Cougar Argo gaming chair review: minimalist yet ergonomic

The Cougar Argo lacks frills but its highly adjustable design is excellent for posture, comfort and overall wellness

Cougar Argo gaming chair review
(Image credit: Future)
T3 Verdict

What the Cougar Argo lacks in bells and whistles, it makes up for in ergonomics. Highly adjustable (and breathable) with a clearly robust build, this modest gaming chair will help you correct that chronically bad posture and offer you a comfortable throne… even if that mesh seat isn’t exactly what you’d call plush.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Highly adjustable

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    Terrific ergonomics

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    Toned-down gamer’s look

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    Great build quality

  • +

    Easy setup

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    There are more affordable alternatives

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    Not a lot of fun features

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    Mesh seat leave marks on bare skin

The Cougar Argo may not be sailing out on an epic Hellenic journey to retrieve a golden fleece, but it seems to be living up to its legend. At least, of being one of the best ergonomic gaming chairs right now. While most gaming chairs are competing to be the fanciest and most kitted-out thrones, it has opted to take the modest route and put all its focus instead on your comfort. And, rightly so.

Gaming chairs have a bad rep of being impractical, perhaps due to manufacturers spending more time and effort in having the flashiest (or gaudiest) designs and non-essential features as opposed to concentrating on the most important things like ergonomics.

Instead, the Cougar Argo gets right down to the basics. So, while it might not have some snazzy design you can show off on Twitch, RGB lighting or even cup holders, it deserves a place among the best gaming chairs on the market. 

Cougar Argo gaming chair review

(Image credit: Cougar Gaming)

Cougar Argo gaming chair review: Design and setup

True to its minimalist nature, the Cougar Argo is a breeze to set up from start to finish. The pieces come in a neatly packed box, arranged in a way so that each is secure and protected yet easily removed once the box is opened.

While you should probably follow the assembly instructions – which, by the way, are clear and easy to understand – putting all these pieces together is a no-brainer. Even those who haven’t owned a gaming chair will have no problem with the assembly.

Perhaps the hardest part of the process is the base. If you’ve set up a computer chair with wheels before, you’ll know that those wheels are a little tough to pop into place. But, once you’ve done a couple of these, you’ll start to get the hang of it. Just make sure to put something underneath the base so as not to scratch the base itself – a thick fabric should do, or the box the chair came in.

Fully assembled, the Cougar Argo tops at 50.9 inches in height, adjustable down to 48.8 inches. That puts the seat at 19 inches at its lowest and 21.2 inches at its highest, which is certainly an adequate range for those of average height. However, those taller might struggle a little, as it does sit lower than other gaming chairs on the market. Also, if your table sits a little higher, your arms and shoulders might suffer – you’ll definitely want to double-check the measurements before you hit that buy button.

On the plus side, with about 20 inches of space between the arms, there’s room here for most people to sit in. And, thanks to that 330.7-pound (150 kg) weight capacity, it can accommodate gamers on the heavier side as well.

Weighing 55.11 pounds (25 kg), there’s a bit of heft to this gaming chair especially around its five-star aluminum alloy base. That’s actually great. It’s heavy enough that it won’t roll at your slightest movement, but not too heavy that it’s hard to move when you want it to. And, there’s zero wobble. The three-inch caster wheels seem robust as well.

Cougar Argo gaming chair review

(Image credit: Cougar)

What we love about the whole thing is that, while these wheels turn quite easily and smoothly, the chair is heavy enough that it seems to intuitively stop itself from rolling too far. It won’t any win any office chair races, and that’s a good thing.

There’s much to be said about the materials Cougar decided to use on the Argo. Going for something breathable, it opted for a mesh seat and back cushion, and PVC leather for the lumbar pillow and headrest. The idea is to promote better airflow, minimize body heat, and keep things nice and cool while also providing excellent support.

The attempt is certainly valiant and mostly successful. It’s hard to get too hot or too sweaty in this chair, even when your computer is working extra hard and emitting all that heat. The seat does somewhat feel weightless, and it might be better in the long run for your back and lumber region.

However, we would have loved a plusher seat offering the same amount of support. Besides, that mesh material is not at all shorts-friendly. If long pants, jeans or joggers are not your usual choice of gaming attire, then you might want to lay down a soft blanket or a pillow over it, lest you risk annoying marks on your skin.

The Cougar Argo comes in two color schemes: the original black with orange trimmings, and the mostly solid black. Those who want a gaming chair somber enough to moonlight as an office chair during workdays will certainly love the solid black one, even if it does have the Cougar logos stamped in orange on both the lumbar pillow and the headrest.

