Pushchair first look video reviews Petite Star Bubble
The Petite Star Bubble is a new style of lightweight buggy - the first to offer a parent-facing seat on an umbrella-fold stroller.
Until we get it into the test lab we won't know whether this new design is the future face of lightweight buggy design or a gimmick that will prove too clever by half.
To see reviews of other puschairs we have tested in the Which? lab – including the Petite Star Kurvi 3 and Petite Star Zia4 – visit our pushchair reviews. If you're not already a member, you can unlock our full pushchair reviews and find great online prices, by taking out a £1 trial subscription to Which?Check out our Petite Star Bubble video to see this pushchair in action:
The Petite Star Bubble is an interesting new pushchair with a unique feature hidden under the hood - it has two seats back-to-back, which share a common backrest.
Pushing the backrest forward creates a parent-facing seat for young babies, and pulling the backrest towards the rear leaves you with a fairly normal-looking stroller. The hood inverts to attach to the back of the seat, no matter which direction it is facing. We don't know yet if it is suitable from birth.
UPDATE 06/11/12: Since we took a look at the Petite Star Bubble at the Harrogate Nursery fair, the seat has been engineered to recline further back to what seems like an almost flat position. Petite Star says that the seat is now suitable from birth when facing in either direction, but the exact angle is something we'll be checking in our lab tests.
We've also been able to take it for a spin outside. We found the Petite Star Bubble lightweight and smooth to push and therefore easy to manoeuvre over bumps or up kerbs. However, like many other umbrella fold strollers, it isn't great at turning sharply or using one-handed as the wheels aren't very responsive.
Freedom to fold in either direction
Another innovation is that it can be folded with the pushchair seat facing in either direction. Many parent-facing seats on other pushchairs must be removed or returned to their forward-facing position before the pushchair can be folded, which is an inconvenience.
We found it reasonably easy to reverse the direction of the seat and to fold the pushchair, but the hood, which is made of a lightweight fabric on a flexible frame, feels flimsy and is easy to knock around accidentally.
Umbrella fold drawbacks
There's no doubt that the umbrella fold - where the pushchair collapses in on itself to create a long narrow package - is one of the most successful pushchair designs around. But it does have limitations which the Bubble shares.
The frames usually have quite a lot of flex in them, which makes them creak and feel less sturdy and the storage baskets under the seat are small and difficult to access, particularly with the seat reclined.
We'll be sending the Bubble to our lab for our full safety, durability and usability tests as soon as it's released, so we'll see then whether Petite Star can overcome these issues. And we'll update you on the price when we know it.
Pros: Innovative design, reversible seat, can be folded when seat is parent-facing, lightweight and compact when folded
Cons: Flimsy hood, small storage basket with limited access