Left to my own devices, I can game for hours on end without eating, sleeping or going to the bathroom. And by the time my boyfriend pries me off of whatever I'm playing, I'm usually complaining about some sort of cramp or muscle pain.
But not with the AKGaming Masters Series Pro gaming chair. This high-end piece of furniture provided hours of comfort and looked good doing it. However, building the chair can be a bit of a hassle, and the $599 price will give pause to all but the most dedicated gamers with the deepest pockets.
Decked out in black-and-red, perforated pleather with white accents, the 55-pound Pro chair looks every bit like a chair built for a gamer — or a race-car driver. A racing-style game chair, the Pro looks like an extreme take on a fancy office chair. The frame of the chair is constructed from black steel that's cool to the touch and treated with anti-corrosive coating.
The 4-dimensional armrests and the covers that sit along the rear sides of the chair are made of plastic, which is a shame, because we cracked the left cover sometime during construction. The right-side cover has a slot for the incline level, in case I wanted to sit straight up to reach my laptop and work or lean back in thoughtful repose.
I'm not going to lie — I love playing with armrest buttons and levers. Located on the interior of each rest is a button that slides the armrest inward or outward, while an exterior lever lets you adjust the height. Another lever directly below the seat on the right allowed me to adjust overall seat height via the gas lift, while the left-mounted tilt lock can hold the chair seat at a desired angle. You'll also find a knob to adjust the spring tension when leaning back.
The back rest is tall, at 33.8 inches, and I had at least 2 inches of headspace to spare when I sat all the way back. Just like on a racing chair, there's a pair of large holes near the top of the seat. But instead of harnesses to keep me from ejecting from a fast-moving vehicle, there are stretchy, black inserts with a headrest and lumbar pillow attached.
The bottom of the chair is made from steel painted a fire-engine red, and it has five legs fitted with wheels or the foundation. At the end of each leg sits a 3-inch caster, a wheel on a rotating mount.
Taking inspiration from the chairs you'd find in an Formula One vehicle, the AKRacing Masters Series Pro looks pretty badass. The frame is contoured like a bucket seat, rounded and tapered around the actual seat with a high back that curves slightly inward to cradle your back.
However, the Pro has a wider frame and deeper seat with more leg support, which accommodated my butt and ample thighs, but it should also work well with taller folks. The steel frame can also support a weight of up to 330 pounds, which is a boon for heavier people like myself.
While the bicast leather feels nice on its own, what really makes the Pro so comfortable is the cold-pressed foam. A high-density polyurethane foam used in reclining chairs and car seats, cold-pressed foam is created using a process that prevents air from escaping, and the material can be permanently molded into any shape. I've been resting my keister in the Pro for six weeks now, and the chair is still just as comfortably firm as when I first got it.
My go-to position in the Max was with the back set at a very slight incline, the seat raised to its maximum height and the armrest positioned inward. Despite spending numerous hours pecking out reviews in the chair, I never felt the dreaded tingle of circulation being cut off from my legs or any back pain. Those moments I didn't want to sit ramrod straight, I appreciated that the Pro can lean back on an 180-degree incline. That's far enough to take a fairly comfortable nap, though I'm not saying I did that.
While the leather feels nice on its own, what really makes the Pro so comfortable is the cold-pressed foam.
Made from the same materials as the chair, the headrest and lumbar pillows were perfectly positioned to cradle my neck and lower back, making sitting on an incline even more comfy.
The Pro, like most gaming chairs, doesn't come preassembled; it's not a one-person job, either, which meant that my colleague Mike Andronico and I built our first gaming chair together. The chair ships in 23 separate pieces, with a pair of Allen wrenches and some fairly detailed instructions.
Building the chair wasn't too hard once we got into the swing of things. However, I was a bit intimidated once I saw the disclaimer that the chair pictured in the directions might not match the chair I was trying to build.
We hit the most difficult part of the assembly right off the bat, when we attempted to get the four screws lined up and secured in their relative spots in the metal guards connecting the actual seat to the chair back. It took several tries before we got it somewhat right; I say somewhat because there was one screw that we could never get to sit correctly in its hole, leaving it sticking out at an unseemly angle.
Once we crossed that initial hurdle, piecing together the rest of the chair was fairly easy. The whole process took about an hour and 15 minutes.
Configurations and Warranty
I've had the pleasure of working, gaming and just straight chillin' in the $599 model of the AKRacing Masters Series Pro gaming chair. Able to support up to 330 pounds of weight, the Pro has a wider frame and deeper seat than other chairs in the Masters series. It also has 4D armrests and the largest casters of the Masters series, at 3 inches.
The $499 Max gaming chair is made with big-and-tall users in mind; it can support up to 400 pounds and sports 2.5-inch casters and 4D armrests. Starting at $499, the Premium gaming chair is positioned as the company's flagship product and is for more-traditional body types.
Each chair comes with a 5/10-year warranty, which breaks down to five-year coverage for the actual chair and 10 years for the frame.
Whether I'm writing or editing a review or trying to do a speed run of Ori and the Blind Forest, the AKRacing Masters Series Pro gaming chair is pretty comfortable. For $599, you get a chair that's made to accommodate wide-hipped folks like myself or just about anyone looking to upgrade their gaming battle station. However, for the price, I wish this chair were a bit easier to put together and that the plastic parts were more durable. Still, the AKRacing Pro is a throne built for a gamer king or queen.
Credit: Shaun Lucas/Tom's Guide