Modestly magnificent: A full expert review of the Babystyle OYSTER 3 stroller
Beautiful, completely renewed, versatile. Completely different - larger and more luxurious, yet "of the same blood" as its predecessors. All this (and more) is the new Oyster 3 by British Babystyle, one of the most anticipated 2018/2019 models.
+ easy handling
+ quietly luxurious design
+ elaborate details
+ comfortable seat unit
+ stylish materials with easy maintenance
+ practical adjustment of roof height + harness belts
+ well-positioned peek-a-boo / ventilation window
+ nice, soft suspension system
+ stones don't get stuck in the wheels
+ well-designed, spacious shopping cart
+ compact folding and stroller width of only 57 cm
- noisy handle
- not-so-low weight
- the sun visor on the hood could be better-made
- future scratching of the hood rim or the silver plastic parts of the wheels
- harness padding (sliding down)
- almost impossible to use a seat liner due to the design of the headrest
- narrow carrycot
And in long ;-)
The Oyster 3 stroller was released by the popular British company Babystyle. It is their third version of the flagship Oyster model, pretty much representing the company's philosophy of stroller making. Compared to its older brother - the Oyster 2, the third generation is quite different, but at the same time sharing all-around functionality, the sturdy and quality-looking chassis, and luxurious details.
Out of all strollers, I was asked about this one the most. This may be an indicator of how impatiently everyone was waiting for it to hit the market. Although the Oyster 3 was officially released in Q4 of 2018, it really became widely available at the start of 2019. I have decided to answer as many of the questions as I can by creating a complete, detailed review after in-depth testing, measuring, and trying the Oyster 3 stroller everywhere I possibly could.
Let me start by describing the possible configurations of the Oyster 3. If you buy the stroller only - apart from the seat unit and the chassis, out of all accessories, only a rain cover is included. The Oyster 3 is also available as a 2in1 stroller system, which consists of the stroller, the carrycot, a rain cover, and a mosquito net.
The 3in1 stroller system bundle includes the stroller, the carrycot, the Carapace Infant (i-Size) car seat with correspondent adapters, a rain cover, a mosquito net, a footmuff, a changing bag, and possibly an Isofix base for the car seat. The footmuff, the changing bag, the carrycot, the car seat, the car seat adapters(compatible with the Babystyle car seat as well as with other well-known car seat brands with Maxi-Cosi type attachments), and the sibling board are also available to purchase separately.
We have tested the stroller configuration only. Because my youngest child is almost 2-years-old and has outgrown the carrycot, I can only look and touch to review the carrycot - not exactly use it fully. Despite this limitation, the carrycot seemed comfortable. With the length of the mattress of 73 cm and the width of 30 cm, it is not the most spacious one, but not small either.
I am confident to say that it is usable until the baby reaches four to six months, depends on the size of the baby and time of the year. A six-month-old child in a winter footmuff may struggle for space a bit unless he or she is on the smaller side.
The depth of the carrycot is excellent, though - making your child fully protected against any weather. The length of the hood is adequate, as the carrycot is quite deep. The elevated apron can be pulled up slightly, providing extra protection as well as shade. I would still appreciate a higher one, or at least a prolongation of the carrycot hood (for example, with a sun visor).
The Car Seat
I don't have a lot to say about the car seat, we never used the Babystyle Oyster Carapace. The ADAC test results was not the most positive, however; the car seat actually failed them. Of course, like with any other car seat, you will have to pay more if you choose the Isofix base option. The padding of this car seat seems comfortable enough - the materials are similar to the Plus-line car seats from Cybex, while the hood will remind you of Maxi-Cosi car seats.
Alternatively, you can buy other brands, tested and renowned for their safety. Although the Carapace Infant (i-Size) looks luxurious, the price tag is not too extravagant (approximately 115EU) for an ADAC-failing car seat.
The Stroller (features)
Let's continue with the stroller since it will be used the longest and encompasses the most elaborated functions. The weight of 12 kg is not too low, but not too high either. It is just about right compared to the functionality of the stroller. If you have to carry the stroller very often, you may struggle a bit, though. Even petite moms will manage the occasional lifting and loading of the Oyster 3, but I would avoid taking it to the eighth floor every day.
