Welcome to the future of fitness. The NordicTrack Vault is the brand’s latest play in the connected and interactive training space—a mirror that hides a large HD touchscreen, on which users can stream a wide range of interactive video workouts. Loaded inside the Vault (if you purchase the “Complete” version) you’ll have all the essentials needed to complete workouts in a range of categories, including strength, yoga, recovery/mobility/stretching, and HIIT workout types. The unit stands 6-feet tall, and its display screen opens and swivels away, revealing its internal storage space. The price gap between the two variants is $1,000 ($2,999 for Complete, and $1,999 for standalone), which is a pretty big gap, and only truly justifiable if you have no interest or ability to track down dumbbells, resistance bands, and other items on your own.
The question for many at this point is really “why are we here?”, and it’s a fair one. The at-home workout space was evolving rapidly even before the pandemic struck, and now so many are left seeking new workout solutions that brands big and small are jumping in to fill the void left by commercial gyms. Interactive training has been a part of the cardio ethos for a good while now, so the idea of applying that same logic path to other workout types isn’t that much of a stretch. After all, anyone who lived through the ’80s and ’90s will no doubt remember the days of video/VHS/DVD home workouts. In many respects you can consider this trend to be an extension of that phenomenon.
The why is all well and good, but what about the what? It’s why we’re here, after all. With the purchase of a NordicTrack Vault comes a year’s subscription to iFit. Through iFit, users will be able to access a growing library of Vault-specific workout classes in the aforementioned categories. At present the count is 158 classes, but much like the rest of the iFit library it will continue to grow over time. The Vault faces a fair volume of competition, so we’re really looking forward to a proper hands-on test down the road. For now what we can expect is a high quality level in terms of motivating workouts, though the Vault falls a little flat when it comes to workout metrics.
The NordicTrack Vault is bluetooth capable, meaning you’ll be able to track your heart rate using an existing monitor (purchased separately), but beyond that it seems you’re really left to self-manage when it comes to pacing and form while following along with workouts. This is an area where things like Tempo Fit—the Vault’s closest competitor—take the lead. You see, Tempo Fit, Mirror, and other competitive products have built in cameras that use AI to provide the user feedback on their pace, as well as guidance regarding form. When it comes to strength training this sort of feedback is crucial, especially for those who are new to lifting weights. Incorrect form can lead to all sorts of training injuries, so when using the Vault, users need to be paying very close attention to what the instructor is doing and how they’re lifting.
What We Like:
- Personal Trainer Alternative: Not everyone has the ability to get to their local gym and work out with a personal trainer on a regular basis. The Vault’s workouts won’t be as personalized and directed as working with a personal trainer, but it’s a good middle ground for the cost of a standard gym membership.
- Compact Design: Unlike other home workout equipment, the Vault is quite compact, standing just over six feet tall, and occupying a 24.25″ x 14″ footprint.
- Built-in Storage: Further to its compact dimensions, the frame also acts as a storage closet for all of your workout gear. This really helps the Vault stand as a practical workout solution for those living in apartments/smaller spaces.
- Highly Motivational Workouts: NordicTrack relies on a network of well-respected professional trainers who do a fantastic job of motivating participants. This has been a hallmark of iFit since day one, and one that carries forward onto the new Vault.
- Full Package Deal: When purchased as the “Vault Complete”, users won’t have to shop around for dumbbells, resistance bands, yoga blocks, or other items. Anything you need for Vault training sessions is included in the package.
- Build-your-own Option: For those who are looking to save some cash, or those who already have some workout equipment at home, the “Vault Standalone” option saves you a grand and comes as just the unit without additional equipment.
What We Don’t Like:
- Price: Call it like it is, even in bare bones form the Vault is expensive. Granted, it comes with a proper warranty, but an unloaded Vault is as expensive as a Tempo Fit unit that comes fully loaded with weights. It’s also nearly double the price of Mirror—the other big player in this new category.
- No Form Monitoring: This seems like a big missing link here, as most other fitness mirror units out there have some means of monitoring and alerting you if you’re not following the training session correctly.
We will have to examine this further once the Vault is in the open market (deliveries are expected later on in February 2021), but for now our initial review leaves us with some questions. How does the training play out with limited feedback? Does the content quality and warranty justify the higher price of entry over its competitors? As it stands, we have some doubts, but we’ll know more soon enough.