Wednesday, 24 July 2024

Elliptical Trainers

Vision Fitness XF40 Elliptical Machine Review

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The Vision Fitness XF40 elliptical features a 20-inch stride length, 23 lb flywheel, and compatibility with Vision’s ViaFit™ web app (Elegant+ and Touch+ consoles only). But how does this measure up to the non-folding version (X40) and their suspension series? Is the XF40 really the best elliptical machine for helping you achieve your personal fitness goals?

In this review we’ll compare the Passport™ ready XF40 to other Vision Fitness ellipticals, including the S60 and S70 machines from their Suspension Elliptical™ series. This means taking a closer look at how well ViaFit™ integrates with the fitness apps and wearable tech you might already be using. Apps such as Fitbit, RunKeeper, and the popular food journal from MyFitnessPal.

We’ll also be comparing the workout programs (17 with the Touch+ console), entertainment features, and fitness tracking options against similarly priced ellipticals. These will be from a range of fitness equipment companies, including NordicTrack, ProForm, and Horizon Fitness.

Design and safety features

The Vision XF40 elliptical is the folding version of the X40, with the same front-drive system and multi-position rubberized handles.

In terms of physical design features it’s on a similar level to the Evolve series ellipticals from Horizon Fitness. They both share the same 20” fixed stride length, have 20 magnetic resistance levels, and use a 23 lb flywheel (Evolve 5).

The Vision Fitness ellipticals tend to have a slightly higher step-on height than Horizon, but this is only by 1-inch (11″ step-on height for the XF40). Weight capacity is also slightly higher, at 325 lbs compared to the 300 lbs of the Horizon Evolve ellipticals.

Unfortunately Vision don’t certify their elliptical machines in the same way that Horizon do, with their SixStar certification. But because they’re produced by the same parent company (Johnson Health Tech), they will of course feature a very similar frame design.

For example, the pedal spacing for the Vision XF40 is set to zero inches, and the handles have been designed in a way that promotes upright body posture. This enables you to workout with minimal stress on your lower back and maintain a natural running stride.

You might have noticed that there’s no incline settings on this machine. This is similar to the way Horizon had no incline settings on their Evolve series ellipticals, but added a 10 degree power incline to their Elite series.

If you’re interested in being able to adjust the gradient of the elliptical motion, you’ll want to take a look at the S7100HRT or S7200HRT suspension trainers, also from Vision Fitness. Unfortunately they’re not as affordable as the XF40, but they allow you to set the gradient up to 39%, with a lower step-on height (8.5″), and slightly longer stride length (up to 21.5″).

The main benefit of buying the XF40 instead of the X40 is the smaller footprint due to its folding frame. This measures 51″L x 32″W x 67″H for the XF40, and 75″L x 26″W x 66″H for the X40. Just bear in mind that the folding version is 4-inches wider when in use.

So what can you expect from the console? Unlike Horizon Fitness, Vision lets you choose from 3 possible options; Classic, Elegant+, and Touch+, each of which has its own unique specification.

In the next section of our review we’ll take a look at how they differ in terms of workout variation, entertainment options, and heart rate monitoring.

Safety features
As with most elliptical machines, the Vision XF40 doesn’t have any specific safety feature built-in. This isn’t surprising, as the flywheel is enclosed in its casing along with most other moving parts, and any movement at the foot plates is created by the user.

With folding treadmills you often need to be able to lift a minimum of 20kg, even with assisted lift systems. Because the bulk of the XF40 frame stays in contact with the ground during folding, this isn’t something you need to worry about here. You can simply pull the folding release lever and the guide rails can be lifted to a vertical position.

Although it’s not normally something that has much influence in a buying decision, if you want an elliptical with more safety features, we recommend the Precor EFX 425. This has safety pins to lock the foot plates, and a passcode protected console to prevent any accidental use by young children.

Vision Fitness XF40 Elliptical

Vision Fitness XF40 – Features Summary

  • 20″ stride length
  • 23 lb flywheel
  • Front-drive folding frame
  • 11″ step-on height
  • 20 Electronic resistance levels
  • Workout programs: Classic (5), Elegant+ (13), Touch+ (17)
  • Contact heart rate monitoring
  • Polar® wireless receiver
  • ViaFit enabled (Elegant+ and Touch+ consoles)
  • Passport™ Ready
  • Charges USB 2.0 devices
  • Virtual Active Integrated (Elegant+ and Touch+ consoles)
  • 325 lb weight capacity

Display console design

Vision Fitness ellipticals are unique in the sense that you can choose from a selection of consoles to suit your workout style. But how do you know which model is right for you?

