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BabyZen Zen Review

Review Overview

BabyZen Zen Review
Expert Reviewer
216 Reviews
Reviewed On: 18 Mar 2015
Sophie Bell
Expert Reviewer
Sophie's Verdict:

"Why should we continue carrying children in strollers that are bulky, unpractical, and so poor-looking?" That's what the designers asked themselves before they crafted the Zen.

Review Summary

Summary

Sleek, sexy and stylish sums up the Babyzen Zen perfectly. I fell in love before I'd even finished unwrapping it. It has a designer feel and look whilst being super functional with features galore.

What’s good
  • Super slim self-standing fold
  • Solar powered LED lights
  • Funky and functional
What’s not so good
  • It's not cheap
  • Fiddly recline
  • Small basket

Review Content

BabyZen Zen Review

Here it is, the new funky all-terrain pushchair overflowing with features. Certainly not the sort of pushchair to get lost in the crowds, come and see how this sleek eye opener got on in our BABYZEN™ Zen review… 

Chassis_Colours
Chassis

After opening the large box I was thrilled that there wasn't any assembly to do. No wheels to attach, no tools needed, nada!

All you need to do is unfold the Zen. Stand the Zen so that the carry handle points upwards, now release the safety catch before pushing the front wheel straight so it is aligned. Lift up the handle until the Zen all clicks into place.

Our test model has a beautiful shiny Ice White metal frame. The look is chic and the quality is very good - especially the plastics. The wheel centres are white to match the frame. I really like this extra details - it certainly adds to the appeal!

Seat_Colours

To adjust the handle position use the two buttons in the centre of the handle. Push them in and adjust to your preferred height. This adjustment is made a little fiddly by the close proximity of the hood, but once in place your hands naturally fall into a comfortable spot. There are three alternative positions, which should suit most parents.

Located at the front of the frame just above the towing handle is the solar panel LED lighting system. Resembling a big brother style CCTV camera it looks very funky. The centre of the handle is home to two very cool and to our knowledge, unique buttons that operate the light! On the right is a warning button. Pressing this will make the super impressive solar powered light on the front of the frame flash. The button on the left offers a headlight, which is just perfect for night-time strolls.

Just above that is a large, deep footplate which is great for keeping hard boots or muddy shoes away from the fabrics.
 

Thanks to the Zen's all round suspension and 3 large 10" puncture-proof wheels, the ride is smooth and stable. If the terrain is especially difficult such as heavy snow or on a sandy beach you can you can tow the Zen using the useful front handle and it's very clever soft-drive system means is no need to lock the front swivel wheel, even on rougher terrain.

If shopping is your specialty the basket may disappoint. It is actually little more spacious than perhaps it first appears - the dimensions are 40cm x 28cm x 10cm, but with a  with a maximum load of 2kg you won't be piling it full of grocery shopping. The basket does have good access and the the material is thick and feels durable and strong so stowing hard objects needn't be a worry. 

To stop, there are two circular brake pedals located on both the rear wheels; they have a red triangle on the top so they are easy to spot. Simply push down on one. The mechanism is lovely and smooth, and is almost silent which is a plus if you have a fussy sleeping baby. To release the brake, lift the pedal back up again.

zen-white-red_chassiss
Seat

Although the wheels come pre attached to the frame the world facing seat unit does not. Before you start to worry, there really is no need as it's easy. There are tubes down either side of the seat, which feed down into the chassis frame holding the seat fabric to the frame. Next an assortment of poppers, zips and Velcro fully attach the seat to the frame. 

Made from polyester the whole seat unit can be washed at 30 which may prove very handy. It's a good size too and should last until your child is confidently exploring the world on foot. The seat is 26cm wide, 46cm high and 22cm deep so it is more than suitable for a toddler and a toy or two.

Atop the seat, you need to add the seat liner which comes in the colour pack (We have the striking Red option - it looks fab on a white frame). Made from a rigid but soft foam it feels very comfortable and is easily attached by threading the harness through the corresponding holes.

The harness is a fully adjustable 5-point harness with large integral shoulder and crotch pads, which feel lovely and soft to the touch. The centre buckle looks like it's going to be annoying and fiddly when you first release it as it's the type where you have to connect the straps together before inserting into the buckle. It's really easy though and holds together nicely, unlike others I've used. The centre release button is large and red so you can't miss it but it's not easily opened that mischievous little fingers could do it.
 

You can adjust the shoulder height of the harness to suit your child to three different positions. Whilst the end result is effective, the method is a little cumbersome. To adjust the height you need to unclip the buckle on the leg straps, feed the strap down through one of the three material loops on the back of the seat then through the liner before clipping back together. 

Zen_lifestyle_LED_light

You attach the hood to the Zen chassis by sliding the adapters, which are already attached to the hood, into the adapters on the frame. They slide effortlessly in and click when they are in position. The hood has two different positions and also includes a flip out visor. Coverage is ok, but when combined with the relatively shallow seat, you child may seem a little more exposed than other pushchairs.
 

A little viewing window in the top is included and there is also a good size zip pocket behind the canopy. That is perfect for your little knick-knacks or a mobile phone. If you need to release the hood from the chassis, simply push the white buttons located on the inside of the frame inwards and pull up and away from the frame.

