"Hey, did you get an amazing gaming chair?”
"What did it cost?”
Thermaltake's latest gaming seat is undeniably stupidly expensive, with a recommended retail price of $1,299 (£1,199 around AU$2,000), though that has regularly come down in the sales. Still, even at a discount it's a high enough price to make even the flushest of us baulk a little, but from the moment you sit in it, it's clear that the Argent E700 is a seriously premium product.
With a design from Studio F.A. Porsche (yes, the same studio that designs Porsche-branded goodies from buildings to bikes to kettles), it's not hard to see why the price is so high. If you'll allow us one more Marvel reference, our 'Sanga Yellow' edition of the Argent E700 is distinctly evocative of a certain telepathic professor's hovering throne.
The E700 comes in nine different colors, all with the same black leather cushioning and chrome base. All are equally distinctive; though we love our yellow review model, we're also partial to the 'Flaming Orange' and 'Ocean Blue' versions. The coloration extends across the entire back of the chair and the underside of the bucket-style seat, both of which are covered in a hard plastic coating. A single metal cutout in the leather back shows a minimalist Thermaltake logo—the only bit of visible branding on the chair.
The main frame of the chair is all concealed metal, making it heavy but very sturdy. Assembly is mercifully quite straightforward; unlike many gaming chairs, the Argent E700 comes almost fully assembled. You just have to screw together the back and seat of the chair then place it atop the base after fitting the casters, a job that took us less than ten minutes
With soft high-density foam padding beneath the real leather exterior, the chair isn't immediately super-comfortable, but we did come to appreciate it after a little while. It's not soft and squishy like some of its competitors, but it's sure to be a good fit for anyone who likes a firm, supportive chair.
There are no head or lumbar pillows to be found here, and while there is a small cutout at the top of the chair, it doesn't seem convenient for attaching a head cushion. Fortunately, the built-in headrest uses a different type of internal foam which is a bit squashier than the rest of the chair.
We did feel that the bucket-seat base wasn't particularly wide; it cups your thighs with its robust shape, which may prove uncomfortable for larger users (as a confirmed wide-boi I can attest to that -Ed). The chair supports up to 331lbs, but the flat portion of the seat is only about 14 inches across before starting to curve up on either side. There's very little give in the seat padding, so I'm confident it will retain its shape even after extended use.
The armrests have four-dimensional movement: lateral, vertical, horizontal, and a limited degree of rotation. They're easy enough to adjust, although we do wish Thermaltake had included a proper movement lock—if you knock the armrests with your elbow, they rotate or slide backwards, which can be annoying.
The seat height and recline functions are tied to sturdy metal handles on either side of the seat, which are immediately reminiscent of a car door handle. Many gaming chairs claim to be 'racing inspired', but we've never seen one that actually looks so much like a racecar before. The back recline hinge is very firm, but annoyingly you have to leave one of the handles extended in order to lock the recline angle in one of four pre-set positions, with means that it sticks out of the chair's frame.
You can't recline the chair back too far, either so don't expect to be snoozing in this seat. The gas lift in the column of the chair has a nice, smooth movement to it, and the range is sufficient for users of any height to find a comfortable position. We didn't have any issues with the caster wheels either—they rolled smoothly over thin carpet and hard flooring, with no locking.
It's obviously hard to judge how well a gaming chair will stand the test of time when we only get to test them out for a relatively short period, but the Argent E700 certainly feels like it is built to last. The chair's plastic shell has a scratch-resistant 'Gloss UV' coating that also serves to reduce color wear, and the subtle red stitching on the leather pads feels well-crafted and durable to the touch.
Though that will only stretch so far. The original E700 in racing green that was shipped our way fully built but rattling around in the back of a van. It did not survive the journey looking particularly well.
The best gaming chair
The Titan Evo 2022 is Secretlab firing on all cylinders. It's a wonderfully comfortable chair for long periods of working or gaming and clever new features such as a magnetic head rest put it a cut above the rest.
The pricey alternative
The Herman Miller Embody oozes premium—you'd expect nothing less at this price. With superb comfort and a warranty spanning over a decade, it's absolutely the chair of choice if you're willing to invest in ergonomics.
Somewhat amusingly, we didn't realise that the headrest was adjustable until we'd already been using the E700 for a while. The mechanism is completely hidden behind the foam padding, but you can actually slide it up by about two inches, which makes for a better fit for taller users. The leather across the whole chair is microperforated for improved breathability, which may come in handy during hot summer gaming sessions.
Ultimately, this is a really, really nice gaming chair with only a few foibles—like the wiggly armrests or the mildly annoying recline handle—but it falls short of greatness compared with the best gaming chairs (opens in new tab), mostly due to its sky-high price tag. Considering that the amazing Secretlab Titan Evo 2022 (opens in new tab) costs just $449 (£379, about AU$700), the price here is just a bit too high to make it an outright recommendation. If you've got the cash to splash, though, the Thermaltake Argent E700 is definitely worth a look.