When pushing it, its weight is not noticeable; the stroller's driving abilities are excellent. Because the center of the stroller is quite high, the Oyster 3 is easy to maneuver even with a heavier child, and even allows an occasional one-handed push through uneven terrain. Negotiating curbs is not a problem - with the child facing me, I barely noticed I am lifting the thing. It is also comfortable with the child facing forward, but you need to find yourself a suitable height of the handlebar.
If you put it too high, the lifting of the front part of the stroller over a curb could be quite tricky. I have to mention - the ability to pop up a curb is essential to me; we have a lot of them in my neighborhood. I already went through many strollers, one of the reasons being that I hate fighting with each curb on my way.
Returning to stroller features, though, I truly appreciated its height. I am quite a tall person (176 cm), and I wasn't kicking the stroller while walking, which is a big pro for me.
The last 'general' characteristic of the Oyster 3 I would like to emphasize is its overall look. The stroller looks robust, without being bulky; elegant, without the need to constantly care about keeping it clean and luxurious, without being too loud about it. The Oyster 3 is, briefly said, modestly magnificent. It is an excellent solution for modern, urban parents looking for a practical yet chic addition to their lifestyle.
Looking at the stroller from above, the first you will see is the handlebar. The handlebar is height-adjustable telescopically, which you will activate using a central push button. It literally takes seconds. According to my measurements, the height range of the handlebar is from 99 to 109 cm.
Unlike many other strollers with a central button on the handle, the Oyster 3 button doesn't get in your way when pushing the stroller with one hand. With four different height options available, parents of every will be comfortable. With my height of 176 cm, I have actually preferred the second-lowest position. Therefore, I presume that the highest position of the handlebar should be fine, even for the tallest of dads. The handlebar is covered in a pleasant-to-touch, stylish structured leatherette, similar to snakeskin design-wise. The same material can be found on the bumper bar.
The handlebar has quite a give, and the telescopic adjusting also contributes to a slight rattling, especially going over bumpy terrain. I would call this area the noisiest part of the stroller, and if you can't tolerate such sounds, the Oyster 3 is probably not for you.
Another part of the stroller visible from above is the hood. We loved the beautiful melange material that even features UV protection. At first, the basic form of the hood seems small, but when you unzip the additional panel and/or use the sun visor, it is rather big. Once the hood is extended and the seat in an upright position, the child is fully protected. With the seat reclined fully, the hood is adequate, but - when the sun is low (e.g., in the morning or afternoon), it can get to your napping little one from certain angles. This is a common situation in almost every stroller, where the hood moves with the backrest. I expected that the hood would be much shorter, so it was a pleasant surprise after all.
Nonetheless, I have a few reservations about the canopy. The reinforced sun visor could be an advantage as well as a disadvantage because after folding the stroller, it does get slightly squashed. If I could change the hood, I would for sure make it even bigger - in terms of hoods, "the bigger, the better" certainly applies.
The sun visor could be longer - I'd even double it in size, which would sort out that small issue with the hood size in the reclined state. Moreover, the metal hood rim looks luxurious, but because of the nature of its surface, it will be scratched eventually after repeated loading into the car.
The ventilation window is well placed, quiet, and practical - not only it provides airflow, but also a great view of the child. With the hood folded down, however, you need to push the fabrics inwards manually. Otherwise, it looks a bit untidy. The last small disadvantage: the hood of the model we have tested didn't hold as tight as I would have liked and fell off a few times during folding. This could be just a defect of only our stroller, not a general con.
A unique function of the hood / the seat unit is the option to adjust the height of the hood, done by pushing the side buttons, then manually moving. This will also change the height of safety belts and the padded head support cushion. A fabulous function, useful for small children - closer to the hood, they are more protected and shaded. Older children will have plenty of space later, after lifting it.
My almost 2-year-old son, Ferdinand preferred the elevated position, but we could use it in the lowest one too. When it comes to space, the stroller will be comfortable for a child up to 3-years-old, maybe even longer - if your little one is not too tall.
The Seat Unit
As a matter of fact, the seat unit is not small. With the backrest height of 49 cm, the conventional (non-bucket-type) seat unit is, size-wise, appropriate. The seat may seem a bit narrow (the inner width is 30 cm), but it provided enough comfort for a bigger child as well. Of course, not with a thick winter footmuff! A basic, not-so-huge footmuff will fit, though. The seat depth of 25.5 cm is quite nice (above average). When fully reclined, the total length of the seat is 92.5 cm, which is very acceptable, in my opinion.
