Hi Gabrielle,
I’m 14 weeks pregnant with my first child and am overwhelmed with all the baby stuff to choose from. I’m also married to a product designer who’s very concerned that our stroller, car seat, etc. look as cool as they function.
He discovered a new product called Orbit Baby that is a stroller/car seat in one. We live and work in San Francisco so having a very mobile system is a big deal for us (we also love to travel). I’ll be taking the baby on public buses, metro/subway, taxis, airplanes, etc. on a pretty regular basis in its first year. We also own a car so a car seat is important too. Anyway, if you could take a look at the website and product and give me an honest review, I’d really appreciate it. Thanks so much! Michelle Aller

Design Mom Answer:
Congrats on your pregnancy, Michelle! And thank you for introducing me to Orbit Baby. I checked it out online and am very curious to see one in person. I admit I was very skeptical going in. Another stroller? But after I watched the demo movie I was changing my tune and could easily see how your product designer husband was impressed.

Things I like:
-Rotatable seat while on the stroller
-You can dock from any angle before you turn the seat rear-facing in a vehicle. Putting the car seat into the car narrow side first makes good sense and a much less awkward entry.
-The soft carry handle sounds interesting. I’m curious to see if it really is more comfortable, because infant carseat/carriers are notoriously awkward to carry.
-Of course it needs to be one-hand manuverable, lightweight, and easily collapsible — especially in the city — and it seems to be.
-I like that the fabric is removable for washing without undoing the seatbelt straps. You will need this.
-I like the extendable handles on the stroller.
-I like the removable cargo pod. I wonder if it’s convenient enough to use as the diaper bag — simplifying your gear a bit. Or maybe it’s one of those nice option that you’ll never make use of.
-I like that the car seat and base accommodate future seats as your child grows.
-I like the built in stretchy enclosure.
-I like the turn-handle installation.

Things I’m wondering about:
-Carseat/carriers are traditionally replaced when the baby is about a year and can now face forward in the car. Then parents usually transition into a more substantial carseat that remains in the car and a stand-alone stroller. That first year there can be a lot of random napping and it’s nice to be able to move the baby from stroller to house or stroller to car without removing them from their seat and waking them up — thus the carrier option. But this is less important after the baby’s first birthday. And although the base and stroller accomodate future seats for bigger babies, I personally wouldn’t take advantage of it, I would prefer a stationary car seat and a seperate stroller. Which means this would be a one-year use product for me. And that’s a lot of money for something I’m going to use for one year.
-Between 6 and 12 months, many babies would prefer to be sitting up while in a stroller so they can see better and easily reach a food tray or sippy cup. This system offers no option for this. (This of course isn’t an option while in a car until they reach certain age and weight requirements.)
-I’m not sure how I feel about tires that require air and a pump. This is true of our jogger stroller — but we only use it close to home. If I was in the middle of errands and the wheels need air, I’d be irritated.
-If you go with the Orbit, don’t get the added bassinet. It will only be usuable for a couple of months and it defeats the purpose of being able to go from stroller to car or vice versa without disturbing the baby.

Overall it seems like an awesome, well-thought out product. It’s just so darn hard to guess what kind of system will work best for you until you’re in the middle of using it. This doesn’t seem to get easier: if you add more kids down the line, you have to discover each time what works for you again. My husband and I loved having an all-in-one system for our first baby and we used it like crazy. But it was pretty much useless after that first year.

One last thing: well-used baby equipment doesn’t look good forever. It’s nice to replace shabby looking products as the baby grows. I don’t think of baby equipment as long-term investments. Most baby products will only be used for a few months or a year. Babies aren’t babies for long.

I hope that helps. I’m also hoping some of my readers have seen or used this product and can give you a response. Best of luck! And we’d love to hear your final decision.