Pros: Very comfortable, Great build quality, Simple construction, Price
Cons: Only small height adjustment
A proper gaming chair won't make your computer run faster or directly make you a better gamer, but once you sit in one you'll never want to go back. Gaming chairs have burst onto the market lately as players look for a more comfortable gaming experience. Many brands have recently released products hoping to enter the market that was once dominated by DXRacer and Maxnomic. Today I'll be taking a look at a new product that looks to be a solid contender. The Zone Balance Gaming Chair from Tesoro Gaming promises premium materials and ergonomics at an affordable price. Have a seat and let's see how it goes!
The chair is in the same racing style as most modern gaming chairs. It has a high back that is able to be fully reclined, adjustable armrests, and a solid steel base. The chair comes in all black, black with white accents, and black with red accents. I'll be checking out the red model but there's no physical difference besides color.
The shipping box was very large as expected. The full weight was 59lbs so you know there are very high quality components inside. Luckily the chair is available with free shipping on Amazon. Everything was wrapped and there was plenty of padding to protect the parts during transit. The outer box had some minor dents and cuts in it, but nothing was damaged inside.
Included in the box is just about everything you need. There is the chair base and back, lumbar and head pillows, the solid steel metal base, 5 high quality caster wheels, the class 4 piston, the bottom plate with height adjustment lever, two black plastic side covers, a set of screws and tools, and finally the instructions. The only additional thing you will need is a good Phillips head screwdriver since the included one did not work at all. This is a small oversight in manufacturing on Tesoro's part, but it's such a common item that it won't matter to most people.
The included instruction leaflet, while wordless, was still helpful. The pictures describe what needs to be done and what order. The chair uses the same sized hex bolts for most of the construction so there wasn't any confusion over which screw went where or which screwdriver to use. There are also two smaller screws for attaching the side covers. The recommended way of installation starts with building the base, then attaching the top and bottom parts of the chair, then connecting the piston and wheel assembly to the top.
Before assembling the chair, let's have a look around at the components. The internal frame is made of very sturdy steel tubing that is welded at the joints. You can tell they didn't cut corners here.
The metal plate that attaches to the bottom of the seat is also solid steel. The protruding lever allows for height adjustment of the seat. Unfortunately, the chair only goes up and down about 8cm or 3 inches. This may or may not be fine for some users depending on the height of your desk. I wish the piston had a few more inches of movement to allow for lower and higher desks, but this was my only main complaint about the chair and its construction. Also built into this plate is the spring for adjusting the tilt tension. This determines how easy it is to lean back in the chair. The knob is pretty hard to get to and turn once assembled so I would have liked a more user friendly solution here as well.
Covering the frame is a cold core foam with polyurethane faux leather. The surface is firm yet supportive. I found it to be very comfortable without the chair being too flimsy and sagging under pressure. It also performed well during extended gaming sessions. I never felt sweaty and clammy or that the chair was uncomfortable. Overall I wish the material was slightly softer on the bottom cushion, but it did well at keeping me comfy.
The stitching and accents were all very high quality. Even at the seams, it was hard to find any defects. The hard plastic cutout at the top of the backrest was a little strange though since bumping your head on it hurts if you lean back too fast. I would recommend just covering this with the included pillow. I think covering the edges with foam or some padding would be good instead.
Overall, building the chair was very simple. I found taking photos to document the process was harder than actually building the chair. It took less than 30 minutes and while a second person would have been helpful at times, it is very easy to do with just one person. Tesoro has put together an assembly video if you get stuck, but I'll walk you through the quick steps to build the Zone Balance.
The first thing you will want to do is gather the steel leg assembly and 5 caster wheels. The first thing I noticed when I picked it up was just how heavy and solid the base was. It's constructed out of solid steel which should offer excellent durability and resistance to bending or sagging. The 5 caster wheels feature polyurethane wheels and were equally well built.
Locking the five wheels into place took way more effort than I expected. There is a small locking ring at the top that must be inserted all the way into the base. It felt like I was breaking something when putting this together since it requires a lot of force. I think a more gently mechanism here would be a good improvement for future generations.
Up next, the piston simply slides in and rests on the base without any screws. It will be held in place using just the weight of the chair and occupant. This makes it very easy to take apart for storage or transportation. Make sure the plastic cover has the correct orientation before proceeding. Once that is done, you can put the base aside since that's all that needs assembling.
Now we will need to attach the top and bottom portions of the seat. I found this to be the hardest part since they are heavy and it's hard to hold them in place while screwing them in. Now is when you will want a partner to help if you have one. I started by aligning the two halves and screwing in a single bolt on one side, then, being careful not to let the chair fall and get damaged, I moved to the other side. Lining up this second hole was very difficult but after a few minutes, I got the second screw in. From here, attach the remaining screws and tighten them firmly.
We're on the home stretch now. After that, you'll want to find the metal plate for attaching to the piston and base assembly. It screws in with four more of the same bolts from the previous step. This one was much easier to secure since you can turn the chair on its side while you do this.
Before joining the two halves, we need to attach the twin plastic covers to either side of the seat. This hides the bolts to give the chair a cleaner aesthetic. This step was one of the only ones where I felt the build quality could have been a bit better. The tolerances in alignment were slightly off so the cover and screw didn't line up at first. After some forceful coercion, I got it to fit and screw in properly.
All that's left now is to lift the completed seat and attach it to the piston and base. It just slides in with no bolts required; very easy. That's it, you're all done! Stick around for my final thoughts on using the chair though. In terms of size, the chair is 50" tall and 27" wide at the base. The seat portion is 15" wide but spreads to 22" at the edges. The backrest is 30" high and 20" wide in the middle.
The backseat reclines from 90 degrees to a full 180 degreess.
Here are some more shots with me actually sitting in the chair. Note how it reclines past horizontal. Even at this angle, I never felt like the chair was going to tip over. The weight is positioned forward enough that it remains very stable. The armrests move forward and back as well as up and down slightly. Nothing too fancy here, just the standard features. The included cushions are nice but some may not like them. I found the lumbar one to be a bit too firm and the headrest to be a bit too small. You can move them around if you want, or just remove them altogether too.
To wrap up this review and put it simply, I was very pleased with the Zone Balance Gaming Chair from Tesoro. It was easy to build, was very sturdy with high quality components, and was comfortable to sit in for a long time too. Apart from minor preferences in material firmness, there wasn't much I'd do differently. I wish it was slightly more adjustable up and down and that the alignment tolerances between the parts were a tad better, but that's it. It took less than 30 minutes to put together by myself and I see this chair lasting for a long time. Tesoro is a lesser known brand, but I think they have a pretty good product here. They don’t have all the fancy sponsorships of other brands, but Tesoro is able to offer the Zone Balance for much less than its competitors. Every chair is different but I don't see the need to spend upwards of $300 on a chair when a $200 one does just fine. DXRacer and Maxnomic: watch out, Tesoro is coming for you.
Here is a link to the forum post for discussion.