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ProForm’s SMART Performance 400i Treadmill – Small And Sophisticated [A Review]

proform smart performance 400i treadmill review

The Performance 400i is a budget-friendly treadmill offered from the popular brand, ProForm. With an emphasis on luxury technology, and an affordable asking price, the 400i may seem like a good buy.

But with its small running surface and relatively weak motor, this treadmill isn’t designed to fit the masses.

Although when it comes to the console, the Performance 400i is a step above its competition. It comes with a 7″ touchscreen LCD, 2″ dual speakers, and 18 built-in programs.

It’s also iFit compatible, which is a real game-changer for this price range.  

If you’re looking a technologically advanced treadmill, then the Performance 400i might be a good fit. But make sure you read this review in full before making any decisions because this model has its fair share of drawbacks.

In this review, I’ll walk you through all of this model’s advantages and disadvantages. After reading, you’ll be able to make an educated decision as to whether or not this treadmill is worth investing in. 

The ProForm SMART Performance 400i Treadmill

Before getting into the good stuff, let’s get to know the company behind the Performance 400i treadmill.

ProForm is a popular fitness brand. They have been in the industry for 30 years, offering high-quality machines at affordable prices. 

If you’re looking for a nice piece of equipment for your home gym, you might’ve seen several options from ProForm. It’s a good buy for most, especially if you want to enjoy a quality machine at a low cost.

ProForm is known for their treadmills and HIIT trainers, although they also offer competitive products for other types of cardio training. 

When comparing their treadmills, there are plenty of options for you in terms of price, performance, and durability. No matter which unit you’ll take home from ProForm, you’re sure to enjoy their amazing features.

ProForm’s feature-rich treadmills are a huge hit to home gym users. In fact, they are a step above their competition. Imagine getting a 10” full-color touchscreen display and premium speakers for a machine priced less than $800. 

Their biggest rival may be NordicTrack, another powerful fitness brand. Interestingly, both are owned by a world-leading, Utah based gym machine manufacturer, ICON Health and Fitness. 

For comparison’s sake, ProForm and NordicTrack offers similar treadmill components. Both also feature iFit app integration in all their units. iFit is a virtual fitness application that is also owned by ICON. 

To make shopping easier for you, ProForm has 3 different treadmill series: Power, Performance, and Pro. Each series emphasizes a specific feature. So you might want to sort your options depending on which series suit your needs and personality best.

Power series focuses on robust motors, while Performance is more on cool amenities. Combining both gives you their Pro series, which ProForm considers to be their  ‘industry-leading interactive fitness’ models.

Can you guess which of these ProForm treadmill series offers the cheapest machines?

You got it right if you said Performance. 

So if you’re working on a budget, I suggest you start looking into ProForm’s Performance series. The 400i, which I am reviewing in this post, is one of their Performance series roster.

Pros

  • Foldable frame 
  • Top speed of 10 mph
  • Power incline to 10%
  • 18 built-in workout programs
  • iFit Ready
  • Tablet holder
  • 7″ touchscreen LCD
  • EKG Pulse sensors 
  • 2” dual speakers
  • 300 lb max weight capacity

Cons

  • Small running surface
  • Weak motor
  • No telemetry option for heart monitoring
  • No workout fan

Running Surface

If you’ve read some of my previous posts, you know how I like to begin my treadmill reviews with running surfaces.

Since we’ll be using the machine for running and/or walking, it makes sense to be sure that our comfort level should always be high.

Otherwise, we’d risk losing interest in using the machine, staying fit, or getting injured. It would defeat the purpose of investing in a home gym.

Looking at the size of the running surface can gives us a good idea of the level of comfort we can experience when using the unit. (running surface is also known as the deck or belt area and all are measured in inches and written as width x length).

Bigger belt areas provide more comfort. A roomy deck lets you exercise without shortening your stride or feeling too claustrophobic. It gives more range of motion, which is important when working out.

The gold standard for running surfaces measures 20” x 60”.

The Performance 400i has a running surface of 18” x 50”. Considering the gold standard just mentioned, the 400i falls plenty short. 

Most people need at least 55” to comfortably run on a treadmill. At only 50″ long, the Performance 400i has a belt size that works better for shorter strides, like when walking. 

If you’re tall, this will not be a good fit for you. ProForm’s upgraded model, the Performance 900i, has a workout area of 20” x 55”, which would be a better fit for taller walkers (or shorter runners).

The Performance 400i can safely hold users weighing up to 300 lb. This capacity is standard for treadmills in this category. This should accommodate most users, but larger individuals might feel safer pacing on units with higher weight capacities.

Its ProShox™ Cushioning system is great for those with arthritis or joint problems. It’s a shock absorber that reduces the impact on your joints thereby helping users fasten their recovery rates after using the Performance 400i. 

No shin splints. The Performance 400i is meant to make things easier for legs, hips, ankles, and feet. It beats the heck out of running in pavements.

To help save space at home, the Performance 400i is foldable. It can be easily folded up and out of the way after exercising. It comes with an easy assist mechanism that lets you fold your running surface without exerting too much force.

This is a pretty awesome feature, considering how heavy treadmills are.

Overall, the 400i falls pretty short (literally) in the running surface department. Based on its dimensions alone, this treadmill is best suited for walking or shorter users (under 5’6″).

Motor

Another treadmill feature that needs a close inspection is the motor.

Motor strength comes in 2 measurements: horsepower (HP) and continuous horsepower (CHP). HP is all about peak power, while CHP refers to the amount of power the motor can maintain over time.

CHP is more commonly used in quality treadmills. Again, bigger is better. Treadmills with higher CHP means the motors are stronger, and that’s what we’re interested in.