If you’re looking for something more affordable and aren’t too worried about entertainment features, there’s the Classic console. Alternatively, the Elegant+ has a larger 10″ touchscreen with 8 more workout programs (15 total) and comes with ViaFit enabled.

The top-of-the-line console is the Touch+, which features a 15.6″ HD display, 17 programs, and is the only model to feature speakers and iPod®/iPhone® compatibility. There’s usually a $400 to $500 difference in price between consoles, so it’s worth checking the features you really need.

Vision XF40 elliptical consoles:

  • XF40 ClassicAlthough the Classic is Vision’s most affordable treadmill console, we don’t believe it represents good value for money, especially when compared to one of the NordicTrack ellipticals in the same price range.

    When you really take a look at what you’re getting, it’s an LED display, 5 workout programs, the option to enable Passport™ (if you pay an extra $199 for the Passport™ Player), and the ability to charge USB devices. The only upside is you have both contact and wireless heart rate monitoring.

    Feedback metrics are also very limited, and only include time, speed, incline, distance, pace, number of calories burned, and heart rate. So where else can we find this kind of console spec?

    With the exception of the E95S and E98 models, all Sole ellipticals are available at a lower price than the Vision XF40 (at time of writing). Even so, their most affordable elliptical (Sole E25) has the same feedback metrics, 10 workout programs, a larger 6.5″ LCD screen, and speakers with full iPod integration. You even have contact sensors and a built-in receiver for wireless heart rate monitoring.

    In our opinion if you’re spending this kind of money on a new home elliptical, you should look for more workout variation than 5 programs can provide. Although the Elegant+ console is an additional $400, we believe it’s the best balance of cost and features for the Vision XF40 elliptical.

  • XF40 Elegant+This is the most affordable console to feature some of the more advanced technology that’s unique to Vision Fitness, including Virtual Active™. It’s also ViaFit enabled, Passport™ ready, and features the Sprint 8 fat-burning interval training program (not available with the Classic console).

    The display gets a significant upgrade too, switching from LED to a fully integrated 10″ touchscreen with an intuitive menu system. Here you can keep track of workout feedback, start a new fitness program, and even setup a Wi-Fi connection for saving workout data to your ViaFitness account.

    There aren’t too many differences between the Elegant+ and Touch+ consoles. It tends to be subtle screen changes such as being able to use sliders to set values on the Touch+, whereas the Elegant+ relies on pressing arrow icons.

    You would also get 4 more workout programs, a larger, high-definition screen, more advanced workout tracking, and a built-in speaker system with iPod integration. But compared to the upgrade from Classic to Elegant+, you might have a harder time justifying the extra $500 you would need to spend to enjoy their top-of-the-line console.

  • XF40 Touch+As Vision’s top-of-the-line console, the Touch+ features a 15.6″ HD color touchscreen that’s larger than any screen on a NordicTrack or ProForm elliptical (10″ maximum for both).

    The screen now lets you use sliders to make faster adjustments to speed, weight, incline, and time settings, compared to the arrow symbols used on the Elegant+. It’s also the only console out of the three to include an iPod integrated sound system and built-in speakers for listening to your favorite music.

    But the Touch+ actually goes well beyond simple iPod support, and can be used as a complete entertainment solution for your elliptical workouts. The iPod cable and USB port means you can access a variety of file types from a USB flash drive, including MP3 and MP4. When your device is connected you can use the console’s touchscreen to navigate through the content and find the music or video you’re looking for.

    Workout feedback is the same as for the Elegant+ console, and includes the time, distance, pace, number of calories burned, heart rate, and current resistance level. You can also enjoy Virtual Active™ integration, ViaFit workout tracking, and the fact that it’s Passport™ ready.

Heart rate monitoring
All three types of Vision Fitness console have heart rate monitoring, fitted with contact sensors in the handles and a built-in Polar® wireless receiver for if you prefer to wear a chest belt. But the Classic console is the only one that doesn’t include a free chest strap.

Workout programs and user profiles

Vision Fitness elliptical machines are compatible with any one of three consoles (Classic, Elegant+, Touch+), which means 3 different combinations of workout programs. So how do you know which one is best for your fitness routine?

As part of our XF40 elliptical review we wanted to take a closer look at how the workout tracking and program variation changes between models. We’ll then provide a quick summary to help you choose the console that’s right for you.

Something we want to make clear is that the consoles don’t change between elliptical models. For example, the XF40 Classic console is exactly the same as the X40 Classic console. They’re not specific to a particular elliptical model, which is why we can refer to them simply as Classic, Elegant+, and Touch+.

Classic console

  • ManualYour default program that’s available with all elliptical machines. The resistance level won’t change unless you make an adjustment at the console.
  • IntervalsThese interval programs are based entirely around the resistance level, which is preset for each segment of the workout.

