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NordicTrack EXP 7i Review

A full-sized treadmill that provides a good quality workout, Bluetooth connectivity, and a foldable design, but its small screen isn't very entertaining
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NordicTrack EXP 7i Review (The NordicTrack EXP 7i treadmill)
The NordicTrack EXP 7i treadmill
Credit: Joshua Hutchens
Price:  $1,299 List
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Manufacturer:   NordicTrack
By Joshua Hutchens ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Mar 26, 2024
67
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 12
  • Exercise Quality - 35% 7.0
  • User Interface/Ease of Use - 25% 6.0
  • Features - 15% 7.0
  • Ease of Assembly - 10% 6.0
  • Storability - 10% 7.0
  • Noise Level - 5% 8.0

Our Verdict

The NordicTrack EXP 7i is NordicTrack's entry-level treadmill with a 7" touch screen. Featuring a 55" x 20" belt, a top speed of 10 mph, and incline up to 11.4%, the machine is built for walking and running, although hardcore runners will likely want more. The Runners Flex Cushioning provides excellent shock absorption for users up to the 300-pound weight limit. The redesigned console is simple and open, featuring two bottle holders, a 7" screen, and a shelf for your own device. Speed and incline are adjusted exclusively with buttons positioned next to the screen. Bluetooth connectivity allows you to connect a tablet, pair your heart rate monitor, or play music through the machine's speakers. The iFit app is an absolute favorite. When using iFit through the machines small display, the treadmill will make adjustments to speed and incline automatically, that functionality is not available if you're using your own tablet or screen.
REASONS TO BUY
IFit connectivity
300 lb weight limit
Value priced
Comfortable deck
REASONS TO AVOID
Small screen
No fan or handlebar controls
Difficult assembly
Cost of app

Compare to Similar Products

 
nordictrack exp 7i
This Product
NordicTrack EXP 7i
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award  
Price $1,299 List$1,699 List$400 List
$349.99 at Amazon
$500 List
$309.00 at Amazon
$299 List
$179.98 at Amazon
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Bottom Line This model is good for walking, hiking, and short runs; the iFit app is awesome but limited on the small displayIf space is a premium and you don't want to sacrifice much exercise quality, this is about as good as it getsThis 2 in 1 model easily fits below your desk and works for a quick run when unfoldedBasic but affordable, this model gets the job done for much less than the competitionA useful walking treadmill that can be used under a desk to help you get the steps in at a value price with no apps required, its weak motor should relegate it to light-duty use
Rating Categories NordicTrack EXP 7i Echelon Stride 6 UREVO 2 in 1 Foldin... Sunny Health and Fi... Sperax Walking Pad...
Exercise Quality (35%)
7.0
8.0
6.0
5.0
3.0
User Interface/Ease of Use (25%)
6.0
8.0
5.0
5.0
5.0
Features (15%)
7.0
8.0
5.0
6.0
4.0
Ease of Assembly (10%)
6.0
10.0
10.0
8.0
10.0
Storability (10%)
7.0
9.0
10.0
8.0
10.0
Noise Level (5%)
8.0
10.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
Specs NordicTrack EXP 7i Echelon Stride 6 UREVO 2 in 1 Foldin... Sunny Health and Fi... Sperax Walking Pad...
Belt Dimensions (LxW) 54.5" x 20" 60.5" x 20.5" 42.5" x 16.75" 49" x 15.5" 38.25" x 15.25"
Speed Range 1-10 mph 0.5-12.4 0.6-7.6 mph 0.5-9 mph 0.6-3.8 mph
Motor 2.6 CHP 2.5 CHP 2.5 HP 2.2 HP .75 HP
Minimum Incline % 0 1 0 0.2 0
Maximum Incline % 11.3 10.5 0 4.37 0
Measured Noise 62 db 60 db 61 db 62.2 db 62 db
Weight Limit 300 lbs 300 lbs 265 lbs 220 lbs 320 lbs
Open Dimensions 70.75" L x 35.75" W x 59" H 64.75" L x 31.5" W x 58" H 52.6" L x 26.4" W x 39.7" H 62" L x 26.5" W x 50" H 45" L x 19.5" W x 4.5" H
Folded Dimensions 34" L x 35.75" W x 67" H 64.75" L x 31.5" W x 12" H 54.5" L x 26" W x 4.9"H 36" L x 25.5" W x 58" H 45" L x 19.5" W x 4.5" H
Incline Adjustment Electric Electric Electric Manual Electric
Display 5" backlit, Blutooth work with your device small LED display small LED display 7" backlit LCD small LED display
Workout Programs None None None 9 programs None
Heart Rate Sensors Works with Bluetooth heart rate sensor (sold separately) Integrated handlebar sensors No Integrated handlebar sensors No
Connectivity Bluetooth Bluetooth No No No
Additional Features Folding, soft-drop, device shelf, bottle holders, transport wheels, safety shutoff lanyard, speakers, auxilary input, Flex Select cushioning, heart rate sensors, Bluetooth, works with iFit Folding design, 4 transport wheels, 2 bottle holders, integrated device holder, safety stop lanyard, handrail controls, USB charging, waterfall design Compact folding design, transport wheels, phone holder, remote control Folding, soft-drop, transport wheels, bottle holders, shock absorption, quick speed buttons, manual incline adjust, device shelf, safety shutoff lanyard Compact,, transport wheels, RF remote
Warranty Frame: 10 years, Parts: 2 years, Labor: 1 year Frame: 10 years, Motor: 2 years, Machine: 1 year 12-month limited parts and labor Frame: 3 years, Parts: 180 days 30- days

