The MSI MAG CH130 X gaming chair is the latest addition to the company's ever-growing arsenal of gaming gear. There's nothing too special here to set out it from the growing crowd of chairs, you know, like the piston-actuated lumbar as seen in the Razer Iskur (opens in new tab). Instead, it doubles down on the now ubiquitous racing chair design that honestly doesn't make a whole lot of sense unless you play your games in a race car.
But I digress. MSI has still managed to make one of the better looking, dare I say 'premium' looking gaming chairs out there. It's sexy, with black leather and soft black velvet lining both sides and white pipe stitching that looks posh.
Material: PVC leather and velvet
Height limit: 185 cm
Weight limit: 150 kg
Adjustable back angle: 90-150 degree
Launch price: $320
A white MSI dragon logo stands out proudly, contrasting against the black, while at the back two swathes of carbon fiber-looking strips make the chair look even more racey. But as much as I love the velvet finish, it's a magnet for a shocking amount of crumbs and dust. I have concerns about its longevity.
The same carbon-fiber finish is applied to the lumbar and neck cushions which have the MSI logos etched in black rather than white. There's just something about all black finishes done right that makes products look cool and the MAG CH130 X does look damn fine.
What isn't so sweet though are the plastic armrests that stand as a noticeable contrast to the rest of the chair's quality. The armrests rattle like hell and only offer a meager range of motion—vertical and horizontal, a far cry from the 4D armrests on most modern gaming chairs.
Speaking of range of motion, the CH130 X is the perfect reclining chair, going as far back as 150 degrees with an additional 15-degree tilt to the seat. This, in theory, means you can have a good snooze in the chair in between gaming sessions, or work meetings. And with a maximum weight response of up to 150kg, I was confident in laying my bony 70kg without fear of breaking the chair.
The chair is designed for a height range of 165 to 185cm and I fall just outside that at 190cm. This is probably why I had to keep adjusting the pillows to sit comfortably. The CH130 X took a few days to break in the said cushions and once they did, the chair was much comfier. Although MSI says the CH130 X is designed to conform to your spine's curve, I struggled to find a truly comfortable position.
I had to keep fidgeting with the lumbar pillow which isn't curved to fit the spine but rather boxy so fitting it in the small of my back is a challenge. And because of my height, I had to keep pushing the neck pillow upwards otherwise it was pushing out my shoulders making posture even more awkward. I prefer the Razer Iskur's built-in adjustable lumbar which, while not perfect, was certainly more malleable than a single pillow.
In saying that, since the cushions aren't glued to the chair, I'm sure I could find some aftermarket lumbar pillows that would do a much better job. The cushions attach to the backrest using clasps that pass through the seat cutouts which also makes it easy to adjust their positioning. Regardless of these complaints, I've been sitting in this chair for 12 hour days with little complaint from my back.
Assembling the chair was a surprisingly easy experience that didn't require a second person although my five-year-old was a very willing helper. MSI wisely sends the main seat, backrest, and arms already pre-installed in the box. All that remains is to attach the stand, piston, and levers which were all so simple with very clear directions and requisite Allen keys. It shouldn't take more than 20 minutes to get up and running which is great for people who aren't tinkerers.
At $350, the MAG CH130 X is a fine gaming chair, but it offers nothing out of the ordinary apart from the few design flourishes. It could easily be mistaken for any number of gaming chairs out there. This isn't necessarily a bad thing but it does put MSI in a bit of a pickle. How do you get customers to choose this chair over any number of other brands? Furthermore, more brands are moving away from the standard racing char vibe for true ergonomic designs, which are pricier but are much better for your overall posture and spine health.
However, not all of us can afford the much pricier Razer Iskur or Herman Miller X Logitech G Embody (opens in new tab) so the CH130 X is still a great option for anyone looking for a premium gaming chair that won't break the bank. Alternatively, be sure to check out our guide to the best gaming chairs (opens in new tab).