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Sole F80 Review: A treadmill for most fitness levels

Sole-F80
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Sole F80

The Sole F80 is a high-end treadmill for commercial and home use. It’s suitable for most fitness levels or training programs. With a size of 60″ x 22″, 12 mph top speed, and up to 12% incline, it can offer everything from casual walks to intense workouts. 

This treadmill has a weight capacity of 350-pound, It has a comfortable Cushion Flex Whisper Deck, and a convenient folding tread surface. It also comes with a 10.1″ Android display, easy-to-use rocker controls, two holders for water bottles, and a wireless charging pad for a smartphone. The 3.5 HP motor provides consistent resistance on the belt, but the incline adjustments feel inadequate. Overall, the Sole was well-built and easy to use, but lacked some of its competitors’ power and immersive technology.

f80 Features

Reasons to buy

  • Large running surface
  • 350 lb weight limit
  • No membership fees
  • Updated console

Reasons to avoid

  • Large footprint
  • Tall folded height
  • Not ideal for shorter runners
  • No Bluetooth FTMS

Performance Comparison

With its solid steel frame and wide belt, it was easy to get cozy and forget you were on a machine. The wide track width and cushioned deck improved the quality of our stride, and the updated hood felt neat and distraction-free. A tablet holder is located above the console in an easy-to-see location for users who benefit from distractions. Sole’s redesigned hood provides a clear view of the tablet and peripheral buttons. However, the buttons are so far forward that interacting with them while running can be difficult, especially for users with limited reach. Compared to the other high-end models, the exercise quality of F80 is good but not outstanding.

This treadmill has enough built-in functionality to function perfectly as an independent unit, without the need for apps or subscriptions. Several pre-programmed workouts, including Hill, Fat Burn, Cardio, Strength, HIIT, 5K, 10K, Custom, HRC, and Fitness Test, are available for instant access and customization. Starting manual workouts is not as quick and easy as it was on the previous model, but the additional steps are not too time-consuming.

User Interface/Ease of Use

The F80’s interface isn’t very user-friendly, but you quickly get used to the software. When compared to some higher-end models, this console feels very basic, but it is not limited. Many of the best treadmills on the market today only require you to use their app while exercising; Sole leaves it up to you. 

If you’re using STUDIO or another fitness app, you’ll have to take a few extra steps to begin your workout, but you can do them while the belt is already turning.

The F80’s hood has large and easy-to-read buttons that help the user get oriented quickly. After a few workouts on this machine, the buttons begin to feel cluttered and redundant. The cross bar has rocker switches that control speed and incline; speed can be adjusted to the tenth of a mile per hour. There are also contact heart rate sensors, but using them while running is awkward because the bar is low and getting your palms on it is difficult.

f80-treadmill-panel

F80 Features

The F80 comes packed with some really useful features. It features water bottle holders, wireless charging and built in fans. A tablet holder sits above the console, where it can be easily seen with a soft gaze. The treadmill connects to apps, classes, and accessories via WiFi and Bluetooth. You can mirror a device to the tablet, allowing you complete control over your desired media. The console features two speakers that provide adequate sound quality. The 10.1″ Android display is bright, with high resolution and excellent touch sensitivity. Two fans positioned below the speakers move air, but only slightly; we found it difficult to direct the airflow toward the runner. A tethered cord connects to the user and serves as an emergency stop in the event that they fall off the treadmill; pulling the cord stops the treadmill much faster than pressing the stop button.

Sole advertise treadmills with incline adjustment ranging from 0 to 15 levels. While this is correct, incline is frequently misunderstood; the 15 levels or positions are not to be confused with the grade or percent incline. The measured incline (0.55 to 6.80) corresponds to a grade of.96% to 11.92% at its height. These measurements are taken with the deck unloaded, as the weight of a runner’s step pushes the deck downward and toward level. This machine’s deck is supported by six elastomers that isolate it from the frame, creating what Sole refers to as the Cushion Flex Whisper Deck, which softens the impact of each footfall.

Ease of Assembly

This treadmill requires assembly and some heavy lifting. The massive 285-pound box arrives via freight, and unless you’ve selected the $199 room-of-choice delivery or the $350 delivery and setup, you’ll need to call a friend or two. The most difficult part of the setup is moving the box to the desired location. A utility knife and diagonal cutters will be very useful.

Once out of the box, you’ll need to remove the bulky packaging. The treadmill deck is assembled and secured with a pin to prevent it from rising during shipment. Wires must be routed through the vertical risers to connect to the console, which is not difficult but does result in several potential pinch points. After completing the assembly, plugging in the machine, and turning it on, it prompts you to lubricate the belt before use. Lubricating the belt with the included silicone lube is simple, but it takes a few minutes, and it is critical to get the belt perfectly aligned afterwards. Assembly was difficult enough that the delivery and setup options seemed very appealing.

Should You Buy the Sole F80?

The F80 is a solid machine with some useful features. The F80 shines for those who don’t want to be tied to an app; it’s not the only treadmill that can be used without an app, but fitness machines with no monthly fees are becoming increasingly difficult to find. We appreciate the freedom of not being tied to a single app, and the entertainment apps help to break up the monotony of fitness classes. 

The machine’s motor and incline adjuster both felt underpowered; getting up to speed and, particularly, making incline adjustments took much longer than expected; as a result, we would not recommend this for HIIT or hill workouts.

The newly updated console is simple to clean and attractive, but it sits so far forward that our smaller testers had trouble interacting with the tablet and quick keys while running. This machine is best suited to taller users with long reach.

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