XYZ Computing

Oct 23, 2006

Ann Tancio


Sumo Lounge Omni

Seating, though it may seem boring to some, is actually something that has a sizable impact on what we do here at XYZ Computing. It may not be as fun to talk about as a new video card and it generally does not photograph as well as a computer case, but it is definitely worth looking into from time to time. A few months ago we took a look at the Life, a task chair from Knoll, and now we are going right to the opposite end of the spectrum. While a task chair is the peak of productive seating, the focus of this article, the bean bag, is just about as casual as you can get.

Sumo Lounge’s Omni is not just any bean bag. The term “bean bag” probably brings you back to your childhood and thoughts of a large foam-filled sphere with a rubbery exterior. Well, those days are long gone because the bean bag, if you can even still call it that, has gone high class. As seen in the Omni, there is a market for products like that one you used to kick around your basement, but with much higher quality and better design. After all, with a few improvements, the bean bag could actually be a useful and extremely versatile piece of furniture.

The basics-
Size: 5.5 x 4.5 feet
Material: Ballistic nylon
Filled with: Virgin Polystyrene Foam (little white foam balls)

In case you have not figured it out yet, the Omni is quite large. It is a large rectangle that does cannot compress too much because it is filled with tiny foam balls. The bag is large enough that the balls can be spread out a good deal, but no matter how you arrange it the Omni is going to take up room. At just 18 lbs it would be easy to move around if it was not quite so large. The sturdy bag and the consistency of the tiny foam balls inside make the Omni seem firmer than the typical bean bag. This may not be great for nostalgia purposes, but will help give your back extra support and means that once you find a comfortable position the bag will stay there without shifting or compressing over time.

The exterior is a rip-proof nylon which is actually quite comfortable. It seems like nylon would not be the best choice for something to lay on for extended periods of time, but the Omni’s bag is smooth and feels good on your skin- it’s not high-end leather, but it’s not the material your backpack is made out of either. By using a coated nylon, the exterior is very strong, rip-proof, and can easily be cleaned with a cloth and some soapy water. According to Sumo, your Omni will always look brand new, something which I can’t help doubting, but I am sure the material will stand up to the test of time. During my few weeks with the Omni I have seen no visible wear-and-tear, but I am looking forward to seeing it after a year of people jumping on it, dogs playing on it, and it being pushed around the floor.

Inside of the bean bag are millions of tiny foam balls. Virgin polystyrene foam is the official term for these beads and you can access them through a velcro opening and a zipper on one side of the Omni. An alternative to these beads are something known as Durafoam, which, according to Sumo, “sucks”.

These beads are specially designed to conform to contours of your body when sitting or lying down. According to Sumo the beads may or may not compress over time but if you want new ones, or if you want to fill the bag more to make it firmer, more beads can be purchased from Sumo Lounge at $50 for three cubic feet.

Using the Omni is a lot of fun. The first thing I realized about it is that it is not just another bean bag. The size means it is large enough for an adult, even a large guy, or that it can engulf a smaller person (as seen in the images provided by Sumo). Using is like a bed, lying prone on it, is comfortable but is not the best way to use the product, unless if you are trying to sleep. If you are interested in something like watching television or gaming the best practice is to place the Omni on a side and to straddle it which is comfortable, stable, and offers neck support.


As you probably have figured out, the Omni is an interesting, yet predictable product. Using improved materials and smart design Sumo has transformed a simple bag of foam beads into a cool piece of furniture. It’s no La-Z-Boy but the Omni is more comfortable than I would have thought and for under $150 dollars (with free shipping) it’s hard to make too many complaints. While some people may bristle at the thought of paying this much for a bean bag, they should keep in mind, that this product makes for a comfortable lounge and will probably last forever.

The problem with the Omni, of course, is that is it a bean bag chair. This is normally a piece of furniture reserved for rumpus rooms and frat houses, so no matter what Sumo says, there will be some hesitance for adults to buy one (except as a gift). Even so, it would be an ideal choice for dorm rooms, apartments, and any place where casual, cheap, and indestructible seating is important. The Omni may just be the ideal candidate to that new Wii you are planning on buying next month!

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