Vertagear SL5000 Gaming Chair Review: Comfortable, Adjustable, Imperfect

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Rating:
7/10
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  • 1 – Absolute Hot Garbage
  • 2 – Sorta Lukewarm Garbage
  • 3 – Strongly Flawed Design
  • 4 – Some Pros, Lots Of Cons
  • 5 – Acceptably Imperfect
  • 6 – Good Enough to Buy On Sale
  • 7 – Great, But Not Best-In-Class
  • 8 – Fantastic, with Some Footnotes
  • 9 – Shut Up And Take My Money
  • 10 – Absolute Design Nirvana

Price: $399

Marcus Mears III / How-To Geek

Gaming chairs often set themselves apart from office chairs in a few key areas: adjustability, style, and seat design. The Vertagear SL5000 holds true to that standard but breaks many others—namely in comfort and durability.

Here’s What We Like

  • Design aesthetics
  • Overall adjustability
  • Comfortable enough for long sessions
  • Competitive pricing

And What We Don’t

  • Setup hitches
  • RGB issues
  • Minor quality dings

You can easily sit in this chair for hours on end without getting uncomfortable—that’s one of the highest honors a gaming chair can receive. That said, I do take issue with a few of its design aspects. Here’s a closer look.

Assembly: Easy, Not Quite Effortless

Putting the chair together is easy enough with a few snags to look out for. If you’ve ever built a gaming chair, this assembly procedure is par for the course; pop your wheels onto the stand, mount the seat to the chassis, slide in the seatback, and screw it in.

The manual can be overwhelming at first—every supported language is printed on every page, saving some trees but cluttering the instructions in the process. A worthy tradeoff; nevertheless, setup is fairly straightforward once you get your bearings on the page.

I did run into a problem with the large screws that hold the back in place. One of them refused to thread correctly, jutting out an extra few inches compared to its neatly-installed siblings.

Other than that, the setup was largely as advertised and took about 20 minutes.

RGB Upgrade Kit

Optionally, you can pick up an RGB LED Upgrade Kit to add some flair to your gaming chair.  Unfortunately, I can’t recommend it for a few reasons. Firstly, from a design standpoint, the head pillow blocks most of the front-side RGB and both acrylic pieces (which were specially engraved for How-To Geek). Alternatively, you can remove the head pillow to let the RGB shine through, but you’ll have to rest your head on rugged plastic pieces as a tradeoff.

I can look past that issue; at least some light peaks through around the pillow. It’s tough not to see the shadowy corner left by a defective RGB piece, though. When consulting the company’s FAQ section, I found the problem I was having, ready with a solution.

The proposed process, which is to “Check and see if all the screws are tightened all the way and there is nothing interfering between the connections” wasn’t fruitful. I also noticed all of the charging LEDs flashing in unison; another listed issue in the FAQ section. The culprit: one or more of the 18650 (2600mAH) batteries is dead and needs to be charged with an external charger, which is not included in the kit.

Lastly, the customization software, an offshoot of NZXT CAM, wouldn’t let me sign in. I tried using an existing NZXT account, creating a new account solely for the SL5000, and signing in as a guest—nothing got me past the authentication page. I emailed customer support, who kindly provided me with a different version of NZXT CAM that worked like a charm.

Vertagear SL5000 chair in NZXT CAM software

With the customization software working, I tested out a few different RGB patterns like Super Rainbow, Pulse, and Starry Night. Having fun while testing out these vibrant, colorful presets ultimately made the downcast feeling worse. How interesting would these light fixtures be in videos or on stream if they all worked together flawlessly? Perhaps interesting enough to warrant the $299.99 price tag, but alas, my SL5000 won’t know.

Design and Durability: Quality Craftsmanship

Vertagear SL5000 chair head pillow
Marcus Mears III / How-To Geek
  • Materials: Steel (frame), UPHR Foam, PUC Leather, Aluminum Alloy (base)
  • Seat Width: 22.6in (575mm)
  • Seat Depth: 19in (480mm)
  • Net Weight: 57.1lbs (25.9kg)

The SL5000 comes in 7 design patterns, with each color scheme designed to complement setups of various vibes. Pick it up in Midnight Blue (as reviewed), Black/Camo, or a host of other black color combos.

This chair is built to last. You can tell when you’re putting it together; the steel frame and aluminum five-star base aren’t light.

Note: The SL5000 supports up to 330lbs at max load (with a recommended max height of 6ft 4in) and a recommended weight of 260lbs or under.

