Like every other group gamers have wants and needs. In order to play games there are things you need. Needs would encompass things like a platform to play games, games TV, controllers etc. These are critical to playing end enjoying game. Then there are wants. These are things enhance the experience the gaming experience, things like a ginormous HDTV, a top end stereo system, and the extra nice controls. The Renegade chair from Ultimate Gamer Chair falls into the second category but after having access to the unit for two weeks I'm not 100% sure it doesn't belong in the first category.
You see the Renegade chair is a lot like the ex that you should never have broken up with. You don't realize what you've got until it's gone (I'm going by secondary accounts, I've never experience this firsthand). After two weeks with the chair playing games I’ve found that playing games in my trusty recliner is a bit of a step down. My recliner doesn't rumble when explosions go off near me, my recliner doesn't have quality speakers in the headset that surround me with sound, and my recliner doesn't have a massage mode which can melt away the stress of a day when I get home from work. The only thing my recliner really has on the Renegade is that it can recline and rock back and forth and that's not nearly as much fun. Honestly I'm not really sure I really appreciated the Renegade until after I shipped it back and played Call of Duty 4 like a normal person.
The Renegade comes in a one large box with five main pieces that will need to piece together. The base, chair backrest, arms, cup holder and the hardware box (containing the assembly hardware, power cord and audio connectors) were all tightly bound in bubble wrap and separated with Styrofoam packing material. Putting the Renegade together took Dan I and just over 20 minutes. I could probably have done this solo but it's a lot easier to assemble with two people.
Putting the chair together is fairly straight forward. You attach each arm to the base with five hex bolts (three at the top of the arm rest and two at the bottom). Then you wire the speakers from the head rest to the base and slide the backrest onto the rails on the base. We had some trouble getting the backrest to align properly initially but managed to get it setup perfectly on the second try. After that it's just a matter of sliding the cup holder onto its socket and you're ready to hook it up to your console or receiver.
The controls for the Renegade are located on right side of the chair and features five slide controls. These controls allow you to adjust the volume, vibration, sensitivity, and cut-over frequency. There is also a three-way rock to toggle between the power off, power on, and massage only mode. Behind the controls are the connections for the power cord, audio in, and headphones. Rounding out the controls is a large knob that controls the reclining mechanism of the chair. The only other thing you can adjust is the headrest on the chair which takes a little bit of effort to rocker up and down into position.
The audio hook up is where things get a little complicated. You'll need to figure out how the best way to get the surround audio connectors to your chair while providing sound to your receiver. The best result I had was hooking up the component audio outputs of my Xbox 360 to the chair while using the optical out to provide sound to my Yamaha RX-V661 receiver. I futzed around with using the Pre-outs to supply audio to the chair but you didn't get the full range of sound as using the feeds directly from the receiver. There's probably a better way of doing it but Dan and I couldn't figure it out. This is important because the chair really needs to get the full audio from the source as you'll want to get the rear, center, and bass from your audio source to power the chair.
On the left side of the chair is a cup holder and a small storage bin. The cup holder placement is excellent as it lies just below the arm rest and right where you would expect it to be and is perfect for holding cans or bottles. The bin could probably hold some pretzels or nuts but I'm not sure there's a lot of use to it. Below the seat of the chair is a decent sized storage drawer. You could fit a few controllers into the drawer or store the cables for the chair (which is what I did). The drawer is a bit on the flimsy side as it's an all plastic affair. It took a a few tries to get the storage drawer all the way back in and aligned with the rest of the chair. I was a bit surprised by this as the build quality for the rest of the chair is excellent.
The chair isn’t that heavy so moving it around is not a problem. I found that I would move the chair out of the way when I wasn’t gaming and then move it dead center in front of the TV for gaming sessions. I set the demo chair up about five feet from the TV, I would have liked to go back a little further but the cables provided weren't long enough. The cables are around six feet long so you'll need to factor that into your buying decision as you may need to get longer cables if the ones provided aren't long enough to go back any further.
The chair itself is well constructed and fairly comfortable once you get used to it. It took me a while to get comfortable in the chair because of how low the chair sits to the ground. As someone who's more legs than trunk it took a while find the right tilt for the back of the chair. Dan was right at home in the chair but he's a bit more of a 50/50 trunk to leg guy. If you're a bit on the leggy side you might want to check the chair out before you buy it. It would have been nice to have a chair that was an inch or two taller but that's more of an issue of how I'm built rather than how the chair is built. Additional lower lumbar support would have been nice. Due to the construction of the chair there is a small void in the chair where the back meets the base. I'm a little spoiled by the sport seats on my car and Dan didn't have any trouble but it's something that would have made the chair a little more comfortable. I didn't have any aches after three and four hour gaming marathons so I’m not sure how much of a concern that really is.
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