The Smooth Fitness CE 3.6 delivers a smooth, durable ride, but without the ability to incline its usability may decrease as your fitness level improves. Some users complain about poor customer service.
One missing feature. Expert reviewers say the Smooth Fitness CE 3.6 provides a generally smooth, quiet and stable ride. One says it's "built like a rock" and likes the pivoting foot pedals, which are designed to reduce heel impact and minimize foot numbness during long workouts.
The CE 3.6's rear-drive design keeps the user centered on the machine, and the center console controls 16 digital resistance levels through an electromagnetic braking system in which magnets create friction on the flywheel. This system contains few moving parts and is usually found on higher-end elliptical trainers.
One downside of the Smooth CE 3.6 is the lack of incline. An incline ramp allows the user to target different lower-body muscle groups.
For the tall…or maybe short? There's some confusion about what size of user this elliptical is designed for. Reviewers say some features like the handlebars and center console are better suited for those who are taller; however, its 18-inch, non-adjustable stride length is relatively short. Fred Waters of Fitness-Equipment-Source.com suggests this stride for exercisers who are 5'10" and shorter.
Even so, the center console and the features it controls receive decent reviews. The CE 3.6's blue backlit LCD shows speed, time, distance, heart rate, calories and resistance level. It features 10 programs, including a heart-rate interactive program, and heart rate can be measured via the moving handlebars or through the included chest-strap heart monitor. Nine user IDs are included on the center console.
The Smooth CE 3.6 has two speakers on the sides of the console plus an adjustable three-speed fan, which users call above average in quality. The console has an iPod dock rather than an MP3 plug-in system. Volume is conveniently controlled on the console.
Unanimously solid. In addition to the electromagnetic braking system, Smooth uses a roller-less design with sealed, self-aligning bearings to create a durable and smooth stride action. While user reviews vary on other topics, consumers and experts agree that the CE 3.6 is a solid machine. Waters says, "I'm not sure there is another elliptical at this price, which is as solid and stable." The CE 3.6 can accommodate users of up 300 pounds.
Inconsistent help, but a long warranty. Smooth Fitness provides a lifetime frame warranty plus five years for parts and two years for labor. However, owner reviews of Smooth's customer service are iffy, with several calling the company unresponsive. One user says she never received any form of order confirmation or the product for weeks, and an Amazon.com poster says he has waitied for a refund for months, yet keeps getting assured it will arrive within days.
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Review Credibility: Excellent This review contains input from rigorous expert testing as well as consumers. Ratings are based on ergonomics, construction, exercise range, heart rate features, ease of use and user safety, and are available only to subscribers.
Review: Ellipticals: Smooth CE 3.6, Editors and Contributors to ConsumerReports.org, August 2012
Review Credibility: Very Good Although this review is brief, TreadmillDoctor.com editors rigorously test the products they review, including disassembling each machine. They rate each elliptical on adjustability, reliability, noise level, value, warranty, quality and ergonomics. Here the CE 3.6 gets an overall score of 6.15 out of 10 points.
Review: Smooth CE 3.6 Elliptical Review, Editors of TreadmillDoctor.com, October 2012
Review Credibility: Very Good As a former vice president at Smooth Fitness, Waters is knowledgeable and thorough. Here he tests and reviews many elliptical trainers, covering all aspects of the machines. He rates the CE 3.6 highly, selecting it as a runner-up to his Best Buy.
Review: Smooth CE 3.6 Elliptical Trainer Rating & Review, Fred Waters, October 2012
Review Credibility: Good The 25-plus user reviews of the Smooth CE 3.6 on Amazon.com vary in detail, but all come from personal experience and use. Overall, the machine gets a score of 4 stars out of 5.
Review: Customer Reviews: Smooth Fitness CE 3.6 Elliptical Trainer, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of November 2012