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Hands-on Gear Review
Orbit Baby O2 Review
Price: $785 List
Pros: Easy to push and turn, higher quality
Cons: High price, heavy, difficult disassembly fold, hard to use
Bottom line: Maneuvers well, but a difficult fold and ease of use makes it a no go
All Orbit products stand apart from the competition because they truly aren't like anything on the market. From their circular hub and rotating seats, to the interchangeable seating options, they seem to have a lot of bells and whistles and innovative engineering. However, there might be a reason why most of the competition looks similar or works in familiar ways. Most of the Orbit products have disappointed us in our reviews by being heavy, unwieldy, and overly gadgety. This Orbit isn't all that different, and while we did feel it performed well for maneuverability, it didn't do much in any of our other tests and earned a score that is boringly average.
RELATED: Our complete review of full-size strollers
Analysis and Hands-on Test Findings
The Orbit O2 Stroller Base claims to offer something of a hybrid stroller for everyday use and jogging. This bare bones stroller comes with a small under seat storage basket, adjustable handlebar, air filled tires, a lockable front swivel wheel, and 360 degree rotation on the "Smarthub". This stroller has shock absorbing suspension. It works with all the G2 and G3 Orbit Baby seats, bassinets, and stroller seats and you must purchase the seats separately as they do not come standard with the stroller. The seats are adjustable from a low to high positions they call city mode and performance mode. This Orbit frame is also compatible with an O2 Cup holder/organizer, sunshade, weather pack, and foot muff for an additional expense. The stroller frame has an intuitive fold, but sadly it does require removing the seat first.
Ease of Use
4moms Origami and Quinny Buzz Xtra came in lower with a 3. The high for the group is an 8 shared by the UPPAbaby Vista and UPPAbaby Cruz. The average is closer to 6.
The sunshade on the Orbit toddler seat is large compared to the competition, but it does not have an associated SPF. Unfortunately, this shade does not offer additional ventilation, nor does it have a peek-a-boo window. This can be somewhat forgiven when the shade is small, but we feel that parents should have a way to see baby without disturbing them.
Additional accessories are available for purchase and include a parent console.
BOB Revolution Flex. The low for the group is 4moms with a 2.
Even though this stroller is large and heavy it is surprisingly nimble in its movements. It performed far better than expected in the turns and tight places, though we did bang the handle a few times because it sticks out pretty far. It is almost as good at the BOB Revolution for maneuvering, but not quite as good. Because of its size and weight it is not quick and you need to anticipate it's turns, while the BOB Revolution is a little easier to move on the fly.
This stroller pushed easily and only one hand is necessary in most situations; this keeps your other hand free. This stroller did not turn as sharply as some of the smaller options, but it did transition to carpet and roll over cords like they weren't there. Pushing off pavement this stroller is right up there with the top performers, though again not as good as the Revolution. In fairness, it is hard to compete with the adjustable suspension and larger tires on the BOB. This stroller has an unusually long handle, but this helps it manage stairs and curbs fairly well. The Orbit is a heavy beast of a stroller so lifting it up stairs is still going to be chore or impossible for some.
The Orbit has of a removable seat liner that feels like soft fleece. It is probably difficult to wipe clean because it absorbs everything, but it is is machine washable. The seat itself is a smooth mesh like fabric that should be easier to wipe down than the fleece. It is also removable and machine washable. The storage basket is slick and feels like a heavy duty canvas material with mesh strips on either side. The foot rest is the same and should also be easy to clean. The canopy is a softer canvas that feels fairly sturdy.
This stroller has a 2 year warranty.
The Baby O2 has a safety score of 5 of 10 for the metric. The high for the category is an 8 earned by the Baby Jogger City Select, the low is a 4 for the Baby Jogger City Mini GT, which had some trouble staying upright with the seatback reclined and baby far up the back.
There are no cup holders on this stroller and therefore it means there is no safety concern for cup holders. However, there is a parent console with a cup holder that can be purchased. If parents plan to purchase the holder we suggest proceeding with caution so nothing accidentally falls on baby's head.
