Proform Endurance 420 E Elliptical Cross Trainer Review

One of the world’s most successful manufacturers of home fitness equipment, Proform has both the know-how and economies of scale to create fitness machines that meet expectations, at prices that are competitive. Their current range of ellipticals features a wide range of models that cater for everyone from the light user trying to shed a few pounds and tone up a bit, all the way through to the competitive athlete training for an event. The Proform Endurance 420E  is a mid-priced front-drive elliptical that we’d normally expect to be positioned at a higher price point than this, so we took a closer look to see what you’re getting for your money.

As the 420E, like most other ellipticals, comes flat packed, it needs to be assembled. The assembly of this particular model isn’t difficult but definitely does require two people – the box is substantial and heavy and it’s not worth risking injury trying to move it on your own. It took us about an hour to have it ready to use but for those who have never put an elliptical together before it may take a little longer. Thankfully, the diagrams in the manual are clear, as are the instructions and on our test unit all the parts fitted neatly together without the need to force any pieces into position which is a good sign that a machine has been manufactured properly and one that’s always encouraging.  Once completed all that remains is to make a quick adjustment to the leg rear levelers to make sure that the unit is completely flat and stable and the 420E is ready for action.

Stand back to admire your handy work and the first thing that will likely strike you is that this is not a small machine. While by no means the largest type of elliptical and having been designed for use in a domestic setting, it still has a sizeable footprint of 182cm x 66cm (71.6″ x26”) and a height of 173cm (68.1″) at the tallest point. The size and the weight of the 420E leave little doubt that what one is looking at here is not a half-hearted attempt at a home fitness machine and climbing aboard for the first time confirms this. At 79kg the 420E barely notices that it’s got someone standing on it! Step up onto the generously oversized footplates and grab a hold on the handlebars and you get a feeling of both comfort and security provided in part by the fact that it hardly moves as you get on and partly because of the excellent ergonomics. Proform have been building ellipticals for decades, and that experience shines through here.

The 420E features a 20″ (51cm) stride length which provides plenty of room for taller users without making life hard for shorter people. With the distance to the handlebars being set at the midpoint and the 20″ stride being on a relatively flat ellipse, the 420E feels very comfortable throughout the entire elliptical cycle. This was true for all the testers that were used during testing and regardless of user height the experience was a positive one. The other notable thing about the action is just how smooth it is. The fact that the machine itself is heavy enough not to move an inch, even during intense workouts makes this elliptical feel rock-solid but the smoothness of the entire cycle, which is really quite impressive for a cross trainer in this price bracket, makes the 420E a real pleasure to use. As expected our test model was near silent while in action and apart from the sound of a machine quietly humming away (and the testers occasionally gasping for air!) this elliptical quietly gets on with its work without producing any squeaks, creaks, cracks, grinding noises or indeed any other sound than the buttons being pressed. This isn’t unexpected from Proform, but it’s still impressive given the cost of the cross trainer.

Workout options consist of 20 preset onboard workouts and a manual mode and there are 20 levels of resistance that can be adjusted during a workout using the buttons on the console. There are no controls on the handlebars here which would be nice, but the main console does a very good job of making things easy in this respect by way of the large, bright and easy to reach buttons on the console. The console features a selection of preset workouts. Each preset workout automatically changes the resistance of the pedals and prompts you to maintain a target speed as it guides you through your workout, though it’s possible to manually override the resistance set by the computer to match your needs if you do find the workout too tough. Maximum resistance settings are pretty tough making this model suitable for those who train regularly and have a good base fitness level as well those just starting out on their fitness programme.  Following in the footsteps of some of Proforms other ellipticals, once you’ve started your selected workout the console display shows you a target speed/RPM which is a key factor in the effectiveness of your workout. The idea is simple – do as the computer tells you and you’ll be sure that you’re getting an effective workout. It’s a system that works and we expect that this feature will become standard on all Proform models sooner rather than later.

The console display provides live data on your workouts such as RPM, power output, resistance level, heart rate, theoretical distance covered in miles or kilometers  (units can be changed to metric and back in the console settings), elapsed time/time remaining, and theoretical calorie burn. It uses a toggle method to display the data and alternates what’s being shown so manages to pack lots of data into a relatively small area. It’s all very easy to understand and the way that the buttons on the console are set up it’s easy to operate while you’re in full flow too.

