Gamers Reports

Oct 5, 2006

Ann Tancio


Sumo Omni Lounge Chair

Beanbags may conjure up images of the 70s, but this high-tech chair has a few new tricks.

One of the best parts of this job is getting to try things out that you might not otherwise have heard of. In this case, it was the Omni lounge from Sumo. To generally explain it, it’s a beanbag chair-the often-hated, yet always secretly loved furniture accessory that your parents probably owned and makes its way in and out of fashion every few years. In this case, Sumo has taken the idea of a beanbag chair and changed the design, making it more of a giant pillow/ravioli of comfort and support; a “lounge” if you will. My goal was to test its functionality in the world of gaming, to see whether or not this lounge would stand up to the requirements of portable, PC and console gaming, along with the hazards that come along with such activities.


Hard at work testing for DS lite operability.

First up is portable gaming. In this case, the test subject is a shiny white Nintendo DS lite. The beauty of the Omni is that you can wedge it out to whatever shape you want. In this case, I went for a low-slumping hammock-style chair. I made sure to make it extra wide so I’d have that crucial elbow support. It takes a bit of maneuvering to make this happen, but once you’ve got it, it’s a great feeling. If you shape it right, you’ll have ample shoulder and head support, which is crucial against those neck aches you can get from extended sessions of Advance Wars: Dual Strike. It could only get better with some leg support, which Sumo actually offers as a separate product named “Otto.”

Portable test: 9/10

PC gaming with this chair is obviously a stretch. That is to say, unless you’ve got a wireless setup and you’re doing your PC gaming with a large screen and maybe in a living room setting. Otherwise, you’re going to be making a compromise either in terms of back support or general height. As a stool of sorts, I was able to shape this into a fairly tall seat, although not nearly tall enough to reach the average height of most desks. From a low position, games that require just a joystick and no keyboard commands would work well with this chair, but again, it all depends on your setup. Gonna have to give this a low score for PC gaming in general, simply due to the height requirements most people will need.

PC test: 2/10


Finally, the one area of gaming and general use this chair was truly designed for-the living room. Whether or not your TV is up high or down low, you can find a position in the Omni that feels right. If you feel like lying down, it can even be flattened out like a mattress, although you might find it a bit chunky if you don’t take time to shake the bag out once it’s on the floor. My favorite floor positions was making it a giant wedge, with a little bit of foam in the bottom and a lot where your head’s going to be. In any position, as soon as the air goes out between the foam balls, the chair firms up and offers soft, yet sturdy support. For console gaming, I found what worked the best was setting it up similar to the setup for portable gaming, except scooping the seat down a bit lower so you’re almost on the ground. In almost every way I found I was getting neck and arm support, which are the two areas that really need it.

Console Tests 9/10


More beading here than in your dad’s hobby room.

Besides play styles, there’s a couple of things every chair should be tested for in the world of gaming. The first is food-how well can this thing take the abuse of liquids and solids on its silky smooth nylon exterior? Since it ‘s Ballistic nylon (coated nylon that’s much more durable than regular nylon), there’s not going to be an absorbency issue unless you fail to get liquids off it reasonably soon. Liquids run right off it, which is great if it’s a small amount. Our test spillage of sparking water (yeah we drink that) wiped off easily, although the spot was slightly moist even though it had been wiped clean. Sumo claims the chair will never stain, and that soapy water will remove your worst disasters. Our test food item, a blazing hot Bagel Bite, came off without even the need for aforementioned soapy water, and still tasted absolutely delicious despite its near fatal minute exposure to the Omni. This thing could only be better with some Scotch Guard, or maybe some table manners on your part.

Solids and Liquids Tests: 9/10

There’s one last test, which is ultimately the deal breaker of how much you can use a selected piece of furniture, and that’s the extended use field test. For this one, the goal was to game for several hours in succession to test whether or not the chair could be used for periods over 30 minutes. After spending about four hours in this thing one evening, I must say it is impressively comfortable. The single flaw I can give it is that because foam with a nylon exterior it really insulates-therefore, your back will get hot. Similar to sitting in leather car seats on a hot day, this can have undesirable effects. However, as long as you’re not living in a boiler room and you get up every 30 minutes or so to re-focus your eyes and move your muscles (like you’re supposed to) this shouldn’t be an issue.

Extended Use Test: 7/10


What your chair looks like after four hours of lounging…

Final Verdict:

The Sumo Omni lounge is a comfortable and versatile chair that’s great for major types of casual, household gaming. If you have kids, they’ll probably like its portability and large size (which is excellent for forts), and you’ll appreciate the fact that they can jump on it extensively without filling up your living room with a 2″ layer of foam balls. It is a tad pricey if you’re a college student or teenager, but if you’re looking for something that’s going to last, the Omni has a build quality that’s second to none. It’s super light and easy to throw in a closet or slide under a bed or elevated couch, and based on our tests, it stands up both in terms of multifunctional use as well as real-life situations like spilling your drink or dropping your food. It could only be improved by being larger in size, allowing for an even greater caliber of lounging, but as it stands, the Omni is plenty big enough for most folks. Also, a softer and more domestic upholstering could make it even better, but as it stands ballistic nylon is obviously the more functional fabric. If you’re in the market for a new chair for the entertainment room or even a break chair for the office, the Sumo Omni is highly recommended.

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