Sumo's Omni bean bag chair


Hipster nostalgia
— 1:47 PM on August 19, 2006

ManufacturerSumo
ModelOmni
Price (Street)$149
AvailabilityNow

YEARS AGO, I HAD a brief but torrid affair with a friend's bean bag chair. We were living in residence at university, and the admittedly cheap bean bag was an oasis of comfort in a dormitory filled with furniture seemingly designed primarily to thwart theft and discourage fornication. I spent hours in that chair studying, napping, and more often drifting between the two. But the term soon ended, and the bean bag and I went our separate ways.

Ever since, I've toyed with the idea of getting another bean bag chair, but have generally been unimpressed with the poor quality of what's been available. I have real furniture now, too, so my expectations have been raised. It's with those raised expectations that I've tackled Sumo's Omni, a new age bean bag being marketed to urban hipsters and gamers alike. We don't usually talk furniture here at TR, but the Omni's an interesting product. Also, I've been spending an increasing amount of my gaming time slouched on my couch in front of an Xbox, so I couldn't resist taking the Sumo for a spin.


The biggest difference between the Omni and a bean bag throwback from the 70s is the Sumo's sheer size. Measuring 4.5 x 5.5 feet, the Omni is monstrous—easily large enough to completely engulf my 5'2 girlfriend and still have room for one of her friends. Surprisingly, though, the Omni's weight is decidedly un-Sumo-like. The bag weighs just 18 lbs, which means that lugging it around isn't be nearly as difficult as finding a floor space large enough to set it down.


Gargantuan proportions make the Omni quite unlike any other bean bag chair I've experienced. You don't so much sit in it as become swallowed by its compliant goodness. This enables a level of slouching that will no doubt invite an icy glare from your mother, who told you to always sit up straight. Still, it's incredibly comfortable to lie nearly prone, with just enough incline for a good angle on the television.

Of course, you don't have to slouch. With a little repositioning, Sumo says the Omni can be configured for 10 different seating positions, or even more if you have a wall or couch to lean up against. In practice, there are probably only a handful of really comfortable positions that vary from completely prone to surprisingly upright. It's even possible to scrunch the Omni like a stool to accommodate the "gamer's lean," in which console gamers lean forward while playing regardless of their proximity to the television or the size of the screen. If you're the romantic type, the Omni easily accommodates two, too.


Speaking of romance, the Omni is both stain-resistant and water-repellant thanks to the "space age rip-proof nylon" that encases the beans. Spills are easy to wipe off with a towel, making the chair idea for kids and those with, er, chemically-impaired motor skills. The bag's tough construction is also a plus when you're dragging it around, although it's also the Omni's one shortcoming. Spill resistance and durability are great, but space age nylon isn't exactly plush. Not that the nylon is uncomfortable; it's just not as cozy as softer materials like fleece, a nice pliable leather, or something like velvet. Of course, none of those materials tolerate spills or abuse nearly as well, so there's a reasonable trade-off.

Sumo Omnis sell for $149 with free shipping—an important consideration given the chair's dimensions—and the Omni is available in eight colors from black to hot pink. Certain colors seem to be regularly on sale for $129, as well. That's certainly not cheap for a bean bag chair, but with similar hipster designs selling for over $200 online, it's actually pretty reasonable.

I've spent hours entrenched in the Omni relaxing, watching movies, gaming, and of course, napping. In that time, I have developed a new crush. The Omni might be a soft slip cover away from perfection, but it's still the most comfortable bean bag chair I've ever had the pleasure of slouching in. 

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