iCandy Strawberry Review by Best Buggy
First Impressions, Fold and Styling:
The iCandy Strawberry is a beautiful pushchair. The polished aluminium chassis curves beautifully to form a uniquely shaped basket and seat frame. The Strawberry feels really light and easy to push, and the foam covered handle feels great in your hand. The deeply curved seat hides a secret storage place for your bits and pieces. The pièce de résistance of the Strawberry is its awesome fold. The Strawberry folds with the seat still in situ whether forward or reverse facing. The Strawberry also “remembers” the last position the seat was in, so that it reopens in the same position. Plus the Strawberry can be folding into a standing position, so that there is no need to bend down to pick the stroller up once folded – you can simply pull it along behind you or leave it freestanding! There is no doubt that the Strawberry is one of the best and most beautiful pushchairs we have had here at Best Buggy.
Child Comfort, Seat Recline and Harness:
I hear rumour after rumour that the iCandy Strawberry seat is small! IT IS NOT!!! It is one of the biggest pushchair seats that we have measured here at BBHQ. Our tall 4 year 4 month old at 107cms tall still fits into the Strawberry comfortably and her head is still underneath the rim of the hood. She doesn’t ride in a pushchair now, but what I am trying to say is that the Strawberry should easily carry any baby from birth to the end of their pushchair days. One thing to note is that the Strawberry liner is very “puffy” and if you see this in the pushchair, in a shop, do not be afraid to unzip it and discover the large seat hiding underneath!!
Now that we have established that the Strawberry seat is large, our two children both seem happy sat in the seat. My only issue is that the seat is a little reclined for an older child – its perfect for a younger toddler, but if my 2 and a half year old wants to, he can manage to sit himself forwards quite happily holding the bumper bar.
I had wondered if having a non adjustable footrest would make a difference to the comfort of either a sleeping child, or an older child. However it does not seem to, and our little ones have been comfortable whether sat upright, or asleep.
The seat has 3 recline positions – upright, semi reclined and lie flat. However the lie flat is not suitable from birth due to the seat being a bucket seat. Therefore a carrycot is necessary for a newborn. The seat positions are altered by using both hands, on either side of the chassis, to adjust a sliding switch. It is a little frustrating because you need to stop walking to recline the seat, however the seat then easily rotates to the desired position.
There are 3 harness height positions. These should accommodate most children from 6 months to past the age of 3. Our 4 year old was still only on the middle harness height setting. There was plenty of room for her in the harness itself.
The harness does up easily – we like that one side can be buckled up, or opened at once. However just watch out that your fingers don’t get ‘pinched’!
The seat can easily be turned round to parent or forwards face, by sliding the recline levers with both hands and lifting the seat off. One detail that I kept forgetting was that in order to put the seat back onto the chassis, the recline levers need moving to allow the seat to drop and secure in place.
Hood and Bumper Bar:
The Strawberry hood does not come on the pushchair. It is an extra included in a ‘Flavour Pack’. The ’Flavour Pack’ contains the seat hood and matching liner colour. There is a choice of fabrics – the warmer fleece fabric, or the ‘chilled’ fabric which is similar to the main seat fabric. We have the ‘chilled’ flavour pack in Earl Grey on our Strawberry. There are Flavour Packs in black (Assam), red (Pomegrante) and purple (Elderberry) too.
It is quite neat to be able to choose the colour of the hood and liner, especially if you plan to have another child, or get easily bored and like swapping your hood to suit the season!
There is a bumper bar on the Strawberry. However it is really quite tricky to remove. There two pins which are covered by plastic tabs. These need pressing in, to press the pins in, which releases the bumper bar. These are situated underneath the bumper bar. Not the easiest bumper bar to remove! As with all the iCandy pushchairs, the Strawberry would benefit from a swing away bumper bar. However the bumper bar, is sturdy and foam covered.