Our Analysis and Test Results

The new EXP 7i follows the same form factor as the NordicTrack's commercial machines. With a 2.6 CHP motor and an incredibly comfortable running surface, this treadmill provides a solid workout. The simple console features basic functionality, but its small screen is filed in the “you get what you pay for” department. iFit is a stellar workout program, especially with a paired machine; unfortunately, the small viewable space and digital latency distract from its appeal.

Performance Comparison


A supple deck and easy-to-move frame score points for this full-sized treadmill.
Credit: Matt Lighthart

Exercise Quality


The NordicTrack EXP 7i provides a great platform for general running, walking, and hiking workouts. With an adequately large tread deck, a 10 mph top speed, and an incline that rises to 11.3%, it isn't hard to create a challenging workout. The deck is quite comfortable, even for lightweight users.


The running surface of the EXP 7i measures 54.5 inches long and 20 inches wide, which is suitable for longer strides or high-speed running without kicking the motor cover or the side rails. While not as wide as some higher-end machines, we found it adequate for any workout. Our testers found it roomy and had no problems staying within the rails. With a top speed of 10 mph, the machine can facilitate a zippy 6-minute mile. Those looking for HIIT workouts or sprint training won't find the speed necessary to push the red line. The machine's incline adjustments push it from flat to 11.3%, allowing you to incorporate incline training and hills into your routine. Additionally, the Runners Flex Cushioning deck is effective at absorbing impact and helping to stave off fatigue. We measured the cushioning at the center of the deck using a digital force gauge and found that it required

The treadmill can be operated manually to suit any level of workout. Setting goals such as time, distance, or calorie targets is simple. There are no longer pre-programmed workouts, so if it's a program you'd like, you'll be using an app on the screen or your own tablet. Using iFit through the treadmill's display, the machine automatically adjusts your speed and incline. If you use your own screen, you can still use iFit, but the treadmill will not make those adjustments for you. We love the iFit for the scenery and experience, but experiencing it through the small screen doesn't do it justice. Unlike other machines, the EXP 7i does not feature redundant adjustment dials on the handrails or heartrate sensor pads. Only having adjustments on the periphery of the hood isn't ideal, but we have gotten used to it. You can connect a Bluetooth-enabled heart rate monitor, but you'll need to adjust speed and incline through buttons on the hood.

The Runner's Flex Cushioning provides a comfortable place to get your stride on.
Credit: Matt Lighthart

Companion App/Connectivity


The main feature here is this machine's ability to connect with iFit. Generally, we'd refer to this two-way connectivity at FTMS (FiTness Machine Service) protocol, but NordicTrack doesn't use the term. FTMS is simply two-way communication between the treadmill and a connected app; this allows your workout class to change speed and incline without your input. It's a fantastic experience to follow one of the iFit coaches through a mountain trail run and have your speed and incline change as if you were there. You simply run; it's an immersive experience that can really take your mind off running indoors on a conveyor belt. The EXP 7i's screen size makes it difficult to immerse yourself; additionally, the fantastic production quality and amazing views can't be fully appreciated on the small screen. You can play your own music through the speakers on the console when connected via Bluetooth.
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nordictrack exp 7i - while the ifit app is top-notch, viewing it on this screen isn't...
While the iFit app is top-notch, viewing it on this screen isn't ideal.
Credit: Matt Lighthart

User Interface/Ease of Use


The EXP 7i isn't hard to use; the controls are simple and easy to navigate. Starting a workout requires waking the machine through the touchscreen and selecting either a manual workout or one of the iFit workouts. The machine isn't quick to boot up and requires patience to initiate a workout.


