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Review: Sumo Emperor

3:00 PM on 05.08.2013 // Chris Carter

It's a royal price point, that's for sure

Furniture can get pretty expensive. Sometimes, you'll go into a store ready to buy a replacement chair, and before you know it, you and your wife are picking out a five-piece sofa set. Comfort, price, and aesthetics all come into play, and somewhere along the middle of all three options is the bean bag chair.

Of course, like all furniture, bean bags have premium options -- specifically, the Sumo brand, which we've covered in the past. As someone who plays an awful lot of games, and was curious as to whether or not they're worth the price, I decided to take the Sumo Emperor for a spin.

Sumo Emperor Bean Bag 
Manufacturer: Sumo
Released: May 1, 2013
MSRP: $399.00

Upon shipment, the Emperor was stuffed into a giant cardboard box -- and when you open it, it explodes into a giant fluffy cloud of comfort. You'll definitely want to move the box to your desired room before you unpack it, but it's not so large that you won't be able to transport it

To be clear, this is less of a bean bag and more of a small couch. At 55" x 25", it's not something that would suit most one-bedroom apartments, as it took up a great deal of my decently-sized basement. I tested moving it up and down stairs for people who live in taller houses, and it's easy to roll, even if there isn't a really solid area to grab. So while it does take up a lot of space, it's easy to transport. The "Fiery Red" color isn't too busy, and manages to stand out without looking too tacky. The cover also zips off easily for cleaning.

So what's the first thing you do when you get a bean bag chair? Jump into it of course! I noticed immediately that it conformed to my body, but didn't get too low to the ground, which is great. I also liked the distinct lack of the annoying crunching sound, which normally gets on my nerves, and is the main reason why I hate most bean bag chairs. It doesn't really absorb moisture, which is fun for long play sessions, since it won't get sweaty. It should fit two smaller people pretty comfortably, but I'll say outright, it's not comfortable at all if any party is on the larger side.

While the Emperor is great for general sitting, of course, gaming is the real test. For the purposes of this review, I tried using it with a laptop, portable systems, and general console gaming. My results ranged from "moderately comfortable" to "perfect."

First things first, portables are the best use of the Emperor, as it has lots of arm and head support. I tried laying on it with my 3DS, Vita, and iPhone, and found the comfort level to be near perfect. There was plenty of real estate to rest my head and arms, which makes for some great long Vita sessions. Just to be sure, I tried out a three-hour long Persona 4 Golden session on my Vita in it, and didn't have any issues at all. Tablet use is also extremely comfortable in the Emperor, as is general book reading.

Sitting up with a laptop is a different story. Although it's comfortable for the most part, you don't really have a place to rest your head, since the Emperor doesn't get low enough to the ground. Instead, you're left laying back into the bag a bit more than usual, which doesn't make for a great time when you have something in your lap.

My time with console testing was basically somewhere in the middle of my experience with portables and the laptop. You can rest your head and have your legs roll off the bean bag a little bit, but as a general rule it's not large enough to fully support your neck unless you lay a bit sideways. For more casual console games this isn't really an issue, but if you're playing something twitch-based or something that requires more precision, it'll be an issue. You can move more towards the front of the Emperor to rest your head, but your legs are basically falling off the bean bag. As a general rule I didn't have many issues with it, and still use it as an option when playing games of all types.

The Sumo Emperor is definitely a luxury item. But if you look at the market for larger bean bags, it falls somewhere comfortably in the middle in terms of price ranges -- and really, that's about where it sits.

Chris Carter, Reviews Director
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Chris (Magnalon) has been enjoying Destructoid avidly since 2008. He finally decided to take the next step, make an account, and start blogging in January of 2009. Now, he's staff! -----------... more   |   staff directory

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