Monday, 20 May 2024

Elliptical Trainers

Precor EFX 447 Precision Series Elliptical Review

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The Precor EFX 447 Precision Series Elliptical Trainer joins the EFX 245 in becoming the leading design in one of Precor’s high-end elliptical collections.

But what makes it stand out from the other machines in the Precision range, and is it really that big of an upgrade over the EFX 245 from the Energy Series?

This review aims to answer questions like these, as well as provide you with information on the workout programs, workout tracking, Apple product compatibility, and much more, to help you decide if this is the best choice of elliptical for your own home gym.

Why choose an elliptical trainer?

Studies have shown elliptical workouts to burn a similar number of calories to treadmill workouts

If you’re considering buying a new piece of home fitness equipment, one of the toughest decisions to make is what type of machine to choose.

Rowing machines, treadmills, and exercise bikes all have their benefits, but in terms of providing the most effective workout for the widest demographic of users, ellipticals and treadmills are really your top two options. But which is best?

The reverse stride and unique moving handle design of an elliptical allows you to work far more muscle groups than the treadmill, which has led to peoples actual work rate being higher than what they perceived.

If you’re looking to burn calories and lose weight, there have been numerous studies that have found the results to be almost identical across workouts of the same duration.

But the main benefit of ellipticals is the low impact nature of the exercise.

Even with the advanced cushioning systems we’re now seeing in running decks, the fact that your feet never leave the pedals on an elliptical ensures that this is the safest form of exercise for protecting your knee joints.

All of that being said, it’s still important to find an elliptical that can provide the features needed to compete with a treadmill in terms of workout efficiency and the intensity of the workouts.

That’s why we’ve chosen to review the Precor EFX 447, which is currently the leading elliptical in Precor’s commercial quality Precision range of fitness equipment. This is the same collection that also features their EFX 423 and EFX 425 ellipticals.

CrossRamp Technology and Variable Stride Geometry

The CrossRamp incline on the Precor EFX 447 can adjust all the way up to an impressive 40 degrees

When you buy any new piece of fitness equipment, the last thing you want to be worrying about is how quickly you’re going to outgrow the resistance settings or workout programs.

But if you’re making consistently improving your level of personal fitness, this is a problem that tends to appear relatively quickly with some of the lower priced machines.

This tends to be due to one main problem, which is that the workouts can’t be made challenging enough to cause your body to adapt by increasing endurance and strength.

That’s why together with the 25 preset workouts, 16 custom workouts, and 20 resistance levels, the Precor EFX 447 also includes their patented CrossRamp technology.

With the exception of their EFX 221 model, this is a motorized lift assembly system that can be used to control the current incline that your running stride follows, adding an extra dimension to the level of potential workout intensity.

The big difference between ellipticals in the Precision Series and those in the Energy Series is the angle that this can be adjusted to.

While the Energy Series machines can only move between 15 and 25 degrees, Precision Series machines like the EFX 447 can increase all the way to 40 degrees.

To ensure that the elliptical frame remains stable at higher inclines and resistance levels, Precor decided against the traditional idea of having a single front stabilizer bar at the base of the frame.

Instead, 3 base levellers have been strategically placed in a triangle pattern at key points below the lift assembly and side stabilizers.

These can also have their height adjusted to compensate for any slightly uneven flooring.

Being selective about muscle group recruitment

One of the main advantages of elliptical trainers is something that we touched on briefly at the start of our review – their ability to train both upper and lower body muscle groups simultaneously.

Although this isn’t true of every elliptical (some models provide only the stationary handles), this does happen to be one of the features Precor have included with their EFX 447 machine.

Having this extra set of ergonomically designed moving handles allows you to train your biceps, shoulders, back, and even core muscle groups at the same time as your quads, hamstrings, and calves.

While this can be a huge benefit in terms of the number of calories burned and improving overall muscle tone, there may also be times when you want to isolate your lower body muscle groups.

Moveable arms allow you to recruit and train a wide range of upper body muscle groups

On most machines this would mean the moving handles were left to continue their range of motion while you held onto the stationary set.

