The Nautilus E616 elliptical trainer is the top-of-the-line model in their 2015 collection, with significant upgrades over the entry level E614 model.
This includes more workout programs and resistance levels, Bluetooth® Smart connectivity for data sync, and perhaps most importantly, a motorized incline.
But when you consider the price difference between the two machines is usually around $200, which model really represents the best value for money?
In our Nautilus E616 review we’ll be taking a closer look at the design features, entertainment options, workout programs and performance tracking to help you decide if this is the best elliptical for your own home gym.
Ergonomic design features
Despite the price increase over the E614, the E616 elliptical is still considered a mid-range machine, and priced well below the $1000 mark.
So how does it compare to other ellipticals around this price range, and what can you expect from the design?
The first feature worth talking about is the incline. Because the E616 uses a power incline instead of the manual system found on the E614, you can now adjust the gradient mid-workout, to a maximum of 10°.
Unfortunately you don’t have controls built into the handles like with some ProForm ellipticals, but you do now have a range of quick select incline buttons alongside the resistance buttons on the console.
You can also now choose from 25 eddy current magnetic resistance levels, which is 5 more than on the E614. It’s also more than the ProForm Smart Strider 735 (20 levels), ProForm Endurance 720 E (20 levels), and Horizon Fitness EX-59-02 (10 levels). These are all highly rated ellipticals in the same price range as the Nautilus E616.
One of the only ellipticals we found with the same number of resistance levels but for a lower price is the Schwinn 470.
If you’ve read our reviews of the Nautilus treadmills, exercise bikes, or ellipticals, you’ll know that the two companies produce virtually identical equipment in terms of spec. This means the same workout programs, resistance levels, incline range, user profiles, etc.
Which model you should choose really depends on what’s priced the lowest at the time. For example, when writing this review you would save around $160 by choosing the Schwinn 470 over the Nautilus E616.
Back to the E616 and you have a set of motion handles to increase cardiovascular activity and recruit a wider range of upper body muscle groups.
The 20″ stride length is enough to support user heights to 6ft+, while the high-speed, high-inertia perimeter-weighted flywheel ensures a smooth running experience.
Oversized rubberized footplates have been added for improved comfort and stability, with a set of stationary grips provided to help isolate lower body muscle groups and monitor your heart rate.
Nautilus E616 Elliptical – Features Summary
- Blue backlit Dual Track LCD display – two LCD windows display the status up to 13 workout details
- Bluetooth LE connectivity and Charging USB port
- 20-Inch stride length
- 29 programs
- 25 levels of resistance
- 4 user profiles
- Acoustic chambered speakers for big sound
- Grip heart rate or telemetry enabled for chest strap
As a company, Nautilus, Inc. specializes in creating high quality, affordable home fitness equipment. But in order to provide the widest range of features without pushing up the price, they tend to sacrifice entertainment for features that have a direct impact on your workout.
This means that you won’t find the same 15″ HDTV screens, full color LCDs, or web-enabled screens that you do on some ProForm and NordicTrack ellipticals.
However, the Nautilus E616 still has in-console sealed acoustic speakers, with an MP3 port for your iPod or MP3 player. You also have a media shelf for your tablet or book, and a USB charging dock for transferring workout data to your NautilusConnect profile.
As with the Schwinn 430, Schwinn 470, and E614 ellipticals, workout feedback is split across two screens as part of their backlit DualTrack™ display.
By keeping key performance data like time, distance and calories burned separate from user profile and program information, this means you can watch movies via the media shelf and tablet while still keeping track of your performance.
Although the E616 console has a number of buttons for navigating the workout programs and setting up user profiles, there aren’t any quick select workout options. This is something we’ve seen on many of the iFit consoles, and would certainly be an improvement worth making for future Nautilus elliptical trainers.
Heart rate monitoring
If you have a specific training goal in mind, whether it’s weight loss or to improve your endurance, it can be useful to know your current heart rate.
The Nautilus E616 gives you two options to choose from; touch and telemetry. This means you can either hold the static grips, or wear a telemetry chest strap (e.g. Polar) and transmit your heart rate wirelessly.
Our personal preference is for the chest strap, as it leaves your hands free to use the moveable handles to recruit more upper body muscle groups for a more challenging workout.
One final feature worth mentioning is the water bottle holder, which is within easy reach and can help keep you hydrated to maintain peak performance.
The only slight downside is that you don’t have a pacer display like you do with the Nautilus T616 treadmill, where you can race against a virtual opponent.