A common trait among lesser gaming chairs is the faux leather exterior that holds up for all of one month before crumbling like dry banana bread. The SL5000 does employ faux leather as well, specifically the PUC variety, but in far lower quantities and of a much higher quality. The areas of the chair that see the most wear and tear are instead lined with Vertagear’s HygennX breathable cloth, which naturally neutralizes odors and bacteria using coffee grounds and (literal) silver linings.

If you’re wondering how HygennX works, “Nano-sized coffee granules within purified coffee grounds are weaved into our HygennX fibers and embedded into our HygennX padding where they absorb and neutralize odors. Silver-coated embroidery shields against bacteria and fungal growth by delivering positive ions (Ag+) that attach and neutralize the negative ions from bacteria.”

Vertagear SL5000 aluminum alloy base and wheels
Marcus Mears III / How-To Geek

The aluminum alloy 5-star base, which you’ll pop the wheels into, is sturdy and secure. My floor stayed scratch-free and the wheels never stalled, sometimes even providing too much glide. It would be nice if a couple of the wheels had locks on them to keep the chair in place when you have the seat where you want it.

If you like padded armrests, you won’t find them here. You will find a full range of adjustment options, though.

The gas lift gave me no troubles, allowing me to easily adjust my seat position at a moment’s notice (more on this in the next section).

Vertagear SL5000 misaligned stitches on seat cushion
Marcus Mears III / How-To Geek

But, when you look at the stitches that don’t line up, the elastic band crudely holding the head pillow to the seatback, and the occasional accidental and annoying seat tilt mechanism (which allows the seat cushion to lean forward past 90-degrees), it’s clear the SL5000 isn’t perfect.

Depending on what you’re looking for in a gaming chair, these issues may not bother you in the slightest. They’re something to look out for when making your decision, though.

Comfortably Adjustable

Vertagear adjustment lever and seat cushion
Marcus Mears III / How-To Geek

Gaming chairs are usually more synonymous with style than comfort. Thankfully, the SL5000 is a genuinely comfortable chair to sit in, as long as you like the bucket seat layout.

The UPHR (Ultra Premium High Resilience) foam seat cushion is thick, soft, and accommodating. If you have a wider frame than most, you may not like the raised edges lining the seat since they eat up some decent leg space. To me, they were noticeable but not comfort-disruptive.

Onto the pillows. I like half of the lineup; the head pillow is soft and far more comfortable than not using it, but I can’t help but think the elastic band that holds it to the seat is a design oversight. There are no clips, hooks, or other means of securing the band to the chair, making it a little easier to slide around than I’d like. This is nice for quick adjustments, but I found myself pulling it back into position now and again.

The lumbar support pillow isn’t uncomfortable, in fact, it’s the opposite, nicely aligning your spine while seated upright. The only problem, and a deal breaker in my mind for this pillow, in particular, is how it kept me on the literal edge of my seat.

The SL5000’s cushion has a tilt mechanism that allows it to dip forward when the seatback is reclined, which is great when you want to lay back in a more natural position, but startling and worrisome when you’re not trying to use it.

Note: You can adjust the tension, or how easy the seat is to tilt, using the knob under the cushion.

The lumbar support pillow permanently shifted my weight forward, causing the seat to tilt often enough that I stripped it off and cast it aside.

Vertagear SL5000 chair leaning back
Marcus Mears III / How-To Geek

On the other hand, I am a fan of how adjustable the SL5000 is. If you can think of an integral part you want to fine-tune, there’s probably a button or lever for it. Whether you want to move your armrests, lay the seatback down, or alter your cushion height, all you have to do is reach underneath or to the side and modify.

I do have a minor gripe with the armrests, though. Holding the button on either armrest down, you can slide it forward or back until it’s comfortable for you. At least in theory. They can slide quite far forward, but can’t move back towards the seat enough for my liking. Other than that, they can go just about anywhere you want them to.

Should You Buy the Vertagear SL5000 Gaming Chair?

The market for gaming chairs is saturated with flashy, uncomfortable seating arrangements that you’ll buy and wish you hadn’t. Vertagear’s SL5000 breaks the mold with a durable, comfortable chair that doesn’t leave adjustability or customization out to dry.

It’s not without flaw, though. Be on the lookout for faulty RGB kits, minor manufacturing errors (like misaligned stitches), and an overwhelming manual during setup.

If you’re not planning on picking up an RGB kit, and don’t sweat the small stuff, I recommend the SL5000 as a cozy, long-lasting option for your gaming chair needs. You can pick the Midnight Blue version up today for $459.99, or other color combos for $449.99.

Here’s What We Like

  • Design aesthetics
  • Overall adjustability
  • Comfortable enough for long sessions
  • Competitive pricing

And What We Don’t

  • Setup hitches
  • RGB issues
  • Minor quality dings