As part Horizon’s ongoing push into more upmarket treadmills and other equipment, the new 7.8 AT treadmill has just been released (in October 2019), boasting a handful of improvements over the brand’s prior models. That said, when compared to their new 7.4 AT treadmill, the 7.8 AT offers a few upgrades to justify its $300 price increase.
The biggest upgrade at hand with the 7.8 AT treadmill is a new 9.3-inch full color display screen. Previously only ever seen with basic LCD screens, this new setup still cannot be used to watch interactive training programming, however it does display all of your essential running/workout data in a crisp and clear manner that’s superior to its siblings. Much like the 7.4 AT, there is a ledge above its display for users to rest their smartphones or tablets, should they want to follow along with video training program (more on that later).
What We Like:
- Bright and legible screen — The updated 9.3-inch LED/TFT display screen is a huge improvement over what has been available on previous versions.
- Quick-access roller style speed and incline controls — We love these quick controls fitted on the 7.8 AT treadmill. Without even thinking about it, you can quickly tweak your belt speed and incline on the fly easier than you can with grip-mounted buttons. The 7.8AT is the only treadmill other than the Peloton to include this style of incline and speed controls.
- Extra large running track — Measuring 60″ long and 22″ wide, the running belt on the 7.8 AT treadmill is two inches wider than that of the 7.0 AT. This is great for taller and heavier runners.
- Powerful motor with “Rapid Sync” — Designed especially for HIIT, the motor of the 7.8 AT treadmill accelerates and decelerates noticeably faster than most of the competition.
- Bluetooth heart rate monitoring — Horizon Fitness includes a Bluetooth wireless chest strap with the purchase of the 7.8 AT treadmill.
- Built-in Sprint 8 training program — High intensity interval training (HIIT) is all over the fitness space these days, and Horizon is one of few treadmill manufacturers integrating HIIT-specific training programs into their equipment. The Sprint 8 program is a more common (and quite effective) HIIT training program for runners.
- Discounted training app rates — As part of their push for compatibility with a wide range of programs, Horizon is able to get its owners discounted rates on a variety of fitness training apps, upwards of 30% off in some cases.
Horizon 7.8 AT Treadmill - Key Specs:
|Top Speed:||12 MPH|
|Weight Capacity:||350 LBS|
|Dimensions:||76"" L x 37"" W x 64" H|
- Still requires a tablet — To take advantage of its clever app integration, you’ll have to use your own iPad or tablet rather than a screen integrated into the console.
- Stiff competition — At this price point, the NordicTrack Commercial 1750 and others deliver more features for less money.
- Lack of built-in programming — While access to other workout apps is great, the 7.8 AT treadmill only has 10 built-in training programs.
- Carrying costs — Using workout apps rather than built-in training means you will likely have ongoing costs with the ownership of this treadmill.
On one hand, basically everything we love about the new (and more affordable) 7.4 AT carries forward to the Horizon 7.8 AT treadmill. Looking at it strictly from a running standpoint, it ticks all the boxes. It has a larger-than-standard running deck, which is great for high intensity training (though not necessary for those looking to walk or jog). A top speed of 12 mph and a max incline of 15 degrees is plenty sufficient to keep you at a brisk pace and burning plenty of calories along the way. While this unit does benefit from an upgrade to a 4.0 continuous-duty horsepower motor, its output remains untouched.
Aside from this motor improvement, the screen change is the real stand-out change to the 7.8 AT when compared to its more affordable sibling. Using and LED/TFT screen makes for a big improvement in legibility; its white counters are easy to read, and its green/yellow/red graphed indications easily stand out, making the display very easy to read at a quick glance. On its own, this is great, but once you consider the competition in the near-$2k price range it all falls pretty flat. Just about everyone else in this price bracket is offering a full-color high definition touchscreen display. Sure, throw your tablet on the built-in shelf and the display screen doesn’t REALLY matter any more, but you really shouldn’t be needing to use your own device once you get up to this price point.
As noted above, the grip-mounted roller controls for speed and incline are very practical and effective, regardless of whether you’re running intervals or just want to change up your pace and incline on the fly. After a few uses you’ll quickly realize how intuitive these controls really are.
About Sprint 8 Training:
Sprint 8 in its simplest form is a proprietary variation of HIIT derived by Johnson Health Tech—the parent company of Horizon Fitness. The 20-minute workout takes its users through a warm-up phase, followed by intense 30-second sprints broken up by 90-second active recovery periods before a final 2.5 minute cool-down. The brand claims that significant body fat loss can be achieved in as little as 8 weeks, based on running the Sprint 8 program 3 times per week. You can get more details here.
Looking at the 7.8 AT treadmill when compared to the competition (and when compared to Horizon’s new 7.4 AT treadmill), we think it’s a very solid choice. If you want to keep up with Peloton classes without a Peloton price, you’re in good hands with the 7.8AT. Alternatively, you could either spend less money and get the well-spec’d 7.4 AT, or consider other offerings near the $2k price point from our list of runners treadmills found here.