Friday, 19 April 2024

Elliptical Trainers

ProForm Smart Strider 735 Elliptical Trainer Review

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The ProForm Smart Strider 735 is the mid-range elliptical in this collection, with a number of important upgrades over the earlier 535 model.

But how does this rear drive elliptical compare to the features on the mid-range elliptical from their Endurance collection (720 E), and does the top-of-the-line Smart Strider 935 actually represent better value for money?

In this review we’ll be making comparisons between these 3 ProForm ellipticals, as well as other similarly priced designs from NordicTrack and Sole Fitness, to help you decide which is the best option for your own fitness goals and budget.

Design and safety features

ProForm Smart Strider 735 Elliptical Trainer

The first feature to notice about the Smart Strider 735 is its folding design. This is the most significant difference between ellipticals in ProForm’s Smart Strider collection and those in their Endurance series.

Although both types of elliptical trainer are constructed from the same commercial-gauge solid steel, the folding design does slightly reduce the weight capacity. This means the Smart Strider 735 supports 300 lbs compared to the 325 lbs of its respective model in the Endurance collection (720 E).

You’re also getting a slightly lower maximum incline, with power adjust settings up to 10° instead of the 20° we’re used to seeing on their Endurance ellipticals.

But many of the remaining high-spec features are still present, including the oversized adjustable pedals, Silent Magnetic Resistance (SMR) system, 5″ backlit display, CoolAire™ workout fan, and soft-touch upper body grips.

The number of resistance levels is also the same between the two machines (20), but you’re left with slightly fewer options when it comes to choosing an onboard workout program (22 compared to 24 on the ProForm 720 E).

This isn’t something that really concerns us, as the onboard workouts are still available in the same categories, it’s an upgrade over the earlier Smart Strider 535 model (18 workout apps), and if you’re looking for more variation you can always purchase the iFit module and membership to download more programs.

At 18 lbs in weight the flywheel for the Smart Strider 735 is also 5 lbs heavier than that of the 535 elliptical, which helps to deliver a smoother running experience.

Because this is a rear drive elliptical, you don’t have the same power adjustable stride length that you do on the front drive Endurance series machines. Instead the stride length is fixed at 18″, which is enough to comfortably support users to 6ft in height.

The only other comparison that we wanted to make with the design features is that you don’t have the same in-handle resistance and incline controls that you do with their top-of-the-line 935 elliptical.

ProForm Smart Strider 735 Elliptical Trainer

ProForm Smart Strider 735 – Features Summary

  • Power Adjustable Incline to 10°
  • 5-Inch Backlit Display
  • iFit Compatible
  • iPod Compatible Audio
  • 22 Workout Apps
  • 20 Digital Resistance Levels
  • 18″ Stride length
  • CoolAire Workout Fan
  • EKG Grip Pulse
  • 18 pound Inertia-Enhanced Flywheel

Display console design

ProForm Smart Strider 735 Elliptical Display Console

If you’ve already read our review of the Smart Strider 935 then the console for the 735 model probably seems very similar. In fact the layout is identical, except for one major difference. You no longer have the option to select a workout app from the ‘Intensity’ category.

You do have an additional workout program in each of the Calorie and Performance categories, but no longer have the option of training with an Intensity workout.

Most of the remaining features are the same, with quick-select controls for adjusting the resistance, cooling fan speed, volume for your MP3 player or iPod, and quick-select controls for the iFit service.

Unfortunately the Smart Strider 735 isn’t iFit enabled, meaning you have the option to upgrade to iFit at an additional cost, but the module isn’t built into the console as standard.

This alone could be reason enough for you to ignore the 735 model completely in favor of the iFit enabled 935, as the price difference between the two ellipticals was around $150 at time of writing.

When you consider the iFit wireless module alone costs around $100, and that the 935 comes with a whole host of upgrades in addition to iFit, such as more onboard workout apps, more resistance levels, and a higher weight capacity, the 935 is definitely better value for money.

The console for the 735 still has all the basics that we’ve come to expect from a ProForm elliptical, such as the 5″ backlit LCD screen, cooling fan, water bottle holder, and EKG touch grips for monitoring your heart rate. But in our opinion it still doesn’t deliver the same high quality workout experience as the Smart Strider 935.

Heart rate monitoring
Being able to accurately measure your heart rate during a workout can be important for medical reasons, but it’s also useful to know if you’re training towards a specific fitness goal and want to stay within a range.

Unfortunately ProForm only seem to offer telemetry heart rate monitoring (chest strap) on their top-of-the-line ellipticals, such as the ProForm Smart Strider 935 and Endurance 920 E.

This means that the Smart Strider 735 only supports heart rate monitoring via the EKG touch sensors built into the set of static handles.

It’s certainly not our favorite method of heart rate monitoring, due to the fact that you have to maintain a specific grip position, which restricts you from using the larger moveable handles. Without using the moveable handles you’re unable to recruit upper body muscle groups, such as biceps, shoulders, core and chest, limiting the number of calories you burn.

This is another reason why we would prefer to stretch our budget and upgrade to the Smart Strider 935, as in the long term it delivers a more enjoyable and effective workout.

