NordicTrack S50 Treadmill Review

NordicTrack has been manufacturing treadmills with impressive features at surprisignly low prices for a long time. In the last few years in particular their range of running machines has grown to almost epic proportions with something for just about every kind of runner out there. We took at look at their S50 model to see how it compares with what’s available out there at the moment. Here’s what we found….

Assembly the S50 is very much the standard affair you get with many treadmills with nothing complex needing to be done, though you’ll definitely need two people for the job. The instructions are clear with good diagrams to go with them at each step and for the most part the assembly of our test model went well. However, there was a pinch point when attaching the metallic arms, where the use of a power tool (Shhhh you are NOT EVER supposed to use one of those to build a treadmill!) was in fact the only way to get the job done. This is likely to have been unique to our particular unit but it was simply not possible using even a high quality screwdriver with a proper handle on it and a defined point, to get those fixing screws to turn more than a few turns at which point they stuck solid! In the end a cordless hand drill came to the rescue and drove home the offending screws (one on each side). The good news is that we can report they both held fast, just as they should, so problematic as they were to drive home, once seated gave no trouble and did their job properly. The rest of the treadmill, as expected, went together without a hitch.

Once built, the S50 has a very functional look about it but without being ugly. A combination of simple lines and a basic colour-scheme prevent it from standing out too much which is no bad thing considering it’s rather large 202cm x 90cm (79.5″ x 35.4″) footprint. The upside of that large footprint is a large running area but while the running deck on the S50 can’t be considered small at 51cm x 152cm (20″ x 60″), it’s not as wide as we’ve seen other models in and around this size and price range, though the length is about as long as you’ll find on any domestic treadmill.

The running belt is driven by an ample 3.5 horsepower motor up to a max speedof 13.7mph (22.kph) and even on the 12% maximum incline level, that motor doesn’t sound like it’s breaking much of a sweat, while at lower speeds and incline levels it sounds positively relaxed about the task in hand. The overal noise levels are pretty good though the decision to use 1.9” diameter front and rear rollers does mean that it’s not quite as quiet as it might be had NordicTrack used the larger more commercial type rollers they employ on other models in the current range that are similarly priced.

Overall the run that the S50 delivers is solid and comfortable, made much the better thanks to the ability to adjust the stiffness of the cushioning system thanks to NordicTrack’s FlexSelect™ cushioning system. Adjusting the cushioning to settings that suit you is quick and easy so that if two people regularly use the machine but prefer different settings, this shouldn’t present a problem.

While the top speed of 22kph (13.7mph) is a match for most other models in this bracket, the top incline of 12% is lower than that available on some direct competitor models which feature steeper incline settings. That being said 12% is steep enough for most would-be users of this machine and it’s cetainly enough to tire out even fit runners pretty quickly.

The console on the S50 features a 10” full-colour touch-screen display which does a good job of enabling easy navigation through the various menus and a great job of relaying your training data. That being said, we did find the particular console on our test model a little bit less than slick to use and not as responsive as we’ve come to expect, with the odd temporary hang for a couple of seconds before actioning requests. We suspect this slightly bitty experience would be cured with a higher specc’d internal processor but overall while it’s not as smooth as it might be, it’s not at all bad and certainly does a superior job to a traditional console user interface. Sensibly NordicTrack has opted to ensure that physical buttons to control the machine mid-run remain so the familiar Start and Stop buttons take centre stage and one-touch access keys for speed and incline settings also remain making quick selections mid-run a whole lot easier than trying to press a virtual button on a screen.

Training data including pace, heart rate, speed, incline , vertical gain, vertical loss, time remaining, elapsed time, calories burned, calories per hour and distance are all easy to see and read in the middle of a workout and there’s also a classic virtual running track representing 400m (1/4 mile). There are no ‘classic’ built-in programmes here but rather all workouts are stored in the cloud so you’ll need an internet connection to access them. Manual workouts are still available without an internet connection but really a good strong WiFi connection is a must for this model to get the most out of it. Once you’ve set up the wireless internet connection you get access to 50+ video workouts from the cloud and a daily updated map-based workout .

