UGC Renegade gaming chair
We only quite liked it
Review Want to feel closer to the action? Want to feel like you're parked in a Pontiac, engine purring, poised, ready to burn rubber, racing through the streets of some still-asleep city? Then the racing-style Renegade games chair could be the console accessory you're looking for.
A minimum amount of assembly is required upon opening the (surprisingly big) box - nothing more than a few small bolts needing to be inserted and tightened with the supplied alan key, just to secure the arm rests to the body of the games chair. However, the seat back can prove a tad more troublesome to fit, and it would be wise to enlist additional help at this point, as you need to slide it into place and connect the audio cables at the same time. Needless to say, it's a little stressful to attempt solo.
Renegade games chair: looks fast...
And at 22.7kg, the chair's not exactly lightweight. It measures 60 x 100 x 45cm, a far cry from the more modest beanbag-like Slouchpod gaming chair.
Power is provided to the chair through a 4.5m, two-part cable, and audio is piped through a 3.5m RCA stereo cable that connects to the speaker ports on your TV. The nice thing about this is that sound then comes from both the television and the 6W speakers built into the chair itself.
Arguably, the biggest complaint we had about the Renegade was that the seatback tilt-adjust control was positioned far too close to the arm rest. This means that altering the position of the seat results in some serious bruising to your thumb as it inadvertently gets crushed every time you reach-around to turn the dial.
The game chair is reasonably comfortable to sit in. However, anyone over 6ft-tall is going to wish the adjustable headrest could go higher, and probably that the arm rests were a little higher as well. The little pull-out tray at the front is a nice idea, but poorly implemented. It's meant to store wireless controllers and the like, but it feels wobbly and not very sturdy. The same can be said for the cup holder on the left-hand side of the chair: really great idea, just not very well executed.
The Renegade is compatible with every console available as it's 'linked' to the game you're playing through sound. Consequently, the sound pumping through the speakers built into the headrest is quite bass heavy. We tested the Renegade with an Xbox 360 Elite - reviewed here running Gears of War and Project Gotham Racing 4. The former kicked up a veritable barrage of bass, and with the game chair volume turned up anywhere past the half-way mark, the speakers began to crackle.
You can forget actually being able to hear anything going on around you. In fact, you can't hear anyone talking even if they're standing right next to you, so you won't stand a chance with a mobile phone ringing, the pizza arriving at your front door or the microwave pinging, ready with your popcorn.
The layout of the Renegade control panel is - from left to right - features, power inout, sound input and then a 3.5mm headphone jack. Then we have the actual on/off button and a switch for the underseat lights. Oh yes. Finally, a series of sliders allow you to adjust 'Frequency', 'Sensetivity A' and 'Sensetivity B', 'Motor' and 'Volume'.
'Frequency' had little effect on either the sound or the vibration, although we understand it's supposed to alter the speed at which the chair shakes. 'Sensitivity A' adjusts the amount of vibration in the seatback and 'Sensitivity B' has the same effect on the bit your bum sits on. 'Motor' controls the overall amount of vibration, and 'Volume' is self-explanatory. The on/off button also features an option labeled 'Massage'. However, this was more like just sitting on a really big speaker in a nightclub than actually receiving any kind of muscle-relaxing relief.
And yes, there are half a dozen red LEDs under the chair that flash in time with the vibration that iself beats in time with sections of the game that generate a lot of bass. Opinion at Register Hardware is divided as to whether these are awesome, or awful. But you can very easily switch them off if the Bournemouth boy-racer look is not your bag.
Granted, it looks really good, but considering the Renegade is going to cost you 225 clams, you want more than looks. It is comfortable, but after about 45 minutes of serious stick action, you are going to want to get up and have a little stretch. Especially if you're tall. The build quality is sadly quite poor in areas, and the lack of attention to important ergonomic issues, like having the seatback adjust so close to the armrest, is shocking. In short, we were disappointed. We'd had really high hopes for the Renegade and it came up short.