NordicTrack X22i Review
My wife and I first met at the gym at our university. We were both fitness conscious and could often be found around the treadmills getting some miles in. Neither of us have ever held that runner’s angst towards logging time on the automated belt the way others do. We don’t think of it as a “dread-mill” or knock it for it’s less than 100% accurate reproduction of road feel. We’ve used the treadmill to log the majority of our training miles for our triathlons and marathons. To us, it is simply a utility for working on your fitness and we don’t feel the need to prove anything to anyone about the quality of our athletic effort.
Fast forward to 2020, engrossed in a pandemic. Throw in the cruel Georgia heat, hills & humidity. Along with an overarching need to get maximum efficiency out of our training time. Add all those together and you can see how ended up canceling our gym membership and purchasing a NordicTrack X22i Incline Trainer Treadmill. It took months of research, product comparison, and deliberating for us to land on this one. This was no small purchase, so I am sharing this review in hopes that it helps you make your own decision.
We wrestled for a long time with a commitment to treadmill and researched probably 12 major models. In the end it really came down to a two horse race between the Peloton Tread and the X22i. The deal breaker for the Peloton is that it is essentially a giant paperweight without a subscription. It also did not offer the fan strength, decline running, and lacked the consistently high reviews compared to the X22i. With that the decision was which NordicTrack Incline Trainer to pick from. They come in 32, 22, and 11-inch screen models. Every other part of the treadmill is the same. We went with the 22i for a key reason. The access to the bottle holders and phone slots. Other reviews on the web pointed out that the screen difference between the 32 and 22 was overkill and took away easy access to the bottle and phone cubbies.
The other thing to keep in mind is placement in the home. The machine in its box comes in at over 300 pounds. The delivery drivers will either leave that huge box at the curb or bring into your home for an additional fee. We live in a single-story home so we didn’t have the worry of stairs and ended up placing it in an empty and recessed space in our garage. We also ended up going with the extended warranty and maintenance program. They were another $100 each but provide the security blanket over such an expensive purchase. Additionally, when it comes to maintenance, I recommend keeping a package of disinfecting wipes in one of the two cupholders to wipe down the machine after every workout.
DESIGN & FEEL
The machine is pretty compact for its category. It has a wider than normal tread base and a strong engine that supports speeds up to 12 mph, an incline of 40%, and a decline of 6%. The screen is absolutely beautiful and delivers a clear HD signal even when streaming live. The deck of the treadmill itself sits pretty high up from the floor, so you feel like you are already on an incline just when you stand on it. Speed and incline controls can be reached in THREE ways. By the quick pre-set options on either side of the screen, the up and down arrows below the screen, or the touch interface.
The setup process is done all through the screen and companion app. The first time you power it up involves a lengthy boot up process, followed by account and profile set up. You can have a profile and an account with individual preferences for each householder member. The navigation menu gets frequent updates and will get you around the extensive library of workouts with simple finger tapping. The screen during workouts has a ton of useful information. You can see the upcoming incline adjustments, speed/elevation/heart rate metrics, or hide it all for full screen video & map workouts.
Some things I do not like and could be improved on in the next version are as follows. The screen needs a more fingerprint resistant finish. The plastic that covers the podium which holds up the monitor is not sweat proof. It requires some elbow grease to wipe it down to a clean shine. The screen is always at a slight angle so it makes it hard to see for non-treadmill workouts. The sticker labels on the sides of the machine are grotesquely cheap for a machine at this price point.
FEATURES & PERFORMANCE
We probably put in 3-4 workouts per week each, within the first couple of months of owning the treadmill. In comparison, your local gym machine probably sees hours of use and abuse from dozens of users daily. So you can take heart in knowing that the lifespan may inherently be longer based on the limited personal use. One quick note, most of the workouts you record can be exported as FIT files from the iFit website and imported into apps like Garmin Connect or Strava. Currently, there are no direct integrations between iFit and those platforms but that may come in time. What is cool is that the GPS map route data from your treadmill workout gets include in the .fit file and credited to your profile on the other platforms. Below I summarize some of the benefits and experiences from each of these use cases.
The machine was built for running and this is where it really excels. I love the built-in video workout library, GPS Map routes, and training plans that are available. I particularly love the interval track workouts and the Boston Marathon Series that can be completed in 5 parts or all at once. When you follow a pre-planned workout you can follow the trainer’s speed or override and set your own. The incline and speeds are auto-adjusted for live and video workouts for you or again you can override those.
The fan is particularly powerful with three speed settings or the option to let it auto-adjust the fan speed based on effort. Speaking of effort, you can see where you rank on a course or workout against other users around the world on the Leaderboard view. The machine comes with a bluetooth heart rate strap, but you can pair your own or broadcast from a fitness watch like the Garmin Fenix 6 Pro. You can also pair your phone to pipe in your own music or podcast. The volume controls let you dial in specific volume levels for the trainer, music, and overall volume separately.
The “road” feel can be adjusted for a more or less forgiving surface feel. Additionally, the massive 40% incline and % decline will really have you working out all those leg muscles that would normally not be engaged on a low incline/decline machine. Where this feature is particularly useful is if you use the GPS maps to practice some local training or running routes. I put in my local neighborhood how it pretty accurately reproduced the hills in my local area.
Some of the live and pre-recorder workouts include bootcamp, weight, yoga sessions. These sessions sometimes mix time on and off the treadmill during the workout. They are not my favorite because I prefer to just use my TRX straps but the workouts are really good. You will find yourself doing an incline walk, hopping off to get in some weight based reps and then back on. In other workouts you will be off the whole time doing a yoga routine.
The training workouts are also available on the mobile apps and web. This is where I find then to be more valuable. You can set up your iPad or other device and do them anywhere. Such as when you are traveling and using hotel or office gyms. The only complaint is that the app wants to pair with the treadmill at the start of some workouts, but you can cancel out. It is just an annoying step to have to close out before a workout.
Since we purchased this machine a day has not gone by that we have not hit at least 10,000 steps. You can find either one of us ducking into the garage for a walking conference call, or to watch a TV show, or listen to podcast on days when the weather does not cooperate. That being said, it is a really great option for walking. The manual or video hiking/walking/touring options are awesome. You can follow along on a guided tour of the Canary Islands and other exotic locals, or just walk around in track or map modes.
Pros & Cons
– Video Workouts
– GPS Maps
– Automatic Incline & Speed Adjustments
– Live Workouts
– 1-year iFit Subscription Included
– Scheduled Workouts
– Assembly Required & Time Consuming
– Keeping it Clean
– No External Video Apps or Input (i.e. Netflix, iPad)
– Space Constraints
If you have the room, the budget, and open mindedness for treadmill workouts, this machine is a must buy. I absolutely love it. The iFit platform has a ways to go and direct integrations with the other fitness platforms for activity recording is needed. Other than that I think it is a real game changer and had made “quick” and productive workouts truly accessible at any time.