Workout programs and user profiles

Despite not having the Intensity category of onboard workout apps like the 935 elliptical does, the Smart Strider 735 still offers a wider choice of workouts than the earlier 535 model, with 22 workout apps in total.

This is a long way off the 35 onboard workouts that are available with ProForm’s top-of-the-line Pro 16.9 elliptical, but considering the difference in price it’s probably to be expected.

Also, you still have access to the 4 main workout categories that are available on the upgraded ProForm 935, including Manual, Onboard, iFit, and Set-A-Goal. We’ve included a quick reference guide below.

  • ManualThe simplest of all the workout programs, ‘Manual’ lets you step foot on the pedals and jump straight into your workout, without needing to follow a preset incline and resistance profile.You’re then able to track all of the same feedback metrics that you would with a goal setting program or one of the workout apps, such as pulse, RPM, speed, incline, and workout duration.
  • OnboardThis is the perfect style of workout program if you have a fitness goal in mind and want a quick and easy way to access programs that can help you achieve it (11 calorie controlled and 11 performance based programs).After using the quick-select controls on the console to select a program, the workout will begin and you will start to follow a preset profile containing a number of one-minute segments.

    Each of the segments is used to store the resistance level, incline gradient, and target cadence (RPM) for different stages of the workout. But although the incline and resistance level change automatically, you will need to keep checking the on-screen prompts to see if you need to raise, lower, or maintain your pedaling speed.

  • iFitThe ProForm Smart Strider 735 is an iFit compatible elliptical, meaning you need to purchase the wireless iFit module and a subscription to the service if you want to experience the full benefits.If you have both of these setup, then you can use the quick-select controls on the console to navigate through the various iFit menu options, including Map, Train, Compete, and Lose Wt.

    The iFit workouts work in a similar way to the onboard training apps, where you select a profile and the machine automatically adjusts the incline and resistance.

    But you’re also able to upload your results to the iFit cloud when your workout is complete, for any one of 4 user profiles. This enables you to take a look back at your past workouts and monitor your progress to discover the most effective workout style for your fitness goal.

  • Set-A-GoalThis is another of the workout program categories that doesn’t change much between the different ProForm ellipticals.If you don’t want to follow a preset resistance and incline profile but still have a training goal in mind, this is an excellent compromise between the Manual and Onboard programs.

    There are 3 options available to you; Distance, Time, and Calories Burned. After selecting one of these options you can then continue your workout while monitoring your progress with a countdown on the screen. When you achieve your target, the workout is complete.

Ease of assembly and maintenance required

Although ProForm don’t appear to have a name for it, the folded style of the Smart Strider 735 is very similar to the SNAP assembly system used by NordicTrack on their SpaceSaver ellipticals.

This means that most of the elliptical is already pre-assembled when you take it out of the packaging, with very little required to complete the setup.

That being said it’s still a heavy piece of equipment to move around on your own, especially when ProForm only guarantee curb-side delivery.

If you would prefer an authorized service technician completed the setup for you, this is a service that ProForm offer, but only within certain locations. There’s also an additional cost involved, which varies based on the model of elliptical trainer you buy.

Amazon have also started offering a similar service for in-home elliptical trainer assembly (use the form below to check if your zip code is covered), but because there are so few steps and the quality of instructions in the user manual is high, we wouldn’t recommend them in this case.

Elliptical Machine Assembly
Start by confirming your service location

For more complex assemblies it’s an excellent option to have, but with the ProForm Smart Strider 735, all you need to do is attach the base stabilizers, lift the console upright into position, and attach the upper body arms and covers.

Once you have the elliptical fully assembled, front-mounted transport wheels make it easier to move around, with oversized levelers attached to the base to compensate for slightly uneven ground. For storage with minimal footprint, it’s simply a case of lowering the console upright, rolling the elliptical to its storage location, and lifting it onto the supports at the back of the flywheel casing.

Maintenance required
Another advantage of buying a ProForm elliptical is the limited maintenance routine, which is still the case with the Smart Strider 735.

We’ve seen some cardio machines with maintenance routines on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly basis. But for this particular model you simply need to wipe down the covers and outer surfaces with a damp cloth and mild soap solution on a regular basis.

You still need to inspect the machine for loose or worn parts from time to time, but this is really the simplest and cheapest maintenance routine you will find on any equipment.

The user manual also has a troubleshooting section for more specialist tasks that could be needed every so often, such as calibrating the incline system.

ProForm Elliptical Trainer Guide

What’s covered by the warranty?

  • Frame: Lifetime
  • Parts: 2 years
  • Labor: 1 year

Review Overview

Overall Review Rating

4 / 5

The Smart Strider collection from ProForm and SpaceSaver ellipticals from NordicTrack are both excellent options for anyone looking to make the most of a limited workout area. But is the Smart Strider 735 really your best option at this price range?

In our opinion it's not. The upgraded 935 model is superior in a number of ways, including more workout programs, supplying you with a heart rate chest strap, and having an iFit enabled console.

It really depends on the price difference between the two machines when you come to buy, but at time of writing both the 735 and 935 models are under $1000, with only a $150 gap between the two. Considering the iFit module alone is close to $100, we feel that your best option is to extend the budget slightly and opt for the more advanced Smart Strider 935.

Product dimensions: 80"L x 32"W x 77"H Weight capacity: 300 lbs

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