You've built yourself a custom PC sparing no expense, you have two or three monitors setup on your desk, but yet something doesn’t feel right. That office chair you picked up just isn’t cutting it when compared to the rest of your setup. Up until now there just hasn’t been a chair that fits the bill and can truly be called 'epic'. A few years ago I spotted a chair that met those standards at PLAYSEAT’s booth and I wasted no time trying to get one in to check out. This November, after far too long in development, they offered that chair up for sale on their website. This has to be one of the coolest items we will cover all year, don't miss out!
Recommended drivers length
minimum 120 cm/ 47 inches - maximum 220 cm/ 87 inches
Recommended drivers weight
minimum 20 kg/ 46 lbs - maximum 122 kg/ 270 lbs
Measurement assembled (LxWxH).
Net assembled weight
|-Patented foldable racing seat with fully adjustable silver or black-coated steel framework.|
-Seat upholstered with high quality vinyl, which has a leather look and feel.
-Black or colour patches, black grommets and full double stitching.
-Playseats logo in headrest and on side panels.
There are three different models that Playseats has available; below are the noticeable differences. For our testing we are using the Playseat Office Elite.
Basic office seat, no additional features.
Geared specifically toward racing and laptops - features the center mount pole/plate to setup wheels or laptops on, which is exclusive to this model.
Geared specifically to PC gaming - essentially the Playseat Office in design, but comes with the gaming arms as part of the set which are exclusive to the Elite set - there is no center mount pole/plate adapted included to this model
Similar to the Flightseat and Evolution that we have reviewed in the past from PLAYSEAT, the Office Elite arrived in a large, extremely heavy box that I’m sure will create back problems for our FedEx guy in the future. The seat comes inside two card board boxes with no visible markings other than one sticker in the corner with the product name, item number, and its bar code. Inside, the Office Elite was packed in tightly with each of its important components wrapped in bubble wrap. All of the screws and small parts were sealed up in a large, re-sealable bag along with the included tools. The packaging may not be anything special, but it did keep the 70 pound monster in tip-top shape while being shipped.
The entire chair ships in pieces to make transportation possible, which means you will have to put everything together when it comes in. This really isn’t any different from other office chairs that you see, even in a retail setting. The Elite is no different, its gaming arms an addition to the already large collection of parts. Playseats was nice enough to include along with all of the nuts and bolts a screwdriver and all of the allen wrenches needed to put everything together. This is always a welcome feature, not everyone has the tools needed to do the repairs. Or if you’re like me, you just don’t want to get up and grab them.
Putting the basic chair together was much simpler than I thought it would be. The included instructions broke everything down and did a great job of showing what you had to do for each step. The only trouble I ran into was installing the seat padding in the correct position, the Velcro on the back is great for holding it into place once positioned but made it difficult to place without it grabbing prematurely. That issue aside I was very impressed with the build. I saved the Elite gaming arms for after the chair, the instructions come separate from the normal instructions. The arm itself comes in as one piece, all you are doing is installing the top plate and the bottom bracket. The allen wrenches needed for this also came with the screws: 8 screws per side. Later the gaming arms were attached to the chair and almost ready to go.
When we originally saw the Office Elite the gaming arms came with a slightly padded leather pad to be used as a mouse pad, one of their last changes to the design was to change this to a hard mouse pad that is stuck onto the arm. With the top plate tightened down all that was left to do was apply these stickers. The adhesive on them is extremely strong and unforgiving, you have to be sure you have placed the pad in the correct spot the first time or you will have to live with its location. In my case one was perfect and the second ended up being about 1mm hanging off of the edge. To anyone other than a perfectionist this wouldn’t be an issue, but it was a lesson learned. With the pads capping everything off, I wasted no time to jump into our testing.
A few shots of the previously mentioned instructions:
Going into this review I had already spent a little time with the chair at each Consumer Electronics Show over the past three years. I did have a few comfort issues with their Flightseat due to my wide frame (AKA big butt). Because of that I asked for feedback from a few of the guys to see how comfortable the Office Elite was for different body types.
