Tom's Hardware Verdict
The Cooler Master Caliber X2 checks the box for style, versatility and comfort at an affordable price, but it could do without the thick headrest.
Adjustable lumbar support
Reclines up to 180 degrees
Built to last
Headrest is too thick
No forward tilt capability
Limited size/upholstery options
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While so many gaming chair makers go all out to provide an ‘immersive gaming experience’ by incorporating RGB lighting, haptics or even cooling fans into their designs, the Cooler Master Caliber X2 dials back on all those bells and whistles and focuses more on the basics of what gaming chairs should offer — comfort and style. Personally, I prefer the Caliber X2’s understated-stated design to all the flashy, more expensive futuristic thrones (like the Orb X) or bucket-style gaming chairs (like the Thermaltake Argent e700) that are on the market today. Don’t get me wrong, those chairs are cool and pretty fancy, but would require a bigger space and an equally fancy setup that I don’t own or have the budget for. With a $399 price point during the time of its release and an additional $50 discount on Amazon (as of this writing), the Cooler Master Caliber X2 could easily rival the Boulies Master as the best budget option in our list of Best Gaming Chairs.
Cooler Master’s Caliber X2 is well-built, with a high back, a cool two-tone design in premium PU leather, and a comfortable wide seat — all the familiar trademarks of the racing-style gaming chairs we are accustomed to, without falling so far into the gaming aesthetic that it would look out of place in a professional office setting. This versatility makes it an easy addition to most gaming or office setups. If the gray and purple accents don’t go with your current setup, there’s also a solid black option for an even broader appeal.
Cooler Master Caliber X2 Specifications
|Upholstery||Perforated PU (4D armrests: soft, antisweat material)|
|Total Height Range (with base)||130 - 138 cm (51.2 - 54.3 inches)|
|Floor to Seat Height||50 - 58 cm (19.7 - 22.8 inches)|
|Armrest Adjustability||30 - 37 cm (11.8 - 14.6 inches)|
|Recline||90 - 180 degrees|
|Backrest Length||86 cm (33.9 inches)|
|Backrest Width (Shoulder Level)||58 cm (22.8 inches)|
|Seating Area Width (Point of Contact)||33 cm (13 inches)|
|Seating Area Width (total)||54 cm (21.3 inches)|
|Seating Area Depth||54 cm (21.3 inches)|
|Armrest Width||3.5 inches|
|Armrest Height (from floor)||~ 27 inches|
|Max Recommended Weight||150 kg (330lbs)|
|Weight||24.7 kg (54.5lbs)|
|MSRP / Price at Time of Review||$399 ($349 with Amazon discount)|
|Release Date||Available Now|
Cooler Master Caliber X2 Design
The Cooler Master Caliber X2 comes in two colorways, one with an all-black exterior and another, like the review sample we received, with gray accents on the ‘wings’ and two gray stripes starting from the backrest that goes all the way down to the seat. The gray accent is repeated on the headrest and on the back pillow, with a pop of purple stitching throughout to complete the look. I am not a big fan of most racing-style gaming chairs because they often look clunky and loud, but the Caliber X2 appeals to my aesthetic because of its sleek, professional look and it easily blends into my current setup without too much effort. In fact, I have been using it for my everyday work and my kids take turns using it for playing games when I am done.
One design feature that I found quite clever are the clasps for the back pillow, which were conveniently hidden in the back seat. These clasps allow you to move the pillow to wherever is most comfortable, without showing ugly straps — like the ones on the Cooler Master R1S, which remind me of seat belts.
Although they're a pretty common feature in gaming chairs these days, I loved the chair's 4D armrests. They offer so many adjustable positions which I found very useful since multiple people in our house make use of this chair. Personally, I tend to push the arm rests inwards and swing both towards the center which is the most comfortable setting for me while I work. The kids like to push them forward when gaming, or back when just watching streams on YouTube. I just wish that it had a mechanism to lock settings in place as I have slipped several times and must constantly remind myself not to lean on the arm rests too much. Luckily, this has not happened during any meetings where I am on video. (That would be really embarrassing. 😊)
The Caliber X2 has an impressive 180 degree recline capability which is not something all gaming chairs offer. Though I was unsure of how useful this feature would be, my youngest has found it relaxing to recline when streaming endless videos of her favorite YouTubers. You will need space to do this, however, so it’s not a feature you can take advantage of if you are working with a smaller setup.
Cooler Master uses breathable PU leather material for the X2, which adds to the overall premium look of the chair. But what I really liked about it was that it was easy enough to clean and maintain. Food and beverage accidents do happen — especially in my home — so easy cleanup is a big plus.
With a solid aluminum base and bigger (75mm) casters, the chair felt very sturdy and stable as I sat on it. It also slides smoothly on hardwood or on rugs and is also easier to clean. (Don’t judge me, I like things clean.)
