It's not often we get a new kid on the block in the world of pushchairs, but I am very excited to say that in the Hamilton T1 we have both a new brand AND a new model in for review under our critical eye...
Okay, I'm going to say it now and get it out of the way. The Hamilton T1 looks like a Bugaboo Cameleon - see our comparison below. However, it also costs less than a Bugaboo Cameleon. BUT before you all start jumping on your soap boxes with cries of "cheap Bugaboo copy", let me tell you this, there is a LOT more to the Hamilton T1 than first appears.
Although it features some similarities to a Bugaboo Cameleon, the designer of this pushchair (a real life mum herself) wanted to create her ‘dream' pushchair, based on removing all those little niggley annoying things she had found using different pushchairs herself. So rest assured, we're going to take a very close look at the Hamilton T1, and we'll be sure to tell you whether or not it's up to scratch...
What's in the box?
The RRP of the Hamilton T1 is £599.00
Accessories: None (all included in price at current time)
Out of the Box
The first thing I noted when I unboxed the T1 is that there is an awful lot of pushchair in the box. Pretty much everything you could want or need in a 'from birth' pushchair is included in the price. With this pushchair you will want for nothing, it has everything from spare all terrain wheels for winter snow to a mosquito net and parasol for the summer sun.
Once the quick release wheels are popped onto the frame it's easypeasy to open it. It automatically locks into place when it's up. The action of folding and unfolding feels smooth and the whole chassis feels good quality and is sturdy. The frame is mostly aluminium and heavy duty plastic. It looks good with a brushed metal finish, and the metal components make it feel well made, although they also make it fairly weighty.
Under normal conditions the height adjustable foam covered handle bar can be used at the rear of the pushchair, above the large diameter air filled rear tyres, with the smaller hard swivel wheels at the front. If you want, you can flip the handle bar over to reverse the pushchair, and by locking the now rear swivel wheels with the stiff but effective snib you gain an easier push over rougher ground. The range of heights of the handle bar is good – it should suit taller and shorter folk alike and can be adjusted quickly and easily with two firm locking clips on either side of the handle bar.
The pushchair features two methods to operate the brakes. A hand operated lever style is located on the side of the handlebar, there is also a rear axle pedal flip flop friendly footbrake; you can be confident in securing your pushchair no matter what the situation. The brake cable which runs down from the pushchair handle bar to the rear wheels is a little saggy, and in the pushchairs usual configuration of handlebar at the rear, the brake cable hangs out to the side of the pushchair. It does not protrude beyond the rear wheel, but it could potentially catch or snag on something.
The basket isn't huge in any respect, but it has a lot of clearance under the seat so you could get some pretty large items in there, especially with the seat in parent facing mode. With the seat forward facing, access to the basket is more restricted, but you should still be able to pile a fair amount of stuff up in there. You can also gain better access by raising the footrest.
The seat unit comprises of two main parts, the seat fabrics, and the seat frame. The seat fabrics attach to the seat frame at various points with poppers and zips. This means that the seat fabric can easily be removed from the frame and the carrycot fabric attached to the frame instead, allowing you to use either the seat or the carrycot attached to the same frame.
The seat unit can be forward or rear facing, and is removed/swapped over by depressing two large buttons on either side of the pushchair chassis (not to be confused with the two similar looking ones just above, which control the angle of the seat recline). Once these buttons are depressed, you can lift the seat out of its sockets and swap it around easily, you need to really press down on the seat to click it into place though, but you are rewarded with a reassuring click as it locks down.
The seat recline is controlled by the buttons on either side of the seat chassis, there are three recline positions; upright, semi-recumbent and horizontal. The foam covered bumper bar is fixed in position, although you can remove it completely by squeezing little grey buttons. The footrest adjusts by use of some very stiff buttons to an upright or a lowered position.
The seat itself is nicely padded, with a quilted effect adding a bit of interest. Reflective piping has also been used to good effect on the hood and seat, giving some additional visibility on early winter starts.
The five point adjustable harness is fully adjustable in length, and the crotch can be adjusted forwards and backwards to prevent little ones from slipping down. Sadly the shoulder height is not adjustable so care will need to be taken to ensure little ones do not slip out from under the straps. Chest pads are included.
The hood gives good coverage, being used also as the carrycot hood it comes well forward to give good shade. The size of the seat is good for this style of pushchair, with a spacious base for larger bottoms, and good clearance under the hood.
The carrycot fabrics can be attached to the seat frame when needed by a series of Velcro loops. The same hood works for both the carrycot and the seat. The carrycot is a really large size and should easily last as long as you need it to. It looks smart with a quilted padded effect on the base and sides, and I am pleased to see some reflective piping around the sides to aid visibility. The carrycots soft flexible sides mean it is not suitable for overnight sleeping away from the pushchair frame.
The fold is easy to do, with the seat removed pull up on the triggers on either side of the handle bar and drop the handle down towards the ground, once done you can then squeeze the two central bars that link either side of the chassis together and lift upwards, this allows the pushchair base to collapse. The T1 is not the smallest folded, and a bit awkward to handle, especially with the seat being separate.
To unfold, just lift the handle and spread the wheels, the chassis locks into place in this position. You can then add on your seat/carrycot/carseat. One thing to note – when you drop the handle bar, it rests upon the insides of the rear wheels – not so great if you've been for a muddy walk in the woods.
The Pushchair comes with two additional large diameter air filled wheels similar to the standard rear ones. These can be inserted into the front of the chassis using a fixed axle instead of the swivel wheels to give you a pram more suited to off road use, and would be ideal for use in heavy winter snows. They are easy to attach and work well.
I want to tell you that this pushchair is ‘great value for money' but that makes it sound like I am implying it is of cheap quality, but I am not. It's actually really very good quality. It has lots of great features, looks smart and I've never before seen a pushchair with such a range of accessories included in the price.
A few things let the T1 down. These days adjustable height shoulder straps and gate opening bumper bars are a must, but are sadly lacking here and at 14.5 kgs, its not the lightest in its class. Oh and the basket is not huge either.
Many will say that the T1 lacks originality with its Bugaboo looks and we kind of agree, but the same could be said for many of todays identikit pushchair designs.
Hamilton have put together a package that makes the T1 a genuine consideration when it comes to purchasing new wheels. At £599.00 the T1 becomes a very interesting proposition (if it was £499.99, it would be a bargain!), especially when you consider the incredible list of extras included.
Overall, if you are looking for a smart high quality from birth pushchair, with spacious carrycot and reversible seat unit and most importantly, no hidden costs, then the Hamilton T1 must be one for you to consider.
The Hamilton T1 has been a tough cookie to score. On the one hand I love the 'all in' package and the product quality, but am a little put off by the Bugaboo esque styling and the weight. In the end it comes down to this. Will someone who buys the Hamiltion T1 be happy owning nothing but the Hamilton T1 through their childs early years. I have to say I think they would.
We give the Hamilton T1 4 out of 5 stars.