Quick Summary: I think the positives hugely outweigh the negatives though. The vibe is full of features, is attractive and has the ability to last a growing family. It has its compromise, but the phil&teds vibe has lots to offer, you really should go and take a look at one.
- Very large shopping basket
- Adaptable for a growing family
Whats not so good?
- Tricky buckle
- No raincover included
- Recline is awkward to achieve
This review is for the phil&teds vibe used as a single pushchair. If you want to see how it got on as a double pushchair, please look at our phil&ted vibe double review.
I'm happy to say that the phil&teds vibe comes in one, not too large or heavy box.
It arrives in a few parts so you do need to put it together before you can use it. But, it's straightforward and you won't need any tools.
When you've taken everything out of the box you first need to unfold the chassis. Just lift up the two grooved black plastic flaps, which are located on the side of the frame. Now just move the handle up to make everything a bit easier. You do this using the two circular buttons on the inside of the handle, just push them in and then move the handle upwards until it clicks into place. You now need to release the safety catch on the side of the frame. Now, lift the handle upwards and the pushchair will start to open up. Once the frame is lined up, just push the two black plastic flaps down again.
To find the mud guards and wheels just look in the shopping basket. To fit them, line the mudguard up with the hole on the back axle, and place the wheel over it. Then push one of the two pins provided through both until everything clicks into place. (I preferred to lay it on its side to do this but you can do it whilst it's upright). To put the front wheel on simply push it up into place.
Last but not least is to fit the hood. Thanks to the clever easily attachable clips, you simply push the two clips on either side of the hood onto the frame and it hooks over the chassis.
Made from brushed aluminium, the curved frame creates a very modern looking pushchair.
It's easy to push too with three 12" air filled tyres. And thanks to the phil&teds 'kerb pop' design, navigating around any bumpy town will be easy peasy.
Super simple braking is the best way to describe the vibe brake. Located in the centre of the handle are two buttons. The little red button applies the brake, and the larger black button just above it takes it off again. The braking has been improved since earlier models too, as you could accidentally activate the brake before fairly easily. But, thankfully that's all sorted now as the red button is now recessed, so despite trying I wasn't able to accidentally put it on.
I was concerned about the height of the vibe when I first put it together as it's pretty tall for a short person like me. Though thanks to six handle positions it's not a problem to find the perfect one. Made from dense foam, the handle is strong enough to deal with life's bumps and knocks. And like all phil&ted pushchairs it comes with a wrist safety strap to put your hand through when walking to ensure the pushchair doesn't run away from you.
If you love shopping you will love the basket. It's 50cm x 44cm x 31cm at its biggest point so is impressively large. It would easily fit a nice new shoebox in there, or a large changing bag. Access is simple from the back as it is completely open so getting things in and out is easy. The basket floor is supported too which helps protect against rips so you don't have to worry about harder items being in there.
It also has a nice hard grooved plastic footrest for your little ones muddy shoes. This makes it nice and easy to wipe clean.
Seat wise, it's fantastic as it is cavernous! This 2014 model has a taller back which measures at a whopping 61cm. This makes the vibe tall enough for an average five-year-old child. My tall three year old still had plenty of room all round. With a width of 35cm and a depth of 28cm most children would be more than happy with the space available.
It includes an additional seat pad, which is a very comfortable and supportive contoured Lycra. You can wipe it over too if you get any spills on it which at some point, I'm sure it will.
An adjustable 5-point harness means your little one will be nice and safe in the vibe. It is easy to clip your child into the harness, as it is a standard buckle style clasp. phil&teds have added some extra security so, to release your child, you need to push in the two red buttons on the front of the clasp, before pushing the black strap buckles to open it. Whilst I understand the need for this, unfortunately, it makes it impossible to do one handed.
There are two helpful little fabric hooks on either side of the frame to pop the harness into to hold it open though which is helpful when you are trying to put a fighting toddler in.
