Sumo took their toys and went outside.
I’ve reviewed a lot of the Sumo products, and each time they seem to fill a niche. The Sumo Omni bean bag chair filled my need for an adult bean bag chair nicely. Unfortunately my wife didn’t find it nearly as comfortable as I did. The Sumo Sultan filled that niche with a more sturdy-sided beanbag with a comfy and soft exterior. When the Sumo Omni Reloaded was announced I figured it’d be some new bean bag chair variant.
I was wrong.
The Sumo Omni is Sumo’s newest product to come out of their lounge lab. Moving away from the relaxing couch-replacement line, Sumo has tackled a new type of seat. Designed for camping, a trip to the pool, or a relaxing day at the park, the Sumo Omni Reloaded takes everything the team has learned with their previous products and given us a portable and very durable new seating option.
While it’s not made with the the nearly-indestructible ballistic nylon that covers the Sumo Omni, the outer case of the Sumo Omni is a stain, moisture, tear, and UV resistant Polyester. Inside is a Polyurethane Foam with a steel frame. It also comes with a nylon carrying case because the whole thing folds up nicely for transport and storage. It all sounds good on paper, so how’s it work in practice?
If you’ve been to any Home Depot or pool party you’ve seen what passes for lounge chairs. Most manufacturers take a reasonably sturdy steel frame and lay straps of plastic across with spaces in between. You’ve seen the people who use these cheap chairs – they have a tell-tale American Flag-esque stripe pattern on their back when they jump up for a dive in the deep end. Just like with the Omni, Sultan, Titan, and others – Sumo wanted to take the traditional throwaway seating choices we’ve been presented and turn them on their heads.
I live in Arizona, so I don’t exactly go to the beach – the whole place is a beach. A scorpion infested beach about 2 feet from the sun. The Sumo arrived at my door on a sunny day, but uncharacteristically it then rained for nearly the entire week! It was time to see how this performed in the house.
The bean bag varieties are obviously suited the inside play, although the ballistic nylon varieties handle the outside just fine. The Omni Reloaded is really an “outside cat” but that isn’t to say it’s uncomfortable for indoor use. It puts a nice barrier between your butt and the floor, and the ability to manipulate the overall shape (more on that in a moment) makes it great for a kids room or a living room to kick back and play games or read a book. The hitch – getting out of it.
To make the whole thing light and portable, the Sumo Omni Reloaded does not have any sort of stand or underframe. This means it sits directly on the floor. Leaning back on the Omni Reloaded is very comfortable, and being able to adjust the legs to raise your knees makes for a great reading position, but getting off the thing is a hands-and-knees affair for me. Perhaps I’m all broken in my mid-30s, but that was my experience.
After being cooped up for that long, I was eager to get outside and get the creak out of my bones. Heading to a friend’s house for an impromptu pool party, I got to enjoy the Omni Reloaded in its natural environment. My friend has the aforementioned strips-o-plastic chairs and I dropped the Omni right on top. There are wide velcro straps on the side to secure it in place. With the frame of the ‘normal’ chair underneath, my Omni was now the perfect lounge height to crack out a book and enjoy the day.
The rigid frame of the Sumo Omni Reloaded can be reconfigured in several different positions. Rather than describe them, check out this video from Sumo:
With my knees up and the back in position, I cracked open a book about thrones, dragons, and winter. It’s a bit of a page turner so I lost track of time. When I got up to put more sunscreen on (again – 2 feet from the sun) I noticed just how hot this thing got, and then I knew what the plastic strips were for. The UV resistant polyester on the Omni Reloaded doesn’t exactly ‘breathe’ as there are no air holes. It keeps the whole thing water resistant though, so I just hit it with a garden hose. Problem solved.
If there is one thing that I’ve stressed on any of the Sumo products I and others at Gaming Trend have looked at – you get what you pay for. If you would like a crummy lounge chair that’ll have rust spots and straps falling out after a season, then head to Home Depot. If you want something more substantial and easily stored, then be prepared to pay for it. The price of the Sumo Omni Reloaded is $
219. It comes in five colors, and I’ve seen plenty of sales that’ll probably cut that price down a bit, but again – you get what you pay for.
UPDATE: Sumo has lowered the price to $199, and is offering a coupon (put in pvp at checkout) for an additional $20 off, dropping this to just $179.
The Sumo Omni Reloaded was a bit of a surprise. The team at Sumo are really dedicated to comfortable seating, but taking their sand bucket and shovel outside was unexpected. The price may raise an eyebrow, and you really do need a frame to raise it to proper butt-height, but the rock-solid construction and ultra light frame show off the high quality we’ve come to expect. Toss in the carrying case for storage or a trip to the beach, and you have the whole package. Now...back to my book - there are some festive-colored weddings coming up!