We sink our ass into the Sumo Emperor
by Ron Burke
I’ve reviewed the last few generations of beanbag chairs from Sumo, and they all have one thing in common – they are all very comfortable, practically indestructible, and they were all encased in ballistic nylon. When the Sumo Emperor rolled up on my doorstep with its soft red plushy exterior I had something that the others didn’t – a second seat. Even after a number of years, my Omni has held up nicely to abuse, dogs, and everyone deciding to ‘test’ the durability of the ballistic nylon. It’s been camping, it’s been outside on the concrete, and it has held up to everything we’ve thrown at it. As the Sumo expanded from the impossibly-small cardboard box into something that could be described as ‘furniture’, I was about to find out whether this seat named after royalty could possibly hold up to the high standards set by its smaller brothers.
The first and most obvious thing you’ll notice about The Emperor is it is far larger that a cheap beanbag chair you might find at your local Walmart. Measuring in at 55”x25” and roughly 45lbs, you can easily seat two of the Omni chairs onto the Emperor. You’ll also notice the “Fiery Red” color as the fabric only comes in that shade. The decor of my home is mostly natural woods and darker tones, so the red tends to stand out.
Living in Phoenix it is commonly known that we are neatly placed approximately a foot from the surface of the sun. The Omni’s ballistic nylon was often cool to the touch, warming up to your body temp. Anyone who used it on a longer sitting session might reconfigure it to get the seams further away, again encountering a nice cool exterior. The Emperor on the other hand features a softer microsuede cloth. It means that spilling something on the Emperor doesn’t just bead up and roll off like it does the Omni, but the fact that the entire exterior microsuede exterior can be unzipped and removed for washing makes it ok. I’ve not put it in the washer yet, but it seems like it’d turn out just fine. One thing that was a pain (sometimes literally) was the tag on the Omni. This has been replaced with a soft and durable cloth material, meaning you won’t be scratching yourself with it if you happen to lay across it. My only concern with the Emperor is how it’ll feel when it hits 115 degrees outside. I suspect since this is a bit of an ‘indoor cat’, it’ll feel about how it does right now.
Sitting on my ass – best. review. ever.
In the ramp up to E3 I find myself alternating between working very hard and then taking quiet moments to read Game of Thrones to relax. Unlike the Omni which can be reconfigured in a great many ways, the Emperor stays in the original configuration. Leaning back and reading, I found the center ‘button’ of the inner ring sat neatly in the small of my back, providing good support for longer reading or gaming sessions.
I’m currently playing through a game with a very short timeline so my time in the chair is pretty near-constant. The Emperor sits low enough to the ground where relaxing back into it makes for easy console gaming. The sides of the chair cradle you into the middle, making for a pretty comfortable seat.
Laying back and watching TV, reading, or even catching a nap is pretty amazing in the Emperor. As the structure holds, the side of the outer edges make a good place to rest your arms. Relaxing back into the chair supports your back, giving you a headrest and practically begging you to fall asleep.
This same position that makes sleeping and reading so awesome works nicely for handheld gaming. Holding a 3DS in the required position to get solid 3D out of it, getting the Vita into position for some extended gaming, or watching Netflix on my tablet was easy thanks to the round shape of the Emperor.
On the other hand, I’m writing this while sitting in the Emperor. To put my MSI GT70 in my lap is already difficult as it’s a 17” laptop, but the angle at which I have to crank my neck to adequately see the laptop screen makes it something I wouldn’t do for an extended period of time. In short, this spaceship-shaped member of beanbag royalty is built for relaxation, not toiling like a peasant.
Wake up! It’s time to write the conclusion!
The Sumo Emperor is a pretty fantastic piece of furniture. Sure, you won’t be using it for a tailgate party like you might do with the easier-to-clean ballistic nylon brothers, but just sitting here writing this review makes me want to take a nap. The Emperor has a sedative effect – it’s that comfortable. Ringing in at a recently-lowered price of $249, the Emperor carries a reasonable price for versatile piece of furniture. Perfect for kids and adults, I highly recommend you give yourself the gift of royalty – the Sumo Emperor is worth every penny.