Cougar Argo gaming chair review

(Image credit: Cougar)

Cougar Argo gaming chair review: Performance and features

When choosing a gaming chair, you want something that will preserve the natural curve of your spine and minimize the strain put on it when you’re sitting for a good few hours. That is, you want a chair with just the right back support; one that’s not too soft that your back starts to curve. You’ll also want something that will offer great support for your head and neck, as well as your forearm and elbow.

The Cougar Argo certainly ticks all those things off the list. The headrest not only offers plenty of support, but also has two points of adjustability. While there is no height adjustment here in a traditional sense, the two hinges on both ends of the neck do allow you to tilt this headrest in many different ways including forward and back. This means you can adjust it to the way that feels most comfortable to you.

The armrests are 3D adjustable, so you can adjust their height with an effortless pull of a small lever, swivel them more to the right or to the left, and move them forward or back. Much like the headrest, there’s a lot of different ways you can tweak it to what best suits you and your body.

On to the backrest, which as we mentioned before is made of mesh to promote breathability and circulation. It feels robust and provides plenty of support, and that mesh makes you feel like you’re in a hammock, which is nice. And, unless you like gaming without your shirt on, that texture is certainly not an issue.

The lumbar support comes in the form of a curved implement with a plastic foundation, a mesh back and a PVC leather finish in the front. There seems to be a very thin layer of foam sandwiched between the mesh and the PVC leather, but it’s of little consequence here. This isn’t your traditional lumbar pillow but there’s still plenty of bounce and comfort.

It’s the curvature that’s really the key point here. Because of its plastic foundation, that curvature stays solid (unlike a pillow or a foam that tends to compress when you put your weight on it) and is a terrific consistent lower back support. Not only that, it helps maintain your back’s natural curvature as well, which doesn’t just promote proper posture but also gives your spine a nice little satisfying stretch whenever you sit back.

The lumbar support isn’t adjustable. However, the whole backrest can recline quite easily up to 130 degrees, with the lumbar support feeling comfortable no matter what angle it’s on. This gives you the option to lean back and relax if you need a quick break or if you’re playing with a PC controller.

It also helps that the seat can slide forward to give your body a bit more coverage when laying down. We only wish there was a footrest for a much more comfortable position.

The adjustment levers can be a bit confusing at first. The backrest lever locks the backrest when it’s up, while the seat lever locks the seat in place when it’s down. But it shouldn’t take you that long to get used to it.

Cougar Argo gaming chair review

(Image credit: Cougar)

Cougar Argo gaming chair review: Price and verdict

If you’re looking for a gaming chair with all the trappings, you’re going to want to look elsewhere. However, if you want one that focuses on what matters, you’ll appreciate Cougar Argo’s versatility, level of comfort and solid build.

This gaming chair is light on extras but has plenty to offer when it comes to adjustability and keeping things comfortable. It not only offers plenty of support and helps you keep great posture, but it also keeps you cool during the most intense gaming moments. It’s also clearly made of robust, high-quality materials, which means it’ll last you a lifetime.

If all of that isn’t worth its $499.99/AU$779 price tag, we don’t know what is. Though sadly for UK customers, they’ll have to find an alternative as it isn’t available there.

Cougar Argo gaming chair review: Also consider

If comfort is of absolute importance but you’re not completely sold on mesh, very few can stack up to the Secretlab Titan, which offers a host of versions and fabrics. These might cost you a bit more and could end up punching a serious hole in your bank account. However, without the premium customizations, it could end up being cheaper than the Cougar Argo.

On the other hand, if you are sold on the benefits of mesh and have a few more dollars to spare, the $800 / £580 /AU$1050 Vertagear Triigger 350 may just be the best mesh gaming chair out there. It’s certainly worth the price tag, with vast adjustability and premium materials. 

Budget-minded gamers, however, should look towards the Autonomous ErgoChair 2 offers. This $400 / £290 / AU$523 gaming chair may not exactly have exciting gaming frills, but it boasts plenty in the ergonomics department, living up to its name. Plus, you can get it in six different colors so you can somewhat match it with your gaming setup.

Michelle Rae Uy
Michelle Rae Uy

Michelle Rae Uy is a tech and travel journalist, editor and photographer with a bad case of wanderlust. She is a regular contributor for IGN, TechRadar and Business Insider, and has contributed to Thrillist, Paste Magazine, Nylon, Fodor's and Steve's Digicams. Living mainly in California with her adorable cats, she splits her time between Los Angeles, London and the rest of the world.