Feb 12, 2014

Ann Tancio

Sumo Sultan Bean Bag Chair Review


The Sumo Sultan bean bag chair is not something one would think of when they think of things that belong on a website focused on video games and technology. To explain why I chose to review this in the lull that is early February, I would like to call attention to PAX East, a huge gaming convention in Boston that I went to during 2012 and 2013. Inside the convention, there was a place called the Handheld Lounge where people could play their DS games on comfortable Omni chairs developed by a company named Sumo. This relaxed place of comfort proved fruitful, and while I never bought a chair myself, I had always looked forward to the idea of using one again. Additionally, after seeing some other sites cover it in recent months, I decided that a review of something like this might be appealing to the people who, like me, enjoy playing handheld games at home.

The Sumo Sultan, while not exactly the same model as the Omni, is a larger model more suited to lounging in a home space. And when I say larger, I mean larger. The beast measures 54″ X 54″ X 42″ and weighs around 50 lbs. In other words, if you want to put this in your house, you had better have enough floor space for something the size of an armchair and then some. If you are more strapped for space, you probably would be better suited to an Omni. Additionally, make sure you put this on either a hardwood floor or a very clean carpet, because in my experience, putting the chair on a floor that hasn’t been recently vacuumed (even if it wasn’t terribly dirty) attracted everything in the vicinity to it. Granted, that’s going to happen to anything with a suede-like design, but it’s worth considering nonetheless.

Taking the Sultan out of the box, the chair came as brown and naked, with a zip-up slip cover that acts as both your chosen color and your chosen fabric (be it Ultimate-Fur, Corduroy, or the one I got, Microsuede). Because it’s made up of a stuffing of cotton and these interesting foam-like balls, it took about a day for the chair to fully expand and even out. After which, I was finally ready to properly sit on and judge the Sumo Sultan.

The way to sit on the Sultan is to kind of treat it like one of those pool donut rings where you sit in the middle and hang your legs off the sides. When laying backwards, the position it puts your head in allows it to comfortably relax while facing forward, making it ideal for handheld play. I played the 20-hour entirety of the recently-reviewed Danganronpa as well as most of Assassin’s Creed IV seated from the chair. While I would only recommend playing console games from the chair if your television is elevated close to the ground (don’t want to cause neck strain!), the chair’s ability to envelop you in cushion while giving your arms total freedom makes it the ideal seat for the new Pokémon game or Tearaway.

As for the comfort of the chair, it shapes around my back and ends up forming to my body almost like a fluffier Tempur-Pedic mattress (which isn’t to say this replaces it entirely). It’s comfort levels are extreme when the stuffing is perfectly balanced. However, the stuffing needs to be adjusted relatively frequently or the stuffing will shift over time and divide to the sides like Moses parting the Red Sea. People in a heavier weight category are likely to see the effects of this sooner than those who weigh less. It’s a temporary issue, but adjusting such a heavy chair properly can be something of a pain.

The comfort of the chair is impossible to deny, and anyone who wants something they can refer to as their handheld battle station should look no further than the Sumo Sultan. There are a few caveats and considerations to make before buying, but the quality is unmistakable. It’s a really good chair.

Sumo Sultan review unit provided by the manufacturer. Sumo chairs can be purchased at

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