ProForm 720 ZLE Elliptical Cross Trainer Review

ProForm is one of America’s biggest selling brands and that popularity is steadily growing here in the UK.  ProForm have a wide range of elliptical trainers targeting the low to mid-range price bracket and recently we got to test their top of the line model. Here’s what we thought of the ProForm 720 ZLE…

If we had one sentence  to sum-up the main reason for ProForms increasing popularity – they generally offer a lot of machine for the money! So it’s rather exciting, if unsurprising, that the spec sheet makes for some impressive reading! However, seeing this machine in the flesh is even more striking! The 720 ZLE is big bit of kit that seems to out-do the sub-£600 price tag (like we said – it’s a LOT of machine for the money!).

It may be big, but the folding design of this machine should prove a real hit if space is an issue. The pedal arms concertina upwards and the rear flywheel assembly folds up to reduce the overall length of the footprint by 21”.

Having a maximum stride length of 20” and huge footplates with a surface area of over 8”x16” means that taller users should find this model will offer an unrestrictive workout experience. However, ProForm have cleverly designed this machine to be just as comfortable for all shapes and sizes by engineering an ingenious mechanism that allows the stride length to be adjusted and set at 16, 18 or 20 inches. The twist and pull knob built into both crank arms wasn’t the smoothest to adjust, however despite being rather coarsely engineered, it wasn’t too much of a battle to make the adjustments and it’s certainly a fantastic concept that makes this model appealing and versatile to a wider customer base (perhaps ideal for all members of the family too!)

The overall build quality is fairly good, there is some flexing in the arms during use but we are confident that this model would be sturdy enough to cope with demanding home workouts. So too are ProForm themselves who offer a 2 year frame, parts and labour warranty and have given this machine a maximum user weight of just over 20 stone.

The oversized pedals are undoubtedly comfortably proportioned however the rather steep angle that they are fixed means that users with very sensitive knees may (possibly) find the elliptical motion a little harsh on the joints. That said, for the majority of users, the 720 ZLE should feel very nice indeed, due to a combination of the biomechanically correct pedal arms and dynamic handles plus a cast iron 10kg flywheel which delivers plenty of smooth, fluid inertia.

The magnetic braking system is quiet in operation and offers 18 levels of resistance. If you possess super-strong, well-conditioned leg muscles then perhaps you may find that the maximum level leaves you wanting a bit more ‘punishment’(!) but for the rest of us mere mortals, the 720 ZLE should be sufficiently challenging!

When it comes to training variety, there’s plenty to keep things interesting too. Even on the manual mode, the ¼ mile track that appears on the Dot matrix display keeps you motivated by showing you your progress and the number of laps you’ve completed.

Then there are the 18 pre-set programmes to choose from. The selection is divided into 2 goals with 9 workouts focusing on Calorie burning and the other 9 labelled as ‘Performance’. Having a course called ‘Calorie Burner’ in the Performance category highlights the fact that these programs are actually rather generic in their design rather than being specifically tailored to individual goals (after all, it stands to reason that you’ll be both burning calories AND improving your fitness and ‘performance’ when doing either) but it’s nice to have a good bit of variety whatever your target, so the more the better!

The Calorie Workouts range from 30 minutes in duration aiming to burn up 300 calories and having a maximum resistance level of 3, going up to more vigorous 45 minute sessions which aim to burn up 700 calories and take you through higher levels of resistance.

The ‘Performance’ workouts start out at 20 minutes and go up to level 8 of resistance and a maximum RPM target pace of 75. The challenges increase as you go through the selection with the last 2 sessions being an hour long and taking the resistance up to levels 12 and 13 respectively.

The high definition backlit LCD display gives you all the information needed during your workout such as speed, time, resistance, distance, calories burned and pulse. Plus if you want to see other data such as calories/hour you just press the ‘display’ button to alternate to other readings.  The display is fairly easy to read although the portion of the screen that is dedicated to a dot matrix display can get a bit busy with so many segments on show.  However, overall the layout is fairly clear and makes keeping track of your progress engaging and user-friendly.

During speed workouts, if you go 10 RPM under or above the target at any point during the workout then an up or down arrow will appear and flash next to the RPM data telling you to step it up or slow it down! Also, every minute or so the display shows a reminder of your target speed in RPM and the current resistance level to keep you at the correct pace. This same display pops up with a few audible ‘beeps’ for a few seconds before any levels are due to change to give you advance warning.

