In-depth reviews guided by a Pediatrician

Orbit Baby Helix G3 Double Frame Review

Hard to push, expensive choice that only accepts Orbit car seats
Orbit Baby Helix G3 Double Frame
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Price:   $1,480 List
Pros:  Nice tray, unique tablet holder
Cons:  Large, heavy, take apart fold, maneuvering
Manufacturer:   orbit baby
By Juliet Spurrier, MD & BabyGearLab Team  ⋅  Nov 2, 2014
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53
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Ease Of Attaching Car Seat - 25% 7
  • Maneuverability - 20% 6
  • Weight/Folded Size - 20% 3
  • Ease of Use - 15% 3
  • Safety - 15% 7
  • Ease of Set Up - 5% 4

The Skinny

Update — Orbit discontinued the production of the Helix G3 stroller in 2016.

The Orbit is an expensive, gadget filled stroller that is heavy, innovative, and versatile. The turn in seats are easy to use, and the removable under seat storage bin is unique. Unfortunately, this product is super heavy and doesn't fold so much as it disassembles. Thus, it is not very user friendly for commuters or those families needing to pack and unpack the stroller out of the car multiple times a day. We feel that the Orbit's aesthetics are cutting edge, however, its overall performance is lacking and feels clunky; it draws you in only to disappoint you after use. With a high price tag, low performance, and a bottom of the pack score double strollers, the Orbit is not a product we recommend.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Orbit Baby G3 double frame stroller works with various seating options including two infant carrier car seats. It features 6 wheels, turn in seating typical to most Orbit products, and a storage bin under the front seat. It has a cup holder, tablet storage, and a secret pocket for valuables. The Orbit disassembles more so than folds, and the parts can be stored in a fairly compact package. This stroller is only compatible with car seats made by Orbit Baby due to the unusual round base connection system.

Note: In order to get this stroller set up for two little ones, you can follow our link Amazon where you must purchase the G3 Stroller System with an Infant Car Seat ($1259, left). You will need to purchase the Orbit Helix Plus Double Stroller Upgrade Kit separately for an extra $300 (right). In addition to all this, you will need to buy a separate Orbit Baby G3 Infant Car Seat Plus Base for $440 for the second car seat.


Performance Comparison


Orbit Baby Helix G3 Double Frame
Orbit Baby Helix G3 Double Frame

Ease of Use


The Orbit earned the lowest score for ease of use for products in this category. Even though it offered some unique features like a tablet holder and removable bin, it just wasn't enough to bump up its flailing numbers and lack of other conveniences.

Storage
The Orbit has a removable storage bin that has front and rear access
The Orbit has a removable storage bin that has front and rear access
The storage on this product is relatively small compared to the competition. It is supposed to be removable, but it won't come off with the second seat in place. The bin itself is fairly small, especially for a ride this big, and we weren't able to fit a diaper bag meant for two inside it. It does have zippered pockets on either side for additional items, but it still isn't enough to really hold everything you will need with two infants in tow.

Sun Shade
The photos above shows the sun shades for the Orbit.

The tablet storage acts a sun shade of sorts, and is the only shade offered on the Orbit frame itself. The canopies for this stroller if you are using car seat carriers will be whatever is offered on the carriers themselves. The orbit frame does not have any shades.

Convenience
The Orbit is the only product in the group with a tablet holder
The Orbit is the only product in the group with a tablet holder
The Orbit comes with 2 cup holders and a tablet storage pocket that allows the user to utilize the tablet in transit. Under the tablet is a storage pocket for convenience items like wallets, phones, and keys; not much else is going to fit in the pocket.

Maneuverability


The 6 wheels of the Orbit actually make this a hard to maneuver stroller that veers off course and follows its own path
The 6 wheels of the Orbit actually make this a hard to maneuver stroller that veers off course and follows its own path
The Orbit only scored an average 6 of 10 for this metric. We found the 6 wheeled set up to be difficult to push and once moving it has a tendency to stray in whatever direction it likes and keeps going if you can't manage to bring it back on course. While it does well over hard surfaces, the long length and extra wheels makes it somewhat of a bear on rougher surfaces. It does require some advanced thought and preparation for use, as you will need to know when you want to turn before you do or you won't make the corner.

This product is heavier and longer than any other in our review for frame or double products. The extra length and weight means maneuvering it is a chore and somewhat of a workout. The tendency for the ride to pick a direction and keep going also means it is hard to get it going where you want it to go, or making quick movements to avoid hitting others might be hard. The middle wheels on this product are plastic covered in foam filled rubber. Rubber wheels are a smoother ride. The remaining wheels are foam filled plastic tires wrapped around plastic wheels. The center wheels bear most of the brunt of the weight of the stroller, but it's unfortunate that the other four wheels are not constructed in the same way.

On grass and gravel the Orbit gets bogged down by its own girth. The middle wheels can get stuck sideways on the rougher ground. It is not a product you will want to take off the concrete or asphalt, and when we tried it felt like the back seat was going to break off when the wheels were on different surface heights. We recommend not taking this stroller up stairs, it is simply too heavy and long to do without two people present.