When it comes to the recline, it's zip city. Behind the seat on either side is a zip. To recline unzip the first zip on either side. Behind this zip, is another. If you want to recline further – unzip this one too. Whilst not completely flat it does provide a good sleeping position. If you have a fussy tot the zips might wake them so you might want to recline before they fall asleep so as not to disturb them.

A raincover comes with the Zen pack and it is a good quality see-through PVC cover that clips onto the chassis using hooks, which were really easy to attach.  It also comes with a handy bag to store it in.

The Zen is also fully compatible with Recaro Young Profi +, Maxi Cosi Pebble, Bébé Confort Pebble, Cybex Aton and the Graco Snugride car seats to make it a full travel system.

babyzen_jogging_car_seat

The Babyzen Zen carry cot is not like any carrycot we have see before. It can be a carrycot, a bouncer and even moves to a more upright seating position.

The carrycot is already assembled when you remove it from the box, it just needs to be unfolded. Lay the carrycot down flat before pushing in the white buttons and pulling the legs out. Now push in the centre white buttons to move the handle into the middle. Finally push the red safety clip on the left hand side of the frame before pulling the carrycot apart to unfold.

You can use the carrycot as a bouncer in this mode and is suitable until your child can sit unaided or approximately 6 months old.
 

If you want to use as a carrycot on the frame, push the white leg buttons on either side inwards and move the legs backwards and under the head position. Now the carrycot can be attached to the chassis using the adapters included in the pack, which simply push into position on the chassis. To release depress the buttons on the inside of the pushchair chassis and lift clear of the frame.

A 5-point harness will keep your little one safe if you are using the seating function. There are two shoulder heights to ensure the most comfortable position. There are shoulder pads and a crotch pad integrated into the harness for added comfort and the colour pack includes a thick soft liner, matching canopy and fleece lined skirt which all attach to the frame using a combination of poppers and zips. They are all thick and durable and can all be washed at 30.

zen-parent-white-red_carry_cot

Weighing a mere 3.6 kg. The carrycot can be lifted easily, both as a carrycot/bassinet and in its bouncer configuration, thanks to the built in carrying handle. It is a great size at 54cm x 90cm x 15cm so you will certainly get a lot of use from it. Once folded it collapses down to 54 x 49 x 15 cm so is easy to store when it's not in use.

The versatility of the carrycot is certainly impressive. It is a shame then that you must change it from carrycot mode to bouncer mode in order to put it on the floor. This change is impossible to make with a baby in the carrycot without 2 people or four arms!  You will no doubt need to resort to removing your baby to alter the carrycot if you want to place it on the floor and leave your baby to sleep.

Fold

When you need to fold the BABYZEN Zen, you must first fold the hood all the way forward. Next, unzip the seat from either side of the frame before folding it forwards as well so that it folds in half.

Now, move the position of the handlebar so that it is as forwards as it will go. Next lift the front wheel and push the pushchair backwards so that it is resting on its handle.

Underneath the solar light unit is a release clip. Push this with your thumb until it unlocks. Tilt the pushchair back with the handle until you see a smily face (!) and then push the handle down. The full frame and wheels collapse together, locking into a sleek package.

zen_in_boot_of_car_550w

Folding down to only 25cm the end package is super small and as it's designed to be naturally self-standing it will happily stand in your hallway, almost unnoticed until it's needed again. If you need to move it you can use the tow handle and move it around like a suitcase.

zen_lifestyle_stairs

Unfolding takes just 5 seconds according to Babyzen's literature. Whilst I didn't find it possible in 5 seconds the first time, once I had done it once it definitely got a lot quicker.

When you are ready to take it out again, release the safety lock located under the front of the pushchair beneath the solar light. Now pull the front wheel forwards until it clicks before pulling the chassis upwards until it all clicks into place. Now you are ready for another adventure. 

Conclusion

Sleek, sexy and stylish sums up the Babyzen Zen perfectly. I fell in love before I'd even finished unwrapping it. It has a designer feel and look whilst being super functional with features galore.

From the super sleek beautifully manufactured chassis to the beautiful finish and it's clever safety features, to the super soft padded seat insert and the versatility of the package. It's hard not to love it.

There are some elements that may annoy. The recline method is fiddly and noisy but the resulting position is good. The basket is small and the main seat is only world facing.

Thing is, much of these potential annoyances are created by requirements for the amazing fold. The basket may be small, but access is excellent, the carrycot doubles as a parent facing seat and the recline is quick on the way down.

The Solar LED lights are a huge plus for me. I am always worried that I might not be seen when walking out at night or during winter when even the school pick up can be dark. The warning lights and headlights give great peace of mind and as it's solar powered you don't need to worry about replacing batteries every few days.

If you are looking for a versatile small folding pushchair that stands out from the crowd for all the right reasons you really should go and look at a Babyzen Zen. It is clever, well made and very cool! It may have some things that will annoy, but these are there because of a function that is very clever and I really like that! It could be the pushchair you've been looking for - it will certainly be the one your husband loves!

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