The buckle slips together pretty easily, but it takes both hands to release the button because you have to push the red buttons at the top of the buckle with one hand and squeeze the bottom of the buckle with the other. It is a complex process that will prevent children from operating it for themselves, but that means a struggle to operate it.
The side tip angle for this stroller is a minimum 19 degrees, with slightly steeper angles depending on seat position. This is below average and on the high side for tipping, which means it is more likely to tip to the side than some of the competition.
Rear tipping is also dependant on seat position. The weight required to tip over backwards ranges from Rear facing/Seat Raised: 27lbs 11oz to Rear facing/ Seat Lowered: 11lbs 12oz and few in between. With a low limit of 11 pounds, parents should avoid putting weight on the back of the stroller. This is ill advised for any stroller, but parents are likely to try it at some point when their hands are full and they need to put the diaper bag somewhere.
Weight and Folded Size
Britax B-Agile 3 and the Baby Jogger City Mini Single. The smallest is the BOB Motion near 5,500 cubic inches.
Folding this stroller is a bit of a process and requires that the seat be removed. Some of the competition is easier to fold with the seat off, but this one requires it, which is frustrating. It is a 5 step process that requires two hands to complete and is more difficult than just about any stroller in the group. The steps include lifting the seat off the base, releasing the handlebar, folding the bar forward, and rotating the stroller back to allow the front wheel to fold under. It is highly unlikely that any parent will be able to, or want to, attempt this fold on public transportation or checking on an airplane. It does offer an auto-lock feature, self-stands, and has a carry strap for the frame. Only two other strollers received a "difficult" rating for the fold operation, the Bugaboo Cameleon3 and the Bumbleride Indie 4 both with 5 steps. The unfold is also not a one handed operation and requires 6 steps to unfold. It is a difficult and arduous process.
Ease of Setup
The Orbit earned a respectable score of 8 of 10 for ease of setup. It took us under 7 minutes to get the stroller out of the box and ready to use. The manual is good, but the illustrations are only average for understandability. Luckily, the stroller is pretty simple to put together. The time for assembly is for the frame only because that is how it is sold. The seat is normally sold separately and the setup varies depending on which seat you plan to use.
Car Seat Compatibility
Orbit Baby G3 came in last place in our review of infant car seats, which makes neither it, nor this Orbit stroller, a good combination. The car seat is fairly easy to connect on the swivel hub, but more difficult to disconnect. It can face forward or backward. The stroller frame weighs 25 pounds 5 ounces without a seat making it far heavier than a standard frame stroller and not a good stand in for frames that weigh 12-16 pounds.
The best application for this stroller is for parents who already own an Orbit car seat. Orbit car seats are not compatible with any other stroller on the market and therefore require an Orbit stroller if you plan to use one of their seats or receive it as a gift. Otherwise there is likely not a best application for this stroller. It is heavy, hard to fold and carry, and has limited car seat options.
This stroller is a relatively expensive stroller compared to the award winning competition that all scored significantly higher. With a price tag of $980 (which includes the O2 frame, stroller seat, and sunshade) this stroller costs more than all of the award winning options in our review. No matter what you are looking for there is a stroller in this review that does it better, and will cost you less, making the Orbit not a great value.
This Orbit did have a little better performance scores in our tests that other Orbit products we have looked at in the past. It impressed in the maneuverability and quality metrics, and managed a nice score in safety, but it isn't enough to make up for the fact this this stroller is heavy, large, difficult to fold, and almost impossible to transport any distance without using two hands which leaves you no hand for baby or diaper bag. The stroller is expensive and cumbersome and unless you are simply in love with the Orbit family of products it is not a product we recommend.
Other Versions and Accessories
Orbit makes several other strollers, a few of which we have included in past reviews. None of the Orbit products have really impressed us thus far, though this one scored better than most.
Accessories available for purchase with this stroller are a O2 Cup Holder + Organizer, Cargo Pod, Stroller Panniers (pair), Stroller Travel Bag, and the Sidekick Stroller Board.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD and BabyGearLab Review Team
Most recent user review: January 28, 2016
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