It never crossed my mind to buy a “gaming chair”, because of the connotation it carries. I don’t game, so why buy one? But due to the COVID-19 work-from-home (WFH) arrangements, my company has kindly allowed employees to claim for benefit purchases classified under “office chair” category. So I decided to replace my chair of more than 10 years.
Secret Lab is the most popular branded gaming chair brand in Singapore with generous 5-year warranty (3+2 after your publish your review). They also offer Peel Guarantee for Singapore buyers. But three things irked me:
- Flashy branding around the chair
- Self-assembly (optional fee)
- Long pre-order waiting time
An alternative competitor brand is APOL, which is about S$100+ cheaper, but it only offers 2-year warranty, and also requires self-assembly. I wouldn’t mind paying more with Secret Lab to get peace of mind, so APOL is out.
I research further and found another recommendation from community forum sites – Royale Ergonomics. Here’s what I like about them:
- It offers custom embroidery and colour options included in the price (they now offer even more colour options but with a different price point)
- 5-year warranty for upholstery, 3-year for overall mechanism
- assembly-free (the chair came pre-assembled)
- reasonable price given all the bells and whistles
Before I made my order, I dropped an email to them and wanted to clarify whether they would have problems processing my “complex” blog logo for printing. That email went to Sin Hong Joo, MD and founder. After a few interactions from email to Whatsapp, where he even sent me a design mock-up, I felt comfortable to proceed with the order, and made my transfer over PayNow to Royale. He sent an invoice immediately and I waited for my chair to be ready.
At some point, he dropped me a Whatsapp to show me the embroidery of the various custom logos, which I was glad because I found that the thread colour was incorrect. He acknowledged and corrected it.
Finally, the chair was delivered in the evening. It came with a protection cover over the seat, bubble wrap around the handle and legs, and a pretty ingenious wheel protection cover with a pull-tab to rip apart.
From order till delivery, it took 6 weeks. Lumbar support cushion is included free.
As you can see from the photos, I opted for a complete black design, in part due to the limited choices during my order on 9 June. If you order today, you get a lot more colour combination and options. You can also choose to have fewer custom logos at a cheaper price.
I really like the details of the logo embroidery. I know it’s probably not difficult given today’s technology – just feed the image file into the “sewing machine” and it’ll do the rest. But it’s the whole “customised” experience that makes buying from Royale a little more special.
The arm-rest comes with three locking mechanisms to adjust up-down, in-out, and forward-back. The wheels are silent and smooth.
By the way, they also offer re-upholstery service, so if your current gaming chair is already flaking horribly, you can get them to replace for S$250.
The Royale gaming/office chair is stable, firm cushion, good support. I feel comfortable sitting on them, it doesn’t distract me, nor do I feel weird, or too cosy, just very functional. The back can be tilted in small angles from 90-degree to almost flat. The mechanism reminds me of car seats, very sturdy. I choose fabric because it’s breathable.
- Custom embroidery and colour options included in the price
- Assembly-free with adequate shipping protection
- Reasonable price in consideration of all the features
- Personalised service (for my case)
- Long waiting time (same problem across the industry in the current pandemic situation)
- Response might be slow due to personalised service from the boss himself who might be busy with other business
I was already on the verge of placing order with Secret Labs. Given all the positive ratings and word-of-mouth feedback from friends, I believe their products are great quality. But I just felt it’s too “gamer-styled” for my taste, and with all the logos plastered everywhere. It’s like buying a car but the car maker embossed their brand name on the bonnet. Royale allows me to customise the chair to be unique and personal. I was glad the overall quality is really good compared to those $100+ self-assembly office chairs I bought from Lazada/Shopee. The fact that Royale chairs come pre-assembled means there would be no “mistakes” or loose bolts after assembly, not to mention the time and sweat just to piece the chair together.