I reviewed the Nordic Track AudioStrider 800 Elliptical Machine. I bought the 990. It begs the question of why did I choose the 990 over the 800? I will compare the two hoping it will make it easier for you to decide.
General Information about the AudioStrider:
The Audio Strider from Nordic Track is owned by ICON Fitness. I have had more complaints about ICON from readers than any other company - still I took a chance. The retail price of the 800 is around $800 and the 990 is close to $1000 but we found it in Sears for $799 and at the time that is what the website had it at with free shipping so we got it online. It is not that price currently but you might keep an eye open. When things were said and done it cost us closer to $1400 (warranties, home set up).
The 990 is smaller which was good for us. The 990 measures 26 inches verses 34 inches wide by 77 inches versus 78 inches long by 65 inches versus 69 inches high. Our ceiling is 84 inches so height was an issue.
The 800 can handle someone up to 300 pounds; the 990 goes up to 325 pounds. That wasn't why we bought it but I felt that it made the machine feel sturdier. We tried every elliptical in several stores more than once and without a doubt the Nordic Track 990 was the smoothest to use. It still is and in no way do we regret our decision.
They both fold which is unusual for an elliptical. We don't plan to fold it but we did want to move it. It was a cinch to bring up the back and move it on its back wheels.
The NordicTrack AudioStrider 990 elliptical warranty is 1 year. We bought an additional 3-year warranty.
The machine's designs are very similar so that wasn't what made us buy the 990. The pedals are large and comfortable enough so that my feet don't get numb. Other than the incline the 990 is very quiet.
You’ll get an 18 inch stride with this machine. That's shorter than others but my husband is 5 feet 11 inches and has no problem with that stride length. In addition when you learn about the ramp you'll see that the stride actually does adjust just because of the ramp. He absolutely loves the machine. When trying them he was looking for a commercial type feel for $1,000 and I explained to him that wouldn't happen. When he found the 990 he knew that was it. I wasn't that fussy and actually like the Cybex Arc and Gazelle type free style movements better than the elliptical machines like the Nordic Track with the pedals on a track.
As I said they look the same with two handlebars in front of the console which is what I hold onto as I get on the machine. These house the heart rate sensors which is the norm.
I really like the placement of the moving arms. Unlike the Octane whose moving arms almost hit me if I don't want to use them the handles on the 990 (and 800) are not as close making not using them safe! I tend not to use moving arms on machines so the fact that they are wide apart and don't hit me is a pro and a con. I just told you why this is a pro but the con is that I feel I have to stretch my arms and I tend to get some shoulder work in - in a way I don't like. That is the one negative with the 990.
The console – why this is called AudioStrider and using the machine:
Let’s start with the name of the machine. I rarely mention anymore the iFit technology because it is on so many machines. Some people use it and some people will be confused by it. Let’s just say that you purchase cards that have workout programs. So for example if you use the weight loss program card you will hear a personal trainer motivating you. The iFit program also controls the resistance of the pedals but so do the programs already on the machine. My Nordic Track 990 came with 2 iFit programs which was a nice extra.
Both the AudioStrider 800 and 990 allow me to connect a CD player or MP3 player to the console’s stereo sound system so I can listen to music or an audio book while working out. It’s a nice feature.
The 990 has a really nice bright easy to read console. It's a little nicer than that of the 800.
This is the huge difference and in the end was one of the two reasons we bought the 990 over the 800. Not all elliptical machines have ramps that adjust. The AudioStrider 800 will adjust to 30 degrees. There are five levels going from 10 to 30. Different degrees will hit different areas of the body. If you are on the highest you will hit your glutes (butt) really well. On a lower setting I felt it in my calves. I am very used to machines that adjust and find them to be very effective. I would spend the extra money on one that adjusts rather than one that is called a fixed ramp. Having said that the 800 has a manual ramp which means I would have to get off to adjust it. The 990 has a motorized ramp which gets adjusted from the console.
I also liked the fact that on both machines there are numbers – 1 to 15- that at a touch of a button change my resistance. On some machines these are called Quick Buttons. So rather than using an up and down or plus or minus button I can just touch 7 and immediately feel more resistance.
The fan is a bit different than on other machines. Not only does it have three speeds but I have the option of having the intensity of the air change as the intensity of my workout changes. The fan is high rather than low so if you are super short you may not feel it.
The console shows me my speed, pulse, time, distance, resistance, and calories burned. The 990 has a carb counter. It really has a lot of bells and whistles for the money.
Another huge difference though one my husband still doesn't appreciate are the 20 workout programs that automatically adjust the resistance of the elliptical to focus on aerobic, weight loss or performance goals. It includes 2 heart rate programs that help me stay in the right training zone by automatically increasing the resistance when I need to raise my heart rate and decreasing the resistance when I need to lower it.
The machines are similar in terms of a graph on the console and segments showing how long I have in each.
The machine was put together by two people and I was told that the incline didn't work. I was obviously upset since that was a key factor in my purchase. I called customer service and was told that it had to be calibrated and to read the manual. I was told that I should read the manual first anyway. I proceeded to nicely but firmly tell this woman that I was a personal trainer and that I have written reviews on countless pieces of equipment including the 800. I also told her about the reputation ICON has regarding customer service. Needless to say a nice young man called and will be coming out next week to fix it and in the mean time the ramp is working but making a very loud noise which shouldn't be happening. I am telling this story because I do think people are not assertive enough and that I got through to customer service and got a call back as promised.
I liked the AudioStrider 990 a lot. Some of what you will be paying for is the ability to use your MP3 player and the ramp but those may be features you really like. If you don’t care then you might want to look at at the 800 without the motorized ramp.
The selling features of the 990 over the 800 were the smoothness of the pedals, the motorized ramp, and for me the multitude of programs.
My fitness equipment reviews can be found here.
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