But due to a feature that’s unique to the Precor EFX 447, this needn’t be the case.

If you look carefully you’ll actually notice that a pin socket is used to connect the moving handles to the pedals. This enables you to detach the pin, rotate it, and insert it into the socket moulded into the base frame.

This effectively converts the large set of moving arms to being stationary, reducing the number of moving parts and hence the risk of injury.

As well as having safety benefits, not having a set of large moving handles moving past you while you workout also allows you to focus more on the quality of your training.

Precor EFX 447 Precision Series Elliptical Cross Trainer

Precor EFX 447 Precision – Features Summary

  • Precor Cross Ramp technology adjusts the shape of the elliptical path your feet travel so you can target specific muscles
  • Patented elliptical path perfectly mimics a natural running stride, allowing exercisers to keep their heels down and maintain proper biometrics
  • Built-in Work Out Accelerators suggest ways to get more out of your workout
  • Workout data can be automatically uploaded to the Preva mobile app to track your goals and achievements
  • CrossRamp Movement: Motorized variable
  • CrossRamp Elevation Range: 15° – 40°
  • Handlebars: Convertible from Moving to Stationary
  • Heart Rate Monitoring: Touch sensor and wireless with any Polar compatible chest strap transmitter
  • Number of Workout Metrics: 27
  • Preset Workouts: 25 + 16 exerciser created
  • User IDs: 4
  • Resistance System: Electromagnetic
  • Resistance Levels: 20
  • Console Display: 7-inch color LCD graphic display
  • CrossRamp & Resistance Controls: Lever style Motion Controls

Safety features and transport

A locking pin under the pedal prevents unwanted movement in the handles when not in use

Unlike in a commercial gym environment, home workouts will often be performed on your own, meaning it’s important to check that any equipment you buy is designed to keep you safe and prevent the risk of injury.

While cardio equipment tends to be extremely safe anyway compared to weight training workouts, it’s still nice to know that this is something Precor have taken into consideration.

We should mention that this feature is available on each of the ellipticals in both the Energy and Performance ranges, and isn’t unique to the EFX 447 model.

This is the addition of a locking pin, connected to the underside of one of the foot pedals.

During your workout this can be stored away in a slot under the pedal to prevent the lanyard that it’s connected to getting caught in any moving parts.

As soon as you finish your workout, this can then be removed from its storage position, and slotted through the underside of the support bar that the pedal rests upon. In the case of the EFX 447, this then locks the pedals and handles (if they are in their movable position).

Pass code sequence security

Due to the console being upgraded to the Series 40 model, this is actually the only safety feature you have. It’s still much more than the majority of ellipticals offer, but does mean that you lose the pass code sequence option that was available on the earlier 423 and 425 models.

This essentially enabled you to set a key sequence using the buttons on the console, which could then be used to enable and disable the console functions.

The sequence is actually unique to the machine and not individual user profiles, so it could be said that this simplifies things if more than one person is using the machine.

However, you did always have the choice of disabling it altogether if you wanted to, and is something we consider to be a useful option for preventing the machine from being used by younger children or without permission.

Also, while the pivoting pedal motion that enables a natural upright posture certainly helps reduce any strain on your ankles, it’s not something we would typically class as a safety feature.

Series 40 display console features

The Series 40 display console is full colour, and can display 27 different workout metrics

Together with the range of workout programs available, the biggest upgrade over the earlier ellipticals in Precor’s Precision range is the display console.

The Series 40 for the EXF 447 is actually the same model that was included with the top elliptical in the Energy Series, and is operated via a touch screen interface more than conventional buttons.

Lever style motion controls for the incline and resistance also replace the tap style Dome Keys that were available on the 423 and 425 models.

The screen itself features a 16:9 full colour backlit display, which ensures all 27 metrics of workout feedback are always easy to read. This includes your current heart rate (when using touch or telemetry sensors), workout duration, calories burned per minute, strides per minute, elevation gain, and segment time.

