The NordicTrack Elite 9700 Pro Treadmill is a combination of the most important workout features from the top-of-the-line 2950 commercial model, and their most powerful 4.25 CHP motor.
Although you’re missing out on the 15″ HDTV screen, you still have all the features that can influence the success of your workouts, such as a full-length running area and wide variety of workout programs.
In our review, we’ll look at which features got upgraded and which ones you’re missing out on. This is to help you decide if the Elite 9700 Pro is the best treadmill for your own home workouts.
Design and safety features
In choosing the NordicTrack Elite 9700 Pro over the 2950 commercial treadmill, you’ll notice upgrades to the cushioning system, motor power, and roller design.
The 4.25 CHP DurX commercial grade motor goes beyond anything we’ve seen in the ‘C’ series (3.25 CHP on the C 1630 model) or the Commercial series (4.0 CHP on the 2950 model).
However, having this extra power doesn’t translate to a wider incline range or higher belt speed.
The running deck can be set to an incline of up to 15%, or a decline of up to 3%, while maintaining a top belt speed of 12 mph.
This belt speed has been a standard for NordicTrack since their entry level C 630 treadmill (capped at 10 mph), and is capable of providing challenging workouts for all fitness levels.
Adjustable running deck cushioning
Taking a look at the cushioning upgrade, and the FlexSelect system of the Commercial series treadmills has now been replaced with NordicTrack’s QuadFlex Precision calibration cushioning.
Cushion adjustors have been added to either side of the belt, which are individually adjustable to provide 9 different levels of running deck firmness.
If you’re looking for a running experience that emulates running on the road, then level 9 will be your best option, taking out any impact absorption and creating a firm running surface.
Rotating the cushion adjustors counter-clockwise will reverse the process, with level 1 creating a running surface that absorbs up to 24% of the impact of your foot fall. This is ideal for if you want to walk, jog, or run with minimal stress on your knee and ankle joints.
One of the features that actually saw a downgrade compared to the Commercial series machines is the size of the running area.
Whereas their 2450 model offered the full 60″ (L) x 22″ (W) extra-wide running area, the NordicTrack Elite 9700 is slightly more restrictive, measuring 60″ (L) x 20″ (W).
Honestly this isn’t something we’re concerned about, as the length is what matters in terms of supporting the full length running stride for taller users.
Another upgrade for the Elite 9700 Pro is the size of the precision machined rear rollers, which now measure 3″. This is an increase over the 2.5″ rollers that were fitted to the Commercial series treadmills, and helps to reduce the wear on the 2-ply treadbelt.
These are identical to the ones we mentioned in our review of the NordicTrack 2950, but we’ll also provide a quick summary here.
There are three main safety features that have been added to make the Elite 9700 Pro a safe option for your workouts and for family environments.
- Safety key
This is a feature you’re likely to find on most modern treadmills, which is two clips joined together with a short lanyard.
In many cases the treadmill won’t actually function without this key being attached, and it essentially connects and item of your clothing to the console.
If you were to trip during your workout, the clip would be pulled from the console and the belt would quickly come to a stop.
A feature that we first noticed on the NordicTrack 2450, but something that other companies have also used on their treadmills (Precor Energy series).
This allows you to set a 4-digit passcode for activating the console functions, which is even more useful considering the Elite 9700 Pro can’t be folded.
Until the correct sequence is entered, you’re unable to start the belt moving or adjust the incline. If you forget the code, there’s a master reset stored in the user manual.
- Hand rails
They may not be the most innovative safety feature, but they can certainly come in useful if you’re looking for some support when running.
NordicTrack Elite 9700 – Features Summary
- 10″ Full Color Touch Display with Google Android™ Browser
- 4.25 continuous horsepower DurX™ Commercial Pro Motor
- QuadFlex™ Precision Calibration Cushioning
- 22″ x 60″ Tread Belt
- Wireless Chest Pulse Strap
- 0 – 12 MPH Speed
- -3% to 15% elevation range
- 3″ Rear Roller
- 38 Workout apps
Display console features
One of the first things we noticed about the NordicTrack Elite 9700 console was the lack of HDTV.
This seems to be a feature that’s exclusive to the Commercial series, but you’re also missing any kind of custom tablet holder like we saw on some of the ‘C’ series treadmills.
So you’re not able to watch TV or DVDs the way you could with the NordicTrack 2950, but you do still have the 10″ web-enabled, full colour touch screen.
This allows you to browse the internet, read emails, and catch up on social media, all while you walk, jog, or run.
If you’ve logged into your iFit profile and are connected to a wireless network, you could also use the screen to monitor your progress around a workout route via Google Maps and Street View (only available on selected programs).
