NordicTrack SE5i Elliptical Cross Trainer Review

It’s been an ever-growing marketplace for ellipticals over the last few years and with more models out there than ever before it’s not always easy to know the good from the bad. Sometimes it’s easier with a bit of help, and that’s exactly what we’re here for. We took a look at the NordicTrack SE5i elliptical to find out how it stacks up, the good the bad and the ugly. Here’s what we found…

Before we get to the features and functions, let’s deal with the first thing that you’re going to need to do when your shiny new machine arrives, and that’s put it together. If you like Mechano or Lego Technic, you’ll probably enjoy putting this machine together. If you don’t, you probably won’t. Anything that involves applying grease to parts before assembling is always off-putting to us and we like our machines to require minimum assembly as a general rule. So the SE5i doesn’t make it to the top of our most favourite list on either of those counts.

With assembly finally completed you’ll be wanting to make sure that this machine is sitting completely level before you try using it. That’s true of all ellipticals of course but previous experience with the SE5i’s little brother tells us it’s especially important when we’re talking about this particular series of machines from NordicTrack.

On looks, we’ll admit that this is not the prettiest looking cross-trainer we’ve ever seen. It’s functional and it’s tidily finished and that’s about all you can say. It’ll sit in most rooms without dominating them but it’s unlikely to add to the aesthetic and look like a carefully picked out bit of furniture when it’s not being used.

With a 16kg flywheel stated in the specs we expected the SE5i to be smooth and we weren’t disappointed. The action is smooth and consistent all the way throughout the entire cycle and while the pedals could be closer together for a more natural feel, it’s still reasonably comfortable thanks to the oversized, cushioned pedal plates. The angle of the footplates is also adjustable allowing you to set an angle of attack that works best for you. The moving set of handlebars has only one hand grip position which is fine but for a machine in this price bracket is a bit lacking. That’s unusual for a NordicTrack machine as their ellipticals normally aren’t missing that sort of detail. Still, the overall workout you get from this model is good and ergonomically sound. It’s also possible to increase the number of muscle groups you’re working by adjusting the arc of the stride. This is done by manually by changing the angle of the pedals at the point they connect at the bottom of the handlebars via a quick release system. Pull out the pin, lift/lower the pedal to the next hole up/down and put the pin back in. The effect is the same as having an electronic incline, though the number of angles available is just 3 giving you a much smaller range and you have to get off the machine to make the adjustment meaning that you don’t get the same in-session variation that’s possible with a motorised system. It’s a nice feature to have but definitely not as useful or as useable as an electronically controlled incline function.

There are 24 levels of electronically controlled resistance with the maximum setting offering up a decent challenge that will be enough for most users of this machine. The console has 24 separate speed keys so you can literally select any of the available levels of difficulty with a single button press. A nice feature that provides lots of control during your workout session. There are 34 preset workouts which is plenty to keep one entertained and stop workouts becoming too repetitious. The console displays your workout feedback for calories, distance, pulse, resistance, RPM, speed, time and Watts and also has a scan mode and a priority mode so you can determine which information you’re seeing. It’s all easy to use and logical enough with only the odd thing here and there requiring a reference back to the owners manual. The console is also iFit compatible so you can subscribe to the iFit interactive training service by installing the app on a tablet. The full details of what’s available in iFit are far too much to go into here but it’s worth checking out all the information at www.ifit.com.

Other features include a 2-speed cooling fan, stereo speakers, 3.5mm audio input socket, wireless heart rate receiver, water bottle holder and tablet holder. The SE5i is covered by NordicTrack’s 2-year on-site parts and labour warranty (registration required).

Best Price

Currently available for £699.00 from NordicTrack

Review Summary - In Brief

The NordicTrack SE5i elliptical is well built, has some nice features, and delivers a reasonably good workout (though it's worth pointing out that that's the minimum we've come to expect from a any elliptical costing this much) and there are some elements that aren't the best. The assembly process is more fiddly and time-consuming than it ought to be and, while ergonomically sound, it doesn't feel as good as some other models available at this price level. A good example of this is the DKN XC-140i which also has specs that almost mirror those of the SE5i (less iFit of course) but comes in at a fair amount less, is easier to assemble and, in our opinion, feels the nicer of the two machines to build up a sweat on.

NordicTrack SE5i Specifications

  • 16kg (35.3lbs) effective inertia
  • 24 digital levels of SMR Silent™ Magnetic Resistance with OneTouch™ Controls
  • 16” (41cm) power adjustable stride
  • 5″ Backlit Display
  • Console Feedback: Calories, distance, pulse, resistance, RPM, speed, time, Watts; scan mode and priority mode
  • Programs: 35 programs (manual, 34 pre-set)
  • Heart Rate Measurement via EKG Grip Pulse and Bluetooth Smart wireless receiver (chest belt optional)
  • Conveniences: iPod/MP3 player compatible, integrated tablet holder, workouts designed by a Certified Personal Trainer, extra-wide adjustable pedals, water bottle holder
  • SoftTouch Upper body grips for a comfortable workout
  • Dimensions in Use (L x W x H): 152cm (59.8”) x 63cm (24.8”) x 160cm (62.9”)
  • Product Weight: 60kg (132.3lbs)
  • Max. User Weight: 130kg (286.6lbs)
  • Power: Mains
  • Main lead: included
  • Warranty: 5-years frame, 2-year parts, and labour upon warranty registration within 28 days of purchase

NordicTrack SE5i Elliptical Cross Trainer - Console / Display Unit

NordicTrack SE5i Elliptical Cross Trainer - User Reviews

The Pros

  • Heavy Flywheel
  • Plenty of workouts
  • iFit compatible
  • Adjustable stride & pedals

The Cons

  • Assembly is a pain
NordicTrack SE5i Elliptical Cross Trainer Reviewer Ratings

Ease Of Installation - 3
Appearance - 5
Smoothness - 8.5
Comfort - 7.5
Reliability - 8
Noise - 8.5
Ease Of Use - 7.5
Controls - 7
Warranty - 8.5
Value for Money - 6
Best Price

Currently available for £699.00 from NordicTrack

Also see our Elliptical Cross Trainer Comparison Table

Whilst every effort is made to give you accurate information we cannot guarantee the technical specification. Models change on a regular basis and may differ slightly from the above review. We recommend you contact the retailer if you have a question regarding technical data. Please read our Legal Disclaimer

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