Most helpful positive review
257 of 261 people found the following review helpful
Deceptively durable and dependable little workhorse.
on January 18, 2009
[CAVEAT:10/20/15 - I'm now less than 3 months from 5 years' use of the machine (30 mins. daily). It's durable, mechanically reliable, comparatively lightweight (I can move it, fold it, set it up), compact (a small footprint, permitting placement in a corner of our kitchen). But I'll admit that the electronics are getting to me. All of the read-outs are erratic--due to excessive sensitivity to the user's hands on the bar (and as for the audio speakers, "improve 'em or lose 'em.]
After using this for a couple of months, I'm raising my rating to 5 stars. This is one of the best purchases I've made, the only exercise machine that I look forward to using. You don't need all of the extra programs, bells and whistle to get your heart pumping and your sweat glands pouring. This device easily fits in our kitchen, opposite a countertop TV and JBL iPod speaker (much better than the built-in one with this or any other treadmill), and I've come to feel unready for the day ahead until doing my 30 minutes on the single automatic program. I've progressed from being able to walk at 3.5 mph to 4.5 mph and am feeling the overall aerobic benefits more each day. Now if I only had as much motivation to use Total Gym and all of the other neglected gadgets I've collected!
A treadmill (providing it has a motor) is the best exercise device you can own, and this one is certainly the "right" product if you've become discouraged after reading reviewers' stories of requiring 3 or more assistants to move their new treadmills to the basement. Or if you were contemplating a budget model until reading horror stories about its assembly, this may again be the ticket. It's compact and it's pre-assembled.
I wouldn't go so far as to call it "portable." It's the biggest piece of exercise equipment I've ever owned, and it's sufficiently heavy to make folding and unfolding seem like a chore. (I'm afraid that if I had to fold it up every night and stash it vertically behind a door or slide it under a bed, it would see too little use to be worth the investment.) Otherwise, it works just fine as a "walking" treadmill (runners would probably be better advised to look for a machine with a wider and longer belt). I'm no expert, but the belt seems smooth and quiet, the foundation solid, and the read-out and controls clear and user-friendly. The belt isn't quite as "cushioned" as those of more expensive machines, there isn't any fan for cooling down the walker, and the two speakers for an iPod or stereo MP3 player are, imo, simply too lame to be useful.
The actual "negatives" are few: 1. I wish the electrical connection was at the rear instead of the front of the machine and/or that the cord would be long enough (a couple more feet would do it) to reach the electrical outlet on the wall behind me (the instructions say don't plug the machine into a power strip, yet the length of the cord doesn't leave you much choice). 2. The otherwise helpful and clearly written instructions make no reference whatsoever to operation of the built-in stereo speakers, which may be understandable: the audio quality might be compared with a pair of cheap AM radio speakers. 3. Rather than waste the space, better there be an additional program, besides Manual and a single 30-minute automatic one.
Regarding a couple of other complaints: It's true that, once the machine has completed it program, you can't read your "progress" on the read-out, but if you simply press stop just prior to the end of the program, get off the machine for the last 10 seconds to jot down the reading, then press start again, voila--all of the settings are preserved). As for the heart rate monitor, unlike other users I've found it "somewhat" effective providing I remove my thumb from it every now and then. My problem is trying to determine what the heart rate numbers actually "mean" (the instructions provide an explanation that's ultimately unhelpful--remember, those no way the user can "input" the statistics--like age and weight--that are essential to computing useful heart rate numbers). So best pick up a separate monitor (the treadmill's read-out was consistently 70-80, so I was shocked when, after purchasing the inexpensive Omron monitor, the number that came up was 145, just 5 beats short of my theoretical maximum!).
[Addendum (a cautionary): As mentioned, there is only one automatic program, which I didn't try until the 6th day. It's 30 minutes, with speeds varying from 2 mph to 4 mph (unlike Manual mode, it doesn't observe 10ths or even half-mile settings). I wasn't prepared for using the belt at 4 mph and it actually "body-slammed" me to the mat at this speed, which is probably the "break point" between extremely fast walking and jogging. Approximately a quarter of the auto work-out occurs at the higher speed (I have little use for "over-produced" treadmills, but it would be nice to have 2-3 more automatic programs, especially with circuit boards having become so miniaturized and inexpensive for manufacturers to install). Finally, you may wish to ignore the instructions advising you to do a stretching routine before using the treadmill. (I'm sure I would use the machine significantly less if I added that "psychological" barrier.) Warming up at 2 mph should be equally beneficial (just don't plan on drinking a cup of coffee while in motion--it's been tried.]
[Set-up: Not included in the manual but appended to the machine is a small ticket telling you to allow the machine to run for 60 minutes before first use. Take it seriously. If, like me, you missed it and find the belt too far to the right or left side, follow the instructions in the manual. Above all, be patient, or the belt will soon be too close to the other side. It requires 30 seconds or more for the effects of a quarter-turn adjustment by the user to be noticeable in the positioning/operation of the belt.]