Sunday, 22 July 2012

Gear: Omni from Sumolounge


Seems like a lifetime ago, but the Omni variety of Sumolounge's line of bean bag chairs was reviewed by The Armchair Empire way back in 2006. Six years later Sumolounge provided a "Fiery Red" review unit and the differences are negligible compared to the "old" model, which isn't a bad thing.

There are definitely more Styrofoam balls included as it's much "puffier" than in 2006. This is a good thing because with the original one I reviewed, after about 18 months the foam balls had compacted so much that it wouldn't hold it's shape, even when I was sitting in it after folding it up into my preferred configuration.

While it did go "flat" eventually thanks to the kind of abuse only little kids can commit against furniture, replacement filler is easy to come by. I'd expect the same thing to happen with the current version, though maybe not as quickly thanks to the extra number of polystyrene balls, but I'll also expect the durability factor to be quite high. For the original black review unit, no matter what the kids dished out the PVC coated nylon (or "Ballistic nylon" as the website describes it) never ripped or started coming apart.at the seams. It's tough. So far, the red one has performed identically in this regard.

To replace the balls, there's an access strip of industrial velcro that hides a zipper. Even I had to apply some effort to separate the velcro. That mean's there's no danger of inadvertently opening the Omni and spilling its guts.

The PVC coated nylon also makes for easy clean-up in the event of a spill (or other mess). A bit of soap and water does the trick. I haven't had the need to really address any massive spills on this Omni but I recall that with the black one reviewed previously I took it out in the front yard and hosed it down after scrubbing it with a brush and dish soap. To dry, I just left it in the sun for a while. I never had a problem with water getting into the interior of the bag.

One word of caution though. Because it's light and easy to move around, the Omni has become a bit of a flash point between me and my wife. She'd love to turf it because the kids tend to drag it around the house and because it's relatively big compared to most things a three-year old can lug around the house it gets in the way. Fortunately, stowing it in a closet when not in use is also just as easy.

Since 2006 the price for the Omni has gone up about $20 to $149.00. (The shipping is free.) For the kind of product you get, it's still a strong purchase for gamers and even those that just want kid friendly furniture with no fear that one day you'll come home to basement blizzard of polystyrene balls.

- Aaron Simmer

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