I scoured the internet and more than one continent to find the best travel stroller that was for me. By the time I had purchased the new ZOE travel stroller, I had already bought and sold many secondhand strollers of what I thought would be the "perfect" stroller, only to realize upon using it that it was not quite for me. So it seemed almost unlike me to buy something at full price, sight unseen, but upon watching the videos, it checked all of my boxes, so I went with it.
Since nothing is perfect, here is what I liked and disliked about the stroller in hopes that this will help another parent out there trying to make the decision:
Handle bar: Single handle bar, and easy to push and attach parent console on it, but the center collapse button gets in the way of pushing the handle right in the center and I find myself needing to push from the side
Cup holder: Comes with parent cup holder
NOTE: The V2 does not come with a parent cup holder.
Sun Canopy: Sun protection is a big thing for me. This had a large canopy compared to other travel strollers. Larger than Babyzen Yoyo, Mountain Buggy Nano, GB Qbit, and Baby Jogger City Tour. Smaller coverage and flexibility than Maclaren Quest (when it's completely down). I loved the 4 panels and that one can be zipped away or another tucked away to find the perfect combination for sun protection without having my kid scream that he can't see. Also when my son fell asleep, I could put the canopy completely down and no one else could see inside.
Peekaboo Window: magnetic closure, I don't feel comfortable without one so this was important to me
Recline: Single hand draw string release and single hand pull up. Not completely flat. Similar to maybe Mountain Buggy Nano V2 but better than the Babyzen Yoyo
Seat: I found the seat to be pretty shallow, and because it was slightly slanted, my son kept sliding down. Luckily the strap held him in the and the adjustable foot rest made the seat bigger and held him in. Similar problems reported in the Baby Jogger City Tour. Smaller seat than the Baby Zen Yoyo and the Mountain Buggy Nano
Seatbelt: Easy to use. only 2 straps to deal with and not 5 separate pieces.
Belly Bar/snack tray: none
Foot Rest: Adjustable to go up. Makes seat longer, makes basket easy to access, and makes sleeping more comfortable.
Basket: It is what it is for a compact stroller. No complaints.
Wheels: Suspension! Essential for our city streets. Sometimes I felt like I had to pay attention to the front wheels so I made sure it did not get stuck, but I think that's the case for all small strollers
Now comes the important part:
Weight: Super light...yes there are specs, but light is light and it is definitely light enough.
Fold: I really wanted something that was a single hand fold. Unlike Babyzen Yoyo, Mountain Buggy Nano, and more like GB Qbit. When I say one hand, I don't mean one step. I was fine with the one hand, two-step fold of the Baby Jogger City Tour. My criteria was you needed to be able to fold the stroller with one hand, while restraining your baby in the other to prevent him from running away on you. I also wanted something that was NOT fold long down to the ground. I hate the long folds because being short meant that they were a pain to carry. This is indeed a one handed fold, although it took a bit of practice. After practicing, the other that bothers me is that sometimes, the front wheels were not positioned correctly needing a stiff readjustment. I also still had to bend down, unlike the baby Jogger city tour which allows you to fold standing up.
NOTE: The V1 had the one handed fold, the new V2 that came out in 2018 is a two-handed fold.
Unfold: The fold could be one-handed (like in the demo video), but either I am weak or too short, but I need two hands to secure the stroller and lock it into an open position. It is still a work in practice and might just be that the stroller is new. It is not like some of the other strollers where I can just fling open and have it pop into position.
Carry strap: IMPORTANT. I added it on and keep it added. I actually bought two so I can wear it as a backpack if needed. Love it.
Carry Case: Easy, roomy, with backpack straps. It was simple to use unlike the struggle with the Moutanin Buggy Nano or the Babyzen Yoyo.
Stability: Similar to other travel strollers, but it definitely took me awhile to remember that because this is a small stroller, I couldn't hang heavy things on the back of the stroller and take my child out causing it to tip.
Suspension: Two wheeled suspension made it capable of handling rough streets and cobblestone, but I did have to be mindful or large gaps and holes.
Maneuverability: Only one time around a sharp corner, with a heavy lunch pack hanging on the handle bar did the stroller feel like it was going to tip to one side. Easy to adjust one handed, and was the only time I had any issues with it.
Price: You can get open box deals. Price is around $239 so comparable to Baby Jogger Tour, Mountain Buggy Nano, but much cheaper than Babyzen Yoyo.
Hacks: With so many accessories, there really isn't the need to add any hacks, other than giving your child a snack and cup holder.
Overall the price is good and comparable to city jogger tour, but with great suspension, big canopy, peekaboo window, deep recline and adjustable foot rest, and good single-handed fold. The fold and unfold of the baby jogger tour might almost feel easier to use one handed. The recline and foot rest is maybe not as good as the mountain buggy nano (in he position for infant bassinet), but because the other two lacked the other pros I mentioned above, I went with the ZOE XLC and was very happy with our purchase.