★★★★☆

NordicTrack’s X9i Incline Trainer, which we first reviewed for 2012, has been upgraded for 2014. The new version has a 62” track whereas the old model (still available) has a 60” track. Other selling points are its 10” touchscreen with Android Browser, iFit Live readiness and ample workout programming.

Enticing? Yes. A best buy? Probably not, unless you’re rather tall. The older X9i (if you can find it) with a 60” track usually sells for significantly less – and it has a better warranty!

What We Like:

  • Efficient Workouts with Incline Training: NordicTrack Incline Trainers can be used flat, tilted up to 40%, and declined up to 6%. As personal trainer Jillian Michaels has stated, training at a 40% incline burns five times the calories of walking flat – plus, the decline training is an excellent way to tone muscles. An 8” console fan helps you power through the challenge.
  • Lower Stress on Joints: This unit features Reflex Cushioning, so you’ll get a firm push-off point and a softer landing point. Compared with running on an asphalt road, this track is much better for your joints. Additionally, incline training in general is easier on your knees (compared with regular treadmill training) because it shifts your body weight.
  • Extra-Long Track: You won’t find a longer track on any treadmill or incline trainer for the mass market.
  • Powerful Motor: The 3.0 horsepower motor is commercial quality and has a lifetime warranty. It responds quickly yet quietly to changes in incline and speed.
  • Touchscreen with Internet Browser: The X9i Incline Trainer comes with a full-color 10” touchscreen display. Check sports highlights, read email or browse Facebook as you work out! An especially fun option is Google Street View: If you chart an exercise route through iFit Live, you can actually see the street as Google’s cameras have recorded it.
  • Preset Programs: Very impressive! 44 programs are built into the console. Two dozen are traditional treadmill/incline programs that target calorie burning, speed and intensity goals. Twenty of the programs deliver iFit Live training with Jillian Michaels, Google Maps workouts, and other special types of workouts.
  • iFit Live: iFit Live is included to provide unprecedented interactivity. You can virtually work out with Jillian Michaels, download customized workout plans, and compete in online treadmill races. iFit Live also makes it easy to train for your next marathon no matter where the race is held: Workouts powered by Google Maps recreate the route and automatically adjust your treadmill’s incline and decline to match the terrain.
  • Heart Rate Monitors: Monitor your heart rate by using sensors on the handlebars or the wireless telemetry. A chest strap is included.

What We Don’t Like:

  • The Price: As mentioned in the introduction, the new X9i for 2014 isn’t priced competitively except during special sales. For the extra 2” you’ll pay more yet get a less robust warranty compared with the older option. (Electronics are covered on the old X9i but not on the new.)

Our Verdict:

Overall we’re fans of NordicTrack’s incline trainers. The X9i for 2014 is an excellent product with touchscreen Internet, tons of programming, and smart cushioning — but it might not be well-priced. Take time to compare NordicTrack’s different options. If you do choose an Incline Trainer, any model (the X7i as well as the X11i), we think you’ll have fun while reaching your fitness goals.

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