We are once more lending credence to our namesake here at TheTechLounge. At this particular moment we're more Lounging than Teching, but what good would we be if we only represented half of our URL? A couple summers ago I reviewed a pair of serious seating options, Sumo Lounge's Sumo Omni and Otto [review]. Since I last rested my backside in a Sumo, they've expanded their line-up to include even more substantial seatery.
Sumo Lounge has made a business of designing upscale bean bags and bean bag derivatives. To call them bean bags is an insult to what Sumo Lounge creates, mind you. This is technology at it's finest - well, comfiest, at least! Sitting in front of me today I have what looks to be the mother of all sacks d' bean. The Sumo Sac Sultan is a billowy pile of suede-covered comfort that demands to be sat upon.
For those man cave dwelling Xbox fanatics looking to spruce up the old bachelor pad, I dedicate this to you. But to those readers who worry and fret about the image of a 1970s era vinyl bean bag cluttering up your Hive Modern catalog domicile, fear not. The chic Sumo Sac Sultan should suit even the pickiest of design geeks.
The Sumo Sac arrived on my doorstep carried by what I have to assume was a pissed off FedEx driver. The box was in decent shape but this Sumo Sac is a heavyweight, tipping the scales at around 50lbs! Getting the shipping box into the house wasn't too much of an ordeal as what lied within was deceptively well packaged. Inside I found a lovely chocolate brown (officially called "Funky Brown" by Sumo Lounge) microsuede cover and a vacuum packed mass of foam surrounded by a membranous fabric sack. Freeing the foam from the box took a bit of effort and initiated a bit of head scratching when I unfolded the body bag sized suede cover. "Surely that bit of foam will never fit in this sack", I stupidly said to myself.
Once freed of its vacuum vault, the Sumo Foam starts to crumble like a dried out sponge cake, rapidly filling the micromesh fabric membrane. Unlike the Omni and Otto bags I reviewed previously, the Sultan is filled with larger chunks of furniture grade polyurethane foam. This giant bag of foam is significantly denser than the polystyrene beads used in the Omni. The result is a heavier but more resilient and comfy lounge bag.
With a heave and a ho, I managed to get the foam sack into the microsuede bag and zip up my new gargantuan pillow. The mile long zipper is nicely hidden beneath a swath of suede which keeps the zip from scratching up your wood floor. It took a bit of massaging to get all of the foam to break apart from its vacu-packed journey to my front door, but once fully fluffed and ready for action, this massive ball of suede and foam measures an impressive 54" x 54" x 42". Moving the bag takes a bit of effort and when you finally plop the sack down in a new location the urethane foam moves with an almost eerie flesh-like jiggle, not unlike the MythBuster's ballistics gel. Damn this thing is huge. The Sumo Sultan is easily the largest item in my front room - nearly blocking my fireplace from view.
Sumo Lounge sells their Sumo Sacs in a variety of colors such as Pitch Black, Khaki, Sky Blue, Fiery Red and the Funky Brown in which I've currently planted my posterior. The Brown is a rich, dark color made all the more luscious by the can't-stop-touching-it microsuede. And despite being soft leather, the outer cover feels strong and durable while still offering machine washability. Two smaller versions of the Sumo Sac are available and, to my surprise, an even larger Sac -- aptly named the Giganator -- at 86" wide, I can't image finding a spot for it in my house.
Right, testing. I have the difficult job of "testing" a huge lump of comfort. Obviously the first test that had to be performed was the "jump into the bag stomach first" experiment, which I'm happy to report was a success. My girth was not enough to explode the Sultan sack, thereby sending foam chunks flying in random directions. In fact, the dense foam does an exceptional job of absorbing impact and cushioning your gradual descent to Earth. Unlike the polystyrene bead-filled Omni, the Sultan is whisper quiet when you first sit down or when rousting about. And said dense foam holds its shape better and keeps slipping and sliding to a minimum. But once you conjure yourself free of the suedy grasp of the Sumo Sac, the foam regains its form with a quick fluff or a flip.
In truth, the Sumo Sac doesn't provide much beyond a good sit or a lazy nap. But if your aim is to lounge for hours in front of your TV with a gaming controller in your lap, then you can do much worse than a giant Sumo Sultan. Placing your rear towards the edge of the round ball of cush provides the back support needed for long fragging sessions. Although Wii players may find the limited range of motion a bit restrictive while relaxing in the depths of the Sultan.
Plunking your butt into the dead center of the Sumo Sac puts one in a nearly ideal position for a long winter's nap. More than one of my friends who tested the Sultan found themselves dozing off. My wife has fallen asleep during many a Netflix viewings. And with the sizable displacement of the Sac sleeping two to a bag is a viable option. Just remember that while the microsuede is machine washable it's up to you to keep it reasonably clean...ahem. Moving on.
The drawbacks to any large, enveloping seat are few but important. For starters, the desire to quit your job and take up napping full time is a serious issue with the Sumo Sac. Secondly you will find that drawing yourself up to stand upright becomes a monumental task. Not only do you have to knock the cobwebs of sleep free from your brain, sitting so close to the floor requires more of a drop and roll technique to make it back onto two feet. Besides the propensity for laziness, another negative is the absolute mass of the Sultan Sac. Moving it haphazardly around a small apartment could end in broken valuables and upturned coffee tables. In a cramped studio apartment the Sultan could even double for a small couch. If you are a person of small stature, the 4 and a half foot wide foam cocoon is a formidable opponent to drag about. But even if you can handle the shear size of the Sumo Sac, some potential buyers may find the $249 price tag intimidating. If it's any consolation, for that $249 you can expect high quality materials and attention to detail.
Again, how can you really fault a huge, suede-covered comfortable bag of foam? As an evolution of the old basement dwelling bean bag of decades past, there is no comparison. The Sumo Sac Sultan isn't even in the same league. It is more of a free-form love seat than a bean bag; a La-Z-Boy without feet.
You won't find this bit of boneless furniture in your local K-Mart. As such, be prepared to pay a pretty penny. On the plus side, when you purchase your Sumo Sac from SumoLounge.com, shipping is included. And considering the huge 50+ lbs. box that the poor FedEx driver will have to lug around, that is a reasonable savings.
Endurance gamers will love the Sumo Sac Sultan. The huge pillow easily accommodates nearly any size human, and at least two average-sized ones. If you are looking for a man-chair to add to your furniture fold, consider the Sultan. Apartment residents wanting to save space and avoid shoving a couch up three flights of stairs may find a Sumo Sac a suitable alternative. The Sumo Sultan will suffice for basically any application you can think of for a huge bag of comfort... just don't operate heavy machinery after use.
+ A comfy bag of cushy foam
+ Handsome, quality suede cover
+ A napper's paradise
- Cumbersome to move around
- Tough to remain conscious while using
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