Na na na na na na na na — Batchair!
I’ve owned my Secretlab OMEGA Dark Knight chair for about a year now, and I think I have enough information for a complete review.
So, here goes!
When my wife and I bought a house and moved in, it was an opportunity to build the home office I’ve always wanted. I painted the walls a shade of blue, bought a whole suite of furniture, and loaded the room with my favorite things.
On my list of things to buy was a racing chair because the office chair I’ve had for more than a decade now has been breaking down over time and showing a lot of wear.
I had a few brands in mind, but when Secretlab announced their limited edition Dark Knight chair, I jumped at the chance and preordered.
Making the deal even better, Secretlab sent me an email with a surprise announcement notifying me that my chair would also get the 2020 Series upgrades that the company was rolling out after three years of research and development.
Upgrades included the new PRIME 2.0 PU (polyurethane) leather, Cold-Cure foam, full-metal armrests, and a new neck pillow featuring a cooling gel pad.
Combined with industry-awesome specs — a full-length recline mode, Class 4 hydraulics, and the ADC12 aluminum wheelbase — the Secretlab OMEGA is a top-tier chair worthy of the Batman himself.
Out of the box and into the Batcave
The chair ships in a huge box that’s filled with parts you’ll have to connect together. You’ll need a Phillips screwdriver, a good amount of space, and a bit of care because you don’t want to scuff your new chair. You also don’t want to accidentally trigger the recline lever by snagging it on something. The consequences of being hit by a suddenly swinging, and unhampered lever, can be quite dangerous and leave some serious damage on your person or on the components caught in its slashing path.
Since skin oils degrade the PU leather over time, you may want to be careful about assembling your chair by not sweating on it, grabbing the seat or backrest too tightly, or scratching the parts as you put them together.
Building it was relatively simple, and I’ve had some practice putting together things from Ikea. The step-by-step instructions are laid out in visual order, and they’re easy to follow.
The average build should be easier than mine — the multi-tilt mechanisms were uneven out of the box, which made it harder to align the backrest for the screws. I had to resort to doing the very thing I was warned not to do: I had to adjust the recline lever without the backrest securely installed in order to get the connecting pieces aligned.
Pulling the lever on purpose was a scary experience, and I can see why there are so many warnings. The thing moves with tremendous force and speed.
Once I was able to get the the seat’s back in line with the mounts, the screws went in, and the rest of the chair was a piece of cake to put together.
A new paradigm in sitting
The Secretlab chair is beautiful to look at — even today, I still can’t get over how awesome it looks in my room. Sitting in it for the first time felt amazing because it feels expertly designed. The sides of the chair hug you, the pillows are plush, the armrests feel sturdy, and the bottom feels firm.
Putting the seat into a full recline doesn’t feel perilous, and the rocking motion is smooth — though mine has recently developed a little bump near the end of its forward motion that hasn’t bothered me too much.
The wheels roll smoothly and silently, and the chair is designed to hide all of the screws and working bits that would distract from the overall cohesive look.
Ultimately, it’s a fine piece of machinery that’s expertly designed. Over the course of a year, it still looks like new, though results may vary depending on how well you take care of your chair.
Recently, I did find a little snag in it — my eyes see everything! — that could have been a defect or caused by a number of different things. It could have been my cat, one of the numerous things I carry on my person, or a piece of equipment falling onto the chair. In case it was covered — and before my warranty expired — I messaged the company who asked for pictures. After an investigation, they said it was not covered under warranty, though they did offer to send me a replacement piece for a small fee which I gladly accepted.
And that’s the difference between the chair I owned and the chair I bought to replace it. The Secretlab OMEGA is something I want to preserve while using, and the website has care instructions that I’ve been pretty mindful about because I want this thing to last as long as possible.
That’s why you should really look into what you’re getting into when you purchase a Secretlab or any other PU leather racing chair. It’s an investment that requires maintenance and a bit of education.
My previous office chair was used and abused. The armrests are scarred by gaming tantrums, and the cushion is worn from sitting cross-legged in its wide seat. I didn’t give too much thought about sitting in it with my shorts on, my bare legs touching the front base of the seat. I also wasn’t too concerned about getting it wet after taking a shower and fully drying my hair, and I didn’t have a routine maintenance plan.
I’m not a slob, but I like being comfortable.
In a Secretlab chair, all of these things could lead to eventual ruin. I mean, I’m not going to tell you how to use your chair — you can set it on fire or try installing it in your car — but if you’re trying to get the most out of it, you’ll want to keep it fresh and clean by not touching it with your bare skin, keeping drinks and food from falling onto it, and sitting in it the way you’re meant to sit in it. That means having your body placed fully in the seat with your back against the backrest.