Starting with the Chair setup without the Elite exclusive gaming arms gave me a great idea of how the lower priced Office performed before jumping to the Office Elite. I found the chair to be extremely supportive and firm. As an office chair the firm design keeps you in a good working position. My only complaint was with the width of the chair itself, and its not really Playseats fault. Lets be honest, I am a very large guy. The side bolstering on the chair push’s on my hips. I passed the chair around the office and anyone who is an average size had no problem with the width, but us larger guys noticed it almost right away. I spoke with Playseat about this issue and they did say they are looking into making a larger version, and frankly I can’t wait. Outside of that one issue the chair was comfortable, although a little firm.
My wife on the other hand is a small woman, after having issues with my size I had her put the chair to use for a while. Her opinion of the chair was night and day from what I experienced. She found it to be comfortable, snug, and fitting. She did mention how firm the seat was in comparison to anything else we had at home. This just goes to show you that every seat isn't made for every butt, but there is always a butt to fit the seat.
With removable gaming arms taken off I found the chair to be a perfect office chair. You have all of the normal functionality of a standard office chair like a gas piston that helps the chair raise and lower with little effort. On the left side you have a lock for tilt along with an adjustment knob on the bottom of the chair. The arms adjust using a unique design that allows you to adjust them up and down by twisting a knob or moving the knob to the side giving you free motion to move up and down. You do have to make sure the knob is located in a up and down position, if not you may see the arm rest drop when putting pressure on it.
Attaching the gaming arms was as simple as sliding them on and tightening the kick-ass billet aluminum latch. Adjusting them to a usable level required loosening and adjusting three locations, but once adjusted you have the option to use an allen wrench to tighten them down semi-permanently. With the arms attached I use the lift up lever to lean the seat back to its farthest position. Sitting my G13 and mouse on each gaming arm I was ready to jump into game. Gaming in the Elite feels futuristic and a little strange at first. The only downside is the lack of a keyboard near you for in-game talk if you need it; although in game voice is preferred and easily done with the G13. If you have the gaming arms positioned close enough together you can place your keyboard between them, but it does cut into your mouse pad space.
Speaking of mouse pad space, the included space is useable but some gamers could use a little more space, of course you could just attach your favorite hard mouse pad if needed.
The durability of Playseats Office Elite is the main reason I was so interested in it from the beginning. In the past my larger size has caused me to break a chair or two. The all-metal construction of the Office Elite is a major plus. During my testing I did not hold back, something I normally have to do for fear of breaking my chair. The high build quality and durable components held up to everything I could throw at it. If for some reason you do manage to damage or wear out something on the Office Elite, its most likely going to be the padding or arm rests. Each of those would be easy to swap out if Playseats made them available in the future, giving you even more life out of the Office Elite.
As always with any playseat product the leather work and stitching is top notch. This is one of the many reasons they stand out from everyone else.
After three years of waiting we finally got our hands on the Office Elite and it has been a great experience, for the most part. It was very disappointing to me to find that eating all of those pizzas kept me from fully enjoying the seat. But Playseat is working on a larger version for someone of my “frame”. Even with that problem it didn’t stop me from enjoying the chair as both a work chair and gaming station. With removable gaming arms the Office Elite can work all day and game all night. Everything about the Playseat Office Elite was step above what you come to expect in a chair. You can see the years of development in each of its features. It’s clear they didn’t want to settle on anything. That level or detail and the superior build quality does come at a cost, literally. At just under $750, the Office Elite is Playseats most expensive product. You are paying for top-notch build quality on a chair that is like no other. Details like the all metal polished legs really make the chair stand out. Because of that I have to give this chair a thumbs up to anyone who has the extra funds this tax season, of course you might have to skip out on a few Big-Mac’s if you are a little on the wide side.