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Infant Car Seat review: Orbit

BB Rating
What's This?

B

A EXCELLENT-our top pick!
B GOOD-above average quality, prices, and creativity.
C FAIR-could stand some improvement.
D POOR-yuck! Could stand some major improvement.

Orbit G4 infant car seatWeb site: orbitbaby.com

Price: $1020, as part of a travel system with stroller frame. $440 sold as a stand-alone seat.

Limits: 4-30 lbs., 32”

NHTSA ease of use rating: Four out of five stars.

Pros: You’ll have a seat none of your friends has.

Cons: Did we mention it is sold as part of a travel system that’s $1000+?

Comments: Orbit aims to be the Apple of juvenile gear—a company whose innovative products set the bar for everyone else. Do they succeed? Let’s discuss.

Orbit’s flagship is the Orbit Baby Infant System, which includes an infant car seat, in-car base and stroller frame that attempts a Bugaboo-like chic vibe. The infant car seat is a bit strange looking (one parenting blog compared it to a crock pot), with an innovative soft-strap handle and rotating base. We liked Orbit’s “SmartHub” base technology, that lets you “dock” the seat at any angle. The base also has a front knob that ensures a tight fit to the vehicle.

The feedback on the Orbit has been mixed. Fans love the Orbit’s technology and ergonomic design. Tall parents particularly love the matching stroller’s tall handles; others love how it is a conversation starter with other parents.

But . . . detractors point out the bulky 12 lb. carrier is beyond HEAVY, providing a serious upper body workout as baby gets bigger. The bulk of the Orbit seat makes for a tight fit in even mid-size cars.

And let’s get real for a second: does anyone really need to spend $1000 on an infant car seat and stroller frame? Most babies will outgrow the Orbit infant car seat at or before their first birthday. Then you have to pony up another $200 for a toddler stroller seat. So if you are scoring along at home, that adds up to $1200+. (A bassinet cradle that docks to the stroller frame is another $200).

In the past year, Orbit began offering the infant car seat separately, for an eye-popping $440 retail. 

As for crash testing, Consumer Reports ranked the Orbit 14th out of 18 seats, giving it only a “basic” mark for crash protection. Other seats did better and had better ease of use and fit to vehicle. (This is a previous CR report; for some reason, Orbit isn’t in the most recent ratings of infant seats.)

In 2014, Orbit rolled out the third generation (G3) versions of its car seat and stroller. The new travel system has more customization options and a raft of improvements to the stroller (bigger storage basket, faster fold, better steering). There have been minor tweaks to the Orbit line in 2015 and 2016, but no major news.

Bottom line: most parent feedback on this seat is positive—fans like the design and durability. You’ll get stopped in the park or the mall with folks commenting on the seat. But the extreme weight, bulk and price of this seat limit its appeal. If you don’t want to get the entire Orbit travel system, there is no point to the Orbit infant seat as it isn’t compatible with other strollers.

So, it’s a mixed review for the Orbit. Kudos to the company for their innovative features and design. But does Orbit reach the Apple level of cutting edge tech and accessible pricing? No. Let’s do the math. You could buy an Orbit system for $1020. . . or buy a Graco SnugRide for $150 plus a stroller frame for $50 and take the $820 savings and start a college fund for your child. Rating: B

Amazon Customer Reviews: Orbit Baby Travel System

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