Geeks Hide Out

Feb 9, 2007

Ann Tancio



SUMO Omni – Initial Impressions.

OMNISo, I finally received my SUMO Omni (courtesy of the Evil Avatar Holiday Giveaway) this morning, a day that I’ve been looking forward to for a little over a month now. I have to say. this thing is fucking awesome! There are many, many rave reviews on the internet for the OMNI, but I don’t think any of them give you a real idea of what to expect. I’ll try to do that here.

First of all, the box is deceptively small. Once you pull this thing out, you realize that the actual chair is quite large when not compressed. I read the dimensions on the net, but I still didn’t expect it to be the size that it is. I had to clear out a little extra space so it wouldn’t be rubbing against anything.

The material is smooth nylon, and extremely stiff. At first, I thought it would turn out to be uncomfortable because of how stiff the edges were and how far they stick out, but they actually become a non-issue somehow (I’m sitting on one right now, and I don’t feel it). I can’t evaluate it’s durability quite yet, but I can’t see this thing breaking down even after a couple years of use. The material is just too rugged to expect it to be easily damaged. However, because of how stiff the nylon is, it can be a pain to get the chair into the form you desire. I had to work with it for a few minutes to get it into the shape I wanted to try first, and I believe most people would have to do the same.

The shape I tried first (and that I’m using right now), has me sitting on the broad edge. This is where the beauty of the chair really becomes apparent. As I struggled to shape the chair, I was continually frustrated by how the nylon wouldn’t lay flat, and the beads wouldn’t fill empty space. Eventually I just sat on it, and that did the trick! The beads immediately adjusted to fit my form. A backrest was made, and not just a loose pile of beads behind me, I mean a backrest. It is firm, and solid. I can put heavy pressure on this backrest, and it won’t budge while I’m still sitting in it. Not only this, but it comes all the way up the back of my head, so I am full supported. The area I am sitting on is wide, and about a foot and a quarter off the ground. It feels almost like a retro egg chair that has been laid out in a recline position.

Other shapes have been easier to implement, I realize now that I shouldn’t try to get it properly shaped with my hands, but rather just sit on it once it is in vaguely the right position. The chair does the rest. It is designed in a rather understuffed way so that the beads have a lot of room to form around you, and this seems to work perfectly.

Since I’ve gotten it I’ve been trying out various activities that I planned on doing while in the chair. For starters, it is great for gaming, particularly the Wii. With my normal chair, I was often unable to play many of the more physically active Wii games because I couldn’t pivot, or throw my arms around with enough freedom. This is not a problem with the omni, I can sit comfortably while playing Rayman Raving Rabbids, as well as Wii Sports Tennis and Boxing (bowling and golf don’t work for obvious reasons).

It has also provided a rather nice position for using my laptop (on which I type this very post), something I’ve been trying to find for years. I could definitely see this chair improving the experience of reading and playing portables as well, it provides me with a wide variety of postures for these different activities, that would normally have to be restricted to awkwardly propping myself up with pillows on my bed, or sitting in a rigid position on my regular chair.

I’ll spare you of any further gushing, and simply say this: If you have the money, and the desire, don’t hesitate to pick up one of these bad boys. They are everything that the reviews claim them to be, and in my opinion, the very pinnacle of geek furniture.

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