Touch screen display

Something that we haven’t seen before on ellipticals outside of Precor’s recent collections is the use of unlabelled buttons.

This is because they are capacitive touch buttons, which aren’t assigned to any single function, but instead are used to make selections dependant on the current information shown on the screen.

Having these multiple screens has made it much easier to build more functionality into the Series 40 console, as well as making the information easier to read.

You can now quickly scroll through screens and make selections as to which metrics you want displayed, how long you would like your workout to be, and even which information you want to be shown on the central progress graph.

This can be anything from your heart rate to the number of strides per minute, with up to 2 metrics being trackable on the graph at any one time.

Having this option can help drastically increase your performance, as you begin to identify such patterns as how your heart rate responds to different incline and resistance settings.

But in order to track your heart rate accurately, there needs to be a system and calculation in place that maintains a strong connection with the receiver built into the console.

This is why Precor developed SmartRate.

Heart rate tracking and entertainment options

SmartRate tracks your heart rate as a percentage of your maximum, the displays it in a category

SmartRate is a scale that’s displayed on the console as a more visual way to represent your current heart rate in terms of the effects you can expect from your workout.

There are 4 heart rate ‘zones’ that this can fall into; Warm-up, Moderate, High, and Maximum.

Unless your workout is a HIIT program that requires a very short burst of high intensity, Maximum probably won’t be a zone that you’ll see lit up all that often.

Moderate (55%-69% of limit) and High (70%-84% of limit) are much better options for when you’re looking to improve endurance and muscle tone, as well as burn calories and lose weight.

To increase the accuracy of this feedback, you can actually set your age in your current user profile, as well as opting for telemetry tracking instead of using the hand sensors to ensure constant contact.

As part of buying any of the ellipticals in the Precision range, Precor also includes a chest strap transmitter that can communicate with the inbuilt receiver. This isn’t something that’s provided with any of the ellipticals in the Energy Series.

iPods, iPhones, and iPads: Connectivity and charging

One of the best ways to ensure you stick with any fitness routine is to make your workouts as enjoyable as possible.

If you look forward to your workout then you are less likely to find excuses, and more likely to find the time to exercise on a regular basis.

This is why the Precor EFX 447 is compatible with Apple devices, including the iPad, iPhone, and iPod. They can also be charged at the same time as being used via the USB connector on the charging cable slotting into the USB port in the back of the console.

Apple product compatibility:

  • iPhone – Can be connected up to the Preva workout app and displayed on the reading tray at the top of the console for monitoring and building up a history of your workout performance.
  • iPad – Connected the same way as the other two devices – via a small opening in the reading tray. This can be held securely in place using Precor’s SmartGrip system for when you want to browse the internet or watch your favourite movie while you workout.
  • iPod – Because the EFX 447 uses the 400 series console, this means you also have access to a series of playback controls positioned just above the main screen.These let you navigate through the tracks on your device without having to take too much of your focus away from the exercise. Volume controls are also included.

Preset workout programs

An important part of any fitness routine is ensuring that the workouts are able to both hold your interest, and be challenging enough to provide the results you’re looking for.

This is why Precor have increased the number of available workouts from 10 with the EFX 423, to more than 40 with the EFX 447 (24 preset programs).

The preset programs make full use of SmartRate, CrossRamp, and various resistance levels, as well as the reversible running stride in an effort to keep your workouts varied and effective.

There’s even a multi-stage fitness test that can be used to determine your current fitness level.

24 preset programs and 20 resistance levels ensure you can always enjoy a challenging workout

In terms of the preset workout programs, these have been conveniently split into 5 main categories.