These models can sustain longer workouts. You can run as long as you can without tiring your motor.

A motor designed for running should be at least 3.0 CHP to ensure smooth, long lasting use.

The Performance 400i has a 2.0 CHP motor. A motor strength like this is usually engineered for walking. It’s weak for running and long use. 

If you’re looking for a walking treadmill, the 400i should work fine, but runners should keep looking. You may want to check out ProForm’s Power series, which are designed with more powerful motors. 

I’m a huge fan of the Power series because it’s affordable and well, powerful. You get extra horsepower for a more insane workout plus other exciting perks. You might want to check out the Power 1295i treadmill.

Or if you’re really into running, check out our guide on the best treadmills for running.

The Performance 400i has a top speed of 10 mph. It’s more than enough for walking and light jogging, but sprinters will be disappointed.

With its QuickSpeed control, you can easily adjust your speed effortlessly without breaking your focus or stride.

When combining this speed with its incline capabilities of up to 10%, it can surely give you many training options and target different body muscles. 

If you want to increase your workout intensity without stressing your joints, you can walk at an incline. This should burn many calories while keeping your joints happy.

Integrating iFit with your Performance 400i gives you access to Google Maps. You can choose any place on earth to have your training. Think about running along the canals in Venice or pick up the pace at the Great Wall of China.

The machine will automatically adjust its incline to simulate the trails. This is a very good idea (especially if you find yourself dealing with a pandemic). You can visit and train in any part of the planet without leaving home. 

Overall, the 400i falls a little short in the motor department too. With its smaller motor, this treadmill is better suited for walking or light jogging than running.

Features

The Performance 400i brags about feature-rich amenities, so let’s see what they can offer:

7″ Smart HD Touchscreen Display

It’s one of the largest and best screens at this price point. It’s large enough to view your progress metrics and follow your favorite trainers guiding your workout.

You can swipe through the buttons and check the controls for speed, incline, and etc. All are noted to be fairly straightforward and very similar to what you can find in gyms and fitness clubs.

18 On-Board Programs

These built-in programs are designed by professionals, so you can be sure that it’s very effective. Having 18 programs is enough to give you plenty of training intervals to choose from.

It should also be sufficient to target your training goals of losing weight or improving your cardiovascular fitness.

When choosing any of these programs, the machine will automatically set its speed and incline. All you have to do is to select your desired workout and the Performance 400i will do it all for you.

iFit-Enabled

But if you’re looking for more training adventures, you can explore more exhilarating and challenging routines with the iFit app.

The Performance 400i is iFit-enabled. You can sync your iFit with the machine and enjoy the unlimited access to all sorts of exercises.

You can check your progress data, have virtual exercises with training coaches, run with Google Maps, and even challenge another iFit user if you like a little competition.

ProForm offers a free 1-year iFit subscription upon purchasing their Performance 400i. This should give you a year to enjoy a treasure trove of fitness routines then decide later on if you’ll extend your subscription by paying a monthly bill.

EKG Hand Grip Sensors

The Performance 400i has 2 grip pulse sensors located on the handlebar. This feature is a great way to easily monitor your heart health as you exercise.

However, the problem with handgrip sensors is that it’s difficult to get an accurate reading. You have to hold on to it quite a while and watch the readings change.

Wireless monitoring is always better. It’s more accurate and offers more range of motion. Telemetry is often seen in more advanced and sophisticated models, but it would be nice if the Performance 400i offered this feature. 

Dual 2″ Speakers

Exercising isn’t as fun as listening to the sweet sound of motivation. The Performance 400i comes with dual 2-inch speakers. 

The included audio auxiliary port allows you to listen to your entertainment at a higher volume. You’ll be able to hear your music or videos with less complication. 

Tablet Holder

This machine has a tablet holder to keep your device firmly in place. You can multitask while staying fit. 

Since it’s placed right above the built-in touchscreen display, you can easily check your social media and watch videos without blocking the view of your workout metrics.

Assembly

Treadmills are huge and heavy, and they’re not something all people can move around by themselves. You need two people to get the main unit out of the box and to hold an assembly in place.

Unboxing and piecing the Performance 400i seems easy. It comes with a clear and simple manual, together with the electronics, handrails, and other parts.

Many users were able to finish in an hour or more, while others must’ve been skillful for setting up the Performance 400i in 30 minutes.

When assembling a treadmill, I suggest taking your time. Rushing might damage some parts or cause you injuries. You’d better prepare some snacks and put on some great tunes, and your machine will be operational before you know it.

Warranty

The Performance 400i is backed with the following warranties:

  • Frame: 10 years
  • Parts: 2 Years
  • Labor: 1 Year

I was expecting more from ProForm given its stellar reputation in providing one of the longest warranties in the market. But for this price range, it’s forgivable.

In fact, the Performance 400i offers more than most in this price range. 

Final Thoughts

It’s obvious to me that ProForm’s SMART Performance 400i treadmill was designed with the console in mind. The technology in the console is definitely the star of the show here.

The touchscreen display and library of workouts to choose from through iFit are rarely seen on a treadmill this affordable. Folks looking for this will be pleased.

However, with the small running surface and weak motor, the 400i is not recommended for larger users or people looking to do some serious running- this treadmill is simply too small to accommodate.

Given its size, this treadmill is best suited for walking. But with iFit and Google Map capabilities, you’ll be walking in style.

Although ProForm lists this machine at $999, you should be able to find it on Amazon for under $800 (and I like it a lot better at this price).

And if you’re looking for budget friendly treadmills with more impressive performance specs, check out our budget treadmill guide.

 

Roann

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