Babystyle Oyster Review by Best Buggy
With new chassis prices starting at a little over £200, I have to say my expectations of the Babystyle Oyster weren’t very high. But I was so very, very wrong!!!
The Babystyle Oyster is one of the best small pushchairs I have ever used!
The Oyster is packed full of features that are usually found on higher priced pushchairs. The biggest selling point is that the Oyster seats can face in either direction, but the Oyster can also be folded with the seat on facing in either direction. Few pushchairs do this, and especially not in this price range.
The Babystyle Oyster comes in several guises with silver anodised, mirror and satin black chassis options; and Plush and Pearl luxury options. My favourite part of the Oyster is the large range of colour packs to give a personalised feel to your Oyster. The colour packs include the hood, a seat liner and a head hugger for a car seat, all in the same colour. We love that there is the option to have a change of colour, or to choose one to suit you or your child. There really is an option for everyone or every mood! Whichever options are chosen, the Babystyle Oyster really looks the part.
We are reviewing the silver anodised chassis Oyster with a black colour pack.
Even with what is the most basic Oyster model, I have to say I have been impressed by the quality, sturdyness and finish on the Oyster. Nothing on the main chassis stands out as feeling cheap and to be honest there is a lot of attention to detail which you usually only find on more expensive pushchairs. Personally I love the elbow joint of the pushchair – it looks really beautiful. I like the metal edging around the seat unit – a small detail but it makes the Oyster look smart and contemporary. The fabrics of the main pushchair seat are great. The basket is made of strong canvas. The only thing that I think lets the Oyster down is the fabric of the seat liner in the colour packs. The liner looks moulded and plasticky at first glance – but I think it is just the ultra modern styling!
The hoods are included as part of the colour pack, so whilst the Oyster in our photos has a black hood, a blue colour pack would give you a blue hood, a blue liner and a blue head hugger for a car seat. The hoods have both a flick out visor at the front, and also a zip out extension section at the rear. Its rare to find one of these features on a pushchair, let alone both on one pushchair! Very impressive. The hood is very large when extended. Indeed, one of my friends says they dont feel the need to use the raincover for light showers. The flick out visor does push up into the inside of the hood for storage, but this doesn’t leave a particularly neat edge to the hood. I do have an issue with the hood because you can’t pull it back flush with the seat. I keep leaning over and trying to pull the hood back to see my son, and I realise I can’t! Most of the hoods that I have come across, do fold back flush with the chassis. There is a small peekaboo window in the hood but it is just a little bit too far back.
The hood on our Oyster fits on at the side using two “rails”. Once fitted, it is possible to slide the hood back up the “rails” without it detaching. We do not actually think this is meant to be a feature, but we certainly made use of it when we put our 3 year old in the seat. Pushing the hood up gains some valuable centimetres which benefit an older child. It is perfectly possible to detach the hood completely and use the Oyster with no hood for a tall child. The seat itself, combined with the long knee to footrest length, does lend itself well to older children even should they outgrow the hood. As you can see our 3.4 year old at 102cms tall still has plenty of room under the canopy.
The Oyster seat appears to be nicely padded and the liner does give good comfort to the child. However when measuring the seat, we struggled to get an accurate measurement because there is a small ledge joining the seat pad to the seat back (like 3 sides of a 50p). It has been noticeable that particularly with our eldest child, that she can’t sit properly upright in the seat. In fact I asked her several times to sit upright before I realised that she couldn’t. It is noticeable with our youngest too, but I think it is less of an issue with him at present. I think for us, this is the only real negative we have found of the Oyster, and to be honest it probably is not enough to put me off buying it because the price and other features compensate.
The saving grace really for our eldest is that the Oyster has a very long knee to footrest measurement, and the footrest is in a sensible place (believe me not all footrests are!) when forward facing. Therefore she was able to support herself well by making use of this. There is no footrest when parent facing but the calf rest does lift up for a young child or baby to use. The calf rest lifts up easily using two buttons to release each setting.
Turning the seat around is easy! It takes a slight squeeze upwards of the seat connectors to release the seat. Then simply turn the seat around and drop it back into situ. No tugging or pulling is required or faffing with lining things up!!
The Oyster comes with a bumper bar included. It is a little fiddly to fit. It took us ages on each occasion we tried to fit it. To be honest, we got in a pickle after forgetting to remove the bumper bar to fold the pushchair on one occasion, that we removed it and it hasn’t been put back on again.
The harness was a good length for both of our children. It was easy to adjust. There are 3 height settings which are easy to adjust. Our only comment is that like a good number of harnesses, the buckle is a hard plastic one which can “pinch” your fingers.
