ProForm 520 E Elliptical Review

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ProForm 520 E Elliptical Rating

Features
Display Console
Durability
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Overall Rating

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Pros Purchase price is a big appeal of the new ProForm Endurance 520 E. The $999 retail price and $599 sale price make it one of the cheapest ellipticals built for 2017. Besides being wallet-friendly at the outset, it offers more variety of motion than a typical elliptical under $1000: In addition to supporting a flat elliptical path, the 520 E has several incline settings. It tops out at 20 degrees, which is steep enough to more than double your calorie burn while target-toning your muscles. The workout program variety is better than average too. Eighteen preset programs can control the pedals’ incline and resistance, as can unlimited Google Maps workouts and other workout programs available to iFit Coach members for use with this machine. Rounding out a comfortable workout experience are oversized pedals, soft-grip handlebars, an adjustable-angle tablet computer shelf, iPod-compatible speakers and a water bottle holder.
Cons A definite drawback for people seeking a strength challenge is the relatively light drive. Although the 520 E’s 15-pound drive provides smoother resistance than others its size, this entry-level flywheel keeps the 520 E solidly in the category of “elliptical for beginners.” Another potential drawback for anyone is that the incline is manually adjusted. If you move up to a $799 sale-priced trainer like the newest 720 E, you can make incline adjustments electronically instead, so each workout session can be more dynamic. The third main drawback is that the 520 E parts warranty is only valid for a year. While that’s standard for an elliptical in this price class, much better protection is available if you move to a higher tier.
Summary The ProForm Endurance 520 E is priced for mass sales and sized to fit the majority of beginners in elliptical training. Its best physical feature might be the incline, which is steeper than what we normally see on budget ellipticals. Its electronic features also help keep workouts varied and motivation high. This trainer would disappoint those seeking powerful resistance though, and the stride might feel short if you’re taller than most. The 520 E might be the season’s best elliptical under $600, but the durability bar is low in this price class.

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ProForm 520 E Elliptical Detailed Overview

Sale priced at just $599 (full price $999), the iFit enabled ProForm Endurance 520 E is one of the cheapest ellipticals available from a major brand. The combination of very low price and special features makes it one of the world’s bestselling fitness machines for low-impact workouts at home.

Most customer reviews for the ProForm 520 E are positive, but some owners assign low ratings for quality control problems and customer service. Even knowing these risks, you might still be drawn to the new 520 E because it’s an especially feature-rich total body trainer for the price.

Most impressive for an elliptical under $600, the 520 E lets you vary the flat 19” footpath by using a manual incline with maximum setting of 20 degrees. This helps boost the challenge from the machine’s light 15-pound flywheel, and with each increase in incline you can feel how your muscles are recruited a bit differently. Using the incline is a great way to tone your lower body, plus it can more than double your metabolic rate!

Moving up to the console, the new Endurance 520 E for 2017 has an adjustable-angle tablet holder and is ready to run iFit Coach, a popular personal training membership service. iFit Coach provides tips in response to your activity, supports simulated outdoor tours with views of Google Maps routes, lets you download unlimited workout plans, and offers many other fitness-related supports. iFit Coach features can all be accessed with your own tablet computer attached to the 520 E elliptical console.

Besides being enabled for iFit Coach personal training, which costs $9/month and up, the Endurance 520 E has 18 quick-start workout programs to help you exercise efficiently. These programs adjust the pedals’ resistance for set durations based on goals for calorie burn, intensity and speed. Progress and your workout stats are shown on a 5” screen with backlighting.

The 520 E is the entry-level elliptical in ProForm’s Endurance Series for 2017. The next step up is the 720 E, which has a 20-pound drive and a power incline that makes workouts more dynamic. The top-of-the-line model is the 920 E with 25-pound drive and an HD touchscreen for workouts and the web.

Our Favorite Features

Some of our favorite parts of the 2017 Endurance 520 E elliptical:

  • Multiple incline settings let you focus on different muscle groups and prepare for outdoor treks
  • 19” stride length is a good match for most trainees and not easy to find on an elliptical under $600
  • Tablet computer holder and iPod-compatible speakers help keep workout time interesting
  • 18 built-in workout apps designed by credentialed trainers let you quickly start training for goals based on calorie burn, speed and intensity
  • iFit Coach enabled to keep you motivated with virtual workout destinations all around the world
  • Upper body workout arms move to support extra calorie burn and strength building

ProForm 520 E Elliptical - Notable Specs:

Overall Rating:3-stars
Compact / Folding:No
Incline:0-20 degrees
Stride Length:19 inches
Flywheel:16 LBS
Programs:18 workout apps
Fan:No
Weight Capacity:300 LBS
Dimensions:68.25" L x 25.7" W x 68.5" H

Our Least Favorite Features

Some drawbacks to choosing the new 520 E:

  • One-year warranty on parts and labor, although that’s standard or above average for this price range
  • Incline adjustments are manual instead of controlled with preset programs or console buttons
  • Flywheel is only 15 lbs, so it won’t give you the smooth resistance of a commercial elliptical machine

The Bottom Line

The new ProForm Endurance 520 E isn’t built for heavy use or the long term, but for a low price it lets you benefit from incline training, iFit Coach and other modern features that help make ProForm Fitness a world leader.

Keep in mind that although very cheap ellipticals like the 520 E cost little up-front, mid-priced trainers tend to bring better value down the road. If you spend a couple hundred more on the ProForm 720 E, or bump up to the 920 E ($999 on sale), you’ll get significantly more advanced components and you can train to a higher level. These machines are also better value for the dedicated exerciser because they have more generous warranty coverage per dollar.

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