Clash of the Sumo Titan bean bag chair


— 10:55 PM on May 18, 2011

Here at TR, we generally can't be bothered with things that don't raise the electricity bill or contain copious amounts of caffeine. However, over the years, we have developed a fondness for the folks at Sumo Lounge and their ludicrously large (and comfy) bean bag chairs. It simply doesn't get much better than sinking into one of Sumo's plush blobs for a marathon session of gaming, movie watching, reading, or laptop productivity. Gargantuan bean bags are a little offbeat, but even the most dedicated geeks need a cozy place to unwind.

A few years back, Geoff reviewed Sumo's Omni, and SumoSac chairs. This time around, we've got the Titan, a Texas-sized version of the SumoSac that's been stretched out, inviting you to lie down rather than sit on its vast cushy expanse. At 70" x 49" x 36", the Titan is currently the second largest bean bag that Sumo Lounge offers. We're here to figure out if it's phat or just big boned.

First impressions
Like its predecessor, the Titan arrived with its guts vacuum-packed inside an enormous, bulging cardboard box. The entire package tipped the scales at 76 pounds and was reinforced with the type of plastic strapping typically found stabilizing freight pallets during transport. After helping the FedEx driver (who thought it was a sumo suit) unload the awkward parcel, I discovered that it didn't quite fit through my front door. A running nudge was required to coax the box into its new home.

Sumo Titan in its box

Upon peeling the box away from its bloated contents, three items were revealed: a quality inspection sheet, the removable cover, and the brain-like stuffing. Unfortunately, my overzealous unboxing technique proved too much for the vacuum seal, and the innards expanded before I could get a good snapshot of what must be a zombie's wet dream. Seemingly missing from the ensemble was a simple instruction sheet with washing directions and a recommended methodology for cramming the stuffing into the cover. It's not hard to figure out, but for some reason I'm programmed to expect a product of these proportions to come with documentation. A little direction would be a nice touch.

Box contents

Thankfully, rather than stitching the brain bag shut, the makers were nice enough to install a zipper. This saved me the trouble of having to resort to Tauntaun tactics to inspect the inner workings. The stuffing in this model is a mix of polyfill material, like you'd typically find in pillows or teddy bears, and pea-sized styrofoam beads for some texture. Sumo Lounge claims that this mixture will never go flat, but even so, some maintenance will be required. After only a week, I found that each day I progressively sat a little bit lower to the ground. Much of the stuffing had migrated to the sides of the chair, requiring a WWE-style fluffing session to rearrange the filling. To be clear, the stuffing did not go flat, it just shifted around a bit... like a bean bag chair. Alternating seating positions periodically might be a more civilized way to keep things even.

With Geoff having tested the Sumo's nylon and microsuede coverings already, I opted for the navy blue corduroy skin. The Titan is offered in either microsuede ($379) or corduroy ($399) with four different color options for each material. If you want microsuede, your choices are pitch black, khaki, funky brown, and fiery red. If you spring for the corduroy, you can choose between pitch black, navy blue, royal purple, and raspberry red. That selection should provide enough variety to match just about any room's decor. However, I wish all the color options were available for both materials. Funky brown corduroy would have been my first choice.

Despite my personal preferences, the navy blue covering looks quite classy, and the color is neutral enough to blend in well with most environments. The surface feels extremely soft and plush, too. It actually reminds me of a microsuede covering with ribs added for texture... and your pleasure.

Once you get the innards shoehorned into the outer cover, you simply zip it all up and start lounging. To prevent any potential discomfort, the external zipper is thoughtfully covered by a corduroy (or microsuede) flap bearing the Sumo logo. For me, this flap also serves as a reference point to determine the front of the blob from the back. The cover is designed for easy removal, so that it can be washed when necessary. While no instructions are included, I'm assuming one should follow general machine-washing guidelines for colored fabrics: cold water, hold the bleach.

