As always, Corsair has waltzed into the gaming chair space with a refined racer style chair that's not going to have you remortgaging for the privilege of sitting in it. If you're happy to make a couple of sacrifices, this is certainly a good contender for the best cheap gaming chair. Right now the Corsair T3 Rush keeping us going on the side of affordable gaming chairs, so I was expecting great things from this new addition to the ecosystem. And I've not been disappointed.
In a lot of ways the TC100 and T3 gaming chairs are highly comparable, not least in their simple colourway and 160 degree recline. But the main thing to point out is the price difference. At $70/£100 less than the T3 you expect some kind of compromise from the TC100, but I have yet to discern how Corsair has managed to drop the price so much and for essentially more chair.
It's a little shorter with an 81cm backrest, but instead of tall the TC100 Relaxed goes broad. It's got a wider backrest, more cushion in the seat, and gentler bolster (side cushion) angles for those beautiful, thick thighs… hence the "relaxed" nomenclature.
We stocky babes had no trouble sitting in it at the office, and I'm not constantly fighting to reach the headrest since I'm not the tallest lass out there. I've never been a huge fan of Corsair headrest attachment, though. The straps are very short, and while slotting them through the two backrest holes might sound practical, it means you're limited when it comes to adjustability. Those pushing 6'2" will need to reconsider their options, but the headrest and accompanying cushions are comfy enough, and come with the chair.
The major drawback with the TC100 Relaxed is the 2D armrests. It means you only benefit from up, down, in, and out adjustability, and compared to the T3 Rush and other chairs with 4D armrests it's a little disappointing. But I suppose the company had to save money somewhere. The short distance between the armrests means I can happily rest my elbows without any rotational help, though, and the lack of forward and back movement isn't too much of a problem for me.
The armrests are pretty comfy considering they aren't plush. They're just a tiny bit rattly—something I've come to expect from a £200 gaming chair, but something that certainly breaks you out of any illusions that this is a luxury gaming chair.
Putting it together you'll be reminded of the low cost too. While everything did align well, and the materials are more than fit for purpose, I did have a little trouble getting some of the bolts in place. That was due to the marbles of balled up synthetic material around the holes, which had evidently been burned through. Aside from that, it took me maybe 40 minutes to put together—even without instructions in the box it was relatively straightforward, but this is coming from someone who puts together chairs on almost a monthly basis.
Manufacturing aside, I've been thoroughly impressed with the aesthetic. This fabric model doesn't feel too flashy, and while the backrest has slightly wider wings than its sister, the T3 Rush, the angles are much less sharp. There's an intricate, almost honeycomb patterning on the backrest, which is nowhere near as in-your-face as the majority of gaming chairs I've tested. In the US, you can get either, but for UK folks the leatherette version is limited to a black on black colourway, while the fabric version also comes in the truly exciting grey and black option.
That was sarcasm. Though I do realise that keeping things simple is no doubt a contributor to the TC100's low price.
✅ You're in need of a cheap gaming chair: The price point here is great for what you're getting in terms of build quality and comfort.
✅ You're a little bit on the broad side: The TC100 Relaxed has enough space on the back and bottom that you should have ample room.
❌ You're taller than 6'2": It's for the shorties only.
❌ You've got a thing for bright colours: There are no pretty colours here, only darkness.
I appreciate that both the leatherette and fabric versions of the TC100 Relaxed come in at the same price, too, as often you see fabric gaming chairs models going for a little more. I can confirm that not only is the fabric soft as anything, it's also breathable and stops you from sticking to the surface when wearing shorts in the height of summer. Aside from it being a nice change from testing leatherette options, I'm glad the TC100 Relaxed makes the soft-look lifestyle more attainable.
You will end up losing your pen down the side of the bolsters but I really do like the style. Maybe you could even store your pens down there. The possibilities are endless.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to price. Even at $320/£300 we were smitten with the T3 Rush, so the fact the TC100 Relaxed comes in at the distinctly more affordable price of $250/£200, with only a few small compromises to speak of, gives me a lot of hope for the future of cheap gaming chairs.