gadg-et-oid [gaj-it-oid]


1. having the characteristics or form of a gadget;
resembling a mechanical contrivance or device.

Noblechairs HERO Black Edition Reviewed

After about 3 months of endless deliberation, my behind crushed flat by a garbage-tier Ikea wooden chair, I finally saw a chair I’d been stalking on Overclockers come into stock and thus I dropped some £400 on a Noblechairs HERO Black Edition.

I had looked at about 500 other chairs including some cheap Herman-Miller Cosm returns, but something about Noblechairs commitment to making something uncompromisingly and cleanly black really spoke to me.

I sprang for next-day delivery from Overclockers and the delivery driver was glad to see the back of my obnoxious box. Upon arrival Noblechairs packaging reassured me I’d made a good choice, albeit maybe not the right choice.

Don’t do subtle do you? @noblechairs

— Phil Howard (@Gadgetoid) May 23, 2020

Anyway! Let’s get this show on the road. BAM!

BIG BOX ACE BRANDING! They don’t do anything by half measures. Everything is packaged neatly and well padded so it arrived with (almost) everything perfectly intact:

Noice! Now to find the instructions…

— Phil Howard (@Gadgetoid) May 23, 2020

The metal base was mummified in foam packaging. But, and I’ve seen this happen before with Ikea chairs, the gas lift piston had made a swift exit from the side of its box. No real harm done, though:

@noblechairs LOL wtf?

— Phil Howard (@Gadgetoid) May 23, 2020

This insert-box shows Noblechair’s attention to detail since it’s branded, comes with a plastic handle to lift it out, and tidily contains all the fixtures and fittings needed to assemble the chair. It really helps make the unboxing experience a positive one.

The gunmetal black finishes on the arm rests and other details of the chair really nailed what I was looking for, and closely match my Logitech racing wheel for bonus points:

He’s trying to put the gas lift cover back together ?

— Phil Howard (@Gadgetoid) May 23, 2020

Bolts were all present and adequately provisioned, a little tricky to get the second arm on (I was assembling alone) but easier to adjust once it’s in place. Tools included!

Second arm rest installed. The first came pre-installed which is nice. You need a chair or box to sit this on otherwise these things are impossible to fit ?

— Phil Howard (@Gadgetoid) May 23, 2020

For some reason my embed-Twitter-directly-for-nojs-users code is grouping images together and driving me nuts… haha, so here’s some bolts.. ahaha… that were shipped in a little plastic clamshell pack complete with their washer and non-slip doodads ready to go:

Every bolt pre-prepared with washers and whatnot. Super luxe! ?? @noblechairs

— Phil Howard (@Gadgetoid) May 23, 2020

Not everything was perfect. There was a little flex in the plastic cover over the gas-lift mechanism (see the video) when I first assembled the chair- however I’ve not been able to replicate this issue after sitting on it for a month. I believe this is because my weight has firmly seated the gas-lift piston into position providing a limit to the levers range of movement. To their credit Noblechairs have offered to replace the bottom assembly, but I really don’t think it’s necessary.

A spring loaded part (used for adjusting the tilt of the seat back) could also have swiftly put an end to a finger since I hadn’t actually fully appreciated this warning when the mechanism went KA PING:

Glad I read this warning- pretty sure that spring could take a finger off!

— Phil Howard (@Gadgetoid) May 23, 2020

The ugly plastic covers on the side also juxtapose nastily with the metal finish. It’s a good thing I don’t have to look at these on a regular basis. I’d actually pay for replacements if Noblechairs would do some plated metal alternatives:

These plastic covers are ugly as sin though.

— Phil Howard (@Gadgetoid) May 23, 2020

They aren’t so bad once installed, and when you stand back to appreciate the chair they aren’t really visible at all:

Might need a bigger desk…

— Phil Howard (@Gadgetoid) May 23, 2020

Last but not least, the small pillows supplied are a bit naff, don’t really fit well onto the chair and have been tossed into the cupboard. I haven’t missed them:

Am I doing this right? @noblechairs

— Phil Howard (@Gadgetoid) May 23, 2020

I’ve had this chair for a month now and love it. I can crank it down and tilt it back slightly to act as a racing-bucket with my wheel, I can flap it back to chill out and watch netflix, and most importantly it’s keeping me upright and comfortable during the lockdown-working-from-home-spree I’ve found myself caught up in.

I haven’t really got to grips with the lumbar support yet. There’s a little knob on the side of the chair to adjust it, and this very obviously pushes out the lower-back part of the chair offering more support. I’ve got to admit that I’m not the most disciplined of chair-users, however, and my often slouched position means I don’t make the best use of it.

A locking lever on the left enables/disables tilt on the chair, and I generally like to have it released so I can float back slightly and vary my position throughout the day. The large dial on the bottom of the chair will adjust the firmness of this tilt mechanism between floaty and rigid. I like to keep it around the point where I can push myself backwards with some effort, but not so loose that I’m always leaning back.

On the right underside is the lever to adjust the gas lift mechanism. I use this fairly frequently to adjust between racing-wheel and regular-desk-use heights. Also on the right, within easier reach for general use, is the release for the chair back. The chair will lock anywhere between a resting/relaxing lying down position, and an aggressively good-posture-enforcing upright position. I like to have it a couple of notches shy of totally upright. There are somewhere around 10 positions with each one being clearly defined.

The arm-wrests are solid and relatively easy to align level with my desk for good arm support. I used to lean my arms across my desk, but putting a piano across the back edge has given me pretty limited space. The armrests are 4D- they adjust up/down, slide in/out and back/forth. There are about 7 poissible vertical positions, three for rotation, about 5 for back/forth and about 5 for in/out. Suffice to say the range of motion should be more than adequate for getting the armrests in a position that’s comfortable to you. It’s also possible to unbolt and remove them altogether if you’re a shove-your-chair-right-under-the-desk and slouch kind of user.

The base of the chair is a solid, gracefully curved hunk of what I presume to be cast aluminium. It stands in stark contrast to the cheap Ikea chair it replaced, which uses tube metal messily welded together. I have a small frustration with the base- because the gas-lift piston passes right through it for stability, I can’t take the wheels off and have it sit directly on the carpet without the whole chair becoming a spinning-top.

Aesthetically I really, really love the matte-black faux leather finish. I don’t know how they’ve mixed PU and Vinyl but it really works and looks infinitely better than the glossy awfulness of the cheap Ikea chair I use in the office (susprised I remember what my office is like, I haven’t seen it in so long. It’s also soft to the touch so it both looks and feels premium. Nice job for a material that isn’t real leather. The Noblechairs branding also consists of a small, understated badge and a large but subtle embossed shield on the headrest. I appreciate this. It makes me look like grownup business boy.

Aside from the plastic side-caps the HERO is aesthetically beautiful, understated and could perhaps even pass for a sensible, grown-up office chair if it didn’t look suspiciously like I’d robbed it out of a sportscar. Aside from replacing the plastic caps with something shiny and metal that doesn’t look awful, I’d love to get a lockable gas-lift piston so I could prevent the chair rotating when I need to. I’ve asked Noblechairs about this, and they at least enterained the idea.

The HERO Black has a steep asking price, and is a big committment when you can get a pretty decent chair for under £200 and a pre-owned Aeron for less. However if you’re keen on something a bit more gamer, and with some real presence (perhaps you want to look awesome at all times) and great material finish then I couldn’t recommend this more.

Friday, June 19th, 2020, Computer Gaming.