A while back I shared with you my complete review for the AKRacing Core LX Plus gaming chair, an interesting and multi-purpose chair. Convinced by the brand, today I wanted to test a model that is similar, but more affordable by approximately a hundred bucks: the AKRacing Core Ex model.
Because of the similarities between the two models, several observations made for the Core LX Plus will apply here as well, as well as the packaging and assembly.
In short, no more blah blah, let’s get to the point!
AKRacing Core Ex Characteristics
You will find below the main technical characteristics of the chair. As I mentioned before, we have a very comparable configuration to the previous model (the Core LX Plus), for example concerning the quality of manufacture, structure, guarantee or dimensions.
|Weight : 49 lb / 22 kg|
|Height : From 33 to 40,64 cm / 12,9 to 16 inches|
|Seat width : 38 cm / 15 inches|
|Recommended user height : 160-190 cm / 5’3″ to 6’3″|
|Max weight supported : 150 kg / 330 lb|
|Incline up to 180°|
|class IV Piston|
|Delivered with back cushion and headrest|
|5 years warranty on the seat and 10 years on the frame|
However, the Core Ex gaming chair differs from its sister chair on several aspects. The most obvious is the choice of the upholstery: imitation leather for the Core LX Plus, fabric here. Personally, I am much more convinced by the fabric and I’ll tell you why in the review. The cushions are also different, so I pay particular attention to them, since they had disappointed me on the previous model. Finally, a few questions come to mind – again regarding the weight. The chair weighs 22 kg, so I doubt whether it can support 150 kg. You’ll see all this in the test below.
It’s a nice big box that arrives on my doorstep – nothing to declare for the delivery, personally I ordered via LDLC and the model arrived quickly. You can also choose the date the chair is delivered to you, so you are sure to be at home to receive it.
Once the package is unpacked, you will first find the 5-legged metal base, quite heavy – a first sign of sturdiness. The rest of the cardboard is also very organized: the seat and the base are perfectly protected, and all the remaining elements are stored in a box (cover, wheels, assembly instructions, etc.).
So we’re on to something similar to Core LX Plus… and even, I would say, more reliable! In the previous test, some parts were indeed scattered in bulk and without protection. Here, nothing to complain about; surprising when we know that this gaming chair is cheaper than the previous one…
The assembly of the gaming chair: simple and relatively fast
The process being exactly the same as for the Core LX Plus, I won’t spend too much time on it.
The assembly instructions are revealed with images only, certainly for international distribution, so anyone can understand regardless of the language. Note however that you get a guide with proper instructions by flashing the QR Code at the back of the manual.
It reveals a number of steps, which can be a bit worrisome. Fortunately, the assembly is very quick: count between 10 and 20 minutes, depending on how good you are at putting things together. I mounted it alone – no worries on that side. The assembly of the seat with the backrest is quick and easy, as are the covers and the mechanism. Installing the chair and the jack on the base can be a bit confusing because of the weight of the whole thing, but it goes quickly.
Although identical to the assembly of the Core LX Plus, the assembly of this gaming chair seemed easier to me. The screws fit perfectly into the threads – when you have to go over it several times, it makes me angry – and you didn’t have to force a lot to integrate the wheels into the base. Was it a stroke of luck or more attention to detail? I don’t know, but it left me with a very good impression.
Quality manufacturing, a classic design and rather versatile
This is indeed an excellent point for AK Racing, which demonstrates the strength of the price/quality ratio of this model. The metal base is solid, the same for the mechanism, also for the screws, again and again for the flawless stitching… It’s honestly very convincing. My only complaint: what happened with the inside of the base? It’s full of splinters, little bits of metal sticking out.
Was I unlucky or does the manufacturer not care just because the inside of the base is not normally visible? Mystery.
In addition to the reliability it ensures, the quality of the materials gives the chair a very serious and sophisticated look. Visually, it could easily be placed one price range higher. Some cheap elements (in my opinion) remain however, such as the armrests and their base, or the famous notches at the top of the backrest. I understand that they bring a touch of originality, a (AK) “Racing” touch to the whole, but it looks too cheap in my eyes.
I don’t have anything specific to say about aesthetics, this is very subjective. However, I recognize a simple style, likely to please the greatest number of people and to fit into many room decorations.
Excellent comfort at this price range
To welcome us with softness and sensuality, AKRacing relies on cold-cured foam; a reference in the field. The padding deploys a density of up to 55 kg / m3, promising both comfort and durability.
As soon as you sit down, you almost immediately appreciate the virtues of the gamer chair. The feeling when you first sit is quite balanced, but the comfort is resolutely soft; you feel like you’re in a cocoon! However, the observation on the width of the seat is once again valid, namely that it is quite small. It is therefore, if not impossible, at least uncomfortable to sit cross-legged. If you have a large frame, a chair like the Oraxeat XL 800 will be better for you.
I had excellent feelings about the seat, then, and what about the backrest? For back and spine support, it’s frankly excellent. The ergonomic shape of the backrest therefore provides perfect rest. However, I don’t really recommend this gamer chair to people with broad shoulders. The curved shape on the top of the backrest actually hits the shoulders of tall people.