5 Preset workout categories:

  • Be Fit (8 workouts) – If you’re a fan of interval workouts, this is the category for you. There are 4 different interval programs, each with a different combination of rest and work cycles.The remaining 4 workouts are tailored more towards a hill-climb profile, with a more gradual build-up to a peak in resistance and incline. Many of these programs also provide prompts of when to pedal backwards for added variation.
  • Lose Weight (4 workouts) – These are some of the programs that will definitely work best if you have a user profile setup and use the heart rate chest strap provided.Workouts include a ‘Fat Burner’ program optimized to burn the most calories in the least time, and a ‘Heart Rate Fat Burn’ workout designed to keep your heart rate at the most effective level for weight loss.
  • Push Performance (3 workouts) – A combination of the two categories above, this category offers two programs with intervals and one based around heart rate tracking.
  • Get Toned (4 workouts) – These are the workouts you’ll probably find most useful if you want to tone and strengthen your lower body.The resistance and incline are kept much higher than programs in previous categories, with 2 designed for toning your glutes, and 2 for sculpting your leg muscles.
  • Go the Distance (3 workouts) – These programs don’t follow any strict profile, and are purely based around distance.You can choose from 1 mile, 5K, or 10K distances, depending on your preference.

Fitness test:
If you choose to follow the fitness test, this will result in a score being displayed upon completion, which corresponds to a particular fitness level in relation to your age range.

This follows the same principles and algorithms outlined by Dr. Emily Cooper of Seattle Performance Medicine.

Customizable workouts and user profiles

In a similar way to the way Precor structured their Energy Series, it’s not until you get to the top model in the Precision Series that you can actually create custom workouts and store them against individual user profiles.

Each of the 4 user profiles lets you create a maximum of 4 custom workouts, which essentially gives you an extra 16 workout programs on top of the 25 preset workouts already loaded onto the console.

If aren’t worried about creating a user profile then this isn’t completely necessary, but doing so does mean you benefit from workout tracking and more accurate feedback.

User profiles can be created which enable the console to make suggestions as to the best workout for your goals

Each profile lets you enter a small amount of basic personal information, including weight (used in calorie burning calculations), age (used in heart rate calculations), and gender.

You can then select from one of 4 fitness goals that reflects what you’re trying to achieve with your workouts.

4 workout focus options:

  • 1. Be Fit
  • 2. Lose Weight
  • 3. Push Performance
  • 4. Get Toned

By selecting a workout focus when you first create your user profile, this means that each time you turn on the machine, the console will suggest a workout that will help you work towards your goal.

The console will also remember your last 4 workouts in case you want to simply repeat a program that you completed recently.

Another major benefit to signing in as your user profile is that you can constantly be improving your workout based on your performance.

If you start a program and make minor adjustments as to the incline or resistance to make it more effective, these changes can then be saved so that you can access this more efficient version of the workout next time you login.

Performance tracking with the Preva mobile app

The Preva fitness app can be used to track your workout data, both on and off the elliptical

Another of the features that’s been missing from the earlier models in the Precision Series is the ability to store workout data.

Having a historical log of your results can be a great motivational tool for seeing how much you’re improving, as well as allowing you to potentially highlight any specific types of workout that have yielded the best results.

This is why the Precor EFX 447 joins the EFX 245 in becoming one of the few select elliptical trainers in Precor’s collection to connect to the Preva mobile fitness app.

Preva is actually a cloud-based service that Precor have developed, in much the same way as Schwinn have their SchwinnConnect system, and how ProForm have iFit.

When connected to the console, this tracks each workout and checks the results against any goals that you have set to let you know if you’re still on track to achieving them.

But it’s not just your elliptical workouts that can be synced to your Preva account. You can also log various other activities, set goals, and receive badges for achieving these goals, which can be shared on popular social media sites.

The app itself forms part of the larger Preva network, which the ellipticals, exercise bikes, and treadmill that form Precor’s advanced Experience Series can also connect to.

Some of the models in this Experience Series include the AMT 885 Adaptive Motion Trainer and the EFX 885 Elliptical Fitness Crosstrainer.

Precor EFX 447 vs. Precor EFX 245

After reviewing both of these ellipticals in great detail, we thought it might be useful to make some comparisons between the top model in the Precision Series and the top model from the Energy Series.

