Soundblaster, a name that PC users and enthusiasts have grown up with for years. Creative, the creator of the Soundblaster series of sound cards have been with us since 1981 and a worldwide leader in audio technologies. In 1989, they bought us the now famous and recognized name of Soundblaster. Since this time Creative have released a swathe of different audio products for the PC market, most notably the dedicated sound card. It was an easy choice back in the day, if you wanted quality sound for both game play and music alike, you purchased a dedicated sound card as it was most of the time far better than your onboard sound hardware. However is this the case now all these years later now that onboard sound hardware has vastly improved ? Today we are looking at the Soundblaster X AE-5 Plus, a dedicated sound card for the PC. Read on to see what we find.
In the world of PC gaming, we, as a community, have witnessed companies rise and fall. We have seen them adapt and overcome to the never-ending changes in the market. One of those companies who has stood the test of time is Cooler Master. For almost 30 years, Cooler Master has provided us with amazing products from CPU watercoolers, PSUs down to peripherals. Most of us have owned or still own one or more of their products during our time with the PC, I know I have and still do. They manufacture products to a high standard, while remaining cost effective in order to keep prices realistic for their consumers. Over the course of 30 years, Cooler Master has proven to adapt and overcome to the developing market. Is this the secret to their success?
One of those products from Cooler Master is the Caliber X1 Gaming Chair. On their website, they state and I quote “the perfect combination of style and comfort”. This is exactly what I will test along with; build time, practicality, does it improve performance while gaming and if it’s worth your hard-earned cash? Before I start, it’s worth taking note that Cooler Master has taken the time to research the ergonomics on how the common species of gamer sits. The result of this is providing a range of different chairs to suit varied body types. They have provided a size guide that best suits our ass-orted (see what I I did there) body types. Cooler Master has three chairs in the Caliber range which include the Caliber R1, R2 and the X1. All designs vary slightly. You can refer to their size guide to help you decide which fits you best. For reference I am 6’4” (193cm) and weigh roughly 17 stone (110Kg). Using the size table, the Caliber X1 gaming chair is the best one suited to me. See the image below for Cooler Master size guide.
Unboxing and Building
Building the Caliber X1 took no less than 20 minutes. The instructions were simple to follow, which is something that you want as it means you can get start your gaming comfort journey as soon as possible. Cooler Master even provided a multi-tool, so no need for the frantic panic trying to find the right tool for the job. The box in which the Caliber X1 came in is plain. This sounds like a negative point. However, when you consider printed packages aren’t environmentally friendly, especially when most of us will just throw it in the recycling bin after we’re done with it. The parts within the box were all wrapped in plastic to prevent from being scuffed and scratched during transit.
My first impression on the Cooler Master’s Caliber X1 was “wow, that’s big”. From the base of the top of the chair it stands just under 5 foot off the floor and is roughly about a 1 foot and a half wide. It needs to be big for tall guys like me. The Caliber X1 is primarily black PU-leather with sides that have a glossy carbon fiber effect. The PU-leather and fabric are all perfectly stitched together with purple nylon thread. The whole appearance of the chair comes across as “stealthy”. I know it sounds ridiculous describing a gaming chair as stealthy, but with its black and as carbon fiber fabric. You cannot find a better word. The Caliber X1 Gaming chair will look right at home with your gaming setup, but also in the cockpit of an SR-71 stealth bomber. I am sure you get the point.
Many of us use office chairs daily. For most of us we use them while at work, then go home and sit on another. Your probably sitting on one while reading this review. Don’t worry, EHW wouldn’t tell your boss. Yet whether we like or not, using a chair to do our work and the things we love have become a part of everyday life. The downside of this is if you don’t have the right equipment you could develop injury’s, this could range from repetitive strain disorder to back problems, nobody wants that.
Cooler Master’s Caliber X1 gaming chair is not just designed for comfort but is also features an ergonomic design. Such as a lumbar support cushion which can move along the back of the chair to the desired height for extra comfort and support. The X1 also has a feature you don’t see often on other gaming chairs, which is that the armrests can move in four different ways like height, side to side, back and forwards and pivot inwards and outwards the image below will give you a better understanding on how they work.
You can even recline up to a whopping 180° for those times where you just lay back and relax. When reclined at 180° it is still sturdy and not uncomfortable as I originally thought it would be. It also comes with a removable headrest, another feature you often see with other gaming chairs and is perfect for those times where you just want to lean back after a long gaming session.
The chair can also rock backwards and lock in a position you desire. This is all done by an easily accessible leaver just under the seat. The rock function has adjustable tension to loosen or tighten the rock angle as you wish. The Caliber X1 also features a class 4 gas lift so you can lower the chair with ease. Now the base of the chair is metal, which is also something you rarely see on gaming chairs, as most of them built with more plastic than metal.This is a great move by Cooler Master as it adds to the premium aesthetic and more often than not will only add to overall durability. They also equipped the chair with five 75mm wheels, which work smoothly on most surfaces. All the materials that have been used to construct the Caliber X1 is all hard-wearing and easy to clean. This is a telltale sign that The X1 built to stand the test of time.
Not just Gaming chairs but also office chairs should be the most important piece of equipment in the workplace or/and in the home environment when working with computers. They should not just be comfortable, but provide proper support for your back and neck to prevent strains, back and neck ache. When a chair can do all of those, you can rest assured that you can maintain a healthy posture during work and play. The X1 Gaming Chair is the perfect candidate for the office and gaming, and I recommend getting Cooler Master’s Caliber X1 and I will go into detail below as to why.
When I first sat on the Caliber X1 I felt like I was a captain of a starship. My Star Trek quotes didn’t impress my Misses. The chair feels like they built it for a king. It’s sturdy and comfortable. Within a few moments, I can adjust swiftly to another position depending on if I am gaming or wanting to lean back and relax to to a movie. It feels like it’s supporting me just right. I can easily spend anywhere for 12 to 16 hours a day at my computer desk working and/or gaming and Cooler Master’s Caliber X1 has made these hours fly by even while doing my boring day job. For gaming, the Caliber X1 gets me more immersed, alert, and comfortable while having a gaming session. Not having to quit early because my back is aching or a stiff neck is a huge bonus.
Gaming chairs can cost anywhere between £150 for a low budget and up to £600+ for the high-end. At the time of writing this review, the Caliber X1 costs £422 on Amazon UK website. If had to put the X1 in the high-end/low-end scale. I would definitely say the X1 is a high-end chair and you only pay a mid-range price. The X1 comes with lumbar support and headrest which some high-end gaming chairs don’t. The X1 also comes with a 2-year warranty, and I’ll be surprised if anyone uses it as they built the X1 using hard-wearing materials that will take some punishment. The frame and armrest are built with aluminium and the fabric is PU-leather. I am a huge fan of the 4D armrest (as detailed above). It is a huge plus moving them to suit the task at hand. I am also a fan of how easily the X1 can recline, with it I take a break without even leaving my desk. There is only one small drawback and that it only comes in one colour, black. The X1 is part of the Caliber range which comprises 2 other chairs. They do come in other colours however the other variants are smaller in size. You can check out their range HERE.
In conclusion, I would highly recommend Cooler Master’s Caliber X1 in the place of work or as part of your gaming setup. The pricing is reasonable. The build quality is out of this world and as soon as you see one, you can tell they built it to last. Going from your standard office chair, the upgrade to the X1 has certainly helped me to work and game longer without the discomfort I used to get.
We would like to thank Cooler Master for the opportunity to review this product.
Fancy getting yourself your own Caliber X1 ? Check out Cooler Masters @ Amazon
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