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Secretlab TITAN Evo 2022 Series review: The best gaming chair levels up

Improved ergonomics, more size options, and the unification of TITAN and OMEGA models make the Secretlab TITAN Evo 2022 Series the ultimate chair for everyone.

secretlab-titan-evo-2022

June Wan/ZDNet

Confession: Since the start of the pandemic, I've sat through four different chairs in my home office. While each iteration promised a remote worker's dream of "ergonomic comfort" and "excellent lumbar support," none of them were just right for my Goldilocks of a spine.

That was until last November when I finally bought into the marketing of Secretlab's award-winning gaming chairs. See, I don't consider myself a hardcore gamer -- I dabble between Valorant and NBA 2K22 -- but I couldn't help but notice how prevalent Secretlab's gaming chairs were in major eSports broadcasts. So when the company announced the TITAN Evo 2022 Series, which merged the best of its TITAN and OMEGA line of chairs, I bit.

After four months of extensive sitting, here's my verdict on the good and the bad of Secretlab's TITAN Evo flagship, and why its $549 price tag may be worth your consideration even if you're not a gamer at heart.

Like

  • Premium Neo Hybrid Leatherette material
  • Virtually all parts are adjustable
  • Magnetic cooling headrest
  • Inclusive selection of chair designs

Don't Like

  • Pricier than most chairs
  • Material is not as breathable as mesh ones
  • Lumbar support can be more prominent

Assembly

I've had the misfortune of putting together many office and gaming chairs over the past few years. Missing screws and bolts, damage during shipping, and worst yet, the repackaging of used parts happen more often than you'd think.

So when it came to unboxing the TITAN Evo, I was glad to see that most of the chair arrived pre-assembled, with the rest of the spare parts and tools packed securely. The seat base had the stems and armrests already screwed in and the backrest came in one solid hunk of stitched, faux leather. Assembling was a matter of twirling the five casters into the wheelbase, screwing the seat base and backrest together, snapping on the magnetic arm pads and headrest, and voilà. Although the chair weighs in at a hefty 76 pounds, I had no trouble building it on my own -- and you likely won't, either.

secretlab-titan-evo-2022-assembly-guide

The TITAN Evo comes with a pre-assembled seat base, a backrest, and all the extras in well-packaged boxes.

Image: Secretlab

Design

Gaming chairs are best known for their high back designs, striped cushions, and racing chair-like figures. But instead of putting all the emphasis on appearances, Secretlab has paved the way for a new breed of gaming chairs that prioritize high-quality build material and longevity.

The TITAN Evo looks more like a high-end car seat than a gaming chair. My unit is in the Stealth finish, covered with a sleek, black faux-leather layering, red-accented stitching, golden brand logos, and slivers of carbon fiber (it might not be the real thing, but it sure looks and feels great). Secretlab claims that the faux-leather material, called NEO Hybrid Leatherette, is 12 times as durable as the PU leather found on competing chairs. From my usage, I've yet to notice any wear or tear -- but it may be a different story for pet owners and those with children around.

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The TITAN Evo's sleek, black leather finish is accented by red stitching and slivers of carbon fiber material.

June Wan/ZDNet

Besides durability, another concern I had with the gapless, leather-like material was how well it would handle long periods of sitting. Nothing is worse than finding your lower back drenched in sweat after a day of work. While that hasn't been the case throughout the four months I've used it, I did find the base of the chair to feel warmer than expected, especially when Secretlab touts a cold-cure foam application.

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Magnetic screw covers are an easy solution to keep those bolts hidden.

June Wan/ZDNet

What also separates the TITAN Evo from its predecessors is the use of magnets. From snapping on the screw covers to the CloudSwap armrests, the chair's foundation of metals not only makes the assembling process a breeze, but eliminates the need for extra screws, straps, and other traditional measures to keep parts intact. I especially like the magnetic head pillow, which is padded with memory foam and infused with cooling gel for those heated gaming sessions. The pillow manages to cling on just enough for me to shift it against my neck and has yet to fall from the most abrupt movements.

Also included are CloudSwap armrest pads which, like the head pillow, can magnetically attach to the arm stands. While more of a gimmick at first glance, this feature is important because users can easily swap a worn-down cushion with a new one, or upgrade to Secretlab's $79 Technogel pads for added comfort and cooling. I found the firmness and cushioning of the regular pads to be good enough, though.  

Secretlab offers the TITAN Evo in three sizes (Small, Regular, and Extra Large) and two upholsteries (NEO Hybrid Leatherette and SoftWeave Plus Fabric). You can also choose from over 20 color signatures, which include eSports teams, popular game titles, and more. It's good to see that the company isn't taking the "one size fits all" approach to gaming chairs and is willing to be more inclusive with its offerings. For my 6-feet figure, I haven't experienced any issues fitting into the regular size chair.

Here's the sizing guide for the TITAN Evo models:

Seat base size

Height

Weight

Small (S)

17.7-inch

<5'6''

<200lbs

Regular (R)

18.5-inch

5'7'' - 6'2''

<220lbs

Extra Large (XL)

19.3-inch

5'11'' - 6'9''

<395lbs

Comfort

I spend at least eight hours a day sitting, and since using the TITAN Evo, I have found my typical mid-day lower back and neck pains to be less frequent than with previous chairs. That may be definitive enough to tell you exactly how comfortable this chair is.

The biggest contributor to my improved posture and health is the number of adjustable parts on the chair. The TITAN Evo can recline backward up to 165 degrees, shift up and down, and has armrests that can move up, down, left, right, forward, backward, and even twist. There are options aplenty for you to find your ideal position.

Also: Best gaming chairs: How does the TITAN Evo stack up?

The chair also features a new 4-way L-ADAPT lumbar support. Unlike competitors who rely on a separate back pillow to keep your lower back supported, the TITAN Evo's dynamic lumbar system can be dialed and adjusted with the knobs on the side of the chair. The internal lattice of hinges can shift up and down and in and out, adapting to the curvature of your spine. My gripe with the lumbar support is that it's not as protruding as others I've tested. The pressure points are very subtle and the variation from one end of the dial to the other is barely noticeable.

Update: Since publishing this review, Secretlab has released a new Lumbar Pillow Pro, designed to lay against the L-ADAPT system of the TITAN Evo 2022 and create a more pronounced back support. The cushion is made with the same cooling gel-infused memory foam as the head pillow and the sides feature a matrix of rubber-like material. This prevents the pillow from falling out of position, which was one of my main concerns when testing the accessory. The Lumbar Pillow Pro sells for $79 and is estimated to ship out by April 11.

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The optional Secretlab Lumbar Pillow Pro complements the 4-way L-ADAPT support and was designed to fit the TITAN Evo 2022.

June Wan/ZDNet

In general, I'd go as far as to say that the comfort of the TITAN Evo beats out most gaming and office chairs. From the slew of adjustments to the quality materials to the lack of rattling when moving the chair, the overall sitting experience is very enjoyable.

Also: Best office chair 2022: Treat yourself

Conclusion

Secretlab offers a three-year warranty for the TITAN Evo, which is nothing to write home about if you plan to use the chair for five or more years. You can, however, receive a complimentary two-year extension when you share a picture of your Secretlab chair on social media and tag the company. 

After four months of sitting, bending, gaming, and typing articles like this one, there's no denying that the high praise for Secretlab's gaming chairs is well-deserved. At a starting price of $549 -- more if you opt for the XL size or different upholstery -- the TITAN Evo 2022 Series certainly isn't cheap. But through meaningful improvements from its predecessors and the physical health benefits that come with a quality chair, I'd say it's well worth the money.

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