In its bid to get a seat at the big kids table with industry leaders like Secretlab and Andaseat, Vertagear has given us a solidly constructed and attractive chair in the PL4500. With its attractive designs and odor-resistant fabric, there can be no doubt that the PL4500 looks like it should command its $489 asking price. However, a hard seat and stiff armrests prevent this premium piece from competing with the best gaming chairs.
Vertagear PL4500 Specs
|Upholstery||PUC Synthetic Faux Leather|
|Recline||up to 140 degrees|
|Total Height (with base)||51.6 to 54.1 inches (1310 to 1375 mm)|
|Backrest Height||33.3 to 35.8 inches (565 to 845 mm)|
|Backrest Width (shoulder level)||20.8 inches (530 mm)|
|Seating Area Width (total)||21.5 inches (545 mm)|
|Seating Area Width (point of contact)||21 inches (535 mm)|
|Recommended User Height||Up to 6 ft. 6 inches|
|Recommended Weight||Up to 260 pounds|
|Weight||70 pounds (31.6 kg)|
|Warranty||2-10 Year Limited Warranty|
Design of Vertagear PL4500
The Vertagear PL4500 is a big chair for big people, measuring a full 54.1” tall with the height fully extended and roughly 25” from armrest to armrest. It’s a towering beast with a wide frame that looks deceptively slimmer than it is due to its tapered backrest and dark color scheme. The backrest, seat and base are a deep black and the PL4500 can be ordered with side accents in a variety of colors or simple all stealth black. Our review unit came with white accents on the side. The simple color scheme ensures that the PL4500 will look at home in a variety of setups, provided one has the room for its massive frame.
Featuring a steel frame over PUC leather (not genuine leather), the PL4500 is built like a tank – the base is weighty and sturdy with rugged casters to match. The overall build quality is top notch and speaks to the PL4500’s positioning as a premium product. The “coffee fiber padding” is also a nice extra touch with its odor and bacteria fighting capabilities. Since this also aids drying, it’s a big plus for those who are clumsy with their beverages and would like to spend a little less time on maintaining their gaming furniture.
The PL4500 is a rugged feeling, great looking chair that wears its premium status on its sleeve – its presence in a room commands respect without drawing undue attention. For those who do want to make a splash, there is an optional RGB lighting kit that can be ordered with the PL4500 for an additional $249. Unfortunately, our test unit didn’t include this bling so you’ll have to imagine the effects with us.
Assembly of Vertagear PL4500
The Vertagear PL4500 is, quite possibly, the easiest gaming chair to assemble that I’ve ever gotten my hands on. Despite its considerable weight, it is remarkably simple to wrangle the components and put them together. I was able to fully assemble the chair by myself in roughly 35 minutes so it is reasonable to assume someone handier than I could do it in less time and a second set of hands is not necessary.
The included assembly instructions do a good job of illustrating the best order of operations to complete the task and the pictures ensure there is no guesswork when it comes to what the proper orientation of the pieces is.
If I have one issue with the assembly process for the PL4500, it is in attaching the backrest to the seat. The backrest slides on to two metal arms that protrude from the seat base. Ideally, this should hold the backrest in place so that tightening the screws required to fasten it is a simple task. Unfortunately, the heft of the backrest can force the metal supports out of alignment, making it difficult to correctly line up and tighten the screws. This portion of the build ate up a significant portion of my overall assembly time.
Apart from this one, small stumbling block, the PL4500 is a breeze to assemble and shouldn’t present a hurdle to even the most clumsy of the DIY averse.
Comfort and Adjustments of Vertagear PL4500
The Vertagear PL4500 offers excellent support for the lower back and neck with the provided memory foam cushions and a faux leather and fabric backrest that has just the right amount of give without feeling squishy. Leaning back in this chair was a pleasure for my back.
Unfortunately, the seat itself doesn’t strike the same delicate balance between comfort and support, opting instead for an ultra-firm rigidity that proved uncomfortable to sit in for long periods of time. The contrast is very jarring, almost as if someone decided to take the backrest and seat cushion of a comfy office chair and stitch it to a stone bench.
At first, I appreciated the firmness of the PL4500’s seat but, over time, it proved to be too much of a good thing. During long gaming sessions in the PL4500 I definitely felt supported but angrily so - it was simply bizarre to feel like my back was getting a hug while my hindquarters were being punished.
The PL4500’s armrests are likewise stiff and hard feeling. They have a lightly rubberized coat that offers a little give but does little to nothing to alleviate the feeling of overall stiffness. This is fine in small doses but, again, the general feeling of discomfort and fatigue to the areas that are supposed to be resting on this surface adds up over time. This is really a shame because the backrest and memory foam lumbar and neck cushions rival any other gaming chair on the market in terms of comfort – it’s a constant reminder of what could have been, an insult added to injury. This is what sitting in a broken promise feels like.
There are ample adjustment options available on the PL4500 to suit your preferred seating posture. The PL4500’s armrests can be rotated inwards and outwards, pulled forward and back and adjusted for height.
There are no adjustments for the width at which the armrests are spaced but at their default position, they already offer plenty of space. If you’re seeking more adjustments in the armrest department, Vertagear does make 4d Armrests available when purchasing for an additional $20. Considering the overall price point of the PL4500, it is somewhat puzzling why this option wasn’t included by default. The action on the height adjustment can also be quite stiff at times, almost as if the mechanism gets stuck.
The PL4500’s seat base is height adjustable and the backrest can be made to accommodate forward seating at up to 80 degrees or reclining at a rather extreme 140 degrees. The levers controlling these functions had smooth action and didn’t present the same stiffness and stuttering feel of the armrest height adjustment. The backrest can be locked in place via a lever located toward the rear of the seat base.
The Vertagear PL4500 is a premium-priced gaming chair aimed at the big and tall gamer that offers most of the appointments gamers should expect, but fails when it comes to the most important fundamental of furniture: comfort. The PL4500 checks off many features that are on the gamer wishlist. Easy assembly? Check. Durable, high quality construction? Check. Support for forward tilted and reclining seating positions? Check. Spill and odor resistant fabric covering? Check. These are all great things to have and at the price the PL4500 sells for, gamers should expect nothing less. Unfortunately, none of these features mean much of anything if the chair itself isn’t comfortable to sit in and the PL4500 is decidedly not.
The biggest issue with the PL4500 is the fact that the seat itself is stiff, hard and uncomfortable. The backrest and memory foam cushions for lumbar and neck support are excellent – offering both support and comfort. The main seat, however, can be borderline painful to use for extended periods of time due to its extreme stiffness. It’s sad that Vertagear got so many things right with the PL4500 yet managed to flub the single most important detail that makes a gaming chair worth owning.
There are other minor annoyances that make the PL4500 tough to recommend when there are so many other options to choose from, such as 4D armrests being an upcharge instead of coming standard with a unit that costs nearly $500. The RGB lighting add-on is also very expensive, costing a whopping $250 in addition to the already lofty asking price.
For a fully kitted out PL4500, gamers are being asked to plunk down north of $750. When there are options like the Secretlab Titan and the Razer Iskur available in the same price range as the base PL4500 that offer more features and superior comfort, the price tag of the PL4500 seems way too high, but ultimately an uncomfortable seat is a bad value at any price.