If you're like me and started working from home during the pandemic, then you most likely wanted to put a little bit of investment into your office set up. One of the most important investments that I made in my set up was my chair. Going from a junkie 30-dollar chair to a fancy gaming chair was a huge quality-of-life improvement.
If there's one thing that I've generally learned about picking a chair, it's don't be cheap. Typically, the more expensive the chair, the higher quality it's going to be, and the better for you it's going to be. But probably the most important thing to think about when picking a chair is the ergonomics, and that's where Respawn comes in with their top-end offering, the Respawn Spire.
I've spent the last month daily driving this chair and it was quite surprising. For comparison, I've been putting it up against my Secret Labs Titan XL 2020, and there's quite a lot to like about the Spire. The chair retails for $600 for the black version (which I tested) and $650 for the "ghost" version.
Packaging and Assembly
First things first, the chair showed up at my doorstep in a LARGE black box with the respawn logo on the side. Getting it up the stairs to my apartment, I opened the box and was greeted with layers of plastic-wrapped chair parts, dense flexible foam and boxes with parts.
Instructions came on a large laminated sheet, with pictures for each and every step along with detailed instructions for each part. I was able to quickly and easily assemble the entire chair in about 45 minutes. What's also nice is that the kit came with all the screws necessary to put the chair together, as well as a quality hex tool to be able to get everything in place.
Design and aesthetics
The design and aesthetic of the chair reads more like a classy, high-end modern office chair, rather than a stereotypical gaming chair. The seat is a nicely stitched faux leather material with the back being a soft mesh material. Through the mesh, you can detect the "honeycomb" structuring.
There's Respawn branding on a lot of the chair, though it's in line with the rest of the design. The back has a massive R printed into the mesh, the headrest has the Respawn logo stitched onto it, and below the seat is some plastic badging with the Respawn logo on it as well.
Overall, the main components of the chair feel premium, save for a couple. The base of the chair, which the wheels attach to, is a hard plastic material. The armrests themselves are also a harder plastic / rubberized material. While I've gotten used to the armrests and am more ok with them, for a premium product at $600, I wish that the base was at least metal.
The fit and feel
With all new chairs, there's a break-in period that you have to go through before things really start to feel super comfortable. The same is true here. The chair's overall frame is a bit narrower than the Titan XL, which is definitely something to consider. At first, though, there were a couple of side skirts on the seat that angle up, and for the first couple weeks dug into my thighs pretty hard, which made it a bit uncomfortable. But after those first few weeks, those side skirts mellowed out and stopped digging into my legs.
One thing that's very nice about this chair is the honeycomb design on the back and the overall look of the back itself. Since this chair is more aligned with ergonomics, it really forced me to sit up straight, with my legs out front and my back felt really good after a while of sitting in it. The lumbar support is great, and overall the comfort is really quite nice.
It stays cool for a long time, which is great because I'm often in my chair for 12+ hours daily between work and play. The armrests were actually not too bad. They aren't cushioned at all, but the harder material that they're made from feels fine.
While it's quite cool that the armrests fold back to open up the sides of the seat, my one gripe with them is that they don't swivel, which is a feature of my Titan XL that I quite enjoy. I have a tenkeyless keyboard, so my keyboard is generally a bit more centred on my desk, and without the swivel functionality, I have to adjust my typing in a way that's a little more uncomfortable for me. I did try this out with a regular full keyboard, where the keyboard was positioned more left, and the positioning of the Spire's armrests ended up being ok for that.
The final thing here really to talk about is the price. $600 is a lot to spend on a gaming chair. Most of the top ones on the market are going for around $400 or so. But I don't think that the Spire is really meant to compete in the "gaming chair" sector. It really starts to pit itself against some of the ergo chairs that exist out there, and for something in that arena, $600 or more is a bit more commonplace.
Truthfully though, I don't have a full comparison suite or knowledge of the quality of ergonomic chairs, like a Herman Millar, to compare against the Spire. In a vacuum, I feel like the chair was worth at least $500, given that it really felt like it served me better overall than my Titan XL, and the extra $100 value will come in over time as it continues to hold up to consistent use.
Overall, the Respawn Spire is quite the chair. It's comfortable and provides proper support to key areas of the back and legs. If you're someone who is going to be at your desk all the time and you want something a bit more sleek than one of the massive gaming chairs out there, and you have $600 to spend on a chair, then definitely consider picking this one up. While there are some material choices I would have loved to see on a premium product like this, I can't really complain too much as the chair does what it sets out to do, and does it quite well.