The SMART Pro 12.9 elliptical, along with its big brother, the Pro 16.9, were recently updated, and represent the top end of ProForm's offerings. With a web-enabled touch screen, easy assembly and iFit technology, this one's sure to be a big seller for the company.
The ProForm SMART Pro 12.9 has a 7" full color touch screen with a built in web browser for surfing the internet. You can also see your distance, time, calories burned, resistance, heart rate and more.
Let's take a closer look at the specs...
UPDATE: As of early 2021 the Pro 12.9 has been discontinued and replaced by the all new ProForm Pro E14. Check out our review of that new model.
The current Pro Series consists of the Pro 12.9, which replaced the 12.0, as well as the base Pro 9.9 and the top end Pro 16.9 elliptical.
The Pro 12.9 comes with a 7" touch screen, which is the only real difference between it and the Pro 16.9. That model comes with a larger 10" touch screen.
(Note that the base Pro 9.9 has a backlit display with no touch capability.)
Other than that, they share many of the same features. There is iFit built into the machine which gives you access to personal trainer designed workout programs on top of the 35 included with the machine.
You also get Google map integration to virtually train anywhere in the world. You can watch the maps on your elliptical or on your tablet, and it's as if you are actually training there which is a very cool feature.
There's a 20" adjustable stride which is ample for all users and up to 20 degrees of incline to vary your workouts and target different muscle groups.
You can measure your heart rate in two ways: the EKG grip pulse or the included wireless chest strap for more accuracy. That way you can always be in the ideal zone.
You get SMR magnetic resistance which is smooth and quiet, plus commercial-grade steel construction.
What separates the Pro series ellipticals from the rest of the lineup are the heavier flywheels and sturdier construction. So you're getting a much higher quality machine.
As such you are getting much better warranties as well, with an impressive lifetime frame, 6 years parts and 3 years labor...something you don't typically find even on pricier elliptical trainers.
The Pro Series is as good as it gets when it comes to the ProForm ellipticals, as these are their top of the line models. They are built of sturdier materials, their heavy flywheels translate to smoother, quieter motion and they have better warranties than all of the others.
Let's take a brief look at all of the machines to see how the ProForm Pro 12.9 elliptical compares to the rest...
The entry level machines are the Hybrid Trainers, and these are half elliptical and half recumbent exercise bike. These are for very basic use and you can't really compare them to the traditional ellipticals in the lineup.
Moving up you have the CSE Series, which are different from the rest as they feature a folding, rear drive design as opposed to the non-folding, front drive design of the other ellipticals. They're called Smart Striders, although the short 18" stride may not be comfortable for taller individuals.
You then have the Endurance Series ellipticals, which are basically less advanced versions of the Pro Series machines. The front drive 520E, 720E and 920E have 19" strides, up to 20 degrees of incline, up to 24 resistance levels, up to 25 lb. flywheels and max user weights of 325 lbs.
At the top of the line, as we mentioned above, is the Pro Series, consisting of the entry level Pro 9.9, the midrange Pro 12.9 and the higher end Pro 16.9.
Here is an overview of all three Pro Series ellipticals so you can see how the ProForm SMART Pro 12.9 stacks up...
ProForm Pro 9.9 - the base model comes with a 21" stride, multi-position hand grips, up to 10 degrees of incline, 24 resistance levels, 28 lb. flywheel, a max user weight of 350 lbs., 32 built in workouts, free wireless chest strap and a 6" backlit display.
ProForm SMART Pro 12.9 - the mid-level model comes with a 20" stride, up to 20 degrees of incline, 26 resistance levels, 32 lb. flywheel, a max user weight of 350 lbs., 35 built in workouts, free wireless chest strap and a 7" full color touch screen display.
ProForm SMART Pro 16.9 - the top-end elliptical gives you all of the features of the Pro 12.9 with a larger 10" touch screen, a higher max weight of 375 lbs. and the most extensive warranty of all.
So as you can see the only machine that is more advanced than the ProForm Pro 12.9 elliptical is the 16.9. Otherwise, it has more resistance levels, a heavier flywheel and more workout programs than any of the other trainers the company offers.
The Pro 12.9 is definitely one of our favorites in the lineup, and if you have the budget for it then you should definitely consider it.
As you saw above, the jump from the base 9.9 to the 12.9 is quite substantial, as there are improvements in all of the most important areas. But the jump from the 12.9 to the 16.9 isn't as significant.
You do get a larger touch screen and a higher max weight, but you don't necessarily need that. The 7" screen on the ProForm Pro 12.9 is perfectly fine, especially considering that most ellipticals in this proce range don't even have a touch screen option.
The only reason not to opt for one of the Pro Series models is if it's simply not in your budget. Or if the machine is not going to see heavy usage, you might not need one of the more advanced models.
If this is the case, then look at the Endurance Series if you like the front drive design, or the CSE Smart Striders if you like the rear drive design and the ability to fold up your machine.
Both of those Series will save you around $500 or so, and you're not sacrificing too much in terms of features and capabilities.
So if you;re leaning towards the Pro 12.9, by all means go for it. If you're a little hesitant and you need to spend less than $1000, consider one of the Endurance or CSE ellipticals.
At around $1299 or so when it's on sale, the Pro 12.9 is a very good buy as it gives you all of the features you want and need in a sturdy, quiet machine.
You have 35 different workouts, 26 resistance levels, up to 20 degrees of incline, plus iFit technology which gives you Google maps, tracking and even more workout options.
Add to that internet, iPod compatibility, a workout fan and tablet/water bottle holder, and you have just about everything you could ask for in an elliptical machine.
If you want a larger touch screen display and a heavier max weight capacity, look at the top of the line Pro 16.9 elliptical. And if you need to save a little money, or just want a more basic model, look at the Endurance machines or one of the Smart Striders.
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