You can use the numbered buttons on the console's right side to adjust your speed. You can also use the plus/minus button located below them. Similarly, you can adjust the incline using the numbers ascending the console's left side or the plus/minus button underneath. Unlike other treadmills, NordicTrack doesn't have adjustment knobs, dials, or toggles located on the handrails; instead, they rely on iFit to make adjustments. Should you bring your own display, such as an iPad, you can view your iFit workout on that screen, covering the original display but leaving adjustment buttons free.

iFit functionality and workouts are amazing, but they feel a bit compromised on the 7" screen.
Credit: Matt Lighthart

The EXP 7i defaults to using iFit but will allow you to choose a manual workout. Treadmills typically err on the side of caution, often giving a countdown to when the belt beneath you will start moving, but this machine starts rather unexpectedly. When you select a workout, the screen goes to the “Loading workout…” screen, and the belt starts moving. Nothing about the screen indicates that it's about to happen, and it caught most of our testers by surprise. We got used to it and started standing on the side rails while selecting a workout.

Measuring the Runners Flex Cushioning on the EXP 7i.
Credit: Joshua Hutchens

Features


The EXP 7i isn't quite as full-featured as some of the higher-end models we tested, but it does have a few options that enhance your experience. Dual drink holders, a tablet shelf, and speakers you can connect to via Bluetooth are all in the hood. There is neither a fan nor a USB port to run one or charge an alternative device.


The Runners Flex Cushioning between the frame and running deck is a highlight of this machine, with more than average deflection to help pad your stride. While incredibly comfortable to run on, some of our testers feel its squishy surface was unnatural.

We found the NordicTrack deck cushioning to be quite soft and compliant.
Credit: Matt Lighthart

Ease of Assembly


The NordicTrack EXP 7i was the most time-consuming of the full-sized treadmills we assembled. The difficulty doesn't come from the design or packaging but poor tolerances. Sure, the 228-pound box is hard to move and is packed full of styrofoam, but once unpacked, the challenges come from fitting its hardware into the proper holes. Two places required augmenting pre-drilled holes to achieve alignment sufficient to use the included hardware. In one case, installing the upright post required using clamps to get the bolt holes to line up.


All told, the final assembly time of this treadmill was 105 minutes. Following the assembly video was helpful, but there were some differences between the machine assembled in the video and the one we received. The included tools suffice, but using a screwdriver with a handle and a ratchet with a few sockets made the job much easier. When attaching the hood and console, having a friend who can either hold its weight or connect some wiring for you is helpful.

The EXP 7i needed some convincing to come together properly

Storability


The downside of a full-sized treadmill is that it is not especially easy to store, which is true with the EXP 7i. The “SpaceSaver Design” allows the deck to fold upward while the “EasyLift Assist” pneumatic arm helps facilitate that movement so it feels less heavy than it is. We measured the machine at 34" long, 35.75" wide, and 67" tall in the folded position. The wheels along the bottom of the frame will allow you to move it on hard flooring without too much effort, but it won't likely fit into a closet or through a doorway.


With the treadmill open, the EXP 7i measured 70.75" long, 35.75" wide, and 59" tall, but you'll need more space than this. NordicTrack recommends having at least 8 feet of clear space behind the treadmill and 2 feet on each side. They also recommend against placing it in a garage or anywhere with moisture, so plan accordingly.

nordictrack exp 7i - looking from above, this photo shows the approximate amount of space...
Looking from above, this photo shows the approximate amount of space you'll need for a full-sized treadmill, 2' on each side, and the length of a treadmill behind it.
Credit: Joshua Hutchens

Noise Level


Measuring the amount of noise produced on the EXP 7i with a digital sound meter netted average results. A jogger on the belt at 4 mph generated 62 dB of noise. It was not as loud as the Peloton Stride, but none of the models tested were too loud for casual conversation or listening to music at a reasonable level.


Should You Buy the NordicTrack EXP 7i?


The EXP 7i is well-built, capable, and comfortable. We enjoy the diversity of workouts that iFit provides, and while the app adds cost, the treadmill itself is reasonably priced. The screen size and inability to have a properly functioning workaround are strikes against it, as are the less-than-accurate manufacturing tolerances. With those grievances aired, we found the exercise quality quite good. This treadmill would be a great option if you don't mind a little struggle to assemble, the small display, and the lack of a fan.

What Other Treadmills Should You Consider?


If you want better connectivity and/or a higher top speed, the XTerra Fitness TRX3500 features Bluetooth FTMS and a 12 mph maximum speed. If you're sold on the benefits of iFit workouts, the NordicTrack Commercial 1750 comes with our highest recommendation. The swiveling console and large touchscreen integrate with iFit, allowing you to get lost in the workout without fussing with controls. While it's more expensive, the 1750 can sustain even the most hardcore runners.
nordictrack exp 7i - there's much to like about this treadmill, but maybe not enough to...
There's much to like about this treadmill, but maybe not enough to buy one.
Credit: Joshua Hutchens

Joshua Hutchens
 

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