Handlebar, Handling and Wheels
The iCandy Strawberry is really light and whizzy around town. I never expected the Strawberry to feel so light to push, especially compared to the Peach which looks so similar. The front swivel wheels mean that the Strawberry is great at weaving in and out of displays in shops, or around toys on the floor (in ELC and Mothercare!). The front wheels lock easily using sliders in and out, for pushing across rough ground. The wheels are EVA wheels with all round suspension. The rear wheels are larger than the front wheels.
We found that the Strawberry coped well with every day challenges e.g. footpaths, shopping centres, the odd bit of grass and gravel. It is not really an off road pushchair, but would be fine to take to the park with! However, the Strawberry did not cope well with the very cold icy days that we have had this winter. I struggled to control it, and at one point is slid across a pavement when it was parked with the brake on! However, to be fair, most pushchairs with EVA wheels would have done the same, and the ice was very bad!
The handlebar of the Strawberry feels great in your hand. The handlebar is not quite as chunky as the Peach, but it is covered in dense foam and is good to hold. The handlebar extends through 5 handle heights to give a good range from 95-106cms.
Carrycot and Travel System
The Strawberry seat unit is only suitable from 6 months old. To use the Strawberry from birth requires the addition of the Strawberry carrycot, and the Strawberry carrycot Flavour pack. The Flavour pack will provide the carrycot hood and apron. The carrycot is suitable for overnight sleeping. What we like is that the carrycot is slightly tilted up at the head end which is great if your baby possets a lot or has reflux, or even just a bad cold. The carrycot appears to be a good size.
The Strawberry can be used as a travel system with the addition of car seat adaptors and a Maxi-Cosi Cabriofix or Pebble car seat. The car seat adaptors click into place instead of the seat unit and the car seat drops simply onto the top parent facing.
The fold is one of the main features of the Strawberry – it is what sets it apart from the other pushchairs in the iCandy range, and indeed apart from the majority of pushchairs currently on the market. First of all the Strawberry folds with the seat on in either direction. The Strawberry also has a memory fold, so that it ‘remembers’ the last position that the seat was in for when you open it again. This is especially useful with a baby who may be semi laid down, or upright. I find with my son that he’s either awake at the start of an outing and asleep by the end or vice versa, so our seating position varies from outing to outing. But it is only a quick move to alter the seat position anyway! Either way, this ‘memory fold’ is clever.
The Strawberry can be folded in two directions – either flat to the floor, or using the ‘step and stand’ fold whereby the pushchair ends up stood upright.
The fold to the floor is the simplest. Simply press in the button in the centre of the handle with one finger whilst at the same time pressing in the bigger squeeze button. Then the Strawberry should start to ‘break’ and then simply follow it through so that the pushchair is folded flat on the floor.
The ‘step and stand’ fold takes a bit of practice but once mastered, it really is a showpiece! To fold the Strawberry standing up, as the pushchair starts to ‘break’ put your foot onto the curved back of the frame and press down. With a bit of luck this will flip the front end of the pushchair up into the air and the Strawberry should be folded and stood on two rubber stoppers on the back of the frame. There is a manual lock which can be applied at this point. The beauty of this fold is that it is essentially a one handed fold (and reopen) so that if the Strawberry needs folding e.g. for public transport, you should be able to remove your baby and fold the pushchair and then the Strawberry can be pulled easily behind you on or off the bus or train.
The one downside of the Strawberry fold, is that it is fairly large and long when folded. We have two fairly large car boots. The Strawberry filled one of the car boots (see photo above) but in the larger boot, the Strawberry would not fit in along the shortest side of the boot without the handle being depressed in (rather than it being locked into the lowest position). Thus it had to go long ways in the boot. It is worth considering how well this pushchair will fit into your car before buying. However, the length would not be an issue if the Strawberry is stored freestanding on its end in the house. The Strawberry can be towed along behind you when folded which is good for example for getting onto a bus or train with baby tucked under the other arm.
