Occupying the second most affordable position in ProForm’s treadmill offerings, the ProForm SMART Performance 600i is anything but short on features considering its sub-$1k sticker price. A 10″ HD touchscreen, a year’s membership to iFit, a high-spec motor that carries a 25-year warranty, and the brand’s patented Easy-Lift folding system are all a part of the equation, as well as a host of other features. At this budget range, this is a better candidate for walkers, joggers, and new runners overall, and with its 50 onboard workouts (and many more via iFit) it’s an especially handy companion for those looking to shed some extra pounds through in-home cardio. It’s also worth noting that there’s a bit of a trade-off to be had, as the SMART Performance 600i is a bit of a lightweight in terms of overall construction when compared to its counterparts.
Rating: 84.3/100 Much like its bigger sibling, the key detail keeping the SMART Performance 600i from being a useful candidate for seasoned runners is its lower output 2.75 CHP (continuous-duty horsepower) motor. Though more than adequate for keeping up with jogging, it just won’t have enough go to keep challenging the more hardcore runners out there. Its incline is a modest 10% (and no decline), which once again will be good to challenge those running at the entry to intermediate level. Its running deck is 55 inches long, leaving enough room for taller runners to get in a good stride.
Where this unit really wins its extra points is in two key categories. First, the practicality of its fold-up design is a great bonus, and ProForm’s Easy-Lift system makes the process incredibly painless. Even if you struggle with mobility issues or are of limited upper body strength, the mechanism design makes the process incredibly simple and hassle-free. Next on the list is the sheer volume of available workouts built into the machine. A little variety goes a long way, and having 50 programs at your fingertips, and thousands more accessible via iFit means you’ll never get bored of running the same old routine day-in and day-out. Combining these two details with its sub-$1,000 price tag (when on sale) makes this unit a sound choice. ProForm also packs in several additional comfort-focused features into this unit that we typically expect from things a little further up the pricing spectrum.
In trade, you can definitely tell that the 600i is not a commercial grade treadmill. Generally lightweight construction is found throughout, including its thin running belt, small rollers, and just in its general overall construction. Of course, you can’t go too over-the-top with heavy steel when the intent is to build a folding treadmill, but when compared with the Sole Fitness F63, there’s a clear differentiation in overall build quality. That said, this is precisely why this ProForm is more recommended for walkers and joggers, whereas the F63 can handle a seasoned runner with ease.
Pros & Cons
- Long tread track (55″ x18″)
- 50 built-in training programs
- Tablet holder for external devices
- Easy folding system
- One year of iFit membership included
- 10% power incline
- Onboard speakers with auxiliary input
- Onboard cooling fans
- Large storage trays for water bottles/etc.
- Contact pulse monitor
- No wireless heart rate monitoring
- Thin track
- Somewhat lightweight construction
- Trades tech for build quality
- Could benefit from stronger/faster motor
- Slow customer service
These days the under $1k treadmill space is a very competitive field, with several competitors offering huge value in terms of features and functionality. Looking to draw in the entry-level “new runner”, ProForm placed significant emphasis on tech, adding a 10″ high definition touchscreen to its console, a year’s subscription to iFit, and a ton of on-board programming to the budget-friendly folding treadmill. Where the brand opted to cut costs is in overall construction, though the unit is still up to snuff to satisfy the less intense walkers and joggers looking for plenty of routine options from a treadmill that tucks away when not in use.
Starting with its onboard programming, the SMART Performance 600i is packed. A total of 50 onboard workouts are built into this treadmill, which almost sounds overwhelming on its own. It’s safe to say that after your first year of free iFit, you wouldn’t be left out in the cold if you decided to opt out of the interactive training setup.
Where the past version of the 600i forced users to run iFit through their own tablet, the 600i’s large HD touchscreen takes care of viewing on the current version, though runners can still attach their tablet to the unit should they wish to view other things while training. iFit is still jam-packed with thousands of on-demand workouts, as well as interactive courses that run you through a variety of paths and trails around the globe. while running these programs, your treadmill’s incline will be adjusted to follow the virtual terrain along the way.
One thing that might be a bone of contention for some is the positioning and angle of the 600i’s screen. Especially when running the mapped courses, there’s something beneficial about having its display closer to eye-level, and now that iFit is running on the console, depending on your height you’re likely to be staring a bit downwards rather than straight ahead while running. It’s a minor detail, granted, but still something to consider.
The workout area of the SMART Performance 600i is roughly standard at 18″ x 55″, though this is a touch more compact than other on more expensive ProForm units. The track is cushioned by the same ProShox system that’s featured on more expensive ProForm treadmills, which is a nice touch for walkers/joggers that might be dealing with joint issues. A potential problem is the track’s relatively thin material, which we could see breaking down in the long run.
Looking at its comfort and convenience features, the 600i has a built-in cooling fan, built-in speakers (with an auxiliary input for your phone or tablet), as well as two large cup holers/storage pockets.
Though this unit isn’t capable of linking to wireless heart rate monitors, it does have monitoring sensors built into its handles.
Finally, this treadmill has a SpaceSaver design. You can easily fold the deck upward to reclaim your floor space.
Warranty & Guarantee
The ProForm Performance 600i Treadmill warranty includes:
– Frame: Lifetime
– Deck: Lifetime
– Motor: 25 years
– Parts: 1 Years
– Labor: 1 year
Interestingly, these warranty terms are slightly different than its previous model, specifically a drop from 2 years on its parts, and from lifetime down to 25 years on its motor. That said, we don’t see this as being a lifetime treadmill for many so the change in motor warranty is really irrelevant.
At the end of the day this is a lightweight contender in the category, designed more for the novices wanting ample features, rather than hardcore runners on a budget. At the very least it’s a good jumping off point, but if you catch the “runnning bug” you’ll eventually want to step up to something a bit more heavy duty. For the time being, the 600i makes a good gateway to get your fitness routine rolling.