To keep you in the right heart rate zone, you can either hold on to the pulse grip sensors on the static handles or for much greater accuracy, we recommend using an optional Polar chest belt transmitter that will send your readings wirelessly via the inbuilt receiver. Unfortunately there are no heart rate controlled programs on offer. Also conspicuous by their absence, are any user programs or any provision to store and save your personal data that would have greatly improved the calorie consumption figures in so many of the workouts.

However, before you even begin to think that the 720 ZLE lacks programs, let us remind you that this machine is also iFit Live compatible giving you access to over 1000 downloadable workouts! It is worth noting that the module needed for this is sold separately and iFit workouts require a subscription to download, but one thing’s for sure – you’ll never exhaust the training options that ProForm have to offer!

If you choose to subscribe to the iFit service then you’ll really open up the extra potential of the console, with a dedicated row of controls under the display screen giving you easy access to the many features of the service. Here you’ll find our particular favourite feature called ‘My Maps’ which allows you to plot a course anywhere in the world with real accuracy thanks to the software being powered by Google maps! In fact the potential of the software in general is vast and not the most intuitive, so it’s well worth taking time to sit down and become familiar with the many options and capabilities to ensure you get the most from it.

In fact, there’s no need to sit down to study (or just play around on the net in general!) when you can do it whilst working out by resting your tablet or reading matter on the handy ledge on the console. Further down is another convenient holder for your drinks bottle or accessories so it seems everything you’ll need to enjoy your workout is close at hand!

Speaking of which, the 720 ZLE is iPod compatible or you can plug in any MP3 player in the conveniently placed 3.5mm connector and your music can play through the inbuilt stereo speaker system. Although this is becoming a fairly standard feature on many machines, this has one distinct difference not shared by all others – the sound quality was really rather good! The speakers maybe small and well tucked away but the sound they delivered was surprisingly clear and crisp.

So what do we think of the 720 ZLE overall? Well to summarise in a quick recap, here is an elliptical cross trainer that’s big enough to suit larger users yet has an adjustable stride length to suit smaller ones too! It’s a big, well-made, smooth running machine yet it folds to fit nicely in the home when not in use.  Plus it can be wheeled around on the front transport wheels, if and when you need to move it. For training variety, there’s a good selection of onboard programs and subscribing to iFit Live can extend the number to hundreds! And let’s not forget it’s got a great little stereo and the price should be music to your ears too! The 720 ZLE is another good reason why ProForm’s popularity continues to keep on growing.

Best Price

The Proform 720 ZLE is not currently available from any retailers we're aware of in the UK.
It may be worth looking for a used machine on ebay

Review Summary - In Brief

Proform 720 ZLE Specifications

  • 10kg (22lbs) flywheel weight
  • 16 levels of computer controlled resistance
  • 12cm (4.7”) backlit LCD console providing feedback on: time, speed, distance, resistance, calories, RPM and pulse
  • 18 workouts with target (9 performance and 9 calories)
  • 41, 46 and 51cm (16”, 18”, 20”) adjustable stride length
  • Size (L x W x H): 206cm (81”) x 66cm (25”) x 166cm (65”)
  • Size folded (L x W x H): 154cm (60”) x 66cm (25”) x 166cm (65”)
  • iFit Live compatibility (module and subscription sold separately)
  • 130kg (286lbs) maximum user weight
  • 86kg (189lbs) product weight
  • Heart rate measurement via Dual Grip Pulse EKG™ Heart Rate Monitor, Polar Chest Strap compatible
  • Warranty: 2 year frame, parts and labour (register within 4 weeks to get 2nd year)

ProForm 720 ZLE Elliptical - Console / Display Unit

ProForm 720 ZLE Elliptical - User Reviews

The Pros

  • Stride length is adjustable to 16, 18 or 20 inches
  • Jam-packed with exciting features!
  • Foldable space saving design
  • iFit Live Compatible

The Cons

  • No Heart Rate Controlled or User Programs
  • Decent build quality but machine does flex slightly with heavy use
ProForm 720 ZLE Elliptical Reviewer Ratings

Ease Of Installation - 7.5
Appearance - 8
Smoothness - 8
Comfort - 9
Reliability - 7.5
Noise - 8
Ease Of Use - 7.5
Controls - 8
Warranty - 8
Value for Money - 9
Best Price

The Proform 720 ZLE is not currently available from any retailers we're aware of in the UK.
It may be worth looking for a used machine on ebay

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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