Changing the shoulder strap height is nice and simple. A buckle separates the shoulder strap so you only need to adjust a small section before clipping it back together again.
There are four different seat heights, including a full lie-flat position, which we all know is the best way for a newborn to travel. I would purchase a phil&teds carrycot if I was using this for a newborn though for the ease of taking them in and out, and to create a more snug cocoon. Due to the increase in height of the seat you will be able to keep a baby flat for longer, which is great news. The added seat height also makes it more than adequate for a toddler to snooze.
It is a bit awkward to recline and put the seat back up again. To recline a little, you just undo the buckle at the back of the seat. To recline further, you loosen the straps at either side. To recline the seat fully you must undo two zips, which are on the inside of the seat. When you need to put it back up again it's a mix of zips, straps and a buckle. This would be made much harder with an uncooperative child, as most are at some point. I could see this becoming very frustrating.
Also, once the seat is reclined, it is not very well shielded from the elements. The side panels do shield your child a little, however from behind your little ones head is open to the elements. This means wind can blow straight through the pushchair from front or back, you can put the hood down to provide some shielding but I think it could get a bit breezy on a windy day. However during hot summer days, I'm sure your child will be grateful for the draft.
A bumper bar comes with the vibe, which is attached easily by simply sliding it into the holes on the frame. To take it off again just use the black clips on either side of it. It's not gate opening but getting a child in and out with it in place isn't impossible with the seat being so spacious. The cover easily zips off allowing it to be washed.
Your child is well protected from sun or wind, thanks to a follow the sun canopy and is a really nice size. Sliding the clips up and down the frame can alter the hood height in relation to the seat. This comes into its own if you have a taller child. There is also a handy pop out mesh sun visor for extra protection. I would have personally liked a viewing window but you can push it forwards to see under it if you need to.
If you have a sleeping baby you don't need to worry, the hood is nice and quiet to adjust, so you won't wake them.
A great compact fold is achieved with the vibe. It's only 86cm x 65cm x 31cm – that's less than half its unfolded size. It's also self-standing and doesn't trail fabrics all over the floor so it will happily stand in the corner of a hallway until needed.
When you want to fold rotate the handle to its highest position to make things easier. Now open the two plastic flaps on each side of the frame. Lift the metal safety catch (which is next to the left hand flap). The pushchair is now unlocked. Push the handle down to the floor, the front of the pushchair will fold inwards and essentially the pushchair has folded in half. Now the auto-lock won't open if you move it. The pushchair will now stand freely. You can lock the flaps down again if you wish. I found them really handy for lifting the pushchair if you aren't using the bumper bar. Otherwise the bumper bar makes a great carrying handle.
When you want to use the vibe again, unclip the flaps on either side and release the auto-lock. Now grab hold of the handle and pull it upwards until the frame is aligned. You will then be able to fold the flaps back down. You are now ready to take on the world again.
I really like the phil&teds vibe. The simple quality design with the element of fun really appeals to me. We tested the cobalt blue and it's such a lovely boost of colour against the silver frame.
All the fabrics feel plush and comfortable and pushing it is so easy you feel you could take it anywhere. The mudguards are a nice little addition as the large wheels are more than adequate for a country park or muddy football field. But, it would behave just as well on a polished shopping centre floor or on the school run.
There are things that could be improved. It's fussy to recline the seat, and without the additional rear panel accessory it could get blustery for your little one. Also, the extra security on the buckle could be bothersome if you needed to undo it quickly or one-handed. I'm disappointed that a raincover isn't included in the price (especially as this includes the seat panel) and I would have liked a viewing panel in the hood. There are compromises, but, the vibe does something that a lot of others can't. It becomes a double very easily with the addition of the doubles kit read our Vibe Double Review here.
I think the positives hugely outweigh the negatives though. The vibe is full of features, is attractive and has the ability to last a growing family. It has its compromise, but the phil&teds vibe has lots to offer, you really should go and take a look at one.