2021 is already shaping up to be one of the most exciting years for gaming chairs of late. First, BMW comes out with a gaming chair concept with built-in climate control, and now I’m sitting in the first all-mesh gaming chair called the DXRacer AIR.
The timing couldn’t be better. I’m currently traveling in Asia, where the average temperature in July is a sweltering 35° Celsius. It’s not uncommon for mercury to hit 40°C in August.
The main selling point of the DXRacer AIR is its breathability. But how does the chair fare in other important areas such as comfort and build quality? Find out in this review.
At a Glance
- Much better than any PU leather chair in keeping you cool
- Height adjustable headrest that doesn’t bop around
- 4D armrests that lock into every position
- Bucket-less seat much easier to clean
- Mesh feels rather coarse
- Backrest only reclines 135 degrees
- Hard wings on the backrest get in the way for people with narrow shoulders
- Plastic lumbar support not very comfortable
- Pricy with a RRP of $500 USD
Quick Video Review
DXRacer AIR Design – What’s Different
The DXRacer AIR is a large modular gaming chair with a dual toned exoskeleton frame made of plastic. It comes in a choice of three colors:
Kudos to DXRacer for pushing the envelope stylistically – love it or hate it, this is one of the most striking designs in a gaming chair we’ve seen in a long time, breaking mold from the typical high back gaming chair that has become all too predictable in the looks department . It’s a head turner for sure.
The AIR comes with large wings on the backrest that remind you that this is still very much a gaming chair.
Three things however separate the AIR from its peers.
The first is the obviously all-mesh seat and backrest. Made of high resilient mesh, it feels coarser than the mesh on some other chairs I’ve tested (more on this below).
The second difference is the flat, bucket-less seat. One of my biggest pet peeves with the bucket seat design is that it accumulates food and dirt like no other. The AIR’s bucket-less seat along with the mesh upholstery completely negates this issue.
And finally, there’s the unique, perhaps convoluted contraption behind the backrest for removing the neck pillow. It gives the chair a very “Starwars” like appearance.
The DXRacer is mostly consistent with other high end gaming chairs as far as features. You’ll find a multi-tilt mechanism that lets you independently lock in the angle of the backrest and seat, adjustable lumbar support, and 4D armrests.
What’s different – and awesome I might add – is the height adjustable neck pillow. It’s mounted on tracks that let you move it up and down around 4”, and stays in place afterwards! At its lowest setting, the neck pillow will fit people as short as 5’8”, but probably not shorter. Just so you know, the weird looking knobs behind the backrest is only there to let you remove the headrest, not physically move it up.
The armrests are also worth mentioning. DXRacer basically borrowed the design of Secretab chairs’ armrests verbatim. They are wide, well padded, and most importantly, lock into position after every adjustment now. They also feel a lot more premium than the ones on other models of DXRacer, such as the DXRacer King.
There is a plastic lumbar support that runs the entire width of the backrest. I was concerned it would feel hard against my back, but it actually feels fine due to the flexible material. You can move the lumbar up and down up to 5”.
And finally, you’ll find a multi-tilt mechanism on the DXRacer AIR. The backrest can recline to 135 degrees, while the seat itself can also tilt another 15 degrees. Both can be locked in at any angle in between. I wished the backrest reclined more actually, coming from previous gaming chairs that all allowed me to lay virtually flat from time to time to really relax. Yes, I’m a recliner.
If you live in a hot climate, there’s nothing more uncomfortable than a sticky chair. I like my Andaseat Antman, but lately we’ve been ignoring each other precisely because of this problem. When it gets hot, the PU leather upholstery not only sticks to my skin, but cuts off air flow underneath completely. Frankly if it’s this hot all year round, I would no longer consider any PU leather chairs moving forward.
This is where the DXRacer AIR really shines. They weren’t kidding when they said this chair is extremely breathable. There isn’t one part of the chair that traps heat or gets sticky against the skin. From the plastic skeleton to the mesh upholstery, this is the chair you want if you’re sitting in the middle of the desert.
The mesh material on the DXRacer AIR comes with large diamond patterns that circulate air really well. Cushioning the front edge of the seat is a flexible plastic panel instead of foam, further preventing heat from accumulating underneath your thighs.
Having said that, there are a few things you should know about the AIR that may affect your comfort.
The first are the wings on the backrest. They are quite large and unbending due to the plastic mold. if you have narrow shoulders, your elbows may hit them whenever you rest your forearms on the armrests.
Secondly, the mesh material on the DXRacer AIR is coarser compared to that on other mesh chairs I’ve tested, such as the Quantum 9000. On one hand it feels like it could be more durable as a result, though if you have sensitive skin, this might not be your favorite material.
Update: After using the AIR for over a month, I’m also starting to wish that the lumbar support had more padding. Unless you position it perfectly below your lumbar spine, it can feel uncomfortable after a while.
There are a few gaming chair brands I just know won’t let me down when it comes to build quality. Secretlabs, AKRacing, Andaseat, and DXRacer are all very consistent on that front.
The DXRacer AIR is no exception. This is one solid piece of hardware. Although the outer shell is mostly plastic, all the structural components are metal, making the chair surprisingly bulky despite the mesh upholstery. Once assembled, the chair feels almost like one piece- there’s no rattling or squeaking anywhere.
The biggest improvement in quality compared to older models of DXRacer has to be the armrests, which as mentioned earlier are now essentially replicas of those found on the Secretlab Titan.
If there’s one area that I feel could be a weak link in the AIR, that’s the plastic panel cushioning the front of the seat’s edge. I believe DXRacer chose flexible plastic over foam here for the sake of better breathability. Regardless, this is a new material for me, and I wonder how much bending it can take before it cracks. It’s especially a concern if you like to sit at the edge of the seat for whatever reason. Only time will tell.
To me, the DXRacer AIR isn’t just a great gaming chair, it’s revolutionary. Often times problems are solved by being bold. The AIR went all in with an untested design in gaming chairs, and came out largely successful. This is the most breathable gaming chair you will find on the market right now, period.