Workout programs and user profiles
One of the best ways to make any fitness routine more interesting and effective is by adding variation, and if you’re buying an elliptical trainer, this means more workout programs.
Any machine that’s fitted with an iFit enabled console will have an obvious advantage, which is the ability to download new workout programs from their online library.
But this isn’t usually an option for ellipticals under $1000, so if you’re looking for something more affordable, the Nautilus E616 is an excellent choice.
As soon as you have the machine setup you can choose from any of the 29 built-in workout programs, without needing to purchase additional modules or a subscription (necessary with iFit compatible ellipticals).
So how does this compare to other similarly priced machines?
Workout program count for ellipticals under $1000:
One of the only ellipticals we found that had more workout programs was the ProForm 6.0 ET. However, this only had 1 more program than the E616 and cost an additional $100.
5 Types of workout program
- Profile programs
These workouts are divided into 3 categories (Fun Rides, Mountains, and Challenges), each with a varying degree of difficulty.
The Fun Ride programs start off with a lower intensity, but by the time you reach the Challenges you’re looking at Cross-Training and Interval workouts.
Each of the Profile Programs is split into a number of segments, where the resistance level is already preset. You can also choose one of three goals to target during a Profile Program (Distance, Time or number of calories burned).
- Heart rate controlled
These programs let you set a heart rate range as a goal, which can be either 60%-60%, 60%-70%, 70%-80% or 80%-90%. The console then monitors your heart rate via the touch sensors or chest strap and automatically adjusts the resistance to keep you within your target range.
- Fitness tests
This test measures improvements to your physical fitness level, and is available in two categories – Beginner (BEG) and Advanced (ADV). It’s based around your heart rate, so you’ll either need to be holding the touch sensors or wearing a telemetry chest strap.
Once your heart rate reaches 75% of maximum (calculated from your user profile) you need to maintain this level for 3 minutes, after which time the console measures your heart rate and power output. This is then combined with your age and weight in a calculation that produces your fitness score.
- Recovery test
The recovery test is a bit more simple than the Fitness Tests, but is still based around your heart rate.
This test simply measures how quickly your heart rate recovers after exercise, meaning you can activate the Recovery Test at the end of a standard workout.
If you simply want to start a workout without defining any goals or following a preset resistance profile, this is the program for you.
Manual lets you make changes to the resistance level during your workout, and doesn’t require you to transmit your heart rate like the fitness tests or HRC programs do.
Bluetooth smart connectivity allows seamless integration with the Nautilus Connect™ website, Nautilus Trainer™ app, and the popular MyFitnessPal app to track your goals and progress.
The Nautilus E616 includes 4 user profiles, where you can store basic personal information about your height, age, weight, and preferred workout values.
Some of this information is then used to improve the accuracy of feedback calculations for the number of calories burned and your current heart rate.
Creating a user profile also allows you to sync workout data from the console to an online profile with NautilusConnect.
From here, you’re able to sync your data across to a MyFitnessPal profile, where you can monitor your complete fitness and nutrition routine.
Ease of assembly
Elliptical trainers are traditionally quite difficult to pack efficiently, which is why most of the assembly has to be done after it’s delivered.
This is compared to modern treadmills, which are mostly pre-assembled, leaving just the console mount and console to setup.
Unfortunately this isn’t a feature of Nautilus ellipticals, making the assembly process a little more complex and time consuming.
That being said, the assembly instructions in the user manual are clear and concise, accompanied by a set of exploded drawings to show how each part fits together.
Once the E616 is fully assembled, you can use the front-mounted transport wheels for transporting it to a new location if required. You can even compensate for slightly uneven ground using the built-in base levellers.
When you’re buying any new piece of fitness equipment, you want to make sure it remains in good working order for as long as possible.
This is why Nautilus have put together a recommended maintenance routine, which is fortunately very easy to follow, and requires no special cleaning solutions or products.
Recommended maintenance routine:
- Daily – Examine the machine for loose or broken parts. use a damp cloth to wipe the machine and console after each workout.
- Weekly – Check for smooth roller operation and wipe the surfaces with a damp cloth. Apply silicone lubricant to the rails to reduce noise from the rollers.
- Monthly – Check all bolts and screws are tight.
What’s covered by the warranty?
- Frame: 10 years
- Mechanical parts: 2 years
- Electrical parts: 1 year
- Wear parts and labor: 90 days