The ThunderX3 Core gaming chair delivers rare innovation at an appealing price
- Great price
- Extraordinary adjustability
- “Automatic” adjustability – lumbar support moves with your back
- Soft PU leather (chair and armrests)
- Leatherette picks up marks easily
- Learning curve for adjustability is steep
- Cushions are on the firm side – seat bucket in particular isn’t super supportive
I wasn’t expecting to test the ThunderX3 Core. It was offered almost as a footnote by the PR team who provided me with the Corsair TC200, and I initially said yes with scepticism – I hadn’t heard of ThunderX3, and I hadn’t put the Taiwanese brand’s name down on my group test product list.
But boy, am I glad I did. The ThunderX3 Core fills a valuable niche on our best gaming chair roundup: it’s keenly priced, and yet manages to avoid sacrificing anything noticeable. In fact, it does the opposite: the Core pioneers an interesting new back support system to keep you in good posture. There are a few kinks to iron out, but the ThunderX3 Core still earns its place as my favourite mid-range gaming chair so far this year.
ThunderX3 Core review: What does it do well?
The ThunderX3 Core costs £340, which makes it the cheapest gaming chair I’ve tested this year (beating the Corsair TC200 by £10). Make no mistake, it’s still very much a mid-range chair – but the value for money you’re getting here is pretty spectacular.
To look at, the ThunderX3 Core certainly doesn’t seem like the cheapest chair on test. The all-black model I was sent strikes an imposing shape with its large wings and weave fabric embellishments. The whole thing is clad in leatherette, including the armrests – unusual at this price but thoroughly welcome.
This chair has a wide backrest (59cm) and seat (55cm), but unlike so many others, the ThunderX3 Core doesn’t sacrifice ergonomics for sheer size. That’s because the lumbar support on the ThunderX3 Core is excellent. Not only is it the correct shape – a moderate arch, to match the shape your spine should be – but it also floats, moving with your back. This gives you freedom of movement while keeping your spine supported, and it’s hugely effective (once you get used to it).
Elsewhere, the ThunderX3 Core continues to impress. The adjustability of this chair is top-tier: alongside the usual options, the seat bucket slides 7cm and tilts 5-degrees forwards, which makes it that much simpler to find a comfortable position. Its armrests move smoothly in four dimensions, and its five caster wheels roll cleanly for a chair of this size and weight (at 30.5kg, it’s heavier than all but the £469 Secretlab Titan Evo).
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ThunderX3 Core review: What could it do better?
The downside to all that adjustability is that the ThunderX3 Core takes a hot minute to master. It’s bristling with levers and knobs, a couple of which seem to serve the same purpose – suffice to say that I had the user manual open at all times.
On the same theme, I should note that the backrest won’t recline all that far. I don’t imagine anyone is reclining all the way back in their gaming chair, but it’s also quite difficult to recline at all without really putting your back into it – and once reclined, you’ll have to find the correct knob to lock the backrest into place, otherwise it will spring upright.
I have one final observation, which is that the leatherette cladding has already picked up a number of marks since it arrived at our office. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the material used on the more expensive Secretlab Titan Evo has fared far better.
ThunderX3 Core review: Should you buy it?
The Core is a remarkable effort from ThunderX3. By undercutting its competition without making any horrendous sacrifices, the Core already does enough to earn itself a spot near the top of the pecking order; but by throwing in some impressive innovation, it cements it. As far as I’m concerned, this is the best-value gaming chair around.