Features Comparison:

Precor 447 Precision Series Elliptical Cross TrainerPrecor 245 Energy Series Elliptical Cross Trainer
ModelEFX 447EFX 245
CrossRamp Max. Incline40 degrees25 degrees
CrossRamp levels208
Resistance levels2016
Workout programs24 preset + 16 custom24 preset + 16 custom
Preva IntegrationYesYes
Phone and magazine holderYesNo
User IDs44
Chest strap includedYesNo
Parts warranty10 years5 years
Feedback metrics2727

The table above shows that there is actually very little difference in terms of the number and variety of workout programs.

There were some important differences though, which were mostly related to improvements in the warranty coverage, CrossRamp incline, and number of resistance levels.

But are these changes enough to justify the difference in price? Looking at other models of elliptical around the same price range, we would say yes.

The Precor EFX 532i and 536i Commercial Ellipticals are slightly more affordable, with the same range of CrossRamp inclines, but are also limited to just 6 preset workout programs each.

In terms of the ellipticals available from other manufacturers, the closest we found in terms of price were models from Star Trac – specifically their E-CT model.

However, this machine is over 100 lbs heavier than the Precor EFX 447, with just 8 user specific programs and no mention of workout data tracking or app integration.

Ease of assembly

Assembly instructions are clear and easy to understand throughout the user manual

Aside from a few minor differences, the assembly required for each of the ellipticals in the Precision Series is almost identical.

Arriving in two boxes to minimize the risk of damage during shipping, you’ll find the bulk of the base frame assembly has already been completed at the factory.

Attaching the front lift assembly is a relatively straightforward process, sliding into place on top of the base frame with a couple of fasteners at the base of the lift motor.

There’s also no complicated clamp systems required for attaching the wires between different parts, with the opposing ends of the cables simply clicking together.

Precor do recommend that you have someone else with you to assist with the assembly, but this is purely to help with holding parts in place while they’re attached, and not so much to do with heavy lifting.

In terms of the instructions in the user manual, each step is explained in detail using a series of clearly drawn exploded diagrams and numbered lists that walk you through the process.

Attaching the console bracket is probably the most complex part of the setup, although even this is incredibly easy if you have someone to hold the side stabilizers in place.

Given the amount that’s already been pre-assembled and the relatively few parts that need to be put together, it shouldn’t take much longer than 45 minutes to get this elliptical up and running once everything is out of its packaging.

What’s covered by the warranty?

  • Frame and welds: Lifetime
  • Parts and wear items: 10 years

  • Console: 3 years
  • Labor: 1 year

About Precor

For nearly 30 years Precor has designed and built premium fitness equipment for health clubs, hotels and spas, universities, and individuals all over the world.

It’s their emphasis on ergonomic motion, proven science, and superior engineering that has allowed them to create entire collections of high quality fitness equipment, ranging from ellipticals to exercise bikes.

They pride themselves in constantly studying and anticipating the needs of the people and organizations they serve, and continually redefine the levels of innovation, quality, and service necessary to deliver the very best fitness experiences.

Precor Elliptical Guide

Review Overview

Overall Review Rating

4.5 / 5

After comparing the Precor EFX 447 with a number of other ellipticals at a similar price point, based on the workout programs, warranty, incline options, and app availability, we believe this to be your best option.

Everything that we would hope to find on an elliptical, regardless of price, was found on this machine, with a strong focus on workout tracking and integration of workouts into your weekly fitness routine.

In our opinion if you are going to be buying an elliptical at this price point, it's going to be a machine that you stick with for the foreseeable future. That's why we also recommend choosing this model over the EFX 245, as the additional incline settings and resistance options will offer greater workout variety.

Overall, after taking an in-depth look at the EFX 447, it's difficult to find anything missing that we would have liked Precor to include.

The performance graph that displays your heart rate in relation to specific workout segments is actually a feature that we had never even thought about before now, and is testament to the amount of thought and innovative design that Precor put into the development of their equipment.

Product dimensions: 210cm (L) x 78cm (W) x 168cm (H) Product weight: 240 lbs Weight limit: 350 lbs

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