The Boulies Master Chair comes from a very well known brand in the office and gaming chair, so the expectations for what is sold as a 'perfect chair for your home office and entertainment', naturally, my ears perk up.
We put a lot of pride in our advice on the best office chairs and the best gaming chairs, as well as the best office chairs for back pain (which I struggle with from time to time myself). To see if the Boulies Master could contend with the best out there, Boulies sent me a review unit in the form of a blue Ultraflex PU-clad chair, to assemble, try out and live with, which I've done for the last month or so now. And let me tell you, those expectations, as high as they were, have been met almost entirely.
Boulies Master Chair review: Design and assembly
Like most chairs, the Boulies Master Chair arrived in pieces in a big box, needing home assembly before using it. But assembling it was straightforward, thanks to the clear and helpful instruction booklet, clearly labelled bolts and screws and the snug but rattle-free fit of every piece.
The frame is made of steel with an aluminium base running on PU casters for safe, scratch-free rolling on wooden floors, so you certainly feel the weight of the construction, although the chair is certainly smaller than some recent chairs I've used recently.
It took me about 40 minutes to put it all together, which is on par with other office and gaming chairs for me, and about five minutes quicker than it took me to assemble the recently reviewed Noblechairs Hero ST.
Once assembled, it looks very attractive indeed. The contoured backrest and the beautifully stitched, slightly back-leaning seat are gorgeous (especially in the blue colour I received) and the arms and control levers are firmly attached. The only wobble is a little side-to-side ride in the armrest, which I assume is a byproduct of them being angle-adjustable, as this applies to any angle-adjustable armrests I've used.
The smooth casters roll freely on wooden floors, and in my carpeted home office they also move without me needing to apply too much force.
Like I mentioned, this chair is a little smaller than many other gaming chairs, with a shallower seat (49cm) and lower backrest (80cm), so while the aforementioned Noblechairs throne suits larger and taller people (up to 6'4"-6'5" at least), this one is a better fit for shorter humans. I'm 5'10" and the back of my head leans back to the top edge of the backrest, so this one tops out at about 6' before I imagine it starting to feel a little too snug. If you're considerably shorter though, the shallower seat will mean this would still be very comfortable for a 5'4" person.
Boulies Master Chair review: Features and comfort
It's a chair, innit? You sit in it.
Humour aside, the Boulies Master Chair has a good height-adjustment range of 6cm (from 45 to 51cm between floor and front of seat), with a tilt mechanism that can be either locked or left free to rock. It leans back considerably far, or 15 degrees, but always feels very stable even at the most extreme lean back.
The armrest can be adjusted for height, width and angle, and I found it easy to adjust and move, where the ability to 'toe-in' the angle helps especially when playing controller-based videogames.
Then there is the lumbar support. This is often neglected, subdued or altogether absent in gaming chairs, where instead you get a pillow to place at your lower back, which isn't ideal for someone who suffers from intermittent back pain, like me.
Here, however, there's lumbar support and plenty of it, which is the reason Boulies can market this as an ergonomic gaming chair. A dial on the right-hand side adjusts it, and I found that I could actually increase it to a point beyond what I needed, which is rare on a gaming chair. In its most extreme setting, I did find it a bit hard and aggressive, but like I did, once you find the right setting for you, it should start to feel nice and comfortable quickly. The dial is a little hard to reach, as it's tucked behind one of the flairs on the contoured back, but it's not a deal-(or back-)breaker.
I usually prefer fabric chairs over leather for long-term comfort as I need to sit in them throughout whole days at work, but the ultraflex leather and microfiber suede combo here is really comfortable. There is more padding in the seat than many other gaming chairs too, which definitely helped me get through the workday.
Finally, there is a neck pillow included, which you can strap around the headrest. I found it useful when sitting and writing for long stretches, as the headrest is quite far back without it. However, the strap (and thus the pillow) would slip upward ever-so-slightly on the leather cover, but that's only a minor niggle.
Boulies Master Chair review: Price
The Boulies Master Chair retails for £339.99/$389.99, but if you keep a keen eye out, there are regular offers and discounts available where you can save around £/$50 off the RRP.
It's a good price for a gaming chair with built-in lumbar support and such a comfortable, premium-feeling cover, and certainly cheaper than many similar gaming chairs on the market, most of which will not be as comfortable as this one.
Should I buy the Boulies Master Chair?
If you're looking for a gaming chair with some added comfort features from ergonomic office chairs, the Boulies Master Chair should be near the top of a very short list. It's comfortable for extended periods of sitting and working/playing, easy to assemble, and very sturdy. If you're over 6'/182cm, though, you might want to steer your search towards a bigger unit than this, but anyone shorter should find it a satisfying investment. Yes, even those with back problems, thanks to the built-in lumbar support.