    The Classic console lets you choose from 16 different intensities to suit your personal fitness level. This ranges from resistance setting 1 for the first segment of a warm-up phase, through to the most challenging resistance level of 20 for intensity setting 16.

    As interval workouts, you’re encouraged to follow two 60 second ‘recovery’ segments, followed by two 30 second ‘work’ segments, alternating between a high and low resistance levels.

  • Weight lossVision’s weight loss program also follows a preset profile of resistance settings, which is designed to keep you in your optimal heart rate range for fat burning.

    As with the interval programs you have 16 intensity levels to choose from. Each level involves a warm up phase, cool down phase, and a number of segments with a fixed 60 second duration.

    Unlike the intervals, the resistance setting doesn’t alternate between high and low settings, instead following more of a hill climb profile where the resistance level peaks towards the middle of your workout.

  • Fitness testThe big difference between Vision’s treadmill consoles and their elliptical consoles is the lack of fitness test. This has been excluded from all 3 consoles (Classic, Elegant+, and Touch+).

    Treadmills like the T40 and T80 gave you the option to test your fitness following the Gerkin protocol, which gives you an overall fitness score to gauge how much you’re improving. Unfortunately this isn’t available on their elliptical machines.

  • Constant wattsThis is a different kind of goal program to the ones you might be used to. That’s because rather than setting something simple like a distance or workout duration, you’re asking the elliptical to help you maintain a constant power output.

    It’s the perfect workout to choose if you want to maintain a specific workout intensity, where the resistance automatically adjusts to keep you within your target range.

  • Target heart rateThe Elegant+ and Touch+ consoles have a few more options for this type of workout, such as setting a heart rate target as a percentage of your maximum heart rate.

    But for the Classic console you can simply set a target number of beats per minute. The resistance will then automatically adjust to keep you at your target level.

Elegant+ console

  • ManualPlease refer to the Classic console.
  • IntervalsAn identical program to the version programmed into the Classic console, except for the fact you can now choose from 20 different intensity levels instead of 16.
  • Weight lossA program designed to promote weight loss by keeping you in the optimal fat-burning heart rate range. The resistance adjusts automatically to keep you in this target zone, with 20 intensity levels to choose from.
  • Sprint 8Sprint 8 isn’t available on the Classic console, but is included with the Elegant+ and Touch+ models.

    The duration is 20 minutes, and the workouts are designed around an 8-week cardio routine rather than a single program. Each of these workouts involves interval training, where you have 3 minutes of warm-up, 2.5 minutes of cool-down, and a series of 2-minute sprint and recovery cycles (30 second sprints and 90 second recovery) in between.

    Before you start you’re able to choose from one of four intensity levels; beginner, intermediate, advanced, and elite. It’s a routine that’s designed to boost energy, reduce body fat, promote lean muscle mass and improve cholesterol.

  • Constant wattsPlease refer to the Classic console.
  • Goal programsIf you have a specific fitness goal you want to achieve, these workouts could be your best option. You can set a target for the distance (5K, 10K, or custom), or for the number of calories burned. The preset distance goals (5K and 10K) are available at 10 different intensity levels, where the resistance level automatically adjusts throughout the workout.
  • Target heart rate (THR)The Vision Elegant+ console has two different variations of THR program; ‘Target Heart Rate’, and ‘HR %’. You can choose to either base your target heart rate zone on a fixed number, or as a percentage of your maximum heart rate.
  • Virtual ActiveThe Elegant+ console also includes 2 built-in high definition workouts with destination footage from the American Northeast and Northern Rockies. These are similar to the iFit training programs seen on bestselling ellipticals from ProForm and NordicTrack, which automatically adjust the resistance to match changes in the terrain of the course you’re following.

    Additional Virtual Active programs can be accessed via Passport Packs, which can be purchased online through the official Passport Player website.

Touch+ console
The Vision Touch+ console tends to include a lot of what we’ve mentioned already when looking at the Classic and Elegant+ consoles. To save repeating information, if it’s a program that we’ve already mentioned, we’ll simply include it in the list below and refer you to the information above.

  • ManualPlease refer to the Classic and Elegant+ consoles.
  • IntervalsPlease refer to Elegant+ console.
  • Weight lossPlease refer to Elegant+ console.
  • Custom 1, 2, 3This is one of the programs that’s only available with the Touch+ console. You can set your own course by specifying the time and resistance level for up to 10 stages. When you begin the workout, the profile you created is automatically stored under the number for that custom program (CUSTOM 1, CUSTOM 2, or CUSTOM 3).
  • Sprint 8Please refer to the Elegant+ console.
  • Constant wattsPlease refer to the Elegant+ console.
  • Goal programsPlease refer to the Elegant+ console.
  • Target heart ratePlease refer to the Elegant+ console.
  • Virtual ActivePlease refer to the Elegant+ console.
  • Workout CalendarAnother of the programs that’s unique to the Touch+ console. After completing a workout, the program is stored against the current date in a virtual calendar.

