Top critical review
One person found this helpful
A very cute umbrella, but time will tell if it lasts
on May 20, 2013
I bought this for my 2-1/2 year old daughter for Easter, and she was beside herself with excitement when she opened it. She LOVES using mommy's umbrella, and now she finally has her very own. This is an extremely cute umbrella that is the perfect size for a young girl. I really like the feel of the curved handle. I also like that this umbrella doesn't have a spring-loaded "auto deploy" feature. That keeps me from having to worry about accidental eye-pokes if she mishandles the umbrella.
However, without a spring-loaded deployment method, that does mean that this takes a minor amount of strength and coordination to open. It's not a difficult or particularly strenuous task, but you have to push the slider all the way to the top to open it. The spines that run along the umbrella fabric will flex, and tension rods connected to the slider hold them in place well once the slider is moved to the top of the umbrella shaft. Since there is no auto-deploy button, that also means that this umbrella will not lock closed. It does have a small metal piece to keep the slider from starting to side up on its own, though, which I appreciate. It also has a velcro strap attached to the umbrella to keep it securely closed when not in use.
I have doubts about the build quality and longevity of this umbrella, though. The spines that run along the fabric part of the umbrella are secured in place to the fabric by a single piece of thread about 2/3rds of the way down each rod. Think of how a tent pole is run through the top area of a tent. The rods are all connected to the shaft at the very top of the umbrella, and they go into a plastic cap at the end tips that is also sewn to the umbrella. But along the length of the rod itself, there's nothing to keep it from slipping out of place if that one piece of thread unravels, breaks, etc.
That's speculation, of course. What's fact is that we had another piece of the umbrella fail within a week of owning it. The tension rods that keep the umbrella open are held to the outer umbrella spines via a very small rivet that allows the tension rod to pivot in its hinge. The rivet looks to be made of brass, and one of these rivets split and popped right off, sending the tension rod poking through the umbrella fabric. Even more unfortunately, it happened during the first rainy day we'd had since I gave my daughter the umbrella, so she was pretty upset (we'd only let her play with it a couple of times previously, promenading around the living room).
Amazon exchanged it for us without any hassle since we were within our original 30 days of purchase, which was great. However, all of these umbrellas we've owned (3 now including the 1 replacement) have had at least one tension rod hinge that is slightly tilted to one side or the other. It seems like that would put undue pressure on the hinge's rivet, so I wouldn't be surprised if they also failed at some point down the road.