Mister Poll

Aug 11, 2006

Ann Tancio


Product Review: Sumo Omni Bean Bag Chair

I sit a lot. Chances are, you do too. Despite the hype, the ergonomics trend of the last decade has not done much to make my sitting more comfortable. Maybe a throwback to the 1960s can help!

Bean bag furniture is experiencing a bit of a renaissance, with a handful of companies featuring new twists on the old concept. Sumo Lounge is one of those companies, and I recently had the chance to try out their Omni product. I must admit, I’ve never been a big fan of bean bag chairs. The idea has always seemed inviting, but I have not had good experiences. The chairs are usually either too firm, like a rock with just a bit if give, or too mushy right in the middle, like sitting in a bowl of oatmeal. I was hopeful that bean bag techniques have improved with time.

After taking the Omni out of its box, I was a bit dismayed at what I saw. It was big, which was promising, but it looked … deflated. There didn’t seem to be enough beans in this bag. I flattened it out on the floor, and it became a large, nearly 5-foot-square, lightly stuffed pillow. I didn’t feel a compulsion to sit on it and relax. In fact, I wasn’t exactly sure what to do with it. The Sumo Lounge web site had claimed at least 10 different wonderful positions, but I wasn’t seeing it. I’m not proud to admit it, but I broke down and did the thing most men spend a lifetime avoiding. I referred to the instructions. In this case, that was the various poses and orientations depicted on the web site.

After experimenting for a few minutes, the reason for the apparent shortage of stuffing became clear. That added slack lets you really shape this thing while still leaving enough room for the most important part — you! I tried a few positions resembling a chair, and it was surprisingly comfortable. In fact, trying new shapes was actually sort of fun. Soon, the rest of my family was joining in. My 4-year-old son jumped into the middle and came up grinning, dubbing it the “goo monster”. It’s big enough that when shaped into a chair, there is enough back support to feel really nice, even with my 6’2″ frame. You can also use it as an oversized floor pillow, sit on it saddle-style, and perch on it in various ways. Two teenagers can comfortably share it while losing themselves in their favorite game console.

I wouldn’t have guessed it, but the Omni is both versatile and comfortable. I have even worked on my notebook computer for an hour or more while sitting in it, and it was a cozy change from office chairs or even a couch.

Priced at $130, the Omni at first seemed a bit expensive for what it is. However, as I searched for cheaper seating alternatives, I didn’t find any that would be as comfortable of an addition to a living space. If you’re looking for additional secondary sitting, I would recommend considering Sumo Lounge’s Omni. It’s the most comfortable goo monster I’ve ever sat on.

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