Safety


BabyGearLab takes safety seriously. We considered various obvious safety consideration when looking at the frames strollers including brakes, tipping angles, and cup holders. The Orbit scored a 7 of 10, tying with the Britax B-Ready Double Frame for safety and earning the high score.

Brakes

The color-coded brake system is shown above.

The Orbit has single action brakes that are relatively easy to use. It can be difficult to get your foot into the frame to depress the pedal, but it is sandal foot friendly and they have very little play when set. It required 40 pounds of pulling pressure to get this product to slide backward and 25 pounds pushing to encourage it to move forward.

Tipping

The Orbit tips at a 26 degree angle tilt, which is better than 3 of the other products in this review, but not great. The narrower width of the stroller probably causes the quicker to tip tendency. For falling backward it took over 37 pounds hanging off the handle bar before it fell. This weight is better than 4 of the other products in our review, but it is surprisingly low given the weight of stroller.

Car Seat Attachment


This frame has a snap in attachment for the carriers onto the round base; it does not require any other straps or connectors. There is only one way to put in the seats, and you can't do it wrong or even half way, so there is no room for user error. It is a little hard to get in and even harder to get out, but it is manageable. Once in however, the seat is extremely stable and doesn't wiggle or sway. Only orbit car seats and other carriers work with this frame. There are no adaptors for other brands of car seats. The only exceptions to this are that the rear smart hub does not work with the toddler car seats and generation-one toddler stroller seat.

Weight and Folded Size


The fold of the Orbit is more of a disassembly than a true fold
The fold of the Orbit is more of a disassembly than a true fold

Weight and Folded Size

The Orbit Helix G3 weighs about 31 pounds with no seats; it is the heaviest in our review with the Bugaboo coming in second with a weight of 28 pounds. The extra size and weight will likely inhibit you from using it for commuting or any application that requires it to be folded or carried.

When folded or disassembled the Orbit measures 33 x 19 x 18, and about 11,200 cubic inches. This makes it one of the smaller packages in our review, but this is only because it is divided into different separate pieces.

Ease of Folding
Even folded  or more accurately dismantled  this stroller takes up a lot of space
The photos above show the Orbit in various degrees of disassemble, which is the fold on this stroller.

No other product requires so many parts to be taken off just to fold it. This is a difficult product to fold, it requires 9 steps to accomplish, and it does not self-stand or have a carry handle. Basically all the parts need to come apart and nestle into one another after disassembly. The process is a two handed process and will take significantly more time than the competition.

Commuting

This is not the best stroller for commuting. It is heavy, long, and difficult to maneuver in smaller spaces. The seats are too far apart to line up to a table, even though they might be high enough to reach the table. The disassembly of this product also prohibits it from being folded easily and carried or stowed on public transport. The Orbit is really better suited for being put together and left alone if possible. Occasional folding for trunk trips to the park or zoo might be okay, but on and off public transport or maneuvering in and out of foot traffic on busy sidewalks is not the strong suit of this product.

Ease of Setup


The Orbit took us over 36 minutes to get out of the box and ready to stroll. Only the Bugabo Donkey took longer to assemble at over 41 minutes. The process is somewhat convoluted and there are more parts than most. The documentation is relatively good compared to some of the others, but the written portion of the instructions is located in a different manual than the picture portion, so you will need to compare back and forth to get the product together. Putting together the base is fairly simple, but the assembling the additional upgrade kit can be more challenging. The handle and parent tray need to be removed and then replaced after the second base is connected.

Best Applications


The only application for the heavy  expensive Orbit is a as a primary stroller intended for long trips made frequently
The only application for the heavy, expensive Orbit is a as a primary stroller intended for long trips made frequently
This product should only be considered as a primary stroller as it is unsuited for commuting or excessive travel. The weight, size and disassemble of the parts make it a bother to mess with. It doesn't make the best frame stroller given the weight, but if you just love the Orbit products and nothing else will do, then your hands might be tied, especially if your car seats are Orbit. The Orbit seats work only in the Orbit, and no other brand works in the stroller. However, all that being said, it scored poorly for a frame stroller and a double stroller, so for the price it isn't worth the added hassle.

Value


The price of this product means it isn't a value even if you use it from birth to toddler stages. With the purchase of the infant carriers and toddler seats later it can really add up. The price is so much higher that it really is better to purchase the award winning frame and double products instead of one Orbit. You will likely prefer the two different strollers for different stages, can likely sell the frame stroller for close to what you paid when you are done with it, and have two award winning models at a fraction of the price of the Orbit.

Conclusion


The Orbit feels like a little something different in a category full of a lot of the same. However, it really didn't function well in most of our tests, and other than having some unique features like a tablet holder, it really doesn't offer enough to merit the price. This product is hard to push, turn, and fold. It scored at the bottom of the pack in double stroller review and near bottom for the frame models, this makes it a product we just don't recommend.

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Juliet Spurrier, MD & BabyGearLab Team