Orbit G2, Stokke Xplory, Bugaboo Donkey: What's the best stroller?

Orbit G2, Stokke Xplory, Bugaboo Donkey: What's the best stroller?

Orbit G2, Stokke Xplory, Bugaboo Donkey: What's the best stroller?

How to be the best consumer you can be.
June 17 2011 7:14 AM

Which Bank-Breaking Stroller Is Best?

The Orbit G2, the Bugaboo Donkey, and other ludicrously expensive strollers, reviewed.

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Ride: 8
Flexibility: 9
Storage space: 4
Amenities: 2
Lifespan:  4
Style: 2
Total: 29 (Technically this is tied with the Bugaboo, but the Vista's price wins the tiebreaker.)

Orbit G2.

Orbit G2, $900 for the starter set, hundreds more for add-ons as your kid grows When Joseph Hei, the CEO and co-founder of Orbit Baby, stopped by my house a few months ago to deliver my demo model, I told him that I was interested in the G2 because it looked like a stroller as Apple would have designed it. Hei had heard that before—comparisons to Apple are de rigueur for Orbit, which grew out of Hei's work at Ideo, one of Silicon Valley's pioneering industrial design firms. Everything about the G2 is elegantly designed, and there are many small, thoughtful features that I found myself relying on every time I went out. If I had a fortune to spend on a stroller, this is the one I'd choose.

The system's many interchangeable parts—the starter set comes with the stroller frame, a car seat, and a car seat base; there's also a bassinet, and as your kid gets older you can get the toddler seat and the toddler car seat—all snap onto a circular docking base. It rotates, which means you can turn the kid to face backward, forward, or sideways without lifting. You can also use many of the Orbit's features single-handedly—you can fold it in a swift one-handed movement, and you can pivot the seat without ever taking your fingers off your phone. I found this especially helpful since, when I'm out with the baby, I often only have one hand free (the other is busy carrying a grocery basket, diaper bag, or texting).

A drawback is that the Orbit doesn't have much storage space. The under-seat carrying case is tiny; I almost always went out with the optional side-mounted baskets, which were useful but did make the stroller quite wide. Perhaps as a way to compensate for this defect, the Orbit's handlebars are split, allowing you to hang your grocery bag or man purse from the handles. (Every other stroller had a full bar for a handle, so I couldn't hang anything.) Another drawback: The G2's second-child add-on will only be released later this year, Hei told me.

None of that bothered me too much, though, because the G2 was the most comfortable stroller I tried—both for me and the baby. The G2's seat felt softer and sturdier than any of the others, and its safety harnesses were less of a hassle to adjust. Plus, the G2 is the only stroller I tested with a built-in cup-holder and a place for your keys and wallet. Although after you purchase the G2, you probably won't have much use for that.

Ride: 9
Flexibility: 10
Storage space: 2
Amenities: 5
Lifespan:  4
Style: 5
Total: 35

Farhad Manjoo is a technology columnist for the New York Times and the author of True Enough.