MSI MAG CH120 I gaming chair review
Quick verdict: Plush leather and firm foam padding make the MSI CH120 I gaming chair feel like a high-end product deserving of its premium price tag.
- Premium look and feel
- Seat and back rest offer firm support
- Remains comfortable over extended gaming sessions
- Foam padding is a little on the stiff side
- Limited options for back rest angle adjustment
- Not the cheapest gaming chair on the market
Gaming chairs tend to fall into one of two categories: those that resemble racing seats and those decked out in vibrant colours and flashy designs intended to draw the attention of everyone in the vicinity. For the MAG CH120 I, MSI has taken a different approach. Its subdued aesthetic aims to convey a sense of elegance and luxury, taking cues from executive office chairs for both its look and feel.
Does this refined aesthetic help set the CH120 I apart from the competition? Let's find out.
- Looks and feels like a premium product
- Strong, resilient leather covering
- Below-average height might deter taller gamers
The MSI CH120 I has a premium look going for it that calls to mind the plush seats in a luxury car. It's almost entirely black with an outline of tasteful grey edging. The only concessions to its gaming origins are two MSI dragon logos on the front and back of the headrest and the "True Gaming" slogan stitched into the back-left shoulder.
This minimalist aesthetic is quite attractive, especially if you're exhausted by the loud colours and attention-grabbing designs of many competing gaming chairs. It bolsters the chair's versatility, conveying the sense of speed and power expected of a gaming peripheral while ensuring it doesn't look wildly out of place in a professional office environment.
Style isn't all the CH120 I has to offer. Its leather covering is sleek and cool to the touch, resisting stretching and prodding with a strength that promises to last through plenty of stress and strain. A sturdy steel frame lies beneath the leather, rated for supporting loads of up to 150kg. The plastic used for the armrests and side covers isn't quite as hardy, but it feels resilient enough for the wear and tear it's likely to get.
One characteristic of the CH120 I that doesn't come across in photos is its height: it's a good bit shorter than your typical gaming chair. The headrest measures in roughly 15cm lower than most other gaming chairs I've tested, with my head sitting flush with the top of the headrest. I'm around 175cm, so taller folks may want to keep that in mind when considering the CH120 I.
Along with the chair itself, MSI has packed in a removable head pillow and lumbar cushion for extra support. The head pillow attaches via an elastic strap you wrap around the headrest, while the lumbar cushion uses two suspender-like straps that hook through the holes on the back of the chair, letting you adjust its height to provide support to specific parts of your back.
- Comfortable to sit in for hours at a time
- Firm seat and back rest promote upright posture
- May be a little stiff for some folks
Balancing give and resistance is a challenge for any gaming chair. With the CH120 I, MSI has erred on the side of resistance, giving its seat and back rest a firmness designed to encourage an alert, upright posture. That's important, since good posture is critical for preserving the long-term health of your back.
The trade-off here is that the chair isn't as comfortable as softer seats like the Anda Seat Spider-Man gaming chair. That's not to say it's uncomfortable – I sat in it for hours at a stretch without experiencing any discomfort. Still, sitting down lacks the same sense of relaxation that softer, more supple seats provide.
If the back rest proves too stiff for your liking, you can mitigate it somewhat by using the included head pillow and lumbar cushion. Both are tremendously soft and squishy, absorbing pressure rather than resisting it for a more relaxing seated position. You do have to be careful about your posture, as the softer your support, the more likely you are to slouch.
As is the norm for gaming chairs these days, the CH120 I sports 4D armrests. They can be raised and lowered, rotated, slid horizontally inwards and outwards and moved forwards and backwards. Their plastic surface is cool and pleasant to lean on, with a smooth texture that keeps your arms from slipping as heat and moisture build up. In what seems to me to be counter-intuitive, the outer edge of each armrest is curved but the inside edge is only slightly rounded. It's sufficiently dull to avoid pinching your skin when holding a controller over your lap, but I'd personally prefer curved edges the entire way around.
To account for myriad differences in body shape and size, any good chair – gaming or otherwise – needs to be adjustable. MSI recognises this, equipping the CH120 I with plenty of knobs and levers to tailor its configuration to your preferences.
First up is the back rest. A lever on the side of the chair lets you tilt it all the way back to 180 degrees flat, should you want to take a brief nap without abandoning your seat. Oddly, the mechanism moves in fixed increments rather than smooth degrees, limiting you to a handful of predefined angles.
Another lever beneath the seat controls the height of the chair, from a minimum of 47.5cm to a maximum of 55cm off the ground. A large dial under the centre of the seat adjusts tilt tension, either locking the angle of the entire chair in place or letting you rock it back to a maximum of 12 degrees.
One last noteworthy feature is the inclusion of locks on the caster wheels. These let you stop the wheels from turning, useful for when you're on a hard floor and don't want the chair to shift around with your body movements.
- Quick and simple set-up process
- No external tools required
- Instructional images could be larger
Piecing the CH120 I together is a simple and straightforward process. All the tools you need are included in the box, along with a number of spare screws and washers in case you lose any while you're working.
The instruction booklet provides diagrams for each step, though they're a bit small given the information they're communicating. As it is, you have to squint to make out the details in some of the images. Nevertheless, I managed to assemble the chair in roughly 20 minutes by myself, which is on par with most gaming chairs.
Should you buy the MSI MAG CH120 I gaming chair?
- Buy it if you want a professional-looking gaming chair with a premium build and feel
- Don't buy it if you're looking for a super soft chair you can sink into
The MSI MAG CH120 I is a solid gaming chair that looks and feels like a premium product. Its understated design sets it apart from the more ostentatious chairs on the market, lending it the versatility to serve in both personal and professional environments. Its firm seat and back rest provide the support needed to maintain good posture, though the foam padding may be a little on the stiff side for some people's liking.
At $449, the CH120 I sits smack dab in the middle of typical gaming chair pricing. There are plenty of cheaper chairs, but also many that cost a lot more. High-quality materials and an elegant aesthetic go a long way to justifying its price tag, making it an attractive choice for folks who consider style just as important as comfort.
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