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4moms Origami Hands-on: Baby stroller or Mars Rover?

4moms Origami Stroller

The 4moms Origami stroller is one of the most unique baby strollers available on the market. Unlike traditional strollers that require manual setup, the item folds and unfolds on its own with just a push of a button. At $850 retail, it’s not cheap; However, it is comparable in price to high-end models from companies like UppaBaby and Bugaboo, and the Origami brings a style all its own to the sidewalk.

Look and feel

4moms origamiBe prepared: You will get noticed. When you take your child for a walk in the Origami, people will stop you. Much in the same way technophiles are stopping strangers when they see an iPhone 5, people are drawn in by the Origami’s looks. From the raised seat for the baby, to the LCD screen, to the daytime running lights, this won’t be confused with a $20 umbrella stroller. It’s even got lights underneath the stroller to illuminate pathways when you’re walking at night. While the stroller body is relatively slim, a small, detachable luggage bag can be clipped on the lower back of the frame for additional storage. The back of the seat also has rooms for a thermos, magazines, stuffed animal, whatever other accessories you might need for your baby.

All the attention this thing gets is fine — exciting, even — but it’s frustrating because you can’t stop every time for every person who asks, “Is that a spaceship?” to show off the feature that will truly blow people’s minds: the one-touch electronic fold.

The wow factor

When you do get to your car, get the baby loaded securely in the car seat, you hope that at least a few of the gawking masses who’ve noticed the Origami are still there when you are ready to fold it up and stow it. With a slight twist, the gray button on the handle begins glowing blue and you know something special is about to happen. Push the now-illuminated button and watch the magic as this full size stroller contracts itself into a horizontal pod, ready to be placed in the back of the car. Press it again and the pod reforms itself into a stroller. Each process takes about 2.5 seconds (it doesn’t help to yell “Autobots, Roll Out!” before you do this, but it doesn’t hurt) to complete but the crowd impression is sure to last way longer. [See video below for a demo.]

More than meets the eye

Onlookers will think you stole a top secret government project like Johnny 5 from Short Circuit, but there’s more to a baby stroller than slick engineering. After all, this is going to be holding your most prized possession, so let’s discuss comfort and handling.

We tested this stroller with my son, Harry, who is 13 months and 22 pounds. He can’t say much beyond “Daddy” and “Book,” but judging by his overall demeanor when riding in the Origami, he seemed very comfortable. The baby rides up a little higher than in most strollers, which is nice for the baby to be able to see better, and for adults who want to see him. One drawback is that the Origami does not fully recline. There is a curved bar underneath the baby seat that prevents a full lay-flat option, which is not ideal for every child.

4moms origami handlebar

The handlebar design of the stroller’s control grip provides an extremely natural way to walk and direct the vehicle, and the suspension is calibrated to provide a pretty smooth ride. You can push it quite easily with one hand.  The pedal brake is easy to use and effective. There are two cup holders for the parent and two cup holders for the child, which is a nice touch. The sunshade also does a good job of protecting your baby from bright sunshine and harmful UV rays. A car seat adapter is available and a pram attachment will be released soon. No word yet on a kickboard for a second child to ride along with you.

Baby tech

The Origami comes equipped with an LCD screen that provides some useful features including a speedometer and an odometer. While you’re not likely to get the Origami up much faster than three or four mph on most walks, it’s nice to see how far you’ve gone at the end of the day. If nothing else, it provides a little extra sense of accomplishment when you realize you walked five miles while running all those errands. 

4moms origami LCD screenThere is also an icon that tells you whether or not there is a baby in the stroller. Now, I’d like to think most new parents will take the extra step of looking at their actual, physical child to ensure he/she is in the carriage rather than depending on their digital doppelgänger, but it actually serves another, more important purpose. Answering the obvious question, “Will this thing fold up with my baby in it?” there is a weight sensor built in (which triggers the digital icon) and we can say definitively, no, the Origami will not fold with a baby in it. (Truth be told, we tested it with a fire extinguisher first!)

The kinetic energy from the spinning wheels also charges the unit, so there’s no need to plug in like an electric car to charge the running lights. In fact, there is an optional kit that allows you to charge your cell phone directly from the Origami itself. That is cool.

Some drawbacks

Unfortunately, with all that tech built into the stroller, the Origami is not light. At 29 pounds, it’s one of the heavier strollers available, and for smaller moms and dads, that can cause some difficulties picking them up to load into their oversize SUVs. That said, getting the stroller in and out of the car will probably be the extent of carrying it for most people. With a ride this smooth, you’ll just want to push it everywhere.

4moms origami foldedThe Origami’s one-touch folding feature is intuitive to use. The stroller comes out of the box charged and ready to go, and assembly takes about two minutes. But remember when we said the unfolding setup was foolproof? Well, maybe it’s too foolproof. The flip side of all that ease is that other children can take one look at this extremely interesting vehicle and figure it out just as quickly. As was the case when my 3-year-old turned the knob and pushed the glowing blue button and leaped into my arms in fright as the stroller transformed before her very eyes. There’s a lock on the underside of the button to prevent these Curious George-type moments, but it’s up to you to remember to lock it.

Bottom line

The 4moms Origami stroller, with its smooth glide and futuristic features, provides a comfortable and eye-catching experience for both child and parent. Again, at $850, it’s not cheap — but for parents who love to be ahead of the curve, it’s a great pick.

[Editor’s Note: Sean is the Vice President of Sales at Digital Trends, however, this review is not a paid endorsement from the company. He happened to be the only one at DTNY with a young child to help test the product! The Origami stroller may be for 4moms, but Sean loves it and he’s a dad, so don’t fear the brand name!]