Over the years, there have been many Proform treadmill models in the market, ranging from truly great machines to some that are best forgotten about! The Proform brand is the mid-market of the fitness giant, Icon Health & Fitness, the world’s largest fitness equipment manufacturer.
The specs for the Proform Performance 650 on paper got us interested enough to give thismodel a try to see what it’s really like. Why? Simple: it looked like a lot of treadmill for a sub £500 price!
First impressions of the machine were of being pleasantly surprised. This isn’t some feeble, cheap, lightweight machine, but quite a substantial product! We also quite liked the look of it too 🙂
So, is it any good to use?
The deck is a nice and wide 51cm (20 inches in old money) and is 140cm in length (55 inches). This means that it’s big enough for all but the tallest of users to actually run on this treadmill. When it comes to budget treadmills, this is a really important point as most have a narrower, 40cm wide deck and typically a shorter deck length of 120 or 130 cm. Machines with the smaller deck sizes are great for fast walking or slow jogging, but for running comfortably, a deck with the dimensions of the one on the Performance 650 is a real necessity.
Cushioning is also an important characteristic of any treadmill deck and the Proform Performance 650 features “ProResponse” technology. We can confirm that the running deck has quite a nice feel and does provide a good level of impact absorption without feeling too soft under foot.
The controls on the Proform 650 are simple to use with clear buttons. In addition to the expected start, stop, incline and speed adjustment keys, there are 5 quick incline and 5 quick speed buttons that’ll let you instantly set the target speed or incline to your approximate level and then fine tune using the normal adjustment keys.
We were pleasantly surprised to see a 15.4 cm (6″) backlit LCD at the centre of the console (typically budget machines don’t have a nice LCD screen) and this provides all the essential feedback needed in dedicated segments of the screen. Additionally, there’s a 400m (quarter mile) track in the center of the display when the treadmill is being used in manual mode. This is a nice feature as it lets you visually gauge the distance being run in a session where the built-in programmes are taking the controls!
In terms of programmes, it’s a fairly straightforward affair with the 650. There is a selection of 16 preset ones organised into 4 groups of 4 covering calorie burn, time based workouts, distance based workouts and performance ones. These programmes control both the speed and incline.
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For heart rate measurement, there’s the standard pulse grip sensors which, as with all grip sensors found on treadmills, aren’t particularly accurate and also not very convenient to use when you’re actually running on the machine. A big surprise with the Proform 650 is that it has a Polar compatible wireless heart rate receiver built into the console! They don’t include a chest strap, but one of these can be picked up for a low price easily.
When not in use, the running deck can be folded vertically which saves quite a bit of floor space. When folded, the deck locks into place for safety and there’s a soft-drop feature for when putting the deck back down for use. There are transport wheels as well to move the treadmill around. However, moving the machine involves tilting it towards yourself to put the weight on the two wheels and this is a quite a big and heavy machine! So, we’d recommend that you try to find the permanent home for this treadmill and not rely on moving it around for each use.
In terms of warranty should anything go wrong, there is a lifetime frame warranty, 5 years motor warranty and 2 years for other parts and labour. Do remember though, as with all Proform treadmills, you’ll need to register your machine within 4 weeks of purchase to get yourself the 2nd year.