Quick Summary: The phil&teds smart is obviously a pushchair designed to handle the city, but with a tougher edge allowing it to cope with the odd trip in the country. It looks nothing like its predecessor, but that's not a bad thing.
- Large hood
- Convenient handbrake
- Soft fabrics
- Unique and easy foot operated fold
Whats not so good?
- Only two handlebar positions
- Recline could be easier
The original smart from phil&teds was quite different from the smart we have in the office today. Gone are the aerocore seat and bright contrasting colour combinations. We are going to see exactly what this nippy little pushchair now has to offer.
The phil&teds smart has a fresh new look, really taking it apart from their usual style. Rather than a rounded frame, the squared off finish on the chassis gives it a chunky and robust appearance. It's still only 57cm wide though, making it great for the shops.
With a wide and curved handlebar, the foam covering is comfortable to hold. To adjust, the two buttons on the outside need pressing and there are two positions to click into. As there is further movement into different angles, it would be great if it locked into more positions for people at either height extreme.
The tyres are 10" on the back and a slightly smaller 8" on the front - all puncture proof and made from aerotech. The four wheels give a balanced feel, with each one featuring its own suspension. With a flash of white on the inside of the wheels, they really look great. They are also chunky enough to handle some rougher terrain, even if it is a pushchair designed for the city. The front wheels can be locked off with the press of two levers to help navigate these bumps a little easier.
phil&teds are now experts at the handbrake, so it's no surprise that one has been added to the new smart. The simple red lever on the right hand side of the handlebar needs pushing forward to put it on, and back again for off. It's easy enough to operate with the flick of a finger.
The triangle shaped basket on the underside of the seat has deep sides and can take an impressive 10kg. There is easily enough room in there for your changing bag or a couple of bags of shopping.
Travel system compatible, you can purchase adaptors to use an infant carrier on the smart, and they conveniently click into the holes that usually hold the bumper bar.
Though the smart is a pretty slim pushchair at 57cm, the seat definitely isn't. At 38cm wide, it has plenty of room for older toddlers that need that extra bit of space. It can also take a higher weight load of 20kg and has a seat back height of 48cm.
The material used on the seat is luxuriously soft and generously padded from the seat back right down to the footrest. The five point harness sits in the centre of the seat and has a large buckle to release each shoulder and waist strap individually. The shoulder straps have colour coordinated pads in the same soft material and can be adjusted with plastic sliders that leave no tail when shortened. The waist straps can also be adjusted in the same way for the perfect fit on any child. As they are all separate, you need to fasten them all in the buckle one at a time, which takes a little longer. There are three different harness heights to choose from and it's easy to push the plastic buckle through the back of the seat.
The bumper bar on the smart has a stitched cover that is made from a slightly rubberised fabric that reminds us of the interior of a race car. It is completely gate opening and swings nicely out of the way with a 360 degree spin. The button to release is just underneath at either side.
Reclining the seat unit is as easy as squeezing the grey button and pushing the seat down. But getting it back up is where you wish for an easier one handed lever. It's made more difficult as you need to pull the two webbing strips apart quite firmly to tighten, though there are rings at the ends to help. A child in the seat would make it harder still.
If you like a large hood, you're going to like the new smart. There's an extendable panel that unzips giving the maximum protection for your child, reaching right down to the bumper bar. A small but nice touch of a toggle on the zip makes it much easier to locate and operate. The hood is lined with a shiny silver material that gives a nice contrast of fabric colours when up, and has a UPF rating of 50+ to protect from the sun. Thanks to the solid rim, the hood keeps a great shape through all three positions. To make sure you can still keep an eye on your child, there's a plastic peekaboo window.
The footrest is capable of four different positions, and is adjusted with a bar that poppers in place underneath. It then sits on one of three grooves in the plastic plate for different angles. With horizontal being one of the positions, it gives a nice lay flat area when the seat is reclined. There's also a plastic shelf built into the chassis, just below the fabric footrest, for longer legs.
As we are used to with phil&teds, you do need to purchase the raincover separately.
The seat of the smart can be used from birth, but if you are not keen on keeping your newborn world facing, then you need the addition of the cocoon baby carrycot. Suitable from birth, the cocoon creates a cosy place and can be used parent facing. The seat has small loops to attach the cocoon to and the hood can even be spun around to provide the same protection rearfacing. It almost gives the look of a standard carrycot.
The smart has been designed with drivability at the forefront. It handles very well and is easy to push across smooth and rough ground. It's not a light push, but feels solid enough to last and carry a toddler right up at the highest weight limit.
phil&teds trademark kerb pop is firmly in place, with the weight distributed in just the right places. We found it easy to tackle the streets, getting up and down kerbs without a problem.
phil&teds have gone in a completely different direction with their method of fold on this pushchair. The first that we've seen of this kind, the starting part is virtually a hands free operation as it is done with your foot instead. On the outer edge of the basket, there is a black pedal. By pushing to the left with your foot and then down, it releases the lock mechanism, with the handle bar dropping down. There's a catch on the left hand side which you will need to put on manually to keep the smart folded together. The smart free stands to make storage easier.
As the smart folds back down on itself, you're left with a very compact parcel. By removing the bumper bar, even more height is removed. Measuring only 68cm tall and 57cm high, it's slim enough to fit into the majority of small boots, whether you need to lay it flat or stand upright.
To unfold the smart, it's a quick task. After taking off the plastic catch at the side, pull up with the handle bar until you hear it click back into place.
The phil&teds smart is obviously a pushchair designed to handle the city, but with a tougher edge allowing it to cope with the odd trip in the country. It looks nothing like its predecessor, but that's not a bad thing.
The smart is a complete newborn ready solution with the lie flat seat, or with the added cocoon soft shelled carrycot. That it can also be transformed into a travel system, could make all the difference for parents on the go with their tiny ones.
We loved the spacious seat unit. It gives it great longevity, while the strong and well built frame means that it should last the test of time. The soft touch fabrics make it ultra comfortable for small babies or toddlers, with the huge hood offering protection for all. The compact fold meaning it's at home even if you don't have much space.
It's middle of the range price wise, so an affordable option at £249 to last you from birth to childhood.