Technology Tell

Aug 8, 2012

Ann Tancio

HomeTechTell Review: Sumo Omni Beanbag Chair

Sections: AV Furniture

So on the list of things you want to review as a contributor to a site such as this, furniture is, admittedly, not exactly at the top.  But when the opportunity to review a beanbag chair came up, I had to give it a chance.  As I spent a good portion of my childhood in a beat-up, squished down, bright red vinyl mess of a beanbag, I was interested to see what a couple decades of development could do to the old beanbag.

Short answer: quite a bit.

The Sumo Lounge Omni arrived in a rather large box, about 1/2 to 2/3 the size of the chair itself.  Once you open it up (and leave the knives in the drawer – it’s not called a beanbag for nothing), it takes a few minutes for the chair to expand and take its natural shape.  Speaking of shape, the Omni checks in at about 4.5′ x 5.5′ and weighs around 18 pounds.  It’s made of rip-proof nylon and filled (probably a little more than half full) with tiny polystyrene foam balls.  The nylon is easy to keep clean, and should you need more fill, or need to freshen up the fluffiness, Sumo does sell the beads as an accessory.  The chair available in hot pink, neon orange, pure white, funky brown, lime green, charcoal green, pitch black, platinum, fiery red, and midnight blue.  Note that all colors come with a bright red Sumo tag sewn into one edge of the bag, so if you can’t stand clashing colors, be weary of your color choice.

The most striking thing about the Omni is that it’s not a traditional beanbag shape.  It’s more or less a giant, rectangular pillow.  The thing that makes the Omni really pretty cool is that, when positioned correctly, it becomes a true chair.  Like, with back support and everything.  It ends up looking much like the picture above, which is basically a giant Hershey’s Kiss.  It’s pretty cool and makes long stints in the Omni much more comfortable.  Omni claims 10 different positions, although I’m willing to bet that you’ll find the one you like and not change much.

Once you find your ideal position (which will likely take a few minutes of fluffing, throwing, and punching) the thing is damned comfortable.  (Personally, I went with the above Hershey’s Kiss form for the back support.)  I’m about 6’1″, so I was skeptical about how comfortable it would be for my somewhat taller frame, but I was pleasantly surprised.  While catching up on DVR’d shows, watching a movie, or using my laptop, it was a perfectly good perch.  It did get a little warm after long stints, but honestly, it was usually right around the time I should have taken a TV break anyway.

I will say that I don’t think I’d fall asleep in it.  It’s just not “all enveloping” enough for that. That’s a good thing, though; it offers enough comfort to enjoy your AV entertainment, but not so much that you’ll sleep through it.

Sumo does have plenty of larger offerings, though, if that’s what you’re looking for.  Keep in mind that even the Omni isn’t petite, though.  I did have to do a little rearranging of my living room to find a spot for the chair, although it shouldn’t be an issue in larger rooms.

As a piece of media room furniture, it makes a great flexible option.  It’s probably not going to be your primary chair, but if some extra seating is needed for the kids or guests, the Sumo makes a great option.  With the shape of it, even when in “chair mode,” it doesn’t block your surround speakers, and aside from being low to the ground, makes a great spot for a movie.

At $149.99, it’s one of the cheapest offerings that Sumo has.  For the price, it’s durable, comfortable, and the color options leave a choice to fit pretty much any décor.  It’s not as cheap as the old vinyl standby, but has the comfort and durability to be around for years and offer additional seating when and where you need it.

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