Before the Respawn 110 gaming chair entered my in-office setup, I was experiencing a dual-chair life. In my home office, I have a fairly robust gaming chair that has held up admirably to the double shifts it had to pull as I moved between work and play during lockdown. Since returning to the real office, however, I'd been consigned to a traditional office chair while swathes of my colleagues sat in thrones that sit among the best gaming chairs. I hoped that the Respawn 110 gaming chair might be my chance to join their ranks, but, unfortunately, that hasn't been the case.
Design, features, & construction
My woes started during construction. The Respawn 110 was not an easy build. The instructions themselves were relatively clear (albeit presented on an unwieldy A2 poster rather than a traditional Ikea-style booklet) but I needed expert help to kickstart the process. Several holes didn't align well enough to make the construction process a one-man job, meaning a colleague had to help me connect the main body of the chair back with its head support. The very fact that those two sections were split raised an eyebrow, but I had other problems to contend with even as the building process went on - in multiple places, I had to manipulate scraps of fabric out of the way of screws to ensure I could actually attach the chair to itself. And once I proudly presented my work to my colleagues, I discovered that I'd put the entire base on back-to-front. I'm willing to put that one down to user error, because I'm not sure it's fair to deduct points on the basis of bruised pride, but it was certainly the capstone of a difficult process.
From the building process, it was immediately apparent that the chair itself was pretty flimsy. Both the backrest and the seat were thinner than I'd expected, with very little in the way of padding; give the seat a squeeze, and you can feel your fingers through the other side of the fabric. At six feet tall and around 230lbs, I'd wondered whether I was just a little too big for the chair, but according to Respawn's website, I fit well within its weight capacity.
For clarity, the sample chair sent out to us was the XL model, and this really is more throne-like than chair-like once I eventually managed to wrangle all the components together. At times I felt dwarfed by it - a rather strange feeling for somebody six foot tall with a broadish frame.
Still, there are no shortage of levers and buttons to mitigate the issue. Beyond the standard up/down and leaning incline, there's a lumbar/curvature knob on the side, adjustable 4D armrests, tilt-tension controls, and a magnetic headrest. This meant a pretty vast range of motion and set-ups, and it was relatively easy to get at all of it, too - most of these features could be tinkered with from the sitting position, with the exception of the tilt-tension elements.
Mind you, the mechanisms could also be quite loud, if you're wary about noise. Actually sitting in the chair I never hear a creak from its well-oiled joints, but whenever I want to adjust something, the internal mechanisms produce a series of staccato clicks and pops that make me feel rather self-conscious.
Performance & comfort
My expectations weren't high, but I was pleasantly surprised by how comfortable I found the Respawn 110 at first use. The easily-adjustable backrest meant even at my size I felt I could nestle in a little, which was nice given how warm the Gray Fabric covering I'd opted for felt. It was also nice and easy to move around the office thanks to a solid wheelbase that fitted snugly into the rest of the chair.
Comfortable as I was, however, the seat was so thin that I could quickly feel it bowing around me when I sat down, and it didn't take long before I started to get that telltale lower back ache. A bit of adjustment to the seat angle made a difference, but I was disappointed by the lack of lumbar support.
That broader lack of adjustability is one major concern. Beyond seat height and angle, and tilt tension, there's nothing to adjust. No head support, no lumbar pillow, and rigid plastic armrests that can't be moved at all. It's nice and easy to adjust the angle you're sitting at, but that doesn't really make up for the lack of alternatives on the rest of the chair.
The most disappointing aspect of the Respawn 110, however, is how noisy it is. Within a couple of hours, there was an audible creak whenever I moved forwards or backwards in the chair. By the end of the first day, almost any movement would result in some kind of audible response from the chair. It was that noise that led me to initially wonder whether I was the problem, but now that I know it's marketed to allow for an extra 45lbs, I think it's the Respawn 110's flimsy design catching up to it.
Overall - Should you buy the Respawn 110?
Putting aside the need to buy a pair of noise-cancelling headphones for everyone in the office, the Respawn 110 gaming chair did surpass my limited early expectations in terms of comfort. Since making that first adjustment I've not had any concerns about back pain, and I have enjoyed being able to settle into something a little bigger and broader than a traditional office chair.
For the price, however, I don't think that the Respawn 110 really holds up. With an MSRP of $249.99, for just $50 more you could grab the Respawn Spectre, which comes with more adjustability and much more support. Given the price tag, I'd also be tempted to spend the same amount - or potentially significantly less - on a traditional office chair instead.
How we tested the Respawn 110 (2023) gaming chair
The Respawn 110 was assembled in a professional environment and used as a replacement for standard office chairs for three weeks before writing this review. The chair was used every day in meetings and for day-to-day office work, in an environment where it could easily be compared to a wide variety of other products.
You can read more about how we test gaming chairs and desks in our explainer, and for a more holistic view, check out our full Hardware Policy.
Remember, gaming furniture doesn't stop at chairs - check out the best gaming desks to get the most out of your gaming setup, and if you need a new rig to place on or under that desk, then take a look at our best gaming PCs page too.