Sumo Lounge Omni review
All bean bags are not equal
I know what you’re thinking. What’s a handheld gaming site doing reviewing a bean bag? Not wishing to cause you an aneurism, allow me one confession. True, I religiously take my DS, PSP (yes, it’s still in use) or iPod touch when travelling but I’ll admit the majority of my handheld gaming is done within the comfort of my home.
Trouble is, that comfort isn’t always easy to find – the family sofa is too conservative in nature to allow a more relaxed (okay, slouching) position – and more often than not my portable pleasure is reserved to a hazy pre-sleep session, in bed. Fine if it’s the end of the day; more than a little awkward if it’s not.
So when Sumo Lounge got in touch about the possibility of a review, the relevance of its product seemed justifiable. Nevertheless, some bad experiences with bean bags in the 1990s meant I agreed only with some trepidation. After two weeks of living with it, though, my initial scepticism has proved unfounded.
Sumo Lounge sent us an Omni – the only model currently available to UK buyers (a quick browse through Sumo’s US site reveals North American customers have considerably more choice) – which comes in one of nine colours (ten in the US) varied enough to suit most rooms.
Upon emerging from its packaging, our white Omni presented itself as an unassuming yet – at 140x170cm – large square-ish of nylon.
But this is no ordinary nylon. This is thick, high quality nylon. The kind that you can’t envisage ever ripping, even during toughest of suburban lives.
Aside from the obvious durability, the exterior is also easy to wipe clean (as my one-year-old and his tomato sauce-covered hands will attest) and its substantial nature also helps in keeping whatever shape you decide to mould the bag into.
The shape – technically rectangular – is vital in allowing a variety of seating (or lying) positions, a refreshing change from the standard ‘one-option’ demeanour of typical sack-style bean bags.
It’s also nylon with a distinctive odour – initially, at least. How much this affects you will depend on your olfactory sensitivity, but it’s unlikely anyone will find the urge to ring Chanel and ask it to bottle the smell.
That said, the intensity of the chemical fragrance had diminished even after just one day, and 14 more have ensured that it’s now only noticeable if you bury your nose into the Omni – and only faintly.
One element a two week assessment can’t test is whether, as Sumo Lounge claims, the beads used are of a higher quality and thereby more resistant to flattening than most. Those 1990s bean bags I mentioned eventually ended up with barely more profile than a pancake. (Of course, refill beads are available – indeed, Sumo Lounge will happily sell US customers some.)
What I can say with absolute confidence is how comfortable the Omni is. It has become my preferred seating choice since its arrival, is used on a daily basis for prolonged periods (sometimes – whisper it – for console gaming, too), and I can’t see myself getting tired of it given how well it suits my requirements.
Sure, on paper the £99 ($149) price tag seemed a little steep for a bag full of beads, but given the quality and performance of the Omni that figure soon stopped feeling excessive (plus, a little research revealed that competitor products can be more expensive).
Those who experience it will most likely reach the same conclusion. As for me, the modern, stylish and entirely practical Sumo Lounge Omni has altered my perception of bean bags. That doesn’t mean it will end world hunger, granted, but it has transformed my handheld gaming sessions and in the process become an essential component of my living room