If you’re a racing game nut, there are a number of different ways to elevate your game to the next level. You could just go with the standard “wheel and pedals” setup on your table, but where’s the real immersion in that? Chairs for racing games have been around for a good while – hell Playseats makes a TON of them – but they’re almost always too damn expensive for a normal person, meaning that only those with a large amount of disposable income could ever get into the fun. Now Viper has stepped into the fray, and they sent one of their first run 600 SR seats to me to check out, so how did this little red devil stand up to the competition?
One of the things that really stood out in Viper’s chair, was that it actually felt like they had designed it to actually be a chair first and foremost. I’ve used some of these types of chairs before, and they were so hard that within a half hour of using it your rear end would be in some serious pain. With the 600 SR though, I had almost as much comfort as my couch normally provides. I used this chair for a marathon session, and wasn’t in any pain when it was over. To me, that’s a real mark of quality. Another thing that’s nice is that with how the chair is designed, it is extremely comfortable to stretch completely out in it – even when you don’t have racing pedals attached.
The speakers on the 600 SR really put out some nice sounds, and are incredibly clear to boot. Not I have a middle of the line Denon system that I’m used to playing games on – the sound from this sounded damn well almost as good as what I’m used to. Unfortunately there’s no optical or HDMI inputs, but as this is a first run I’m sure those will be added on later model revisions. As it stands though, the component audio works a lot better than I expected it to. While the racing sounds were good, I had the need to try this chair with other genres of games as well (since racing isn’t completely in my wheel house).
With FPS games (Battlefield 3 and Modern Warfare 3) I found myself getting more kills than I was normally used to – primarily because of the speakers. With how close they were to my head, I was able to instantly pick up on ambient sounds like foot steps, and react accordingly. I was noticing things that I had never noticed when playing games through my main system, which really impressed me. I also tried the chair with RPG games, and played both Skyrim and Demon Souls with it set up. Much like with FPS games, I was hearing things that I had never heard before – in Demon Souls I was hearing the sounds of the creatures before I actually saw them, which gave me more warning to block than I had before. In Skyrim, not only did I hear the bad things coming early, but I also heard some of the more amazing ambient sounds from the environment, that I had previously missed out on.
Now I’ve gone over the comfort levels, the sound levels, and how it works with other genres, but I haven’t hit on the racing aspect yet – and this IS a chair designed to play racing games in. So for this, I had to outsource some of what I was doing. Let me explain: while it’s true that I’m not a fan of racing games (can’t stand them, although I did try one out with the chair but I’m getting ahead of myself), my son and step daughters all love that genre. So rather than me write about something I dislike, I let them try it and let me know what they thought, then supplemented it with my own info (and own words).
For one, being able to adjust the seat to fit users of differing heights is an absolute must! For the 600 SR, you simply undo two knob nuts, and then the whole front piece slides in and out. It’s a simple solution, and means that you can adjust it on the fly without any special tools being required.When adjusting the height of the “table” for a raging wheel though, you do need the included wrench to take out two bolts and slide it the right place before putting the bolts back in. I think the way that they did the main adjustments should have been carried over here as well, but the way they have it works. At any rate, these simple ways to adjust it allowed a ten year old boy, and two eighteen year old girls to switch who was in the chair and who was out (winner got the chair) with hardly any down time from their gaming. My two daughters that do drive loved how much it actually felt like driving, and my son likened the experience to working a go kart – which is about as stunning an endorsement as I’ve ever heard from them. Looks like at tax time I’m going to have to get two more of these bad boys to keep them all happy.
One problem most people would have with a chair like this is finding a place to store it – luckily the 600 SR breaks down fairly easily. Take off those two knob nuts I mentioned earlier, and it breaks into its two main pieces. Take the four bolts off that hold the steering column onto the base, and you’re left with three pieces that are much easier to find homes for than the one big chair (unless you have a dedicated gaming room). Another issue is the rumble, or “force feedback” feature of the seat. As the 600 SR isn’t actually connected to your console by anything other than audio cables, you can imagine it’s not real force feedback. What it ends up being is rumble units that trigger along with the bass. I know that you’re not going to get the real rumble feature at this price point though, but a man can dream right?
The Bottom Line: Cheaper than other gaming chairs that are dedicated to racing, and a hell of a lot more comfortable – the Viper 600 SR is the clear choice for anyone that is looking to buy chair that works for all games.
- The seat is extremely comfortable, and is used for the majority of my gaming anymore
- Whether you use the speakers on the 600 SR alone, or to supplement your existing system through dual audio outputs, the sound that they put out is amazing
- Tear down and set up takes only a few minutes, and changing heights takes about one minute meaning there’s almost no break in the action
- The rumble feature isn’t as good as I would really hope
- No digital audio inputs at all
- Makes me wish I had a bigger living room to hold it full assembled all the time
You can get the 600 SR from Viper’s website right now for the price of $349.00