The Campaign: Best Served Cold

Omni Reloaded

Monday, August 4, 2014 | 10:22 AM | by

The folks over at SUMO sent me a copy of their newest chair to review. I was a little reluctant at first... the last thing my house needs is more SUMOs at this point. But when it arrived, I was pleasantly surprised.

Behold, the Omni Reloaded. This is the first SUMO chair I've tested in a long time that super light and easy to move.

The chair is basically flat... some sort of light steel frame wrapped with cushiony goodness. It's hinged at 3 points, so that you can adjust the shape and curvature however you like it. From flat, you bend the hinge and it click-locks into place at regular (fairly small) intervals. If you fold it all the way, the hinge will release, allowing you to reset it.

It's a decent size... I took a picture of me sitting in it. For reference, I'm 5'11".

You can see that my feet are just reaching the end of the chair in this seated position, so a taller person could expect to have their feet reach the floor. I don't think it would alter the comfort of the seated position, unless you're closer to the 7' side of things.

The chair is covered in the same nylon-type fabric as the original Omni, which means it feels pretty durable. While I've enjoyed the corduroy and microsuede options in recent years, they're a real pain in the butt to keep clean.

The Reloaded was comfortable, in the same way deck/pool lounge chairs are comfortable. Actually moreso, because of the increased points of articulation. But my point is, rather than the marshmallowy goodness of a chair like the Titan, this is more chair-like.

What I like the most about it is its portability. It's really light, and it folds in half. They even give you a carrying case to go with it. This means you can move it from room to room very easily, or even stick it behind a couch or in a closet when you don't need the extra seating or don't want your gaming chair in the middle of the living room.

And while the chair feels perfectly at home in front of a TV, due to its sturdy material and mobility, I feel like I'd be more apt to use it as a deck/beach/lawn chair. I'd have to be spending a day at the beach to justify taking this instead of a regular folding chair, but it'd work really well if I did. We have a couple of deck loungers that I built a couple of years ago, and this chair is just as easy to take out and put away as the cushions we have for them.

At completely flat, I suppose you could use it to sleep on, if you had company or whatever, but it's pretty narrow, and one good roll will have you on the floor. Still, if your floor is say, concrete, this would be a nice step up.

The frame is sturdy, and I never had a hinge give out on me in all of my testing over the last few days. However I did notice that if the chair is already bent like you see above, and you go to sit down in it, you can't overshoot. If you're just a bit too far back, this happens:

Because there's no support for the back, it's easy to topple if you sit down/back with too much force. However once I was seated, I was unable to tip backwards without some really intentional force.

Comfort: 4/5. It's a very comfortable chair, but you're giving up some squishiness for some practicality (and $$ savings, see below). Also, a lot of versatility. This is a chair you can enjoy in a variety of places.

Appearance: 5/5, as far as SUMOs go. As comfortable as they are, most of the beanbag chairs are just giant blobs. And they dominate the room. The Omni Reloaded is slim and functional, and while I'd like to see more colors available, they won't look out of place in a tv room or on a deck.

Cost: 5/5. For the chair you're getting, the price is pretty reasonable. A little pricier than the original Omni, likely due to the steel frame, but much easier to swing than the $4-500 for the larger marshmallow chairs. Construction seems pretty sturdy, and the chair is wrapped in foam, not filled with pellets. So even if it were to eventually tear, the Omni Reloaded would still be useable. So you'd likely have the chair for a good long while.