REVIEW : PHIL&TEDS SMART LUX STROLLER

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The phil&teds smart lux is a European style stroller, but in a smaller size than most. Apart from its smaller-than-average size, the smart lux’s point of difference is the seat unit which can be converted to a bassinet.

The smart lux is suitable for your baby from newborn to 20kgs and comes in black with a cobalt, ruby or taupe seat lining. It also can accommodate several different baby capsules.

Price: $549.99

Availability: phil&teds stockists online & in store

We love …

  • compact size
  • convertible seat unit
  • smooth manoeuvrability
  • reasonable price

In use …
Out-of-the-box, the smart lux is pretty easy to assemble. The fold is a little unusual with the seat unit sliding up, underneath the handle bar. This means you can’t attach or detach the seat unit when the smart lux chasis is folded. So when you are assembling your stroller, make sure you unfold the chassis before you try & attach the seat unit.

phil&teds market the smart lux stroller as ‘luxury on air’ and although I think this is as corny as the un-mum-like jumping lady phil&teds uses to promote it, the smart lux has a pretty comfortable push for a small pram. The rear, air-filled tyres are the largest I’ve seen on a compact stroller, making the smart lux a great option for public transport.

The manoeuvrability is great, on & off-road. Lockable swivel front wheels & front wheel suspension make for a comfortable ride for you & your baby. The only complaint I’d make is that the smart lux’s chassis is a little loose which makes the smart lux feel a little wobbly when you push it.

The big point of difference with the phil&teds smart lux is its size. For this style of pram, the smart lux is quite slim. phil&teds have smartly adapted a chassis design more often see on double prams with the wheels in line with the seat unit. So while the smart lux acts & looks like a larger pram, it’s actually feels & performs like a much smaller pram.

The phil&teds smart lux has a fixed handlebar. It’s a little on the higher side, which I quite like, and our Best Buys tester dad also found it comfortable. But, if you’re on the shorter side, you might want to take a store demo for a spin around the shop to make sure you find the handle height comfortable.

There’s lots of good things to say about the smart lux’s seat unit. I love the way it converts from bassinet to a seat. Both the one-hand recline & seat detachment/reattachment are really easy to use. Finally, the bumper bar is the best design I’ve come across, it’s articulated in a way which allows you to hang it to one side as you get your baby in & out of the seat. But there is one drawback … read on …

As I mentioned above, the smart lux’s fold is a little unusual. It requires you to pull the seat unit up under the handlebar & you really need to master it or you’ll get your hand caught. phil&teds has published a video which is helpful. The good news is that the fold & unfold actions don’t require much effort and, apart from picking up the pram, you can fold & unfold it standing up. The fold size is just under mid-sized, so you’ll want to check it’ll fit in your boot if you have a small sized car.

One of my favourite features of the smart lux is the generous hood with zippered ventilation panel. It will keep the sun off your baby in most circumstances. While we’re talking generous, the underseat basket is a decent size, quite deep so you can fit a mid sized box in it (if you really want to!).

The brake is a flip on, flip off style. It’s designed to be operated with the ball of your foot, but unless you have petite feet (I do not) you might have some difficulty getting your foot in & out of the space between the brake & the chassis. I gave up and started using my toe to flip the brake off. This means the brakes are not open-toed-shoe or sandal friendly.

Finally, the smart lux boasts a few nice luxury features. The leatherette bumper bar looks good & has passed the Best Buys gnawing & teething test. (It’s a shame phil&teds didn’t extend this feature to the handlebar.) And the fabric lining the seat unit looks great in all colours.

Consider this …
The phil&teds smart lux seat unit is basically the same as the Mountain Buggy Cosmopolitan; which was my favourite pram of 2013. At the time I reviewed the Cosmo, my little tester was using it in bassinet mode. Now that he’s a bigger boy, I’m finding the seat unit a bit short. Granted the tester in question is taller than average, but still, I estimate he’ll have grown out of the seat by 18 months. Bummer.

Also, the smart lux’s seat fabric is not machine washable. From about 8 to 18 months, you really, really want to be able to wash this seat fabric quickly & without hassle. It’s a bit disappointing to have that lovely lined seat unit covered in baby mush.

Finally, we’ve had a few issues with the brakes. Nothing that affected the safe operation, but the brakes did lock at one stage and there has been a lot of loud clacking coming from the wheels. While this is not a deal breaker, regularly fiddling with the brake cable to fix it is annoying.

The verdict …
I really like where phil&teds are going with the smart lux. They’ve put a lot of thought into designing a pram that’s really great to use & push.

For me, though, there are a few tweaks I’d like to see for the smart lux to reach it’s potential. With a few design improvements, I think it could be a pram that stands out from the crowd.

As it is, though, the smart lux is really reasonably priced.

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About

Vanessa loves great design. Beauty, function and innovation get her excited. When she’s not hunting down the next big baby idea, she’s busy with her day job and being a mum to her 3 lovely boys.


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