Probably the only design feature that really didn’t work for me with the X2 was the headrest, which was too thick and pushed my head forward in a very uncomfortable position. It was also positioned in a place where it blocked the hole in the backrest where air is supposed to go through. Unlike the lumbar pillow, the headrest is not adjustable. It just sits in one place with a thick black (kinda ugly) garter strap that almost covers the Cooler Master Logo at the back of the chair (which also kinda cheapens the look IMHO).
Cooler Master Caliber X2 Assembly
The Cooler Master Caliber X2 arrived tightly packed in a single box that contained all the various chair parts individually wrapped with an easy-to-follow instruction manual. After a quick inspection to check if there were any missing or damaged parts, we were ready to proceed. This might be something that goes without saying, but there’s nothing more frustrating than finding out you need a part when you are already in mid-build, and you have to set the project on hold, or painstakingly put everything back in the box and wait.
Caliber X2 part list includes:
- Backrest and Seat base
- Headrest and lumbar pillow
- Left and right arm rest
- Five-wheel aluminum base
- Casters 5x
- Gas lift, tilt mechanism and covers
- Allen wrench, screws and washers
You could probably put together the X2 gaming chair by yourself, but I needed some help in a couple of areas that required a bit of heavy lifting: the first was with moving the box from the front door to the office, and the second was when I needed to attach the top half (the backrest and seat base) to the bottom half (the gas lift and aluminum base). It was tricky to align those parts by myself, so having an extra pair of hands helped expedite the process. The rest of the steps can easily be done by a single person and what’s neat is that all you need to assemble this chair is a single tool — an Allen wrench — which is conveniently included in the box. There are also a few spare screws that you can keep and set aside for future use. Cooler Master includes an installation video for anyone who needs extra help or visual instructions. It took me about 45 minutes to assemble the chair (in between taking pictures of the building process), which wasn’t bad at all.
Cooler Master Caliber X2 Comfort and Adjustments
When it comes to comfort and customizing, the Cooler Master Caliber X2 has a lot to offer: from 180 degree recline to 4D armrests and breathable PU leather. But one of the best features for me was the adjustable lumbar support pillow because it hugged my lower back just right and allowed me to work for hours without feeling any aches or pain. Second to that would be the 4D armrests as I was able to adjust them to the perfect height and angle, and then pull the chair close to my desk and comfortably type on my keyboard without straining my arms.
Adjusting the height of the seat was easy enough, although to be honest I didn’t quite fit the minimum height and weight recommendations for the Caliber X2 — my legs didn’t touch the floor even at the lowest setting. But I found ways to make the X2 work for me, like adding a footrest underneath my desk. The seat base was also wide enough for me to be able to fold both my legs up on the seat and happily get my work done or play the occasional Roblox or Minecraft with my youngest. 😊
Apart from the thick headrest, the only other issues I encountered were the lack of a forward tilt feature and difficulty using the rocking feature — which didn’t work for me at all, no matter how many times I tried to adjust the tilt mechanism located just below the seat base. This was a shame as I tend to lean forward toward my screen when I work and being able to easily rock and having a forward tilt feature would have helped relieve tension from my upper back.
As someone slightly under the recommended height and weight requirements, I still found the X2 fairly comfortable to use, and could work an entire day sitting in it without feeling any lower back pain. So smaller people don’t need to shy away from using the X2, but I do wish that there was a smaller version available so that I could fully take advantage of all the comfort features the chair had to offer. There aren't many chairs designed for smaller people in the gaming chair category, however — while Secretlab's Titan Evo comes in small, regular, and XL sizes, the small size is designed for people under 5'6" and 200 pounds, which is still pretty broad.
The Caliber X2 leaves out the bells and whistles in favor of focusing on what you need for a good gaming chair (or any chair for that matter) — comfort and flexibility. It’s not perfect, and we mentioned our wish list of improvements above, but once you factor in the sub-$300 price tag it becomes a much more compelling prospect.
We have been testing the X2 for an extensive period now and have found it to be capable and comfortable as a task or gaming chair. It offers a lot of adjustment options and ergonomic features to help you get through the workday or lengthy streaming/gaming sessions. Cooler Master also uses premium materials like ultra-soft memory foam and breathable PU leather to bump up the X2’s comfort level.
Again, the only real downer for me was the headrest, which I had no use for. Even at the lowest configuration, it was still too high to provide any support or comfort for my head. But overall, the X2 seems built to last and is roomy, comfortable, and easy to adjust. It's not the flashiest or even the prettiest of gaming chairs, but it gets the job done. That, combined with its affordability makes this chair an ideal choice for anyone looking for a capable gaming chair on a budget.
Anj Bryant is the Assistant Managing Editor at Tom's Hardware. She provides content layout and development support, and coordinates editorial initiatives for all the talented groups of freelancers, contributors, and editors in the team.
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