while. It's safe to say that not everybody reading this, or who already owns a gaming chair, has fallen off of a house, or off of a car that was going 40mph, and so maybe a total cure of resting pain isn't something required by the masses, in which case it's a solid upgrade from an office chair.
That's the thing, as a (somewhat expensive) upgrade from an office chair, the Anda Seat T-Pro 2 comes with more than enough benefits and design strengths that justifies its cost. In fact, my complaints and curiosities about the chair can be counted on one hand, and most of those come down to an issue that will likely always go hand-in-hand with ergonomically designed chairs: Humans come in a variety of heights. It's safe to assume that the average basketball player, and the average jockey, are not the target audience for gaming chairs, however, clocking in at 5"7, this reviewer is not too much shorter than the Canadian (or UK) male average height, both of which clock in at 5"9. Despite that, it feels like the chair is designed for somebody about 6" (183cm) tall.
The reason for this is the removable lumbar and head support. Unlike other designs from Anda Seat, the T-Pro 2's head lacks fitting holes, instead of using an elasticated strap with a clip fitting. While there's enough play in the elastic, the cushion cannot move down enough to support my neck while I'm sitting flat on the chair. It's a different situation if I sit on the lumbar support pillow. At this point the lumbar cushion gives a lot of support to my lower spine through the ability to sink into the cushion, however doesn't provide any back support as per the standard use of a lumbar cushion (to be placed behind the back and leaned back into. Ultimately, I have a choice to have solid back support, but no neck support, or have lesser back support but solid head support. This isn't ideal. A fix for this would possibly be an optional, second lumbar cushion which can be fitted to the seat of the T-Pro 2 - users might end up feeling like they're sitting in an oyster shell, but it would make both included parts feel useable.
The cushion situation aside, this 'Super King Size' chair also comes loaded with a few extra features beyond comfort. For a start, it's almost fully reclinable. You can set the chair from a slight rock backwards into an almost fully laid back position, with the chair's aluminium structure reportedly being able to support up to 200kg of weight in any of the alignments. I've got to admit that it took a lot of getting used to, especially considering that it's on wheels and I have a wooden floor. However, since I've grown used to it I've found myself leaning back in the chair when my work shifts from desktop screens to smaller screens. With the various cushions and your own weight, pushing you down into the chair, this is actually a surprisingly comfortable way to sit, more so than the average sofa or chair.
In addition to that, there's the standard height adjuster, however even at the shortest setting - as you might expect from above, and from the 'Super King Size' title - my legs dangle away towards the floor, with my heels unable to touch it when I'm resting back against the chair. It feels a bit reminiscent of when you first changed from junior to senior school and spent about a year getting used to the larger chairs and benches, but it does pass after a while.
Finally, there are the 4D arms. These can change elevation, pivot inward and outward, slide forward and backwards on their mount and also slide inward and outward. These arms can be a little distracting if you're prone to fidgeting, and I've certainly found myself idly sliding them around while thinking. A side effect of being so adjustable is that the arm plate itself, which can slide along two axes can feel quite loose at times. That's a shame because that and the pivot function (which does also contribute a bit to the wiggling, due to the mount casing) are critical to the posture correction that you get when you fully lean back against the back of the chair. It's a minor flaw, and I'm sure a lot of R&D has gone into it because rattling noises really stand out when it comes to chairs, especially ones that are a contender in the office/working-from-home marketplace like the Anda Seat T-Pro 2 chair is.
Now, here comes the conclusion. It's tricky because the above could be read like a long list of problems with a chair, or it could be read as what it is, a short list of minor niggles with a chair which - frankly - is the best chair that I've ever owned. I've never had a gaming chair before, so I can only compare it to the many office chairs that I've had. In that regard, it is leagues better than any chair I've ever owned, and the fact that Anda Seat has clearly targetted a new audience with it is very impressive. That audience targeting isn't just underlined by the lack of bright red streaks down the furnishings, but by the sensible selection of styles available, Grey & Black, Black and, the fantastic, Blue & Black.