In addition the S50 also comes with a free 1year Family iFit membership included in the price. As an iFit subscriber you get the ability to map out your own custom running routes on Google Maps, access to a huge library of hundreds of high-definition workout videos led by professional personal trainers, the chance to participate in online races against other iFit members and personalised advice for nutrition, exercise routines and sleep schedules. The touchscreen display intuitive to use, if not the fastest, and navigating around, for the most part, can be done without referring to the user manual. Is it perfect? Definitely not, but most people already have a WiFi connection and can live with the odd software update at the occasionally awkward moment, in return for the iFit experience.

Other features include included chest strap for use with the built-in wireless receiver, 3.5mm music port for iPod®/mp3 player, dual 2-inch speakers that do a pretty decent job, a tablet holder shelf, accessory tray, and dual water bottle holder. The S50 also comes with NordicTrack’s lifetime frame, 10 years motor, 2 years parts and labour (must register within 28 days of purchase to get 2nd year of coverage)

Best Price

The NordicTrack S50 is not currently available from any retailers we're aware of in the UK.
It may be worth looking for a used machine on ebay

Review Summary - In Brief

The S50 treadmill from NordicTrack is really impressive in certain ways and slightly less so in others when viewed as a premium machine. The inlcuded iFit Family membership is very impressive, as is the comfort of the run that it delivers. But the console performance isn't the slickest we've seen and if you don't have a strong WiFi signal this can lead to the things taking a while to load before you can continue. The deck is a joy to run on, but not as wide as it might be. The incline is steep, but not as steep as it might me. So this is a mixed treadmill when viewed through the lense of expectations concerning a high-end running machine. It's a solid choice without ever being an amazing one. So, if you're shopping at the premium end of the home treadmill market we'd suggest taking a look at the Proform Pro 5000 which has a larger motor, a steeper 15% incline as well as a -3% decline function and also enjoys the benefit of larger rollers and a truly premium 55cm wide running deck. The Pro 5000 is also on offer at the moment making it superb value for money despite the higher price tag.

NordicTrack S50 Specifications

  • 3.5 CHP motor
  • 0–22kph speed range (0-13.7mph) with One-Touch™ speed controls
  • 0-15% incline range with One-Touch™ incline controls
  • 51cm (20.1”) x 152cm (60”) running area
  •  1.9” precision machined and balanced non-flex rollers
  • FlexDeck® shock absorption system
  • Space saver folding design with easy-lift assist
  • 10” LCD full colour touchscreen display
  • 33 programmes (Wi-Fi connection required)
  • Heart Rate Measurement via hand pulse grips or chest strap (not included)
  • Extras: family iFit subscription membership (1 year) included, dual 2-inch speakers
  • Dimensions in use (L x W x H): 202cm (79.5”) x 91cm (35.8”) x 157cm (61.8”)
  • Dimensions folded (L x W x H): 107cm (42.1″) x 91cm (35.8″) x 181cm (71.3″)
  • Max. User Weight: 125kg (275.6lbs)
  • Product Weight: 97kg (213.9lbs)
  • Mains powered
  • Warranty: Lifetime frame, 10 years motor, 2 years parts and labour (must register within 28 days of purchase to get 2nd year of coverage)

NordicTrack S50 Treadmill - Console / Display Unit

NordicTrack S50 Treadmill - User Reviews

The Pros

  • iFit Family membership included
  • Lots of ways to stay entertained
  • Adjustable cushioning that provides a comfortable run
  • Solid construction

The Cons

  • Good WiFi connection is a must
  • All programmes accessed from the cloud only
  • Rollers relatively small for machine in this price bracket
  • Running deck width not as wide as to be found on similar models
NordicTrack S50 Treadmill Reviewer Ratings

Power - 8
Appearance - 8
Running Area - 8.5
Comfort - 8.5
Reliability - 8
Noise - 7.5
Ease Of Use - 8
Controls - 8.5
Warranty - 8.5
Value for Money - 6
Best Price

The NordicTrack S50 is not currently available from any retailers we're aware of in the UK.
It may be worth looking for a used machine on ebay

Also see our Treadmill Comparison Table

Whilst every effort is made to give you accurate information we cannot guarantee the technical specification. Models change on a regular basis and may differ slightly from the above review. We recommend you contact the retailer if you have a question regarding technical data. Please read our Legal Disclaimer

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