As I am a fully qualified graduate of the phil&teds university (a training day!) I am knowledgeable enough to tell you all about the phil&teds Smart. We have the Smart and the peanut bassinet in to review (which come as a package). But does this stripped-back compact stroller system really merit the price tag?
When you first encounter the phil&teds Smart you may think you've stumbled on the prototype or it's not quite finished but no, this is the way it is supposed to look. It's stripped back and basic; design loving minimalists will love it, however their children may disagree. The ergonomic Aerocore seat is sporty not cosy, yet the peanut bassinet looks like a cosy but rigid cocoon.
What's in the box
The RRP of the phil&teds Smart is £192, bought as a bundle with the Peanut carrycot it's £298
Sun cover RRP £22.95
Storm cover RRP £16.95
Storm cover and zip in mesh for peanut carrycot RRP £29.95
Keep it clean – cotton sheet set for peanut carrycot (3 pack) RRP £19.95
Cushy ride – seat pad (available in black, red, pink, wasabi) RRP £21.95
Travel system (adaptors for Maxi-Cosi Cabriofix car seat) RRP £25
Verso adaptors RRP £25
Travel bag RRP £57.95
The seat unit on the phil&teds Smart is a one piece, rigid seat that looks uncomfortable and is undoubtedly not as cushioning as you may be led to believe. Therefore, the ‘Cushy ride' seat liner accessory is a ‘must have', not only to make it a little more cosy but also because the colour contrast on the black, Aerocore seat looks stunning.
The seat is fabricated from Aerocore, a material that has been designed to be supportive, ventilating, insulating, UV resistant, wipe clean and waterproof. It feels like rubberised foam and looks like it could withstand any amount of abuse a toddler may throw at it. Fabric suffers when under attack from biscuits, raisins or Haribo, whereas the Smart seat can be wiped clean in an instant
However the ventilation holes in the back of the seat are quite large - fantastic in the summer, to stop your hot, sticky toddler fusing to the seat but a real kidney chiller in the winter without some sort of insulation – another reason to buy the liner.
The adjustability of the five point harness gets the Smart another tick-in-the-box. By rotating the plugs at the top of the harness, they can then follow the track to a higher or lower level (there are three in all), another 90 degree rotation will lock it into its new position – Genius simplicity!
The seat on the phil&teds Smart is tall enough to accommodate a four year old but you might find it a little narrow!
The recline is relatively ineffective. Pushing clips, located on the frame near the bottom of the seat, disengages the seat allowing it to be moved into the alternative position. I found the effort in performing this action to be disproportionate to the result; it was tricky to achieve and it only moves the seat by around 5cms! Realistically your toddler will not benefit from such a limited recline.
Rotating the seat, using the Verso adaptors (sold separately), automatically puts the chair at a more reclined angle which is then able to be further reclined using the same procedure as above. The adaptors were designed after consumer feedback to phil&teds highlighted the need for the child to be parent facing as well as forward facing.
Snooping over the Peanut
Removing the seat is not as smooth an operation as it could be. The two red buttons on the side of the frame, release whichever unit you have in place at the time, however they are small, hard to access and don't always work first time. You then need to release the ‘recline' clips before you can fully remove the seat unit.
The peanut is the bassinet/carrycot. The Peanut is an elegant shape and looks extremely soft and cosy. An aluminium frame runs around the perimeter to which an apron zips into place. Two carry handles extend from the structural brackets, sadly they are not designed to fold away although don't look too unsightly standing at the side of the bed. The Peanut is a struggle to erect but once you have, it's a thing of beauty.
Attaching the Peanut to the frame is easy and uses the same canopy as the seat unit – not ideal, but more about that later. However, it looks really cute on the Smart chassis; small, neat and cosy.
The frame of the Smart is attractive in contrasting black and aluminium. It has punch-hold, foam covered handles and a wrist strap to stop it from straying. It has solid moulded tyres; 23cms on the back and 19cm on the front. The manoeuvrability is superb and, given its petite nature, it's very nippy.
To bring things to a halt, the on/off brake is easy to apply and to release. The net basket is slung beneath the seat (they call it a parcel tray); it's not that deep but would stretch when loaded.
The canopy is affixed to the frame, not the seat and it follows the sun, meaning it can be angled to provide shade regardless of the position of the sun. This seems like a fantastic idea until your toddler is aware that it is not attached to the seat and can therefore be pulled down to their knees in one easy arc – a game that will keep you both amused for hours!
Folding the Smart is a three step process, maybe not as basic as you might first assume. Undo the brackets and then locate the tiny silver button on the left of the frame. It is so small it almost looks like a rivet. Push down on the handles to make sure it is released and ready to fold. Take hold of both handles and tilt the frame onto the front wheels, the back axle then swings into place behind the front.
The phil&teds Smart is ultra funky looking and is super lightweight. The design conscious will love the minimal, no-nonsense design.
I can see how this pushchair is in its element in sunnier climbs. I can imagine a sticky sandy toddler jumping in and out of the Smart without mum caring whether her precious pushchair is getting dirty or not - it's so stripped back that you could simply get the hose out when you get home and spray it down.
With this in mind, it doesn't really fit the weather we have in the UK. The Aerocore seat, even with the liner, will not offer much warmth on a chilly, windy February morning, it's just too exposed all round.
The folding process is over complicated for such a clean cut, stripped back pushchair; it doesn't really flow naturally and puts up too much of a fight. The handles are not adjustable, so taller Mums and Dads might find them a little low – for me it is the ideal height, but I'm only 5ft 2!
While your child is young, the recline is not a point of excellence; ideally your child should be able to lie at a more horizontal angle than the Smart seat allows. When your child is old enough, playing with the canopy will become a great source of amusement for them and an irritation for you.
As much as the Smart is a good looking, charm-the-pants-off-you sort of pushchair you will find it has functional baggage when you get to know it. Let us know what you think....
We give the phil&teds Smart
2.5 out of 5 stars
- Age: 6 months to 4 years
- Weight: 8kg
- Open size: 100 x 82 x 55 cms
- Closed size: 75 x 45 x 20 cms