During our testing, the fully reclined position seemed comfortable. You may, however, find that the feet of bigger children will be sticking out a little. You can push the lower part upwards so the sides of the seat are not putting pressure on the feet. Ferdi often leaned sideways, mainly because he is used to a bucket-type of seat. The sudden amount of space surprised him, and he wanted to try how far he can slide.
If there is any room for improvement regarding the size of the seat unit, I would only maybe make the leg rest even longer. Alternatively, an option to extend the leg rest, which one can see, for example, in the Joolz strollers, would also be xa great idea.
To provide maximum comfort for every child, the length of the safety harness belts is fully adjustable in a vast range of lengths. You'll find there is, however, a puzzle system of closing the buckle, where the plastic ends of both belts have to be connected before being pushed into the buckle. It needs a little nudge to get in, but it is actually a positive side since it increases safety - the child won't open the buckle by itself.
The puzzle method comes with its pros and cons. One of the advantages is the ease of using the 5-point harness, also in the form of 3-point if you prefer so. Installing the footmuff or the seat liner (even with the conventional holes for each belt) into the seat is also more comfortable. As for disadvantages, securing the seat belts can be quite tricky, especially when the child is not sitting still. The system of the lower (hip) belts surprised me, though. It is quite loose to move right and left so that you can pull it sideways. I have realized that it makes the closing of the buckle and adjusting the belts much more comfortable; as you pull out the side, you need to buckle in.
The padding of the seat belts is soft, but the shoulder pillows can get loose once the belts are open. Be prepared that you will have to return all the individual shoulder and crotch pads into the place every time you take the child out of the seat. There is also a chance you will lose them if not careful enough. If you were using the harness in the 3-points form, for example, for an older child, I would recommend removing the top pads completely and leaving them at home.
The bumper bar
The bumper bar is quite usual. We have frequently used its gate-opening function, allowing the child to hop in or out of the seat. Its placement - the height and the distance from the backrest - are ideal. The little one was holding onto the bumper bar comfortably, without the need of leaning forward or struggling to reach it.
I have to praise the look of the lovely, easy-to-clean textiles. The padding is soft, and the child is sitting like on a cloud. The black parts of the stroller - the shopping basket and the space around the leg rest - may, nevertheless, get dirty quite quickly. Any bits of dirt are, indeed, quite visible on dark material. Luckily, you can clean them easily as well.
Although the aluminum frame looks robust, the Oyster 3 will fit through narrow alleyways without problems. For making sure of its capabilities, we went to shopping malls during our testing, and the Oyster 3 survived even the sale season. We have also managed to get on and off the bus fuss-free.
Initially, folding the chassis may look complicated because it involves several steps. By folding the stroller the third time, I have realized how fast and uncomplicated the whole process, in fact, is.
Once the hood and the handlebar are pushed back/down to their base position, just fold the backrest towards the front of the stroller, then use the levers on each side of the handlebar to flip it forwards. Lift the stroller by holding the handle located on the lower part, and 'you're done. This handle can also be used to carry the stroller or for loading it in the car boot.
With the wheels in the correct position (slightly sideways), the Oyster 3, once folded, is freestanding. For that, the handle features rubber parts that prevent scratching the leatherette. The stroller comes with a side locking clip, which is today almost a must. Sometimes you will need to help it a bit and push it some more to activate it, though.
Given the weight and dimensions of the stroller, the fold (even with the seat still attached) is rather compact, which, for me, is a great advantage. I 'don't think there is a car boot too small for the Oyster 3. Nevertheless, if you still need to save some space, you can take all four wheels off. I didn't have to.
All four wheels are made of quality EVA foam. Even after tackling various terrain, there was no sign of a hole or pieces of gravel stuck to the wheels. Each wheel features individual suspension - front wheels, the anti-shock system; rear wheels, the cantilever system also found in the smaller, very popular Oyster Zero. In theory, you can rock the stroller slightly, but it is far from the rocking of the traditional, retro-style stroller.
All in all, the stroller's suspension is mainly a shock-absorbing system here, and I think it's of high quality. Crossing the tram line? No problem. The wheels are as quiet as foam wheels can be. Over a more extreme terrain, you will be able to hear a slight rubbing of material against the material.
Apart from this and the handlebar sounds mentioned earlier, I think the Oyster 3 is a quiet stroller.
