It has now been roughly 16 months since most of us started working from home. While some of us found the motivation to use this time for working out at home and lose the extra kilos, the rest of us found solace in even longer hours of procrastination — amid endless complaints of the lack of a healthy work-life balance. I firmly belong in the latter group, and the worst of the lot — the ones who chose to not set up a work corner in the initial months. The price that I paid for it is two bouts of excruciating back ache. Interestingly, those happened in the first eight months of the 16 we’ve spent working from home. The rest (and latest) eight months have been spent working while sitting on the Green Soul Monster Ultimate chair.
Back when Green Soul, an Indian startup, sent me the Monster Ultimate chair back in late November 2020, I was far from convinced about its abilities. I’ve always seen most things with the special ‘gaming’ tag on them with a bit of suspicion, which you would too once you realise that most ‘gaming’ headsets are not exactly better than their standard counterparts in terms of audio. Truth be told, I still stand by it, for I’ve found the Monster Ultimate chair to be much more than a gaming accessory. In fact, it’s anything but that, and that’s its biggest strength.
Setting up: Not a breeze, but clear instructions make it convenient
First of all comes the process of setting up the chair. Green Soul has an illustrated instruction sheet as part of the chair’s packaging, which needs to be assembled first. The manual comes with a disclaimer, urging you to first watch a YouTube video on how to assemble the chair, and then read the instruction sheet carefully, before proceeding. Each part is sufficiently well labeled, minus a couple of screws that seem a bit ambiguous. Thankfully, the illustrations and the numbering on them are clear enough for you to understand how to go about the business.
The entire process may not be a breeze, but is easy enough for anyone with a screwdriver to complete successfully. Green Soul supplies two Allen keys with the screws and bits, meaning that you can go about the setup even if you do not have a toolkit at home (pro tip: you must have one). It is an undoubtedly satisfying process to assemble the chair from scratch, and definitely not cumbersome. The entire process takes about 30 minutes at best, and the only thing that you really need to make sure of is to follow the instructions to the T.
Ergonomics and comfort: Makes it worth the money, but can get even better
The very key feature of the Green Soul Monster Ultimate gaming chair is its ergonomics, and for the most part, it gets most of its essentials right. To begin with, once you decide to buy the chair, Green Soul gives you the option to select the chair based on your height. This is to ensure that you get ample seat height adjustment based on your body frame, and that your feet remain on the ground. The variant that we got is in accordance to heights of up to 6 feet, and in terms of these specifics, the chair is spot on.
Then, we have the seat pitch and padding. The seat base is more than sizeable, and can comfortably fit heavier body frames as well. The padding is what impressed me the most, and has stood the test of time so far — it is neither too soft and nor too firm, thankfully tipping the right balance in terms of posterior support. The position of the waist cushion is absolutely spot on as well, although those taller than 6 feet may have hoped for a slightly larger cushion. That said, for my frame, it fits perfectly.
The backrest of the chair has a contoured design, which almost perfectly fits my body frame. This, too, offers a great balance of firmness and comfort. However, the contouring may come across to be a bit narrow for those with wider bodies, and as a result, may end up being uncomfortably tight. This isn’t adjustable, either, so if you have a body frame that’s wider than 42 inches at the shoulder, it wouldn’t be particularly comfortable.
The height and position of the armrest are both adjustable. However, I personally found the lowest height setting of the carbon fibre-style armrests to be a touch too high — and also a touch too short. Ideally, if the armrests could be adjusted to come closer to the backrest, and could be lowered by another 3-4 inches, it would have been pitch perfect in terms of supporting the forearms. However, Green Soul’s armrest adjustments are geared for those who place their laptops on a desk surface and not on their laps (which is what you should be doing), so as long as you work sitting on a desk, you’d find the armrests to be absolutely fine.
The neck pillow is perhaps the only loose end that I found with the chair. Its attachment comes off too easily, and the pillow itself could have offered better neck support too. That said, once you figure out a way to hook it tightly to the chair’s back, you’d find plenty of comfortable angles to adjust the neck pillow in — it’s all a matter of trial and error. It is, however, something that Green Soul may want to work on and find a better adjustment for — in future iterations of this chair.
Quality and durability: On point with essentials, minus a few bits of plastic
Upon first impressions after setting up, the Green Soul Monster Ultimate gaming chair does not creak. The base and spring are strong enough to hold up even if you recline it to close to 180 degrees, and choose to lie on it. For reference, it could support my 5’11”, 80kg body frame very well, without feeling wobbly or unstable at any point. This has held true right from the time when we assembled, up until now — a solid eight months into regular usage of the chair.
The chair’s revolving base, the wheels, the base and back support all feel very sturdy and solid, and have an air of good, reliable quality — something that you would expect if you’re spending close to Rs 20,000 on a chair. After eight months of regular and not particularly careful usage, the reclining joints of the chair have not offered any regular creaks at all, which is a major plus for the Monster Ultimate. The armrests, even though clearly faux carbon fibre, are good enough in terms of sturdiness, and on overall terms, it feels like a chair that’s pretty much worth its price tag.
However, the Green Soul Monster Ultimate is not devoid of quirks. The armrests and the casing on the joint between the backrest and seat base are of a rather cheap plastic quality, with tacky in-hand feel and very scratchy, hard plastic finish, These isolated bits are a far cry from the overall quality of the rest of the chair, and even though they aren’t something that you’d interact with everyday and have a perfunctory purpose, you wouldn’t exactly want such cheap bits of plastic on such a premium chair.
The recline adjuster, while sturdy enough, isn’t the smoothest, although such things may vary between units. On overall terms, though, nothing about the Monster Ultimate is a deal breaker in terms of quality and durability. Over our eight months with the chair, we’ve only lost one part — the screw concealer cap to the left hinge of the chair. It’s not something that affects the chair at all, and in general, the chair feels super sturdy and solid.
Looks: Opt for the all-black one if you want it to blend in
This one, though, is a bit of a curveball. The Green Soul Monster Ultimate is strictly meant to sit behind work desks, and even then, wouldn’t suit your home’s aesthetic if you have wood furniture and fabric based seating and curtain textures. It is, in fact, difficult to fit into any home aesthetic apart from if you have a gaming corner or room, complete with RGB LED cabinets and funky studio monitors on the wall.
It would, however, fit fine behind wooden work desks — as long as you pick the all-black colour variant. The one we have with us has cyan inserts on a black base, which Green Soul’s Anwer Adnan claimed is the most popular for them, among gamers. The chair has its own presence, and looks its part in terms of being sturdy. However, do ensure that you pick the all-black one if you don’t have gaming corners at home, and don’t want the funky design to stand out from your otherwise typical home furniture.
Verdict: A chair you’ll grow to like over time
The Green Soul Monster Ultimate is undoubtedly an excellent ergonomic chair, and is worth much more than being just for gamers. It is sturdy, feels solid, is easy to setup, and offers great support to your back — something that we increasingly need as we continue to work from home. A few niggles, such as more adjustable armrests and a better neck pillow, are pointers that can certainly be improved in future variants of the chair. If this is what catches your fancy right now, be rest assured that the Rs 18,990 price tag of it is going to be worth it over time.