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Hands-on Gear Review
Cybex Cloud Q Review
Price: $400.00 List
Pros: Great crash test results, high quality, comfy
Cons: Heavy, price, limited stroller compatiblity
Bottom line: The best option for safety conscious parents with a higher budget
The Cybex Cloud Q is an innovative infant car seat with additional safety features and impressive crash test results. This product scored well in most metrics and impressed users with its quality and comfort. The Cloud Q features a load leg and Linear Side-impact Protection (LSP) that potentially increase the seat's overall safety for baby and our crash test results for the load leg seem to agree. We like this seat and would recommend it for parents whose first concern is an additional margin of protection. However, given its overall heavier weight and higher price, it might not be the option for everyone. This option earned a Top Pick award for safety in this review.
RELATED REVIEW: The Best Infant Car Seats of 2017
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The comparison chart included here (Cybex Q in blue) shows the overall score for all of the products tested in this review. The Cloud Q performed well and earned a 4th place rank.
The sections below include information on the Cloud's performance during testing for each metric. The performance for each metric was used to determine the overall score with an emphasis on ease of installation and crash test results.
The Q earned the highest score for crash tests in this review with a 9 of 10. In our evaluation of the crash test results, the Q had the best-combined test results for the chest and head sensors, with the second best result for chest sensor G forces. These results indicate a potential additional margin of protection over the majority of seats we tested.
The charts below show the Cybex Cloud Q test results (in black) compared to the products that have the best crash test results for each sensor (in green). The Graco SnugRide Click Connect 40 has the best results for the chest sensor, and the Q result shows only slightly higher forces on the sensor (42.2 g compared to 45 g, where lower is better).
The head sensor (HIC) on the Cloud Q performed better than the majority of seats with only 2 showing better results.
The Cybex Cloud Q has additional features for safety including a side impact feature they call Telescopic Linear Side-impact Protection (LSP) and a load leg.
While it can often be difficult to tell if a safety feature truly increases the safety of a seat, our crash tests of the Cloud using the load leg indicated that it decreased the impact forces on the baby. We feel this feature offers an additional margin of safety over products without a load leg.
The LSP feature is located on both sides, but should only be used on the side facing the car door. It is designed to absorb some of the impact from a side collision, but we did not find any information on how or if this was tested or determined.
Ease of Install - LATCH
The Cloud Q earned an 8 of 10 for ease of installation using the LATCH system. Current studies indicate that many injuries sustained in car crashes could potentially be avoided if the car seat were installed correctly. This is why be believe that the ease of installation is so important. If a seat is easy to install there is a greater likelihood that parents will do so correctly, therefore increasing the potential for fewer injuries. The Chicco Keyfit 30 and the UPPAbaby Mesa earned 9s.
Like most of the higher-ranking car seats for LATCH installation, the Cloud Q LATCH system also has a unique process for ensuring the seat installs securely. This product has push button LATCH anchors that install quickly with the aid of plastic inserts that make accessing the metal loop on the car easier.
The main strap has a single tightening strap that threads through the center of the base. Once this is tight, a center component is lower onto the strap creating a tight and secure installation. This process takes some of the frustration out of the tightening and loosening of straps that cause problems for many parents. The base on this option has an adjustable recline lever that helps install the base at the proper angle. It also has a rolling ball level to help guide parents.
Ease of Install - Belt
The Cloud Q earned a 6 of 10 for ease of installation using the vehicle belt. This type of installation is the most difficult of the three methods for the Q. Both the UPPAbaby Mesa and the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35 scored higher for this style of installation.
The Cloud Q has a belt lock-off and a color-coded belt path. Despite having these features that should make it easier to install, we had difficulty with the shoulder portion of the belt and fitting it around the entire carrier.
The belt lock-off is also difficult to use, but you must use this part, so you'll need to get it right even if you have to ask for help.
Ease of Install - Without the Base
The Cloud Q earned a 9 of 10 for ease of installation without the base; this is its highest installation score.
The Cloud Q uses the European belt path that uses the shoulder portion of the vehicle belt around the back of the carrier, and the lap portion goes across the foot of the carrier.
The belt is relatively easy to thread on the color-coded path, but once again the shoulder portion can be tricky. The carrier feels secure when installed.
Ease of Use
The Cloud Q earned a 5 of 10 for ease of use. The Chicco Fit2 and the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35 earned 7 for ease of use. Only one product scored lower for ease of use.
Ease of use includes the everyday functionality experience of using the car seat outside of the process of installation.
The Cloud Q harness is a no rethread harness with an adjustable headrest assembly. The assembly moves smoothly with a lever on the back of the rest. It has eleven possible height options, and the crotch strap has only one. The Cloud Q has an easy to depress buckle button that varies from some of the group.
The chest clip is also easy to use with a larger button to squeeze that is nice for larger hands (talking to you Dads). The harness is easy to tighten and release, but the tighten strap is stiffer than most.
The Cloud Q handle rotates by pressing in on dual buttons on either side simultaneously. It has six possible positions and turns smoothly, with only one position allowed during driving. This position puts the handle at the foot of the seat and may act as an anti-rebound bar in the event of an accident (see our video). The handle does somewhat rub on the canopy when both are up, and there isn't much room for hands, but it isn't as bad as the Graco handle and canopy problem. The shape of this handle is more comfortable to hold because it lacks any sharp edges or corners.
Carrier and Base Connection
The carrier on the Q is difficult to attach. It is strangely harder than you'd think as it needs to be in just the right position to attach; if it is even slightly off it won't connect or self-correct. Most of the competition sort of falls into place without much effort. The upside is it has a visual indicator that lets you know when it attaches.
LATCH Anchors and Manual Storage
The LATCH anchors on the Cloud Q store underneath the recline foot on either side. You must first fully extended the recline foot to insert or remove the anchors. This location keeps the anchors themselves out of the way but does nothing for the remaining strap. While unlikely to cause a carrier to base connection problem, it would still be nice if they weren't loose.
The instruction manual is stored under the seat of the carrier where it is hidden from baby and spit up. This location is better than those located on the base as you will be able to take the manual with you should you need to travel without the base and forget how to install the carrier without the base.
The Cloud Q earned an 8 of 10 for comfort and quality. This score is the high for the metric and is shared by the Peg Pergo Primo Viaggio 4-35 and the Chicco Fit2.
This carrier has a fun and attractive design that makes it look somewhat futuristic. The shell stretches when it reclines and has silver bumps around the sides. The large canopy is hidden under a cover when not in use, giving the entire product a sleek feel. It offers a soft fabric, extra padding, and an infant insert that come together to create a comfortable riding capsule for baby.
The Cloud Q earned a 2 of 10 for weight, with a carrier weight of 13.67 lbs. This weight makes the Q one of the heaviest products and a poor choice for parents who travel, regularly use taxis, or plan to carry baby in their carrier.
If you intend to use a stroller with your car seat, or you will be wearing baby in a baby carrier, then the weight is not as big of a deal for you, and you are unlikely to notice the heft of this product. However, if you will be using the carrier portion of the car seat to transport baby by itself, then you'll want to look for a lighter option. The Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35 weighs 9.58 lbs; at 4 lbs lighter than the Q this award winner may be a better choice.
This car seat is compatible with the Cybex strollers and potentially a handful of other brands. In our reviews, we have only come across the Bugaboo Cameleon3 Combo that offers an adapter for the Cybex Cloud Q. This stroller did score well in our Car Seat and Stroller Combo Review, but it is a pricey stroller nearing $1200 for the stroller alone.
Should you be interested in combining your Cloud Q with a Cybex stroller you will need the Adapter for Cybex Strollers. These adapters allow for proper connection between the carrier portion of the seat and the stroller.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD & Wendy Schmitz
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