Update, 11/2/17, 4:45pm PT: An OFM representative informed us that the MSRP for this chair will be $224.99 and will be on sale at Amazon starting Nov. 7, and at Staples (including in store) next spring.
It turns out that what everyone really wants in a gaming chair is a quality piece of office furniture with perhaps a bit of flair. Office Furniture Marketing (OFM) knows office chairs, and it has even produced a few gaming-themed products, but the Respawn 205 is its first version to include the breathable mesh back material of its executive task chairs. You may be thinking “I’ve heard of the Respawn gaming chair”, and you’d be right about the model name, but the other Respawn doesn’t have that feature.
The Respawn 205 also has lumbar and head rest pillows to prolong your comfort during lengthy gaming sessions. Although that somewhat defeats the purpose of the mesh backing, you can see that there’s plenty of ventilation between the pillows.
Back Height (to seat top)
Seat Width between bolsters
Seat Depth To Back
~21 to 22"
~21 to 22"
~5.2 to 8.0"
Seat Height (front)
~18.6 to 22.5"
Seat Height (rear)
~17.1 to 21.0"
~90° to 130°
Seat Angle Adjustment
Plastic base, Steel pan, plastic back
Sythetic Leather, Mesh Back
OFM might have seen our Corsair T1 Racing Chair hands-on, because the company sent its sample mostly assembled. Not that we assembled Corsair’s chair improperly; it’s just that Corsair’s back didn’t lock firmly until after it was broken in. Assembling the product before it ships allows companies to check for those little glitches.
You can see that the Respawn 205 base has hinges, and they're plastic at that. Although certainly this will worry a few readers, we confirmed that the design is extra rigid to withstand the full rigors of the chair’s 275lb weight limit.
All plastic chair bases have cross bracing, and the Respawn 205 uses it to add style with little windows to your floor.
Unlike the Corsair T1 Racing Chair, the Respawn 205’s casters don’t have bearings, and neither do its wheels. The wheels do have rubbery tires to ease movement on smooth surfaces, but the lack of bearings makes the chair a little harder to push. And although the castor pivots also turn a little harder than a bearing-style, this design doesn’t loosen up enough to cause the casters to tilt and hang, which is what we’re currently experiencing on the T1 Racing Chair.
The back mount has about half an inch of fore-to-aft adjustment. Height is controlled by the placement of the lumbar and head rest pillows.
Separate levers release the pneumatic cylinder for height adjustment and the back for recline adjustment. The chair lacks tilt control for the seat pan, although it tilts approximately 1° for every 10° of back recline. A knob in the center of the seat pan controls recline resistance.
The padded arm rest adjusts approximately 2.8 inches vertically.
So It’s Basically An Office Chair…
Removing the pillows, the Respawn 205 looks and functions like the typical $120-150 office chair, with its lack of integrated lumbar support remedied with the lumbar pillow. I couldn't raise the upper pillow enough to support my head, but its default position is appropriate for my shoulders. And that’s good, because the lumbar pillow was so thick that I needed shoulder support.
Replacing the lumbar pillow with the headrest pillow was my ticket to comfort, although the strap looks a little overextended. The pillows have zippers, however, so swapping the padding from the headrest pillow into the lumbar pillow is another option.
…That Doesn’t Tip Over?
Although the Respawn 205’s recline is supposed to have an infinite number of variations between 90° and 130°, getting it to lock exactly where you’d like is a bit tough. The process is to reline it to the desired location, flip the lever, and lean forward to lock the position, but we were able to use only about a half-dozen locking points. It didn’t unlatch, but even if it had, the maximum recline is still 50° from vertical. Unless you’re holding a keg on your chest (or something similarly silly), the limited amount of recline and lack of tilt makes tipping the chair nearly impossible.
The seat’s a little too flat for our taste, but it may be more comfortable to you. As for the price, we believe the Amazon listing is merely a market test, and that we’ll probably find a “temporary $500 discount” that lasts forever once Amazon’s supply is stocked.