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Review: Sumo Omni Beanbag

How do you use your Mac? No, not what apps or input devices do you use - what position are you in? Do you sit at a desk, on the couch or maybe in bed? Or maybe you stand at a bench? Are you comfortable right now? I sure am. Have you ever seen a cat make a pillow its bed? Have you ever wanted a giant pillow that you could manipulate for your comfort? I’m sitting in a Sumo Omni Beanbag Chair so read on if you want to hear all about it. I’ll break it down.

Sumo make a large range of what they call “Urban Lounge Gear”, but in Australia they focus on their original giant beanbag, the aformentioned Omni. I think any company that makes just bean bags is going to be a little bit different, and I think Sumo enjoy being that little big extra different.

Have you ever bought or been given a been given a bean bag as a gift? You probably had a large piece of material folded into a neat little package and a few giant bags (probably 100 litres each) of little foam beads. You then rounded up a few family members or friends to hold the bag open while you poured in the beans, inevitably spilling way too many onto the floor. Sumo products are different. They are courier delivered full of beans (well, half full, but more on that later) and ready to go. Just unwrap it and it’s ready for sitting. No muss, no fuss. That’s a plus.

The next thing I noticed about the Omni was the material. Sumo say it’s space age rip-proof ballistic nylon. A few months in and it still looks like the day it arrived. It stays clean (you can just wipe gooey stuff off with a damp cloth) and it’s definitely strong. You feel like you can throw it around without worrying about snagging it on anything. Chucking the thing down on grass, pavers, decking; all no problem. There’s some heavy duty stitching going at the seams too. It does however feel a little cold to touch - while this might feel nice in summer, during the ridiculously cold periods of late I felt like I had to rug up just that little bit more. Within a few minutes you settle in, but you just don’t get the same feeling of warmth as the usual corduroy bean bag. It does come in 10 different colours, including Funky Brown so that guy who bought the brown Zune can get a bean bag to match. I went the Midnight Blue for the classy touch, but there are also some crazier colours like Hot Pink, Neon Orange and Lime Green. Taking you back to the reason you’re on this site for a moment, while a few years ago you might’ve bought the Pure White to match your Apple gear, nowadays you probably buy the Platinum.

I’ve owned 2 other bean bags in my life. One was the typical teardrop shape and the other was shaped like a lounge chair. Both of these bean bags had an obviously way to sit in them. There was a place where your ass went and a place where your back and head rested. The Omni is just like a giant (135cm x 165cm) pillow that you can sit, slouch or lie on however you like. Unlike a pillow, you can sit on the Omni’s edge and it won’t collapse underneath you.

At the end of the day, you just want to be comfortable while you do your thing. Typically the most time you’ll spend in a comfy chair is watching a movie, playing a console the old fashioned way with a controller or spending quality time with your Apple device, whether it be for business or pleasure. Saying that, I’m confident everyone would find a comfortable way to sit in the Omni. Sumo claim there are at least 10 discretely different ways to sit in the Omni. The attractive model on their site demonstrates most of them (and there are actually some NSFW shots in there - who does that?). And once you’ve found your position and settled in (sometimes it takes me a few tries at getting it just right), the Omni has a different feel from your usual been bag. You feel a little more supported and less like you’re on a boat that’s about to capsize. This also means that getting out of the Omni is more like just lifting yourself out of a chair and less like pulling yourself out of quicksand.

I think the Omni could actually do with a few more beans. I did get adventurous and at one point rip open the velcro on one side and open the zip to check out the guts. The polystyrene balls inside are smaller than I’ve seen and there was definitely space for more of them. The Omni hasn’t decompressed as much as other bean bags might’ve after this much sitting (maybe the magic of the smaller balls?) but one day it’ll need a top-up and I think I’ll add a few more beans than it came with.

The only part of the Omni that’s difficult to relax into is the price. While courier delivery and beans are included (a service that isn’t lost on me), you’re looking at very little change from $200 for an Omni in your favourite colour ($1 to be precise - they cost $199). You can definitely feel the quality in the stiching and fabric but I can’t help feel that they would sell a lot more if they knocked a few bucks off. Maybe with the resurgence of the Aussie dollar we might see a price drop in Australia because the US site sells the same product for US$139 (and we ALL KNOW how much people in Australia, ESPECIALLY MAC USERS, hate paying more than their Yankee friends).

Conclusion

Bean bags have never really gone out of style, and if a good quality bean bag is going to give you years of lounging pleasure then maybe $199 for a Sumo Omni isn’t too bad of an investment. You can get one in your favourite colour, switch it up with to a different comfy position every once in a while, it’s probably not going to rip and just wipe off the sweet chilli sauce you spilt on it without worrying (although getting that goo off your Mac is a different issue).

If you'd like to find out more about the Sumo Omni or get one for yourself, head over to the Australian Sumo site.

Now, back to relaxing...

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