Overall, I really feel great about the price. Now let’s focus on two aspects: the fabric covering and the support cushions.
The choice of fabric for the lining: what are my thoughts about it?
Imitation leather is generally the coating of choice for manufacturers. Resembling luxurious leather, it is also comfortable. However, I often prefer fabric, and this is once again the case with the Core Ex gamer chair:
– A durability easier to estimate. Imitation leather may look its best at first, but it can quickly crack after 1-2 years… In comparison, fabric offers better reliability (in my opinion). And here, there is no doubt: it appears to me to be of very good quality.
– A soft and fluffy touch. Just by touching it, the fabric provides that special feeling, which is particularly pleasant.
However, I would like to draw your attention to one point: care, for which fabric is more difficult than imitation leather. For a daily / regular cleaning, a small vacuuming is more than enough. However, if a stain occurs, you should be reactive and clean immediately with an appropriate solution to prevent the stain from soaking into the fabric. Fortunately, the black color limits the damage if you can’t remove it completely.
What are head and back cushions worth?
Aaaah, the infamous ones! As much as they disappointed me on the Core LX Plus, I’m quite satisfied on this model.
We’re done with the headrest that looked more like a cover that you can take with you in the evening. Here we have a real cushion, well padded and it’s not about to change shape. Its thickness offers a good support for the neck, with a rather nice bouncing effect. It’s quite imposing and therefore won’t please everyone, but in my opinion, it wonderfully compensates for the hardness of the chair at the level of the head.
Concerning the back cushion, my feelings are mixed, with the same impressions as for the previous AK Racing model. It is well padded and fulfills its role of supporting the back vertebrae, but I don’t really find it necessary in view of the already excellent support provided by the backrest.
Overall, I’m much more convinced than I was with the Core LX Plus. An amazing observation, again, because it is a 100 euros more expensive model than this one.
The chair features: seat, backrest and armrests
Like any gaming chair worthy of the name, the AKRacing Core Ex boasts a wide range of customization features for the comfort you expect.
– Seat height adjustment
You can adjust it, but the maximum height is too low for my taste. Compared to my desk, the armrests are a few centimeters below the top, which is not necessarily ideal.
– The inclination of the backrest, up to the full reclining position
I already mentioned it for the Core LX Plus model and my observations are once again valid: it is without a doubt an asset of the model. It is indeed possible to push the inclination up to 180°, which is a lying position (like in bed). Without a footrest, it may seem like an accessory, but if you have such a support, you can enjoy a well-deserved nap after an intense gaming session. On a more anecdotal level, I also find it fun to simply lie down, legs and arms in “starfish” mode, for a nice relaxing moment.
Although it is possible to freely adjust the tilt from 90° to 180°, AK Racing defines 4 modes: work and gaming (90°), default (120°), relax (165°) and rest (180°).
The adjustment is made via a lever on the side, as usual. And as usual, I advise you to proceed carefully when you bring the backrest back to you. If you jerk it, the backrest will spring back quite quickly. It doesn’t hurt, fortunately, but it’s surprising.
– The 3D armrests are not the strong aspect of the model.
I was saying about the armrests of the AKRacing Core LX Plus that they did the minimum required; unfortunately, this is true once again.
On the composition side, we are on a classic 3D structure: you can therefore adjust the armrests in all three directions: left / right; up / down; front / back. So you can choose the settings according to your activity – for example for relaxation or work – or simply according to your preferences. But the ergonomics could have been much better.
The height adjustment, for example, is rather jerky; one could argue that it allows you to choose the height more precisely, but that’s more frustrating than anything else. The same goes for the front/rear adjustment: it’s a notched system (and not sliding like the Secretlab XL Titan, see the Softweave fabric test), so the changes are jerky here too.
The left / right rotation is not blocked. In other words, if you grab your chair by the armrest to bring it towards you, it will immediately become unstable. I would have appreciated the fact that I could have simply activated a button to release the mechanism, blocked the rest of the time.
In terms of comfort, AKRacing doesn’t do much better. They are certainly not uncomfortable but simply serve as a support. They are rigid and the padding is almost unnoticeable. In keeping with the soft comfort of its seat, the manufacturer could have made an effort on this aspect. It should be noted, however, that armrests of this kind are rather common at this level of the range – one always expects armrests worthy of the name!
My conclusion on the AKRacing Core Ex gaming chair
I am honestly impressed with the quality of this model, and this, for an affordable price. If I were to award Olympic medals for best value, this gaming chair would be a big hit on the podium.
It certainly shares some weaknesses with the LX Core Plus chair, such as the seat being a bit narrow or the armrests being too basic; and yet $100 cheaper, the Core Ex sometimes manages to do better: the cushions are a worthy example.
No doubt for me: at this level of range, for this price, it is an excellent reference.
What I liked:
- Great craftsmanship, especially at this price.
- Assembly without headaches
- The essential features are there
- The pleasant surprise of the 180° inclination
- A soft and enveloping comfort
- A particularly long guarantee
- Comfortable head cushion…
What I disliked :
- … Even if the back cushion is not very useful…
- Armrests that provide a minimum level of comfort and ergonomics.
- The maximum height of the chair is a little low for my taste
- The backrest width too small for people with wide shoulders