The Orbit Baby G3 came in last in overall score out of 15 car seats in this review. This is especially disappointing when you consider that it is the highest price seat in our review, and thus we had high expectations for it. The Orbit has some interesting features and a design that sets it apart from virtually all of the competition, but it just didn't perform well in our tests, and much like the other Orbit products we have reviewed, we walked away feeling like the gadgety design wasn't as user friendly as the other products in the group. While we love innovation and new ideas, it would seem that this seat does not hit the mark and certainly does not inspire us to recommend it.
Orbit Baby G3 Review
Pros: Comfortable, innovative, nice quality
Cons: Expensive, compatible only with Orbit, products, heavy
Manufacturer: Orbit Baby
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Orbit Baby G3 car seat rotates on a patented "Smart hub" that allows baby to face you for putting them in and adjusting the harness, and then rotates back and locks for a rear facing ride. The unique deep cradle design provides maximum side impact protection and the interior is lined with premium energy absorbing padding for even more added protection. The "strong arm" mechanism pulls the seatbelt tight for you so installation is a breeze with the turn of a knob. This seat features removable seat cover that is machine washable without the need to rethread the harness. This car seat features a soft ergonomic handle for carrying baby close to you and it folds away in the base when not in use. It also comes with a full coverage shield that covers the entire seat opening for protection from the elements and nosy folks, as well as some added peace and quiet. This seat works with Orbit strollers and we found it to be easy to dock on any Orbit stroller base.
The chart below provides a comparison of overall scores for all the car seats tested in this review. The Orbit Baby is shown in blue.
Information provided below includes performance details for each metric. Metric scores were used to determine overall scores for each seats.
Ease of Install - LATCH
Graco SnugRide Classic Connect, which earned a 3. The easiest seat to install using this method is the UPPAbaby Mesa and the Cybex Aton 2, each earning a 9 for this metric.
Both portions of the Orbit G3, the base and the seat, are heavier than the competition. Luckily you won't be lugging around the base portion very often, but it should still be noted that it has a substantial heft to it. At over 14 pounds it feels significantly more substantial than the other bases in this review. This is one aspect that makes installing it more of a problem than the more traditionally designed bases.
Ease of Install - Belt
Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35 and the Phil and Teds Alpha, and the lowest is a 4 earned by the Evenflo Embrace LX with a 4.
Ease of Install - Without the Base
Ease of Use
Recaro Performance Coupe and the Evenflo.
The buckle on the Orbit earned the lowest score for ease of use in our tests. It is stiff, but not as stiff as some of the others. Its main problem is the crotch pad gets in the way of using this buckle easily. The chest clip or restraint clip is the most difficult clip to buckle and unbuckle. It is the hardest clip to squeeze and mating the two sides is also hard. The male end of the clip is the same size as the female end and you have to sort of tilt the end to fit in the bottom and then the top. We found it possible to do, but annoying in a way we believe will be worse with a wiggly baby in the seat.
Tightening the harness is achieved by pulling on the strap at the foot of the seat. The difficulty level for tightening is about average, as is the loosening by pushing the button at the foot while pulling the harness out at the same time. The button is under about 3 inches of padding however, so be prepared to go digging for it. If you have shorter fingers this could be a deal breaker.
Installing this seat on an already installed base is a chore and one we didn't really like, especially after installing all of the other options. For starters the seat itself is heavy, add the weight of a baby to it and it starts to feel prohibitively heavy. Next it does not click into place as simply as the usual design, but instead it pushes into the round "hub" and then needs to be rotated to the side to make it rear facing. There is a small window that will show up green if the seat is properly rotated and securely in the base which is nice and helps parents feel confident they have the seat installed correctly, but if parents are in a hurry we think it will be easy to rotate the seat without making it a all the way leaving the seat unsecrued.
Releasing the seat from the base is also not the nicest operation in our opinion. It requires that you squeeze the handles on each side of the seat to rotate and pull. This could be a problem if you are more petite, have a taller vehicle, or have any kind of trouble using both hands. The seat is rather large and it can be difficult to reach all the way around to both handles at the same time.
The LATCH anchor storage on the G3 does keep the anchors out of the way when not in use and does not allow the straps to get in the way of attaching the carrier portion of the seat to the base. The anchors clip into a pocket on the top of the anti-rebound bar, are easy to access, and do their job appropriately.
This seat has a nicely padded soft foam cover over the top of harder impact foam. The fabric itself is soft and very skin friendly, but it does seem like it would get dirty and stained easily. It also feels to us like it won't wear well over time, especially if you have to clean it frequently, as it feels thin and not very durable.
The shell of the seat appears more durable than some of the competition and is covered in a light fabric that gives it a nicer overall fit and finish than the competition. The fit on the seat and shell is better than average, but the fabric on the canopy doesn't fit as nicely as the rest. The handle, as already mentioned, is not one of our favorites and it looks cheap in comparison to the rest of the seat and we have concerns about its long term durability.
Britax B-Safe 35 at 10.57 pounds. It is hard to get over a seat that is this heavy and bulky to boot. We feel certain that they had good intentions and planned to bring something innovative and truly different to the market flush with seemingly identical products, but they seem to have failed with this ginormous beast. It is heavy and awkwardly shaped making it difficult to carry and maneuver no matter how you plan to use it.
While we admire the attempt to innovate in the Orbit's unique design, we don't think this design is a product that parents will like in day-to-day use. The weight and poor ease of use score makes this a seat that can't match the scores earned by the competition and the high price is hard to justify.
This seat has a list price of $440, making it the most expensive car seat in our review. Given that it scored dead last in overall performance points, we cannot recommend it for those seeking value.
Orbit products in, they just don't fare well. We consistently find Orbit products to embrace innovation in their design, and that excites us initially, but once we start using them we find those innovations don't translate well into day-to-day functionality. This seat misses the mark and performed below average in almost every metric we test for. The fact that it is only compatible with Orbit strollers also doesn't curry any favor with us, given that their strollers are comparatively expensive and didn't perform very well in our stroller review either. This seat came in last place in our review with scores that were lower than the competition in almost every metric.
Other Versions and Accessories
Orbit does not make any other infant seat. They do offer a convertible car seat that we did not review. However, given our general lackluster feelings for the Orbit Baby G3, we do not anticipate being over the moon about their convertible car seat either.Cozy Greens Back Seat Mirror from Cozy Greens is a great accessory for any parent wanting to keep an eye on baby from the front seat. The mirror is attached to a flat base that fits against the front of the headrest and is kept secure by two adjustable straps that fit around the headrest horizontally and vertically. The actual mirror has a convex shatter proof surface and is able to pivot and adjust to provide a wider field of view. Once adjusted correctly, there is a device to tighten the pivot point so that the mirror won't be accidentally bumped out of position. One of the few downfalls of this mirror is that it requires an adjustable headrest in order to attach properly. Other than that, Amazon users seem to love this accessory and claim that it provides a much clearer reflection than many other back seat mirrors.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD & Wendy Schmitz