EQUIPMENT REVIEW: I Hate You iFit…?

By ShawzBear

 

Shawzbanner

Being in a single income family of five, and a runner living in the Arctic I dreamed for the day that I could finally trade in my old beaten up Weslo-Cadence treadmill for something newer…and less prone to throwing my hip out.  Last July, I finally had my chance and purchased my dream machine: a Nordic Track Commercial 1750, 3.5 CHP motor, Quadflex belt for my poor old hips and all sorts of bells and whistles…including iFit.

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With iFit I could create and download a world full of Google Map created tracks, allowing me to literally run anywhere in the world and see it too with Street View, and it would even automatically change the elevation as I ran!  I could then see my runs on their well designed website and share with my friends on Facebook, and import and share their maps too.  And I would get a year of this wonderful service free with the purchase of the treadmill.  I couldn’t get them to take my money fast enough.  Every day for the next couple of weeks was like being eight years old again and waiting for that bag of sea monkeys to arrive.  So when it finally arrived you couldn’t get me on that treadmill fast enough!  I quickly created a route on the iFit site and downloaded it to the treadmill and the next thing I knew I was running in Yellowknife…and then New York…and then Winnipeg…(Going to Winnipeg!) I was hooked, and iFit could do no wrong.

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Then one day in November, I got an email from the fine folks at iFit. “So, umm, we got this site update to do…and, um…it’s really cool and stuff…so ummm…yeah, we’re just going ahead and do it, umkay?”  Cool!  My close, personal friends were going to make my iFit experience even better?!?  How could this not be the best thing ever?

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Soooooooooo, long story short, they ruined it.  No, ruined isn’t a strong enough word.  Imagine if everyone you ever loved was bound, gagged, sodomized, forced to watch George Lucas’s rebooted version of the MacGyver series, sodomized again, then flayed and quartered while you were watching.  All while Celine Dion’s greatest hits were playing in the background.  But worse.

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Where to start?  Logging in: something you think might have been caught early in testing.  Nope.  If you did get logged in, how about downloading one of those created runs?  Sorry Billy, not today!  How about sharing a finished run on Facebook?  No, we got rid of that.  This “Facebook” thing is never going to catch on, so we’ve got our own community now to share with.

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And with each new hastily released update, new problems arose.  Sure, you can log in now, but you can’t see your workout history.  Now you can see your workout history, but don’t make any maps bigger than 12 miles or use Street View.  Yes, in the process of fixing some other problem, they had rendered the very feature that drove many people to buy it in the first place.  For most, Street View didn’t work, and for those of us lucky to have it work still, it would crash the treadmill Android console randomly causing it to reboot…stopping the motor.  Now, I need to paint a mental image for you:  I’m roughly 6 foot 2 and 245 pounds, running at approximately 6 miles an hour.  Now picture the belt coming to a sudden stop.  Who in the crowd took high school physics?  This here object in motion tried to stay in motion…right into the front of treadmill…right about junk level…which, while no doubt hilarious to anyone watching, did very little to make me want to continue.

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Complaints poured into the customer support forums.  Cries of “Please, just roll back”,  “When is this getting fixed” and “I DON”T KNOW WHY WE’RE YELLING” were met with canned responses and empty promises.  And over the course of the next 4 months, not much seemed to change.  Some of the major problems have been addressed via workarounds, but there has never been the major update which fixed all of the problems bringing us to this promised land of milk and honey, or even back to where we were before!!  It is pretty much a broken product.

But…

I still love it, I can’t help myself!  Like a puppy that keeps coming back, no matter how often it’s kicked or a Star Wars Fan that keeps going, thinking the next one might not suck.  I just keep coming back.

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I can still create my courses and get a good burn, even if I have to go through a 10 step process to download a map, especially if it’s over 12 miles long.  Sure, I can’t use street view, but I’m typically watching Netflix when I run anyways.  They’ve got a lot of the programs back in the store, and their web site has gotten quite a bit better even if some of the features aren’t working in Firefox.  But hey, who doesn’t love surfing with Chrome anyways, right.  Right?!?  

UPDATE March 29/14:  NEW PATCH HAS COME OUT FOR STREET VIEW IN iFIT.  READ THE REVIEW!!

© 2013 – 2014, Dysfunctional Parrot. All rights reserved. No reproduction of written material is permitted.

ShawzBear

ShawzBear

Underpaid Columnist at DysfunctionalParrot.com
ShawzBear is a 30 something Canadian man just trying to make a buck peddling useless video entertainment to the masses. He is blessed with a wonderful wife and 3 amazing kids and enjoys running, hockey and is a founding member of the 101st Care Bear Fan Club, Alberta Division.
ShawzBear
dp_tip_qrThe workout programs reviewed are the result of your generous if not reluctant support.   If you can, help the DP keep up the fight to stay ahead of the deluge of sell-out reviews on the internet by donating via Bitcoin.  And make it snappy, my Ferrari payment is due.
 
 
  • RustyNail

    Thank goodness you wrote this! I thought everything wrong with iFit lately was just me. I just hope they fix the thing or someone else steps in to make a product that actually WORKS.

  • Linusinutah

    I am a new iFit user. It is hard to believe that even now, in August, the site is only marginally functional. It looks like it was designed and implemented as part of a high school class project. There must have been no legitimate Quality Assurance, nor any Beta Testing performed. There are so many things, even today, that are so poorly implemented, impossible or very difficult to use, that it is hard to believe that anyone at iFit ever used the site. The quality of the site is at least a thirty year throwback. With all the tools, and development experience available today, the site has to be a total embarrassment.

