Vertagear has made a commendable effort with its S line of gaming chairs, and the SL5000 does have a lot going for it. We were off to a great start when I got hold of it, with easy assembly and great ergonomics, but it soon became clear how much it was lacking after I'd used it for a bit, and especially once I'd snooped at the price.
From the moment I opened the box, the SL5000 took around 40 minutes to put together. There are also safety tubes on the dangerous bits, in case you accidentally (or purposefully) nudge the handle like our Alan did—there was an incident involving a backrest mechanism and a good deal of blood.
Anyway, the assembly steps were easy to follow and it wasn't as heavy as some gaming chairs, so I didn't throw my back out getting it done.
Speaking of caring for my back, the chair's bucket-style seat does promote proper posture. I've found myself forced to sit up straight and not sit cross legged on it like some kind of technomonk, but I also haven't been complaining about back pain, either. Still, I like to have the option to be an ergonomically un-enlightened hack on my days off.
The chair's style is based on the same edgy, sports-car designs that many other gaming chairs have, though Vertagear has given us a lovely Midnight Blue colourway, with bold, contrasting trim in yellow. There are a few other options, including plain black which is a smidge cheaper, but doesn't come with the HygennX coffee ground cloth that Vertagear claims can prevent the odor retention a lot of cheaper gaming chairs fall prey to.
The cheaper options also don't come with the same velvety feeling neck support, which I've actually been using a lot here. It's comfier than say the one on my AndaSeat Na'Vi Edition at home, but nowhere near the comfort or practicality of something like the Secretlab Titan Evo's headrest.
Actually, forgoing the headrest really isn't an option here, as tucked right behind the strapped-on headrest are these bulky vent-like holes. That's where the RGB LED upgrade kit would go. The design doesn't make a lot of sense to me, since even if you do decide to spend an extra $300 on RGB lighting for your chair (why?) you'll either obstruct the view with the head cushion, or be left resting your head on these chunky inserts.
The awkwardness didn't stop there unfortunately, since I push up from the armrests a lot. While they're sturdy enough, they have a tendency to rotate accidentally since there's no lock function. They're not super comfy, either, which I can overlook somewhat considering they're not too wide.
The fact the armrests are 4D is a big plus, and the overall adjustability of the chair is pretty great—it has the ability to rock, and the recline angle is so wide you could take a nap happily—and yet there's a lot more I would like to have seen. A built in lumbar support, for example, or the option to use it without the neck rest.
Compare it to something like Vertagear's own PL4500, which also went for around the $450 mark, the two are fairly well matched other than the addition of 4D armrests, and the fact the S line chair is a couple of inches smaller. Ben's major gripe with the P line chair was that his butt started aching after long sittings; sadly I had a very similar experience here, though not to the extreme that my review opened with "I spent a lot of time thinking about my butt."
While Vertagear has made a commendable effort with the S line gaming chairs, sadly, the fact it's compatible with the company's $300 RGB kit isn't enough for me to recommend it, especially if you're already paying the $460 MSRP.
For that price, it's hard to recommend the SL5000 as a premium gaming chair. Despite the armrest fiasco and other little gripes, if you spotted it closer to the $350 mark in the sales (or if they threw in a free RGB kit), I might consider it. Still, when you can get something like the Secretlab Omega for $500, you're probably better off going that way if you want the full, premium experience.