I spent a lot of time thinking about my butt for this review. Because here’s the thing: the Vertagear PL4500’s build-quality doesn’t matter much when you ache after a day sitting in it. Yes, this chair is very well made. It’s gorgeous to look at and provides lots of back support, too. But that rigid cushioning won’t be for everyone. It certainly wasn’t for me.
This is a real shame. The whole thing smacks of quality thanks to an industrial-strength metal base, hard-wearing PVC leather, plastic, and fabric that’s still soft to the touch. What’s more, you can tell that no expense has been spared on the PL4500 when you pull its pieces from their box. They weigh a ton and would probably crack concrete if you dropped them from on high. In other words, this is a chair that’ll take lots of punishment. At $450/£400 a pop, you’d hope so.
The PL4500 is gorgeous as well. Our version was black with slick white accents running up the sides, and a hatched Vertagear logo (which looks suspiciously like the Abstergo symbol in Assassin’s Creed, by the way) at the back of the headrest takes pride of place. This premium feel’s heightened by smooth fabric lining the back and cushion. I was worried it would get too hot at first, but that luckily wasn’t the case. To be honest, the only complaint I have about the appearance of the thing is its standard-looking (though adjustable) plastic armrests. I was expecting something a little more high-end.
Vertagear’s PL4500 has a lot going for it in terms of features, too. “Coffee fiber padding” apparently provides odor control and quick drying, silver thread on the bonus neck/lumbar support pillows are meant to interrupt bacteria’s ability to form bonds, and you can micromanage almost everything about the chair’s tilt, angle, height, and resistance with easy-to-use levers. It was also straightforward to set up. Well, mostly. Adding the back should be a simple case of slotting it onto metal struts that are then secured by screws, but I had trouble lining them up properly.
Such a wealth of positives make my discomfort sitting on the PL4500 all the more disappointing. While its back encourages good posture and comes with those excellent memory foam neck/lumbar supports, its seat made my bum ache after a few hours of use. It was never enough to be a hanging offence, you’ll understand, but I expected more from an expensive piece of kit like this. In addition, there’s a sizeable dip cut between the narrow cushion and outside edges of the chair. It may be uncomfortable for gamers on the larger side as a result.
Don’t get me wrong, almost everything else about Vertagear’s PL4500 is superb. But for almost $450/£400? I’d have a hard time recommending it with a clean conscience. It’s got a lot of strengths, but stumbles where it counts.