    If you wanted to repeat that same workout again in the future, you can simply access the Workout Calendar and begin your run. Before choosing a historical workout, you can view a summary of your performance, which includes the date of the workout, distance, time, pace, and number of calories burned.

User profiles
Up to four users can be saved under a ViaFit account, which applies to the Elegant+ and Touch+ consoles. Unfortunately because the Classic console isn’t compatible with ViaFit, you can only create 2 user profiles.

If you have your ViaFit account setup before starting your first workout, you can select your user ID and begin your run. Your workout results will then automatically sync back to your ViaFit user profile when the workout is complete.

Ease of assembly

If you’re buying the XF40 elliptical direct from Vision Fitness, their policy is to schedule delivery and bring the boxes inside the first ground-level door or into your garage.

The Johnson Fitness website (Vision’s parent company) has a complete collection of owner’s manuals, diagrams, and other guides for assisting you with the elliptical assembly. Contacting Vision Fitness for after-sales service and support is also incredibly easy, with an email address, contact number, and contact form available through their official website.

But what if you’re looking for more than ground-level delivery? What if you want a trained service technician to assemble your new elliptical machine for you, so you don’t have to worry about heavy lifting and following diagrams?

Professional assembly services
Unfortunately we weren’t able to find any additional levels of home delivery from Vision themselves. This would be where a technician visits your address and assembles the elliptical for you in your room of choice.

However, if this is a service you’re interested in, Amazon have recently started offering a number of home assembly services. This includes home gyms, treadmills, and elliptical machines. To check whether your zip code is covered, please use the form below.

Elliptical Machine Assembly
Start by confirming your service location

Amazon’s elliptical trainer assembly service already has hundreds of 5 star rated reviews, with customer feedback for the various installers.

The service itself includes assembly of 1 elliptical per product instructions, with a typical assembly time of 4 hours. Amazon have also started offering an ASAP version of the service. If you submit an order before 10am on a business day, a service pro will come to your home that same day.

Maintenance required
Vision Fitness include a recommended maintenance routine with each of their ellipticals. These are fairly standard steps to ensure the continued operation of any home elliptical, but still worth a mention.

  • After each use: Wipe down the elliptical with a damp cloth and inspect the power cord for damage.
  • Every week: Clean underneath the elliptical.
  • Every month: Inspect all bolts for proper tightness. Clean debris off pedal arm wheels and guide rails.

The XF40 user manual also includes troubleshooting solutions for issues such as lack of illumination at the console, or erratic heart rate readouts.

Vision Fitness Elliptical Guide

What’s covered by the warranty?

  • Frame: Lifetime
  • Brake: 5 years

  • Parts: 5 years
  • Labor: 2 years

Review Overview

Overall Review Rating

4.5 / 5

So as one of Vision’s only ViaFit enabled elliptical trainers, how does the XF40 compare to the front-drive machines from Horizon Fitness?

Even for the most affordable ‘Classic’ console, it carries a higher price tag. The Elite E9 from Horizon usually retails for around $1599, while the XF40 is closer to $1899. So what does that $300 buy you?

The folding frame of the XF40 is better suited to compact home gyms where space is at a premium. Your fitness routine can also benefit from the Sprint 8 workout program, which focusses on weight loss through 8 weeks of 20-minute interval workouts. This isn’t available on the Elite E9.

Warranty, resistance levels, and stride length are all the same on both machines, but you do lose out on a lot of tech at the console. You would have to be willing to spend an additional $400 and upgrade to the Elegant console instead of Classic if you wanted better technology than the Elite E7.

Overall the Vision XF40 is a high quality elliptical that’s perfect for family environments and home gyms where you want to make the most of your space. The workout variation is amongst the best in the industry, and you’ll struggle to find an elliptical with a better warranty.

But in our opinion it’s best to avoid the Classic console. If your budget won’t stretch to the XF40 and Elegant console combination, the Horizon Elite E7 has enough high-end features to make it a viable alternative.

Product dimensions: 75"L x 30"W x 66"H Folded dimensions: 51"L x 32"W x 67"H Weight capacity: 325 lbs

Related articles:

Elliptical Machine Reviews Guide 2017
Vision Fitness S7100HRT Elliptical Machine Review
Vision Fitness Elliptical Machine Guide – Reviews and Comparisons

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