I first purchased this back in 2011 when Cam was 18 months old (he was really small and hadn't need to move from his first stage rear facing until then) I didn't drive so didn't want to spend a fortune on something that was only going to be used once or twice a week.
At the time the BabyStart group 1-2-3 was on offer in Argos at £39.99 (Mine is the same as the picture but plain grey and red so unisex still)
I choose this seat after looking at several as I liked the fact it went from months to 12 years (9 kg too 36 kg) Although please note this does not change into a booster seat with no back, and although the head rest does extend a fair way I'd find it a bit difficult to believe a "normal" sized 12 year old may struggle to be comfortable in the seat as the head rest is very shaped.
The 5 point safety harness is good and does extend a fair way although I would say its not really a "one hand" job to alter I found I had to press the button to release and pull the straps at the back/front which is even more difficult once there's a child sat in the seat.
The seat is very well padded, with extra support for smaller babies and also has extra padding on the straps.
Another good point is that all the parts on the carseat are removable and washable (recommended on a 30 degree wash)
We are still using this carseat nearly 2 years later and it has lasted very well although the buckle clip on the harness has got quite stiff over time and does stick occasionally. I haven't really found anything else to complain about, and I would say it is definitely worth the money if its being used as a second seat/occasionally. I think if I was going to be using it regularly I would have choose one with the option to recline as even when I moved Cam into it at 18 months he was still prone to falling asleep in the car. Of course being so sat upright and strapped in meant his head use to fall forward/side to side.
The added benefit of being for all 3 stages mean its now used by my 4 year old and nearly 2 year old without Grandma having to keep swapping seats/boosters in and out.
The seat is very easy to convert from stage one (With the 5 point harness) to stage two - three, it only involves removing the back to the harness off then putting the back on again (The same thing if you were to want to wash the carseat covers) We currently use it with the straps for my 2 year old, but without for my 4 year old and it isnt much of a fuss to swap and change between the two it doesn't take long. However the carseat doesn't feel as secure to the seat using without the 5 point harness. I can't really compare to a different brand on this as I have never tried.
The seat is forward facing only and can be used in front and rear carseats. Although it is recommended to use the rear seats.
Overall I feel the BabyStart carseat deserves 5* for value comfort and safety with the added benefit of side impact protection.
General information: EAN/MPN/UPC/ISBN: 3507465895020. Weight 4.6kg. Removable washable cover. Car seat features: Size H71, W45, D50cm. Armrests. Adjustable head support. Seat belt guide in headrest. Harness sleeves, quick release buckle and buckle pad. Individual harness tensioners. 5 point harness. Side impact protection. Forward facing. For use with 3 point seat belts. Only use in front seat if there is no active air bag. Fits front and rear seats although recommended for rear seat usage. Suitable for children from 9kg to 36kg. Suitable for children from 9 months to 11 years. Group 1-2-3.