Everyday use
Since I live in a cozy, almost-urban apartment, this piece of "Urban Lounge Gear" feels right at home in my domicile. I've been using it as the primary seating unit in my living room. When placed lengthwise against the wall, the Titan can comfortably seat two people with enough space between them to suit most personal bubbles. With just one person in the center, a custom armchair is formed around your body as you sink in. By rotating the Titan 90 degrees, so that it protrudes into the room, you now have a fantastically comfortable recliner, complete with headrest. This is my preferred seating arrangement for solo movie-watching and console gaming. You can still fit two people on the chair in this configuration, but you'll have to be pretty comfortable with your seating companion.

The way the Titan molds itself to your body makes the chair extremely comfortable for long periods of time. I successfully watched a full season of Top Gear in one sitting without any of the soreness one might experience from a less hospitable piece of furniture. The same goes for console games that don't rely on body motion. If your controller is wireless, or the cable is long enough, you can comfortably frag your opposition all day long.

If you happen to have pets, as I do, they will no doubt take an interest in the Titan. My cat decided to claim ownership within five minutes of my getting the thing zipped up and situated in my living room. Despite the upholstery's dark coloring, I haven't seen a lot of pet hair on the chair. I'm sure it will build up over time, but a quick once over with a lint roller or a thorough machine-washing should make the cover as good as new again. Be sure to set up the Titan in a clean environment, though. When I unfurled the corduroy cover fresh from the plastic bag it ships in, there was enough static electricity to light up Las Vegas, which attracted every little bit of dust in the area. After a couple minutes, things calmed down and the Titan was no more susceptible to accumulating dust and dirt than any other item in the room.

The Titan takes up as much floor space as a love seat, making it the largest bean bag chair I've ever encountered. Despite the fluffiness, the chair feels heavier than one might expect when maneuvering the thing. This may not be the best choice for a dorm furnishing, unless you've got a loft setup or an abnormally large room. In a pinch, however, the Titan can make a passable bed for wayward friends.

Final thoughts
Sumo Lounge identifies the target market for the Titan as those who want to "chill out with [their] favorite movie, game or album." After a couple of solid weeks engaged in those activities, I can confidently state that Sumo hit its mark. I'm finding it hard to convey with words just how comfortable this bean bag is.

Despite my personal adoration, the Titan is not an altogether perfect seating device. I'm not a monstrously tall person, but having spent my adult life at six-foot-two, I've discovered that the world is in fact built for people of slightly less vertical stature. The Titan is no different. When sitting in recliner mode, with my head resting at the back end of the bag, the Titan runs out at the knees, resulting in a less-than-optimal reclined position. People topping out at five-foot-nine or so should fit entirely on the bag, but the rest of us will require some sort of ottoman. Sumo will happily sell you the $75 Otto companion chair to fulfill this need, but it's only available with a nylon cover. In a perfect world, the Titan would be stretched out another 12 inches or so to accommodate taller folks and give couples a little extra space when sitting together. Of course, Sumo already offers a larger option in the Gigantor, which measures 86" x 60" x 40".

When the Titan is in armchair mode and is situated against a wall, your head ends up resting against it, which gets painful after a while. Enlisting the aid of a pillow quickly solves this problem, but I think Sumo is missing a potential opportunity here. A matching headrest/body pillow would be an excellent companion for anyone looking to seriously lounge around in one of these enormous bean bags. If such an accessory were just large enough to pull double duty as an ottoman, it would solve most of the minor comfort issues I encountered with the Titan.

While I'm making suggestions, it would be extremely useful if the Titan included a pouch to store remotes, game controllers, books, or other gear. My remote always seems to be just out of reach on the end table or floor, forcing me to roll out of my comfortable cocoon to queue up the next video.

Overall, I have been immensely impressed by the Titan. This massive bean bag chair won't make your games run faster, but it's a ridiculously comfortable place to be while playing them. Sumo has built a blob perfectly suited to gamers and film buffs. Ringing up at close to four Benjamins, the price might turn some people off initially. Shipping is free, though—or included in the price, depending on how you want to look at it. I took a stroll around the local Nebraska Furniture Mart to see what $400 would buy me, and nothing I saw even came close to the level of casual comfort afforded by the Titan. I wouldn't have guessed so from the outset, but frankly, this chair is worth every penny.

   
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