Basket and the ‘Punnet’:
The basket is where the Strawberry’s good looks stopped seducing me. At first glance, the basket seems a really generous size. However, the Strawberry and I fell out over the basket during our testing period.
The Strawberry basket is spring loaded. It can be pushed down flat and clipped into position at the lowest height. Or when released it bounces fully up. However, there is an issue with something spring loaded – the more you put inside the spring loaded frame, the lower it goes (assuming things overhang which they always do when you have coats, bags and toys). So the more stuff you have i.e. the time when you need most storage space; the lower the basket goes. This can be clearly seen in the photo with the doll in! The basket is nearly flat here. There is my handbag, a lunchbag, a drawing board, doll, muslin and 2 children’s coats in here. Thats fairly average for us. We walked literally 100 metres from the car into somewhere for lunch, and back to the car again, and somewhere in that short distance across a tarmac car park, the lunchbag fell out, and has been lost forever. Thank goodness it was not my handbag that we lost, but try telling our very upset 4 year old that! However this incident made me think twice about using the Strawberry if we needed a lot of storage space. On this occasion the seat was forward facing.
A parent facing seat presents further issues with the basket. First of all, when the seat is upright and parent facing, the edge of our seat, touches the top edge of the basket, so that the basket is depressed down i.e. not fully open. Secondly, whilst the rear of the basket has a metal surround along the top edge, the front edge slopes and has nothing stopping things from sliding off the edge. My second fallout with the Strawberry basket was when I put just my handbag in the basket. As I entered a shop I added in a couple of catalogues. Within minutes my daughter handed me one of the catalogues which she said had fallen onto the floor. Within 5 more minutes it had fallen out again! At that point I wedged the catalogues firmly under my handbag. All round, I am sad to say I lost faith in the basket as a safe place for our things. A good basket is vital to us, and it is such a shame that this small detail let the Strawberry down for us.
However we LOVE the ‘Punnet’. This is a compartment which makes use of the void underneath the seat / footrest of the pushchair, caused by the curved line of the seat unit. The Punnet is accessed via two zips on one side of the seat. I have to say that the zips are a tad fiddly, especially if the seat is in a position where the chassis gets in the way. However, the punnet is a useful space particularly for the raincover, and I welcome the idea. I am the first person to admit I never have a raincover on the pushchair when we need one (I hate filling basket space up with raincovers), and having a raincover stashed away in the punnet is a really neat idea. After our issues with the storage basket, I would feel confident to put valuable items such as my purse, phone or keys into the Punnet to keep them safe when out and about. I wish manufacturers would take the notion of storing things under the seat (like the Punnet or Babystyle’s insect nets) and invent raincovers which are stored under the front edge of the seat, or front rim of the hood (like TFK’s insect nets), all ready to go!!
Brake and Raincover:
The brake is in the centre of the back axle. We love that its been designed to look like the petal of a Strawberry leaf to fit in with the theme. The wide shape makes it very easy to flick the brake on and off.
The iCandy Strawberry comes with a raincover. However this is tight fitting. Our tip is to warm the raincover with a hairdrier before first use which softens it up a bit.
The big selling point of the iCandy Strawberry is the one piece, one handed fold / unfold. For many people, this is the reason why they would choose a Strawberry, over say the Peach. The Strawberry is light and nippy to push and steer. The fabrics, styling, seat and hood are all excellent. We love the ‘punnet’ storage space, but we have been disappointed by how easily things fall out of the basket. The Flavour packs also feel expensive when two are required – one for the carrycot and one for the seat unit. It is a shame that the hood does not fit both the carrycot and the seat unit, thus reducing the price. However this does allow for ‘mix and match’ i.e. a different colour carrycot and pushchair seat. Be aware that the fold is large – check it fits in your car boot before buying.
All round the iCandy Strawberry stands out as one of the best pushchairs currently on the market. The Strawberry is a stunning pushchair to look at, and fabulous to push and use.
Other iCandy Strawberry Reviews: