Last month a friend emailed me and asked me to recommend the best high back booster seat on the market. It just so happened that I had both a Clek Oobr($279.99 and up) and a Britax Parkway ($124.99) at my apartment and I said--you be the judge. So she picked up and tested them both. I am happy to share her full report:
I wanted to love theClek Oobr with its sleek design and modern look but in the end the Britax won me over because of its pure practicality.
The Britax Parkway was more traditional looking with its black and brown fabric cover compared to the Oobr's bright green fabric and mod white casing. The key difference between the Oobr and the Parkway is the installation. The Oober uses LATCH. The Parkway, in contrast, just sits on the seat and is kept in place by the car's seatbelt.
My four year old, was my tester. From the start, he liked the Britax better. At first, I thought it was because he had spent his whole life in a Britax car seat (a Marathon) and perhaps had some innate bias. He said that the Britax was more comfortable. Upon further examination, the Parkway offered a cushier, more comfortable seat when compared to the Oobr whose seat was more sturdy and stiff. He also liked the clip that fastened to the lap belt of the Parkway. His attraction to this feature may have been because he was used to the 5 point harness of the Marathon and this clip made the Parkway feel more like his old seat. We tried both seats twice to come to our final decision.
In the end, I also preferred the Britax Parkway. Both seats offered an adjustable headrest and could be turned into a backless booster which means they both will grow with your child. However, I found the Parkway to be lighter and easier to maneuver, more comfortable (my son fell asleep in it on several occasions), and better equipped as it offered two retractable cup holders rather than one fixed one.
The Oobr was not as user friendly as the Parkway for several reasons.
1.) I drive a car whose trunk area can flip up into a 3rd row of seats and it is not uncommon for me to have need for a fifth seat. Since the Parkway requires no installation and simply sits on the seat and uses the car's seat belt, it was infinitely simpler for me to use. When a fifth passenger arrived on the scene or a fourth passenger who was an adult wanted to sit in the second row, I could simply toss the Parkway into the trunk space or easily transfer it into the 3rd row. While the latch system is easy to understand, it requires more time and effort than the Britax seat.
2.)The Oobr was also a lot heavier than the Parkway and was therefore not as easy to maneuver. The Oobr weighs 22 pounds, while the Parkway weighs in at under 10 pounds.
3.) The car's seatbelt kept getting stuck under the armrest of the the Oobr. Once it was under the armrest, it was nearly impossible to get the seatbelt to retract enough to release and several times I had to unlatch the booster from the seat in order to move it around the armrest. The Parkway's armrests are a lot smaller and I never ran into this problem. As for the comfort factor of the armrests, there were no complaints from my test driver about the smaller armrests.
4.) The Parkway offers two sturdy cup holders that retract under the booster seat when not in use. I love the fact that it has two cup holders for drinks and snacks. The Oobr had only one cup holder and it snapped in under the bottom cushion. It did not retract like the ones in the Parkway. It fell off in the car while during our testing the seat (presumably knocked loose during loading or unloading of passengers).
Britax nor Clek paid for this post. The boosters were sent for testing purposes only.