AndaSeat Dark Demon full review
AndaSeat is not a particularly well-known brand in the UK, but we've had some positive experiences with the firm's gaming chairs. Back in October 2020 we reviewed the Fnatic Edition and gave it an enthusiastic 4 stars out of 5, calling it "a premium gaming chair that's well built, sturdy, and attractive".
Some will have baulked, however, at the Fnatic's price tag (£399.99/$449.99). For those looking to upgrade their home-gaming setup at a more manageable expense, the Dark Demon may be just the ticket. Read on for our full review.
The Dark Demon arrived flatpack, in a vast cardboard box, and took half an hour of reasonably straightforward, albeit sometimes physically strenuous, work to assemble.
The most difficult part of this process may be finding space for everything. This reviewer's small study was barely able to contain all the bits.
The Demon is a large, stable chair with a thick lower cushion and wing support either side of your torso. Available only in the L size, it's rated as suitable for user heights up to 200cm or 6ft 6in (I'm 5ft 11in and felt, in terms of back/head support, there was plenty of room to grow) and weights up to 170kg. (If you want to go bigger still, the XL-rated Fnatic is one to consider.)
Gaming accessories are popularly thought of as - and to be fair quite often are - garishly decorated, but gaming chairs tend to sit at the more tasteful end of that visual spectrum. A common aesthetic is black with highlights picked out in orange or red, or lime green if you're unlucky.
The Dark Demon follows that convention with one of its colour options, a red/black finish which treads a careful path between tasteful and garish. But the all-black version, which I tested, is an altogether more sombre offering, relieved only by a stitched white logo in the centre of the backrest and white lettering behind your head. Fans of the gamer aesthetic as commonly interpreted may find it dull-looking, but it has the advantage of being able to just about double as an office chair for shared spaces.
I quite like the smart, simple look of the all-black Demon - it's still a tiny bit 1980s bachelor pad, but less so than many of its more colourful rivals - although it's worth pointing out that black tends to show up the dust that inevitably collects in the crannies of the seat. You may have to hoover more often than you'd like, or cut back on the desk snacks.
In terms of materials, the chair is made of attractive, durable synthetic PVC leather, with (inevitably cheaper-looking) plastic fittings and a reassuringly weighty underlying steel framework, culminating at the bottom in a truly handsome five-legged aluminium base. All of this has held up well after two months of prolonged and daily use, with no marks, tears or cracks anywhere.
Comfort and features
The leather yields nicely into the memory foam beneath and I found it comfortable to sit in for long periods. (I will add the caveat that I've been testing it in the winter; it's possible that the material will be less pleasant in hot weather, or with bare legs.)
Aside from the materials, the chair offers plenty of adjustment features to help you find the most comfortable posture.
There's a recline lever on the righthand side which, despite repeated use, remains a touch stiff to activate and prone to suddenly leap backwards when it does agree to work. But it's impressively versatile, with (by my count) eight different locked angles, even if the last one is suitable for dentists and 1990s footballers only. You should be able to find one that works for you.
The armrests - which look like basic black plastic, but have a pleasantly soft top surface - each rotate through three angles, and can easily be adjusted up and down, forwards and back, and side to side. I liked having them in the highest position, and found them comfortably supportive when using a mouse, or a mouse and keyboard with left hand only; those who plan to mix gaming with office work may find, however, that when using the keyboard with both hands it's easier to take your elbows off the armrests, which even in the most inward position can't quite cater for this reviewer's (perhaps unusual) close-to-the-body typing posture.
There are also two detachable cushions for those who need more lumbar and/or neck support. These are quite difficult to attach in the first place - the straps are just barely long enough - but secure afterwards, and the back support at least felt great. (I didn't get much from the neck cushion and discarded it, but your mileage may vary.)
And let's offer a final salute to the base, which on your more basic office chair can be a source of much supermarket-trolley unpleasantness. None of that here: the key parts - the five wheels and the rotating mechanism - are all smooth and noiseless, and it's a pleasure whizzing around the room, even on carpet. It's also extremely stable.
The base features a smooth gas-powered raising/lowering mechanism accessed via a bar on the right. As with every raisable chair I've ever used, it's a lot easier to go down than to go up: lowering can be accomplished while sitting on the chair, but raising requires you to either get up entirely or just partially lift your bum and awkwardly try to reach the bar. This is a standard and very possibly industry-wide complaint, I think.
The raising/lowering bar is also used to lock (by pushing in) or release (by pulling out) a function variously referred to in the documentation as tilt and 'Rocking Mode'. When engaged this allows the seat to tilt freely, somewhat like a rocking chair.
But only somewhat. The difficulty with this function, and why it took me so long to work out what was going on with it, is that when you've got the chair in an upright or semi-upright position the weight is distributed in such a way that it's barely possible to rock at all: you have to push the seat up with your legs and then hold it there while it desperately tries to get back to the horizontal. It's the absolute opposite of relaxing, which is what I'm looking for in a 'rocking chair' function.
However, if you use the recline lever first, and lean the chair quite far back, the tilt function becomes usable: the further back the chair is reclined, the less physical effort is required from your legs to make it tilt. By the point at which it becomes comfortable to use, it doesn't really feel like a rocking chair, because you're so close to the horizontal, but it is quite a relaxing position for a cheeky doze.
Price & availability
The Dark Demon has an RRP of £299.99 in the UK, but at time of writing the company is selling it for £269.99. In the US it's similarly reduced, with an original price of $449.99 but a current price of $399.99.
The Dark Demon offers two main advantages: it's cheaper than most of the gaming chairs in our chart, and able to cater for larger gamers (although not quite to the extent of its Fnatic sibling). I would also rate the chair highly for comfort and support, and love its stable, smooth-travelling base.
The comparatively sombre aesthetics might not be for everyone - in the black finish it's got more than a hint of the office chair about it - but some of us quite like that. And there's always the option of the red/black finish if a more spectacular look is desired.
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