REVIEW – Over the last six months, I’ve read numerous reports observing that video gaming was at an all-time high in 2020. That makes total sense, as we’ve all spent a lot more time at home than we used to, due to COVID. Console gamers have the luxury of sitting on the couch to play, but PC gamers have to sit in a chair in front of the computer. Whether you are a professional gamer, a budding streamer, or a just-for-fun gamer, long gaming sessions need a good chair. In this review, I’ll be taking a look at the Labradores Gaming Chair to see if it’s up to the challenge.
What is it?
The Labradores is an ergonomic gaming chair that has an adjustable seat, back, and arms. It’s made from PU leather and high-density foam. The Labradores is sold by Qwork Office, a retailer located in Ontario, Canada that focuses on selling ergonomic office furniture. Their goal is to offer “quality office furniture that won’t break the bank.”
What’s in the box?
The chair arrived in pieces and required assembly. Everything required for the task was included in the box, including a hex wrench and a mini Phillips screwdriver, though I found a small pocket knife and a medium-sized Phillips screwdriver to be handy. This chair comes with one page of pictures that describe how to put the chair together.
- Weight capacity: Less than 250 pounds
- Frame and legs material: Steel and plastic
- Backrest and armrest material: PU leather
- Dimensions: 27″W x 27″D x 51″H
- Seat Height: 19.5”
- Weight: 37.3 pounds
- Colors: Black with either red, blue, or grey highlights
Design and features
The design of the Labradores is fairly standard for entry-level gaming chairs. It’s primarily matte-black with colored highlights along the sides, edges, and wheels. It has a leather-like look, though it’s actually PU leather, a synthetic leather alternative. There are two holes near the neckline and raised edges along the back and the seat, which gives the chair a race car sort of vibe. It’s a sharp look, and it’s the best feature of the chair.
Unfortunately, when I looked closer at the various parts of the chair while assembling it, I found a number of problems. There was a small hole in the back of the chair, a couple of splotches of what appears to be white paint on the front and back, and numerous scratches on the plastic and metal parts of the arms and legs. Either their manufacturing process or their assembly process or both need to be a lot more careful.
Installation and setup
The pictures provided in the installation guide do not provide nearly enough detail to assemble the chair. Thankfully, there’s a QR code on the page that links to a video of someone assembling the chair. I watched the video slowly, correlating it to the pictures, and together things made a lot more sense. Here’s a time-lapse video of me putting the chair together:
(Note: The video says that it’s the Galek gaming chair, as that’s how QWork originally identified the chair. Only after I had finished the video did they realize they were actually selling the Labradores gaming chair.)
It took me 38 minutes to do the assembly, but it really should not have taken so long. There are several places where the tolerances are really high; in other words, some things don’t quite fit the way they should, especially on the chair back. For example, I needed a pocket knife to enlarge some of the holes in the leather so that I could fit the screws in, and one of the holes was located right where the zipper is, making it very difficult to get the screw through. But all’s well that ends well; I got it together.
The PU leather looks nice, and it should last for a good while. The cushion in the seat is reasonably comfortable and is good for all but the longest of gaming sessions. The seat is a bit wobbly and tilts towards whatever part of the chair I sit in. In other words, if I sit on the front of the chair, it tilts forward; if I sit all the way back, it tilts back. In a similar manner, the arms are wobbly, shaking around at the slightest touch. I never felt as sturdy as I would have liked while sitting in this chair.
The Labradores comes with two pillows. One is the neck pillow that attaches to the two holes. When leaning back in the chair, it provided solid support to my neck. The other is the lumbar support pillow that attaches through the holes and under the seat back. This design allows it to move up and down, so that I could find the exact spot in my back that needed the support. Unfortunately, there’s no way to move it forward or backward, like a seat in a car does. The pillow is so large that it essentially pushed my backside too far forward in the chair. As the seat is not adjustable forward and backward, it felt like this pillow was trying to push me off the chair. In the end, I simply removed this pillow, and that worked a lot better for me.
The Labradores has three ways that I can adjust it. One, the arms move up and down, and they also rotate left and right in the horizontal plane. This made it pretty easy to find a comfortable position for resting my arms.
Two, the back reclines; in fact, it can recline to less than horizontal. I did not try that while sitting in the chair, as I’m pretty sure it would have tilted over and dropped me onto my head. Even so, it might be possible to grab a quick cat nap in this chair while reclined. Three, the chair raises up and down.
The Labradores comes with five casters on the bottom that appear to be made of Nylon. One of them doesn’t roll very well, even after I liberally applied WD-40. I have a solid glass chair mat, the smoothest surface a chair could hope for, yet it was always a bit of a chore to move this chair around. When I push it across the hardwood floors in my house, the whole chair wobbles. (The Labradores could learn a thing or two about good casters from LEVEL8; the spinners on their Elegance suitcase were so low-friction that a gentle push sent it rolling for 15 feet.)
The Labradores is an entry-level gaming chair, and at times the build quality shows that. Sure, there are better chairs out there–the Embody Gaming Chair from Logitech and Herman Miller looks amazing–but they also come with an amazing price—yeah, that Embody will set you back a cool $1495. All things considered, the Labradores is pretty good deal at $129.99. Except for one killer problem: The chair doesn’t raise far enough up. At its max height, the seat is only 19.5 inches tall, nearly 1.5 inches shorter than my office chair and a full 2 inches shorter than my wife’s office chair. When we sat in the chair, both of our initial impressions were the same: This chair is too low. I’m 6’1” and my wife is 5’4”, but our height didn’t make any difference. For work and gaming I have a pair of IDÅSEN desks from IKEA. Even with the desks set to the lowest possible height, the chair seat is still so low that my arms angle upwards, a very non-ergonomic position. I’m sorry to say, but this low height is a deal-breaker for me. I just can’t sit in a chair that’s going to put extra stress on my wrists and quite possibly give me carpal tunnel syndrome in a few short weeks, a painful experience that I’ve endured before. The Labradores comes with a nice price tag, but it’s not worth the physical pain that will result.
I played several hours of video games in this chair, but despite the nice leather, the comfortable seat, and the adjustable arms, I can’t say that I enjoyed the experience. It works, but being so low made everything uncomfortable. In the end, I had to go back to my old office chair.
What I like
- Stylish racing car looks
- Comfortable seat
- Adjustable arms and back
- Great price
What I’d change
- Raise the max height a couple inches
- Improve the manufacturing/assembly processes to protect the chair more
- Increase overall sturdiness
The Labradores is an entry-level gaming chair that comes with a sweet entry-level price. It looks sharp sitting in front of my gaming rig and is reasonably comfortable, though it suffers from a low build quality. The unforgivable problem, however, with this chair is that the max seat height is too low for normal desks, whether gaming or office. If you have a custom-made desk that’s extra low and like to keep things close to the ground, then this might be the chair for you. For the rest of us, however, I have to recommend that you pass on the Labradores and get a chair with a standard seat height.