Although there might not be enough of a shelf to securely hold a tablet, you can still connect your iPod or MP3 player via the port on the side of the console and listen to your favourite music via the built-in speakers.
Compared to the 2950 model you’re also missing an accessory shelf, but there’s still enough space in the side storage areas to hold your smartphone, water bottle, and any other small items you might need.
Cooling fan and heart rate monitoring
The NordicTrack Elite 9700 also includes just the one AutoBreeze cooling fan (two available on the 2950), but it’s still enough to provide some cooling benefits to help increase your performance and endurance during high intensity workouts.
In terms of the menu options and button functions, the Elite 9700 is much the same as the treadmills in NordicTrack’s Commercial series. This means OneTouch controls for the speed and incline settings, and a number of quick select options for the onboard workout apps and iFit programs.
One final feature we wanted to mention was the heart rate monitoring.
CardioGrip touch sensors have been built into the handles, but you also have the option to use a telemetry chest strap. This is generally the better option for if you want to stay within a target range or not go over a set limit, as it provides continuous feedback.
Workout program selection
One of the things we’ve noticed while reviewing NordicTrack’s treadmills is how well they cover workout motivation from multiple angles.
Although you may not have the HDTV, you still have a variety of entertainment options that you won’t find on most other machines. This includes the extra-wide colour screen and web-enabled interface.
But while listening to your favourite music and having the option to watch movies while you workout is certainly an attractive prospect, you’re also going to want to see results.
Fortunately the NordicTrack Elite 9700 is programmed with more than 38 onboard workouts, tailored towards specific fitness goals. This includes eight calorie workouts, eight intensity workouts, eight speed workouts, and six iFit Live demo workouts.
The onboard workouts are designed to follow a specific profile of speed and incline settings, meaning you don’t need to make any adjustments at the console.
In addition, you also have two other workout categories: iFit Live, and ‘Set-A-Goal’.
- iFit Live workouts
These require a few additional setup steps, but will mean you have access to a wide variety of personalized workout programs.
Provided you have an iFit subscription and connectivity to a wireless network, you can log into your account and download workout routines straight to the console.
- ‘Set-A-Goal’ workouts
As the name suggests, these four programs let you set a target, then work towards achieving it. Goals can include a target distance, number of calories burned, workout duration, or pace.
These are the same series of options that were available on the top model in the Commercial series (NordicTrack 2950), but an upgrade over the treadmills in the ‘C’ series (Pace wasn’t a goal option on these machines).
Ease of assembly / maintenance required
The NordicTrack Elite 9700 requires fewer steps to get setup than any other NordicTrack treadmill we’ve reviewed. This is partly due to the lack of HDTV, but also because there’s no console tray, storage areas, or folding system.
The console and treadmill deck arrive pre-assembled, and connecting the two follows the same simple process as the machines in their Commercial series.
Each step includes clear written instructions, a diagram, and parts references to help speed up the process, and once you have the running deck in position, there’s none of the heavy lifting from earlier models, where you had to attach the folding and locking mechanism.
Although you’ll also need to spend some time adjusting the cushioning system, calibrating the incline, and setting up iFit, assembly shouldn’t take much longer than 60 minutes.
NordicTrack do an excellent job of keeping the level of maintenance on their treadmills as low as possible, while at the same time offering an industry leading warranty.
The Elite 9700 Pro is no exception, with a walking belt that’s coated in a high-performance lubricant, saving you the task of applying a silicone spray.
That’s pretty much it in terms of keeping everything running smoothly, although if the belt slips off-center, you can use the hex key NordicTrack supply to turn the idle roller screws and get it realigned in a few seconds.
You might also need to check for firmware updates from time to time, due to the nature of the technology used in the console. There’s actually a ‘Firmware Update’ button available in maintenance mode that will do this automatically for you when pressed.
Folding and transport options
One of the biggest differences between the NordicTrack Elite 9700 and the treadmills in NordicTrack’s C Series and Commercial series is the non-folding design.
In our reviews of models like the NordicTrack 1750, we’ve always mentioned the EasyLift Assist System and SpaceSaver design. But in this case the running deck is fixed, similar to the Precor treadmills.
This obviously has an impact on how mobile the treadmill is once assembled, and NordicTrack actually say in the user manual that any movement requires two or three people.
There are transport wheels attached to the base, which means you don’t have to lift the machine clear of the ground, but due to the weight and size this isn’t considered a one person job.
This also means you’ll need to allocate a permanent space to the Elite 9700 Pro, so it’s worth double checking the dimensions.
What’s covered by the warranty?
- Frame and motor: Lifetime
- Parts: 5 years
- Labor: 3 years