The Babystyle Oyster seat has three recline positions in either direction – forward or parent facing. The recline is not a flat one, but the seat back does drop to nearly flat when parent facing – in fact we at BB HQ had a debate because the Bugaboo Bee seat unit looks a very similar angle but yet that is suitable from birth, but the Oyster is not. I dont know the technical data, but I dont think there is much in the two reclines! However officially the Oyster seat unit it not suitable until 6 months old.
The Oyster recline is really simple. There is a button at the rear of the seat unit which is simply lifted up, and the seat drops up or down a recline notch. The footrest can also be raised or lowered to keep the childs’ feet in line with their body.
It is noticeable that when the seat is sat upright parent facing, that it is a little more reclined than upright when forward facing. The difference is not a huge amount, and to be fair most older children will not be parent facing, but it is worth noting in case you are buying for an older child who needs / wants to parent face. But it is this slight difference in angle that gives a deeper lie flat recline when parent facing, compared to the outward facing seat.
The basket on the Oyster is made of a thick strong canvas fabric which is fully enclosed on three sides and has a fairly high lip on the rear opening. This means that items are not likely to fall out. The basket is a good size and easily took my medium sized handbag and a swimming bag with room to spare. Access is good from the rear.
The Babystyle Oyster handles really well. It is very nippy and highly manoeuverable and responsive. We have enjoyed pushing it. The handlebar is foam covered and feels good in the hand. There are a choice of handlebar height settings which are easy to alter by squeezing the button in the centre of the handle. These range from 93cms to 106cms which is a good range.
The brake is located in the centre of the lower bar and is really easy to flick on and off.
The wheels are made of plastic. They can all easily be removed for folding or storage. The front wheels also are lockable swivel wheels. The wheel locking is done very simply by depressing the button on the top of the wheels – these are probably the simplest locks we have used! Although the wheels are plastic, the ride is not a hard one, and the child is well cushioned.
The Babystyle Oyster is a narrow pushchair which surprising when you consider how many features are packed into such a small footprint. It is just 56cms wide which makes the Oyster a good choice for those with small cars or who use public transport. The last photo in the set above shows the Oyster fitting easily through a narrow swimming pool changing cubicle door with room to spare.
The Babystyle Oyster is easy to fold. It will fold with the seat on it either direction, but the two end results are quite different. The forward facing Oyster folds into a neat chunk – but it does take two large arms to then carry it, whereas the parent facing Oyster folds into a long slim piece, which is easier to carry. BUT its rare to find a pushchair which folds with the seat on in either direction, and the long fold may suit a car better than the chunky fold or vice versa. The fold is a two step process though. First bumper bar needs removing, then the seat needs folding so that the two halves meet (like a closed Oyster shell!). Then the secondary lock needs depressing as two sliders, one of each side of the chassis, slide up and the pushchair closes. We did find we needed to pull the handle open a notch when folding with the seat outwards facing to give the hood clearance. There is a lock on the Oyster and with a small amount of pressure on the chassis to get the two parts closer, the lock simply drops into place. The Oyster can be folded without the seat on, and removing the wheels makes the folded package smaller.
What the instruction book doesn’t tell you, is that the Babystyle Oyster can freestand when folded in either direction. The handle needs to be out by one notch in order to do so. But this is very useful to be able to do!
Opening the Oyster is easy enough. Simply release the lock and flick the pushchair open. Then sit the seat back upright again.
Carrycots & Car Seats:
The Babystyle Oyster does take a carrycot which makes this pushchair suitable from birth. To be fair, we can’t really comment on the carrycot as we have not seen one. Likewise, we have not used a car seat on the Oyster. However there is quite a choice of car seats that are compatible incuding Maxi-Cosi, Cybex, Britax and the Oyster one. Please check the car seat compatibility and also if adaptors or height increasers are required. The colour packs include a matching head hugger to be used in a car seat.
Raincover, Insect Net & Apron:
The Babystyle Oyster comes with a thin foot apron / cover to make it look neat when there is a baby in the seat unit. There is a raincover included too. Best of all, ingeniously hidden underneath the front of the seat, is an insect net. A brilliant idea and I hope one day, that pushchair companies will work out how to store raincovers under the seats too, all ready to go!!
Overall we thought the Babystyle Oyster was quite brilliant. It is one of the best all round pushchairs that we have tested and is packed with features and accessories which we would expect to find on a much higher priced pushchair. There are huge positives such as the way the Oyster folds with the seat on in either direction, or the easy recline seat, huge hood, easy fold, good sized basket, easy recline, easy seat removal, integrated insect net and more. The negatives are more subtle – the large chunky fold when outward facing, the way the hood does not go back flush and most importantly, that little ledge at the back of the seat unit which did affect how both our children sat in the seat unit. But for value for money, and features, the Babystyle Oyster really is a little gem of a pushchair. We think the Babystyle Oyster is great and would highly recommend it.
Many thanks to Babystyle and Nick for helping us with this review.
Other Babystyle Oyster Reviews: