Sumo Lounge Chief Rocker
And yet again I’m back to reprise my roll as the designated sitter, napper and all around Lounger for TheTechLounge. Our friends as Sumo Lounge have once more provided us with an uber sitting sack for our testing pleasure. Sumo continues to increase their product line which now includes dog beds and a sofa in addition to the enormous super-sized sitting pouches like the Sultan I reviewed a few months ago.
But unlike the formless lump of suede and foam I reviewed in the Sultan, Sumo’s Chief Rocker has a bit more vertebrae and is more than just a high-class bean bag. The Chief Rocker is an upgrade to Sumo’s Omni PLUS model. Where the Omni PLUS is a large, rectangular swatch of foam-stuffed microsuede, the Chief Rocker incorporates a semi-circular metal frame to give the large pillow a bit more support and rockability.
But if you’re thinking that this glorified foam sack belongs on the floor of the 40 year old virgin or a frat house party room, think again. Sumo uses top quality materials and incorporates modern designs. No need to be embarrassed of having one in front of that Xbox in your Williamsburg loft. Sumo says the Chief Rocker is great for gaming or lounging around. I’ll see if I can debunk or prove both claims.
Once again my neighborhood (and by now surely disgruntled) FedEx man dropped off a nearly appliance sized box on my doorstep. Though the Chief Rocker isn’t as hefty as the Sultan, so getting it through the front door was less of an ordeal. Freeing the mesh bag of urethane foam chunks was easy and sliding it into the micro-suede cover wasn’t much of a chore either. Sumo sent me a Pitch Black colored Chief Rocker but you may also choose from Funky Brown or Fiery Red. After assembling the pillow portion of the Rocker, I returned to the shipping box to fish out the metal frame. Unfortunately the frame had shipped separately and arrived two days later.
The Chief Rocker is filled with the same chunks of polyurethane foam as the Sultan and other Sumo products. As such it takes a bit of fluffing and manipulating to get all the foam pieces broken apart. The foam sack arrives balled tightly in a vacuum packed form but expands rapidly to fill the 54″ x 45″ x 35″ suede cover.
The arrival of the half circle metal frame meant that I could actually see what this Chief Rocker is all about. The frame arrived as 6 small, black steel tubes with a few included bolts and an allen wrench. Assembling the frame was a snap and it slid into place with little effort. A pouch sealed with a Velcro-ed flap on the underside of the bag houses the frame while keeping it locked in place. You can also easily remove the frame, if so desired.
Again I put my trusty posterior to the task of testing the stuffing out of a Sumo Lounge product. Sumo makes some quality seating options and the Chief Rocker is no exception. But unlike my previous experiences testing a Sumo product, this model is really two loungers in one. As mentioned above the Chief Rocker is simply an upgrade to the Omni PLUS bag by way of the metal frame. But as my test subject didn’t first arrive with a skeleton, I had the chance to use the Rocker as a plain old Omni PLUS. However as compared to the Sultan and the regular old entry level Omni (no PLUS), the Rocker sans frame is slightly less versatile. It handles the duties of a large pillow with ease, but the ability to flip and flop the suede coated mass into a boneless barcalounger isn’t there. With the nylon covered Omni, turning the bag on a side and swinging a leg over the middle created a sort of lounge saddle. Placing your bum on a corner of the Omni and relaxing downwards created a supportive, if not a bit low-sitting, chair. But the frameless Chief Rocker is a rectangle shape and just doesn’t fold up in the same useful manner.
Once the metal frame arrived I was able to focus on, what I had perceived as, the true aim of this chair: gaming. I assembled the frame and immediately inserted it into the suede sheath. Reaching for my trusty ColecoVision, that’s right an original 80s era ColecoVision, I embarked on a Donkey Kong excursion with my sights set on the Peaks of Comfortable Gaming. Two roadblocks immediately put a halt to my comfort quest. One, the ColecoVision was sold with the most un-ergonomic, finger numbing controllers in the history of gaming. And two, a rocking chair is a bit difficult to balance whilst manipulating said horrible controllers.
Initially I seated my gaming self towards the front portion of the Chief. This results in a teetering scenario requiring the use of your feet to maintain balance and remain in a comfy, slightly reclined pose. However, if you drop your buttocks back a foot and situate towards the middle portion of the Rocker your body weight will help tilt the bag back a bit. I found this to be the most agreeable position as I could fold my legs and happily jump barrels, piss off monkeys and save princesses. With a little practice I was even able to rock back and forth a bit without using my feet. Perhaps I should have started with a session of whittling on my front porch rather than a round of Donkey Kong?
But as a long term solution to video game seating, I have to give the Chief Rocker a thumb downward. The curvy framed seat just requires a bit too much baby-sitting to be useful during an intense Xbox or PS3 session (don’t bother trying to play a Wii in a bean bag, trust me). The Chief’s rocking aspect is nice at first, but the constant need to adjust and hold your balance isn’t what I’m looking for in a seat needing to house my fragile fragging arse for hours on end. Even sitting well back in the middle of the bag with my legs crossed I still found that my neck wasn’t supported and became fatigued easily. Don’t get me wrong, for watching TV or general lounging the Chief Rocker is nothing short of comfy. But for any actions requiring you to sit up just a bit, the lack of neck support becomes annoying.
The dense foam of the Chief Rocker will sag a bit after prolonged use, but a quick fluff restores its shape. I’ve found that I quite like the way the foam holds up and forms to my manly proportions. It isn’t so soft that you sink to the floor yet it doesn’t feel as though you’re resting on a pine bench. I did notice that the suede cover likes to attract lint, dust bunnies and any other floor dwelling filth. This is no doubt exacerbated by the fact that I’ve got hardwood floors. I’m sure it sucks up stray carpet fibers like a magnet too, though.
I can’t fault Sumo for their craftsmanship or quality of materials. The suede is durable yet soft and the foam innards are top notch. But all that density does create one heavy seat. A tossable bean bag this is not. And while it is nearly half the size of the Sultan, the Chief Rocker is still a large and uncommonly shaped piece of furniture. It definitely overpowers my medium sized front room (which, admittedly is stuffed with furniture to begin with). But the rocker frame also causes an empty Chief to balance right in its center of gravity, taking up more room that it would if you could just fold it in half until needed. Those folks with large, open floor plans or who are looking to add a seat to their vacant TV lounge will be more suited to this atypical seating option.
As a primary supporter of napping and lounging, I have to say I approve of the Chief Rocker. I easily found myself nodding off on a lazy, rock-a-bye afternoon while seated in the Chief. Sumo Lounge has managed to find a few more uses for their high quality suede bags of comfort. I certainly wouldn’t have considered adding a metal frame to a bean bag, but in this instance it works quite well. The $199 price tag is on the steep side, but the build quality is there to back it up.
Unfortunately I was less happy with the seating position when playing video games or even using a laptop, as I sit in the Chief Rocker finishing this review. A rocking, suede covered foam sack is great for relaxing but less so for gaming. And, just as with the other Sumo seats, it is slightly difficult to conjure your lazy bones up and out of the low slung Rocker when your mother and/or wife tells you it’s time to go to work.
So, does that mean I wouldn’t recommend the Sumo Chief Rocker to someone in desperate need of a comfortable seating option? Not at all. But if they are planning on gaming more than lounging, I’d be more apt to aim them in the direction of Sumo’s appropriately named Gamer model instead. However if your chief goal is to rock away your afternoons and evenings in a sleep induced haze, if no one else can help, and if you can afford one.maybe you should hire the Rocker Chief.