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SUMO Omni

Hardware Reviews By Dana Massey on August 16, 2006

SUMO Omni Bean-Bag Chair Review

This is not exactly the normal “hardware review” on MMORPG.com. Recently, the folks at SUMO Urban Lounge Gear contacted us to ask if we’d review their SUMO Omni bean-bag chair. Like most of you, the first question was, what does that have to do with MMORPGs? For people who are desktop-bound like me, not much. However, they did claim it was an excellent piece for console or laptop gaming. So, we figured, why not give it a try?

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I’ve sat in a number of beanbag chairs in my life and I must admit that I’ve never really enjoyed them. I am not sure why, I just never found them comfortable. Nonetheless, a giant box had arrived at the door and it was time to try the thing out.

The Omni is a giant pillow, more than a bag. At first, it is kind of confounding. What do you do with a giant pillow? Laying it flat didn’t seem to work, so I checked out their website. There they have “10 ways to use it” cleverly shown on the site.

This probably isn’t true. If you look at the pictures, you’ll notice that a good number of the positions are the same, the model is just facing differently on the chair. Nonetheless, position number nine seemed to work just fine for my purposes.

I was shocked; the chair is actually exceedingly comfortable. The only flaw is actually getting out of it again, which can be a struggle. As a piece of furniture, it’s great. It looks nice - ours is black - can be stowed away rather easily if you’re trying to class the place up a bit and is definitely a comfortable place to watch TV.

In fact, it quickly became the center of attention for any and all visitors. At parties, people actually went so far as to try and drag it upstairs to the bathroom so that no one would steal it in their absence.

We did note, however, that there seems to be a direct correlation between the size of the user and the level of comfort (the girl in the pictures is probably quite short). The lighter and shorter you are, the better the chair is. For my eight year old half-brother, it acted as a bed.

This brings us to gaming. None of us around the office play MMORPGs on consoles, so we couldn’t test it with that, but I figure that the concept is much the same as sitting in front of any console game. We have an XBOX, PlayStation 2, GameCube, 3DO (don’t ask) and - until its recent theft – an XBOX 360. The chair got plenty of attention on all the consoles – save maybe the 3DO – and works just as well as it does for TV and movies. When fluffed up properly before sitting in it, the chair is more than sturdy enough to handle the flailing about of SmashBrothers or spirited NHL ’06 tournaments. It is also portable enough to get up close to the screen for gaming and then pushed back for every-day use. Most importantly, for potential MMORPG gamers, it stands the test of time and can handle long gaming sessions without losing much support.

The other claim was laptop gaming. It works, but only if you’re comfortable with the laptop mouse pad. Personally, I loathe the thing and cannot abide games without a traditional mouse, so the laptop gaming experience was a short-lived experiment. Nonetheless, the chair definitely provides the stability and support necessary to operate a laptop.

Physical Quality: 5 of 5

The chair is spectacularly produced. The thick outer fabric may well double as a bullet-proof vest. There is no ripping, scratching or tearing this chair (fear not, your living room wont be covered in tiny beans after an accident!). It also seems to be generally spill proof, as everything that we spilled came off without so much as a stain. What’s more, if you’re wearing shorts and it’s the summer, the fabric is also no-stick, which is definitely an improvement over a leather chair.

As a Gaming Chair: 4 of 5

It does most everything you would want for console gaming. It’s light, portable and shockingly sturdy. It loses a point only because it gets less comfortable the taller or heavier the user is and requires you to fluff it up before you sit in it for maximum effect.

It is impossible, as far as I can tell, to use this chair with a traditional keyboard and mouse set-up, so I do not think it’s fair to score it for those.

Value: 3 of 5

As of publish, the chair is available online for $129.00. That’s more than any piece of furniture around here cost. Admittedly, the place is not spectacularly furnished, but still, that is a lot for a beanbag chair. If you can afford it, it is worth it, but at that price it is definitely not for everyone.

Conclusion

The SUMO Omni should appeal to college students and dens. I cannot see it in my grandmother’s living room anytime soon. That said, I’d definitely recommend it as comfortable and portable furniture for children, teens and college students. As a console gaming chair, it does everything you can dream of. Parents should like it too, as it could be easily tucked away and seems to be entirely spill-proof.


You can comment on our review here.

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