In addition to the preset workouts, the 420E is also iFit compatible so you can connect a tablet to the elliptical via Bluetooth and get access to customised training programmes, automated workout statistics tracking, Google Maps routes and a new daily workout every day. A subscription is required if you want to use iFit and the full details of what’s available are worth checking out at www.ifit.com if you’re looking for a fully integrated long-term workout programme. iFit can add an extra dimension to your training though it’s certainly not a necessity here as with 20 preset workouts the 420E offers more than enough workout options built in and certainly more than enough to get you fit and help you lose a few pounds.

The console on the 420 E is battery powered so you’re not restricted as to where you can place it in the room, though if you do want to run it on mains power Proform sell a 9 volt power supply that’s compatible (not included in the box as standard). Our test model has been well used and the batteries appear to be holding up well. There’s no screen fade at the time of writing and the resistance levels change as quickly as they did when the batteries were brand new so we’d say that mains power definitely isn’t a must-have.

The 420E also features a tablet holder, built-in Bluetooth wireless heart rate receiver for better performance than standard heart rate receivers, a music input port, stereo speakers and a water bottle holder. The tablet holder is particularly handy, even if you’re not using iFit, as it’s set at a height that makes watching TV programmes or music videos while working out natural and comfortable.

Last but by no means least the 420E comes with Proform’s 2 year, on-site, parts and labour warranty (registration required).

We really like the Proform Endurance 420E and we’re impressed with how Proform have managed to get a front drive elliptical that feels this smooth and solid, with a good number of add-ons to boot, onto the market at this kind of price. It doesn’t take much looking around at other front drive ellipticals of this sort of size and spec to realise that you’d expect to pay a good deal more than the 420E will set you back, making this cracking a package that’s easy to recommend.

Best Price

Currently available for £499.00 from Sweatband.com

Review Summary - In Brief

To find front drive ellipticals for under £500 is rare. To find ones that are under £500 and as good as this? As rare as rocking horse dung! We've not seen any and you probably won't either. The 420E is a lot of cross trainer for the money. Packed with lots of features to keep you motivated and built to a high standard it both looks and more importantly, feels, like the real deal. It's solid, quiet, smooth and comfortable, delivers an effective workout, and it's affordable which all means that this is an easy elliptical to recommend.

Proform Endurance 420 E Specifications

  • 6kg (13.2lbs) Inertia Enhanced flywheel
  • 20 digital levels of SMR Silent™ Magnetic Resistance
  • 51cm (20’’) stride length
  • Large LCD console display with Watts meter
  • Console Feedback: Time, distance, pulse, calories, speed, rpm, resistance, watts
  • 20 pre-set workout apps (watts and calorie workouts), iFit® Live enabled (subscription sold separately)
  • iFit® Bluetooth® Smart Enabled
  • Heart rate measurement via Pulse grip sensors + Bluetooth Smart wireless receiver (chest strap optional)
  • Features: Music port for iPod/mp3, Intermix Acoustics 2.0 speakers, tablet holder, water bottle holder
  • Oversized adjustable pedals
  • Handlebars: Soft touch grips
  • Dimensions (L x W x H): 173cm (68.1’’) x 65cm (25.6’’) x 170cm (66.9’’)
  • Product Weight: 86kg (196.2lbs)
  • Max. User Weight: 115kg (253.5lbs)
  • Front mounted transport wheels
  • Warranty: 2 years parts, labour and frame (if registered within 28 days of purchase)

Proform Endurance 420 E Elliptical Cross Trainer - Console / Display Unit

Proform Endurance 420 E Elliptical Cross Trainer - User Reviews

The Pros

  • Rock solid build
  • Comfortable and ergonomically sound
  • Plenty of workouts
  • Smooth and quiet
  • Good for a wide range of users

The Cons

  • No controls on the handlebars
Proform Endurance 420 E Elliptical Cross Trainer Reviewer Ratings

Ease Of Installation - 8
Appearance - 8.5
Smoothness - 9.5
Comfort - 9.5
Reliability - 9
Noise - 9
Ease Of Use - 9.5
Controls - 8.5
Warranty - 8.5
Value for Money - 9.5
Best Price

Currently available for £499.00 from Sweatband.com

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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