For a person who likes to switch positions a lot, getting used to the Secretlab chair took some time. If you’re into manspreading, sitting on the seat front, or pulling your legs up — all of these habits will have to change if you don’t want to damage your chair. And if you’ve been sitting on a marshmallow, you might find the seat a bit too firm after a few hours.
According to the Secretlab site, the change will be good for you. Not only will the chair help you fix your posture, the firmness of the seat bottom will actually feel more comfortable to your body over the long run compared to a soft chair which would, “promote poorer posture,” and leave you feeling worse for the wear. The cold-cure foam (Secretlab grades the seat firmness as medium-firm) is designed to hold its shape and keep your chair feeling and looking great even after, “long hours of sitting.”
A chair fit for a Bat…man
If the promotional materials are to be believed, the Secretlab chair is one built for longevity and reliability. The company boasts that its 2018 Series chairs made it the best-selling brand in the world, and it seems like the company wants to do more than just hold onto its reputation — it wants to go above and beyond and crush the competition.
The 2020 Series chairs have been certified “for quality and durability far beyond the current industry standards.” The cold-cure foam, which was created through a “patent-pending foam manufacturing mix and procedure,” on my chair still looks new with no drooping, sagging, or bending. It feels as firm as the day I first put it together, and besides the minimal stretching on the seat bottom’s PU leather, I don’t see any marks in the seat indicating damage to the foam’s form.
The PRIME 2.0 PU leather that encases the back and bottom of the chair was “engineered, tested, and certified to be four times more durable than regular PU leather.” Based on what I’m experiencing with the chair, Secretlab’s secret sauce is pretty legit. I haven’t been perfect with my sitting position, but the chair has taken what I’ve given it. The stitches are intact, and I don’t see anything out of the ordinary and even very little of what I would have expected.
Some chairs age beautifully, but my Secretlab still looks like it just came out of the box. The carbon fiber accents evoke images of the Batmobile, and the metallic parts of the armrests shine.
And about those armrests — they’re super sweet because they can be raised, lowered, moved forward and back, and they also can be angled for those moments when you need a spot for the point of your elbow. I’ve sat in seats with really jiggly armrests that sort of feel cheap, but the Secretlab armrests are a cut above. They do rattle a little, but with all the moving parts, I would be more surprised if they were completely silent. If I could ask for one thing — that they could extend a bit further forward.
Besides the tiny little bump in the rocking motion of my chair (that has suddenly disappeared at the time of this edit), the tilt of the chair is smooth. Whether I’m rocking or reclining, I don’t get the sense that I’m testing the limits of the chair or that I’m going to suddenly topple. I don’t know how the seat manages to keep its five wheels on the floor when I’m fully reclined, but if I had to take a short nap in it, I wouldn’t be worried. about falling onto the floor.
The back and neck pillows are what I’m surprisingly most impressed with. Not only are they velvety soft — they also hold their shape. I was concerned that the back pillow would be something that would need a replacement ever so often, but the utility and durability of the lumbar pillow is a thing in itself.
If I could have an actual pillow for my bed made like one of these, I’d love to test it out.
As for my posture — it’s changed since I’ve started using the Secretlab chair, and I’ve gotten more comfortable sitting in it now that I’ve had it a year. But I have to admit, I don’t use it exclusively. For those days when I’m wearing shorts and a t-shirt, or I’m wanting to sit cross-legged, I have my old beater ready to go.
In fact, I’m sitting in my old chair while I’m writing my review for the Secretlab.
Part of it is wanting to preserve my Bat-chair for as long as possible. The other reason — I’m just not ready to give up on my old habits. Secretlab might disagree, but who knows — after another year, the old beater might get put out on the street for someone else to pick up and enjoy.
Bat’s all folks!
How far and fast you fall in love with your Secretlab chair will depend on your preferences. If you want a chair that’s designed to be sat in correctly with maintenance protocols being followed, this is the one for you. In a professional setting — and you might want to get something less Bat-branded — the Secretlab is a statement piece. For video conference meetings and streams where you want to put your best face and posture forward, the Secretlab will be an excellent choice. In fact, I’m considering getting one for my classroom where I teach.
The better you treat it, the longer it will continue to serve its purpose as an office racing chair in looks and in function. This isn’t a sofa, and it doesn’t come with cup holders for a reason. Though it’s designed to last longer than your above-average chair, it isn’t impervious or immune to spills, oils, and rough abrasions. To help you with upkeep, Secretlab offers accessories and chair-care kits.
This is the kind of chair you can pass onto your kids, as long as it’s taken care of. Just like the vintage jackets that never go out of style or seam, the Secretlab chair was created with a passion for quality.
It could be your forever chair.
OMEGA Dark Knight (2020 Series)