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Sybr Si1 Gaming Chair review - too limited, too expensive

 The Sybr Si1 Gaming Chair at a desk in an office.
The Sybr Si1 Gaming Chair at a desk in an office.

The Sybr Si1 Gaming Chair is the first gaming product from Sybr, a new division of The Senator Group - the home of the well-known furniture manufacturer Senator. While Senator’s office chairs have a superb reputation when it comes to comfort and quality, it’s hard not to conclude that its foray into gaming has started out on the wrong foot.

This is a seriously pricey seat that lacks many of the premium features found in gaming chairs for half the cost. The materials here all feel suitably robust, especially the superb castors that make moving the chair around an absolute breeze, but almost everything else disappoints.

The armrests are uncomfortable, difficult to adjust, and only capable of 2D motion. While the backrest provides adequate comfort, the headrest is awkward and hard with a static position that renders the chair completely unsuitable for those who are much taller or shorter than my height of around 185cm. The harmonic tilt, which sees the back automatically recline with your body weight across four adjustable ranges of movement, works well, but the inability to lock the recline in a static position leads to frustration.

These issues all culminate in a product that, despite some impressive qualities, seems to have been created without much real understanding of what consumers are actually looking for in a high-end gaming chair and cannot be recommended when you could easily spend less on one of the best gaming chairs instead.

Price and availability

The Sybr Si1 Gaming Chair costs £699 (around $890). It's currently only available in the UK, where it can be purchased directly via the Sybr website. The chair comes in four colorways: True, a plain black; Saffron, a bright yellow; Lava, a rather soothing shade of deep red; and Glacier, a clean mix of gray and white. Alternate castors intended for either hard or soft surfaces can be bought alongside the chair for an additional fee of £19 (around $25).

This particularly hefty price tag puts this chair near the highest end of the market. It’s considerably more expensive than leading products like the Secretlab Titan Evo, which is available for $519 / £414 / AU$724, and seems intended to offer a more gaming focused alternative to supremely pricey office-oriented offerings like those from Herman Miller.

At the time of writing, the Sybr Si1 Gaming Chair is subject to a seasonal promotion that has brought the price crashing down to a far more palatable £499 (around $635). Although this is still more costly than much of the competition, a permanent price reduction to around this figure would go a long way to make the chair a more viable proposition.

Assembly

The top of the Sybr Si1 Gaming Chair.
The top of the Sybr Si1 Gaming Chair.

Although the Sybr Si1 Gaming Chair that I received for testing arrived fully assembled, the process of disassembly and reassembly was remarkably smooth. The seat and backrest slide together with ease and are firmly secured by four large bolts. The number of bolts required throughout the process was impressively minimal, as the armrests come partially assembled out of the box and simply need to be slotted into open ports that are already attached to the seat.

The castors similarly pop readily into the base of the chair, which is covered in a durable layer of hard metal. The use of metal here does make the base quite heavy, though, which is worth bearing in mind if you intend to assemble the chair alone. While I used a standard tool kit for my disassembly and reassembly, an Allen key is provided (in addition a printed QR code that links to a detailed assembly video) ensuring that you are fully equipped with everything that you need to put the chair together from the get go.

Design and features

The Sybr Si1 Gaming Chair at a desk.
The Sybr Si1 Gaming Chair at a desk.

It’s safe to say that the design of the Sybr Si1 Gaming Chair is distinctive. Its striking silhouette draws upon the racing seat look that’s common for gaming chairs, but with several interesting elements that lend it some flair. My model was the Saffron colorway, which sees the seat and backrest adorned in a subtle combination of gray and black fabric with a bright yellow trim. The stitching is impressively high quality across the chair, with no visible imperfections at all.

The fabric itself is pleasantly soft and covers a thick layer of firm foam. The rear of the backrest is coated by a seamless plastic shell that extends up to the static headrest. The rear of the backrest is also home to a large plastic grill, which is intended to provide some form of passive cooling while you play. Although it’s not going to be for everyone, I found the overall aesthetic quite pleasing and it certainly managed to attract a lot of interest from coworkers when it was placed at a desk in TechRadar Gaming HQ.

Unfortunately, I found that the design of the armrests leaves a lot to be desired. They can be folded down and used as an elbow rest, allowing you to get closer to your desk, which is a novel feature but the wholly 2D up-and-down motion and very imprecise adjustment mechanism is far removed from the easily adjustable, 4D armrests that you would expect to find on a chair of this price.

The chair utilizes a harmonic tilt motion that sees the backrest recline automatically under pressure. There are four preset ranges of motion to choose from, adjusted via a somewhat bizarre cylindrical control lever, but no option to lock the backrest in a static position. There is even some motion when it's set to the highest recline setting, which I found could be quite annoying as someone who often shifts around while seated.

Things fare much better down at the chair’s base, though, which is a fantastic height with plenty of room for your feet. Its elevated design also prevents it from catching on any stray objects left on the floor, too, which is a huge benefit for those with an untidy gaming setup.

Performance

The rear of the Sybr Si1 Gaming Chair.
The rear of the Sybr Si1 Gaming Chair.

By far the best performing element of the Sybr Si1 Gaming Chair is its castors, which are truly a cut above the rest. They glide smoothly across most surfaces and are an absolute dream if you’re someone who frequently wheels their chair around. The height adjustment mechanism for the seat also works extremely smoothly, which is a pleasant departure from the much cheaper feeling that you will experience trying to adjust some gaming chair models.

The overall shape of the backrest is satisfactory, with a decent level of support and padding. The chair is not exceptionally comfortable in this regard, but it’s certainly not bad. Sadly, the armrests are fairly dire and do not offer anywhere near enough cushioning. They feel like unwieldy lumps of rubber and consistently left my elbows feeling fatigued after a few hours of use.

The headrest is a major issue too. It is completely static and quite small, with only a thin layer of internal foam for padding. This makes it very uncomfortable and the chair would instantly become considerably more pleasant to use if it were simply removed entirely. Its static position will also likely be problematic if you are not the ideal height. I’m roughly 185cm tall which meant that my head sat at about the correct level but I doubt anyone much taller or shorter would be able to make use of it.

There’s also the matter of the ventilation grill on the back of the chair, which I found made no perceptible difference in terms of cooling or comfort. Sybr states that the grill “keeps you cool when it counts” but that claim did measure up to reality. With the air conditioning set to high, I found my back getting just as hot as it would with pretty much any other foam insulated chair. Obviously, this is not a major deal breaker but it is very strange to see the grill advertised as a headlining feature when it does not appear to actually work.

Should I buy the Sybr Si1 Gaming Chair?

The headrest of the Sybr Si1 Gaming Chair.
The headrest of the Sybr Si1 Gaming Chair.

It is simply impossible to recommend the Sybr Si1 Gaming Chair. Although recent promotions go some way to help mitigate the far too high asking price, there are still several issues like the uncomfortable armrests and poor headrest that spoil the user experience. There are some attractive qualities here, though, like the fantastic materials and brilliant castors that leave me optimistic that future Sybr products could turn things around.

Buy it if...

Don’t buy it if…

How we reviewed the Sybr Si1 Gaming Chair

I used the Sybr Si1 Gaming Chair as my main office chair for over a month. This meant that I spent a substantial period of time sitting in the chair as I completed my everyday work activities. I was careful to test out all of its features and made frequent notes about its ergonomic performance. As the chair came fully assembled, I also made an effort to disassemble the chair and experience reassembly.

For some better gaming chairs, see our review of the brilliant Razer Fujin Pro or the Boulies Master Series.