Locking the front wheels when you need to go through demanding terrain is easy thanks to the simple, single lever located in the middle of the front axle. Although it sounds unimportant, being able to lock the front wheels by just one movement made my life more comfortable and made me actually use this function. I have to admit - usually, I almost never use it! :-)
I can say that the Oyster 3 proved to manage on difficult terrain - we have done a bit of off-road and went through grass and gravel. Of course, don't expect a smooth ride all along since it certainly is a predominantly urban stroller.
When it comes to snow (recently, a frequent question related to stroller features), I don't believe the Oyster 3 is made for tackling it. I presume that deep snow would be challenging, although this is true for almost any other stroller. Hardened, already walked-on snow or cleared winter pavements won't defeat this stroller, though.
Another technical detail I will mention is the diameter of the wheels - front 19 cm, rear 28 cm. The eye-catching 'turbine' design of the spokes with their silver rims add to the stylish look of this stroller.
The shiny parts' design is a bit too much for me, I'm afraid. And with it, I am also worried that with every day's wear and tear, they may get scratched and eventually lose their charm. I prefer only the matt finish, but that is just a matter of personal taste.
To stop the stroller from moving, there is a "cradle" style central foot brake on the rear bar, meaning you only operate it from above. This type of brake mechanism is easy while not damaging your shoes.
The storage basket - a vital part of every stroller - sports dimensions of 48 x 39 x17 cm (length x width x depth). Even not looking at the numbers, it is relatively large. I wouldn't call it massive, but it easily handled a load of shopping and three winter jackets for kids (true story). I appreciate its accessibility as well as the elevated sides, ensuring that you will not lose anything.
The smaller pocket, which is a part of the basket, is ideal for storing small items or a rain cover. I found a secret pocket on the underside of the leg rest, which I would suggest, for example, to store a mosquito net (if you bought a stroller set where it is included).
Another thing - the rear part of the shopping basket is covered in leatherette. This not only looks great, but it makes it more durable, preventing fast wear and tear that usually happens in this area. It also makes it easy to wipe-clean if you kick the basket and get it dirty when, for example, using the brake.
The only question is, whether the leatherette won't crackle over time. Important notice before folding the stroller - the shopping basket has to be empty or almost empty; otherwise, the fold won't complete properly. Therefore, I used to put my shopping into reusable bags, which I then took out of the shopping basket and loaded into the car before folding the stroller.
To summarize: I would recommend the Oyster 3 for the role of an urban, from-birth stroller system the most. When your child outgrows the carrycot and you are looking for a stroller, you usually need something even smaller and lighter anyway. The Oyster 3 is excellent for first- as well as for multiple-times parents looking for a versatile solution. It will meet their needs on urban walks, outdoor walks, and even on shopping trips and will last them from the start until the end of the child's stroller days. The Oyster 3 was never intended to appeal to off-road fans or joggers, but it has a lot to offer for the "common" parents.
If I had to use a percentage to rate my personal feeling about the stroller, I would give it 85 %. This number also underlines the fact that, although the luxurious appearance, the Oyster 3 is relatively affordable compared to the other high-end brands. I would also say that when it comes to price-performancece ratio, the Oyster 3 is one of the top models in its category.
The competition to think about when thinking about an Oyster 3 would be perhaps a Mutsy Nio, an Easywalker Harvey3 (an Easywalker Harvey2 full review here if interested to compare the strollers), an Uppababy Cruz or the more luxurious-looking Cybex Priam 3 or the Bugaboo Fox. It always depends on your stroller priorities when choosing a stroller and considering different stroller features, and, of course, the budget and style expectations of the parents.
Oyster 3 sumary in numbers (dimensions, measurements recap)
Dimensions - unfolded: 109x57x77 cm
Dimensions - folded: 70x57x37 cm
Handlebar height: 99-109
Seat unit dimensions: 49 cm (backrest), 30 x 26 cm (sitting surface), 85 cm (laying surface length)
Internal carrycot dimensions - mattress: 73x30
Front wheel diameter: 18 cm ~ 6.7 inch
Rear wheel diameter: 28 cm ~ 10 inch
Shopping basket dimensions: 48 x 39 x17 cm
Seat unit weight capacity: 22 kg
Basket weight capacity: 2 kg
This is an unpaid review describing the advantages as well as the disadvantages of the Babystyle Oyster 3 stroller system, and it is based solely on my own experience. The aim was to provide honest information for moms thinking about purchasing this (or any other) stroller.