This stepper is exactly what I wanted--a small machine with simple mechanics at a value price. It fits under my bed for easy storage and weighs about 15 pounds, so it's easy to move around. It has a simple counter that keeps track of your steps (and has a few other modes, like calories, etc. but nothing too in depth). It came preassembled, and the only assembly you have to do is make sure the pulley line is on the wheel underneath the machine, then tighten the tension knob to the desired resistance (which is easy to adjust anytime you want to change it) and attaching the arm resistance bands to the frame. In reference to some common questions/complaints I've seen, here is an FYI about the this machine. 1. It is a STEPPER, not an elliptical--meaning you step up and down, not glide back and forth. 2. It does require you to maintain your own balance while using it (unlike an elliptical). It is actually better for your muscle tone and core muscles to keep your own balance while exercising. However, if you have a medical issue that impairs your balance, this might not be a good machine for you. 3. You MUST use it standing up. Because you put your full weight on the pedals to pump them up and down, this machine would not work for someone sitting at a desk or in a chair. 4. The arm resistance bands are optional and do not effect the function of the stepper pedals. They are mounted to the frame of the machine and the length is adjustable. They are simple rubber type stretchy resistance bands, similar to bungee cords. 5. The step counter has been accurate for me, but I consider the other modes (calories, etc.) to be estimates. If you need more in depth exercise tracking, I would suggest a personal device (Fitbit, etc.) or looking for another machine at a higher price point to include the bells and whistles. 6. There is no way to adjust the incline of the pedals, or increase the step height (how far up and down the pedals go) beyond the 8" or so in the machines range of motion. Again, if this is important, you should probably look at a higher price point. Personally I find the incline and step height works well for me. 7. The machine seems durable to me, and I use it about 5x a week, for 20-30 minutes. If you work out much more than that, you may want to invest in a more expensive, bigger machine. 8. The weight limit for the machine is 220 lb, per the instruction manual. 9. The instruction manual is well written and clear instructions are given for assembly and maintenance. Instructions are given for parts to oil if the machine begins to squeak. 10. The machine is very quiet. You do hear air pushing from the cylinders as you step up and down, but it's not loud. I use the machine while my baby naps with no problem. 11. The pedals are 11 1/4" long from inside the toe guard to the edge of the pedal. I wear women's size 9 and have plenty of room. 12. Despite its simple design, this machine does give you quite a work out (similar to climbing stairs). It's definitely cardiovascular exercise, and you definitely feel it in your calves, thighs and gluts. Maintaining balance also gives my core muscles a work out, and you can use the arm bands too if you want. Like any exercise, it depends on the amount of effort you put in.
I would highly recommend this stepper for anyone like myself, who wants an affordable machine with a small footprint to get some easy exercise at home. I'm a 30-something mother with small children, so going to the gym isn't convenient for me. I'm not a fitness guru, my goals are to get more cardio and shed a few pounds. For around $50, you can't beat the price for the amount of exercise you can get from this little stepper.