Oof, what a week! I’ve spent the last few days renovating and moving into my new house and goodness me, it’s taking a toll on my poor late-20’s back. What I really need is some gaming time in a comfy environment which supports my over-used muscles…
Conveniently, a few weeks ago I was sent the BraZen Sentinel Elite Gaming Chair to review. Now that I’ve had some time to see how it feels and found myself in a situation when a chair like this is essential, let’s see how this £160 beast holds up!
Who are BraZen?
Whilst you may not have heard of BraZen before now, they do in fact have a long and storied history. Despite being relatively unknown they are in fact of the UK’s biggest brands for this type of thing; they just focus on the quality of the product rather than marketing, which is something I can get behind. They claim to have an independent team of quality control experts who test their products to UK standards and also consult with e-sports players in the design process. Let’s see if this pays off.
Why pick up a gaming chair? – health and safety.
I’ll be checking out what seems to be their latest flagship chair – the sentinel elite. This is the first time I’ve reviewed a gaming chair and it couldn’t come at a better time. What particularly interested me in this product was the compromise they’ve found between striking design and ergonomic comfort. After all, PC gamers are prone to hobby-related injuries!
Checking out the NHS website, there are a number of important things to bear in mind when sitting at a computer for long periods. If your chair is incorrectly adjusted it can lead to severe back pain and the potential for long-term injury. To help prevent RSI, you should aim to be able to use your keyboard and mouse with your wrists and forearms straight and to help your neck you should ensure your screen is at eye level. Bad seating for long-term use can also cause cramping, stiffness (giggity) and impede circulation. Luckily, these health risks can best be reduced by ensuring you have a good, comfortable chair which encourages proper posture, supports your lower back and allow for adjustment to back position, tilt and height. Ideally, your knees should also be slightly lower than your hips and your feet should be flat against the floor or a footrest, so in-built chair footrests can occasionally come in handy.
Standard office chairs generally do a decent enough job of allowing you to tilt and adjust the back, but most offer little else to help those who spend hours at a screen. Most gaming chairs try to mitigate some other issues through ergonomic back cushioning, arm supports and extra lumbar cushions, and the Sentinel Elite is no exception. It comes with two moveable cushions to help with supporting the back and a great range of movement in terms of height, tilt and positioning. The armrests are also adjustable to a degree, allowing for support in keeping those elbows in an “L” and your wrists firm. Overall I was impressed with the health-improving features on offer, and can honestly say my back feels completely supported whenever I use it. The racing bucket design has its own flaws, but they’ve done a remarkable job in making it feel as supportive as they have.
Packaging and construction.
What arrived at my door can only be described as a 22kg monstrosity of a package, and that’s not just because the postie had seemingly thrown it at the house according to the state of the box! The hefty brown cardboard box wasn’t exactly attractive – simply displaying the branding, a basic drawing of the chair and specifications, but it did the job and despite the violent delivery the chair was seemingly unscathed! The pieces were all well protected and tightly packed, so I can happily give kudos to whoever put that together! I can’t, however, say construction was easy.
Don’t get me wrong, it was easy to assemble each separate section with the included fixings, and the tools being all included was a nice touch. The issues came when I tried to put the bits together and it required quite a bit of force. I’d definitely recommend roping in another pair of hands when putting it together, else you’ll need the chair to recover from putting it together.
Specs, build quality and looks.
The Sentinel is – appropriately – a sturdy beast. Standing at between 1.2 and 1.4 metres tall and nearly 70cm wide it certainly looks the part. The seat is covered in a combination of PU leather and PVC and has both quilted and foam padding. The base and casters are both made from black nylon, giving them a sleek, quality finish, and it can apparently support up to 120kg (19st) of human; though I’m considerably over that and haven’t had any issues whatsoever with using it. My voluptuous rear fits snugly in the bucket, and whilst I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone larger than myself it’s incredibly comfy even for we chunky monkeys.
During the build it was difficult to ignore the sheer quality of each individual part: the gas lift has plenty of strength; the wide, five-stemmed base is strong and steady; the castors are grippy yet spin freely and the finish to the material of the upholstered elements is sleek and feels just lovely. Adjustments can be made easily from a sitting position (aside from height if you want to go up) and smoothly move into new positions with ease. The only element I struggled with adjusting was the arms, as something always felt a little off about how they moved. I also wish they could extend a little higher for my personal comfort, but it’s just a minor quibble. Overall the whole package feels premium and I just know it’ll last.
The look of the beast is going to be divisive, as BraZen have clearly gone for a racing look. However, I dare say it’s subtle enough to fit into any setting yet has that distinct gamer flashiness. I received the white and yellow variant, but it comes in eight different colours including red, purple and pink. I can’t say I dislike any of the options, though I do like the look of the purple especially. The only element I can’t say I like the look of is the cushions, as they almost feel tacked on. Their comfort, however, earns them my forgiveness for being a little strange.
Comfort – how does it feel?
Blooming brilliant; that’s how it feels. Whilst I wasn’t expecting much from the straight-backed nature of it, the cushions provided the ergonomic support my spine was looking for and cemented the sentinel as the best chair I’ve ever had in my office. The padding around the rear is incredibly comfortable and I found myself feeling just as good four hours into a session as I did when I began. It certainly does the job and whilst I would have preferred more height to the arm-rests I didn’t have any wrist issues either. My back is already feeling better in general, and I’ve also noticed my overall posture has improved. Granted, this won’t work miracles like specialist ergonomic chairs will, but as a compromise between gaming fashion and comfort I’m remarkably impressed.
Overall I’m ridiculously pleased with how this chair has turned out. To the casual observer it could look like an expensive, flashy gamer chair which will break after twenty minutes and give you a hunchback, but they would be completely missing the point. The aesthetic you expect for gamers as a whole is there, but so is the sensibility, durability and comfort you would expect from most “ergo” chairs. The Sentinel is more than the sum of its parts, and that’s why it’ll stay part of my setup for a long time to come. Yes, it has a couple of flaws – construction was a pain and the arms can be finicky – but if it’s right for your body then those issues won’t even come into it. Yes, for a chair it’s a little pricey, but I can highly recommend picking it up.
You can grab the BraZen Sentinel Elite PC Gaming Chair in a number of colours here on Amazon.
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BraZen Sentinel Elite Gaming Chair
The BraZen Phantom Elite PC Gaming Chair - White is a classy looking and performing chair. This chair is unique in many ways: - looks stylish and is comfortable to sit in. The unique British design is legally registered and protected. - height and tilting adjustment mechanism - class 4 gas lift - adjustable arm rests - nylon castors
Product Currency: GBP
Product Price: 149.95
Product In Stock: SoldOut