  • Sharon Sangston Degnan

    Wow is it fixed yet? I love the idea and really want one but so many problems, why have they not fixed it yet. who ever said it must have been a high school project nailed it on the head. the inventor took his money and ran and the rookies left over are on spring break.

    shawzbear you cracked me up. so funny. are the issues fixed yet?

    • http://dysfunctionalparrot.com Dysfunctional Parrot

      Shawbear is driving a minivan across Canada right now so I’ll speak for him on this. Last I spoke to him he said iFit continues to get worse and the company has a team of lobotomized monkeys doing the programming. He has all but abandoned the feature on his treadmill. A real shame as it has so much potential.

      On the net it also becomes clear that with each “upgrade”, iFit becomes more and more unstable, leading me to believe the janitor is now in charge of the code.

      • Shawzbear

        Its all sadly true Sharon….after the last update I ended up have to factory default my Nordictrack treadmill, as it got stuck in a install loop! After that, I STILL had the same issues, including the fun one where iFit just goes to white screen and reboots, and I run into the front of the treadmill!

        Reading into the forums of angry fellow users, it doesn’t appear that I’m alone in my frustration either…Street view is still unusable too, making the main selling feature of iFit a non factor. Keeping my eyes open for a good alternative out there!

  • lynnewill

    Thanks for the review. My husband and I were still hoping it was something we were doing wrong but you have now confirmed my deepest fears….that we were taken for a one year subscription. That’s what I get for no doing my homework before the purchase. That having been said, our new Nordic Track Elliptical is pretty sweet.

  • Terry

    You’re freakiin’ hilarious !

  • Ron Thompson

    Tried once again last night to get iFit running. It sort of works now. At least you can download a workout. But, but, even after a full update on my computer it gets stuck in the update loop on the treadmill. It truly was the biggest waste of 100.00 ever. Thanks for the laugh.

    • Shawzbearr

      No problem Ron, I’m in the same boat…my treadmill had the same problem with the last update. I ended up googling the symptom, and found a solution for it, but it involves reinstalling iFit!?!

      The newest update seemed to fix some of the problems…once you fix that update loop…still can’t use street view or it crashes during my run though!

  • pkirill

    Yup. iFit blows. I’ve had it for about two years and just got the notice that my subscription had expired. It hadn’t worked in so long, I forgot I had a membership. Needless to say I will not be giving them any more money. It’s a nice idea very poorly executed by a company that doesn’t care. It would be nice if another company that was actually interested in making a good product could step up. Instead we get iFit who works hard at conning people to sign up so they can pimp their not-free workouts (which actually do work, by the way) and other workout junk.

  • Stacia

    My iFit won’t track by mileage – any help there? It’s stupid calories or other senseless information that I don’t care about; also, any help with how to download real running maps, not just their stupid cosmetic maps of different country runs? I really hate this update too!

    • Shawzbearr

      Hmmn, the mileage I’m not too sure about, depending on the treadmill it’s usually just a tab you can switch between calories and mileage..and on the webpage it should show at the top. Is it not logging miles at all?

      Being able to download 3rd party maps went away after their big update 2 or so years ago…you used to be able to download thousands of different maps. Now, you have your choice of their maps, or you can create your own on their website with google maps. To be fair, I’ve done that a couple of times, and its not TERRIBLE…like the bubonic plague or anything.. ; )

  • grafixgirl75

    I see you mention you watch Netflix while running, I have been trying to do that on mine but it lets me get all the way to picking out the video I want to watch and then gives a message something to the sort that it isnt the correct format, so i tried to download the Netflix app and it makes me sign in to google Play and then says it isnt available. I really want to figure this out if it is possible. Any help would be appreciated.

    • Shawzbearr

      I actually use an external media player, and setup a tv by the treadmill about head height….never tried to set it up on the tablet running iFit itself in the treadmill. My guess is they’ve blocked the ability to install certain apps from the store, as the tablets seem to be a little on the underpowered side…and can barely keep up with iFit! Let me know if you figure it out though!

  • KT

    Crap, I just bought a new treadmill and forked over the hundred bucks for iFit. I really wanted street view.

    • Gonzo

      is there something wrong with the ifit site can’t even log on anymore. Is there a better provider out there ifit is so crap

      • lynette

        I was considering purchasing a treadmill with Ifit ! Oh dear, should I not considering what I have read here……. Advice please before I spend my pennies! I love walking but find with a long term back issue the lovely countryside is to much. Walking on a treadmill with StreetView would have been my next option….. ? So with the Ifit can you still create map routes but you do not see Street View ?

        • http://dysfunctionalparrot.com Dysfunctional Parrot

          Just finished talking with the writer, Mr. Shawzbear and he regretfully says iFit is still iCrap and Streetview is a wonderful concept dashed upon the rocks due to inept programming. Apparently people who get the free 1 year subscription immediately cancel due to the unreliability of the app.

          At that point we both ranted about a class action lawsuit and started kicking his treadmill. It was male bonding at its finest.

          • Shawzbearr

            Sorry for the delay folks…this article was written before I had gravatar set up, and I don’t actually get notice when someone posts…
            After the last update (March 21, 2014) I’m happy…nay elated, that the Street View, at least for my treadmill has started working again! I was so startled, I wrote a follow up article…also hosted by this fine site as well! So I’m cautiously optimistic that the worst is finally over, and it may be worth recommending again…maybe give it a few weeks to see if any other problems pop up…if I find anything I’ll post it as well ;)