I will update this review after some actual use. I purchased the Model E as my research showed undoubtedly that the C2 Model D/E are the leaders in the indoor rower field. I purchased the E for seat height and expecting a little higher build quality than the D. I ordered via Amazon vs C2 direct to control delivery time with scheduled delivery vs UPS leaving it in my driveway whenever they get here. The truck firm was a bit of a challenge to communicate with. But they were friendly, it arrived when they said it would and the box was in good condition. It was well packed and protected.
I have higher end home exercise equipment in a bike, treadmill, and elliptical so I have a standard for “commercial grade”. I think the quality of the unit is a bit oversold in the marketing materials. The E is basically spray painted steel. I have no idea what “high gloss” finish C2 is talking about. It’s as matte as can be. The steel gauge is ok, but not as substantial as I expected vs other equipment I have. Rather thin but the positive is it’s lighter to move around. There is a lot of hard plastic including the fan cover so do not over tighten screws when installing the monitor or there will be a crack in your future. The seat is rather flimsy, rickety and shakey side to side. It has some give in the cushion but not a lot. Just not a solid I’m locked in feeling. If I had to guess what part of this machine was made in China, it’s the seat. The footrests are rickety and rather cheap plastic but I suppose functional enough. One foot strap was twisted under the footrest cover and I had to take the cover off and untwist it. Note to C2 plastic snaps like on dog collars are around for decades so you don’t have unstrap and restrap for every workout. One fan cover screw was loose almost to the point of falling off. The stainless steel monorail was surface scratched and scuffed in an area but not enough for me to ever imagine reboxing this for a return and I don’t believe it will affect the glide. You would think C2 would protect and quality inspect the most expensive part of this machine, the stainless steel monorail. Overall at least minus 1 star as the build quality was not what I expected. Kind of a lot of hard plastic rickety parts is the best I can explain it.
I’ve read about easy assembly and it’s only 8 screws. I’ve assembled many complex things. This isn’t the hardest by far but it wasn’t the easiest. First it’s more than 8 screws. The instructions are awful. There’s a pretty good You Tube video out there. Instructions are only pictures and no words and what seems like 20 languages. Took about a half hour by myself. The good news is it’s one screwdriver for all the bolts. Minus 1 star on the bad instructions, but this not something you’d need to pay someone to do. The less mechanically or physically challenged would find it a lot easier with a buddy to hold things that need to be screwed.
The PM5 monitor though I only checked that it turned on with a couple of rows seems very simple with a gray black display, yet most reviews say this is the best or the others are so much worse. I suppose rowers need to catch up with treadmill and bike displays for reasons I don’t understand. It tells you what you need however in numbers.
Some You Tube reviews say the machine is loud. It is not loud at all. It’s a quiet breeze sound and an AC or a room fan will be louder.
This is my first indoor rower, though I’ve used many club rowers, none of them C2. I will update this review if the workout quality ups it a star or two. The first 30 minute workout I had just to test the machine was very smooth. So without a lot of workout experience yet, this machine has left me a little underwhelmed in build quality vs the hype. I don’t intend to abuse it and I expect it will far outlive me....but it’s just that parts feeling we all have had when you’re putting something together and you say, oh this part is “blank”. The seat and the footrests are unforgivable cheap quality at this price point.
Months ago the manufacturer received this review, privately. They declined to respond.
1. The tech (software, processor, display) age of the PM5 device is around the late 90's, but priced AS IF it had a crisp color display, a decent speed/capacity processor, and a well thought out interface design fronting feature-rich software. The hardware of a current iPad would fit inside a PM5, yet it's less useful than my circa 1980, Seiko LCD watch.
2. To put in generously, the software/USB interaction is unstable. For all practical purposes the PM5 nothing more than a 'dumb' terminal due to its unreliable USB (testing VARIOUS recommended USB's) interaction.
The contrast in engineering priorities between the PM5 and the rower is striking. The rower's high value can not be accidental, therefor neither can be the poor state of the PM5.
I purchased this based on reviews and now wonder if I made a wise decision. It arrived today and I assembled it and worked out 20 minutes. It's a sturdy device and I'm not unhappy about the workout, that much. I wished I had done a little more research. It has resistance levels but the manual controls are placed so that one has to literally get up, adjust and go back to the workout. It's more low-tech than I had expected and again I should have done more research. Another point is that the maximum resistance I didn't find all that challenging, probably because I do weight training and can handle a moderate amount of weight doing seated rows. Anyway I will be using it and I'm not unhappy with my purchase.
(*note: although I own the Model D, I feel qualified to leave this review because the hardware & software and services I'm commenting on are used by both models. Please see my review of the Model D version of this machine.) I want to leave a note here for those considering this machine: the PM5 and the associated software for (ErgData), does not allow you to share any of your workout data with other apps, nor with Apple's HealthKit (or the Android equivalent). The data moves in one direction, from the app to the Concept2 website. So, if you, like ***millions*** of others, use a health tracking app or have a wearable fitness device or use HealthKit or want to connect the workout data from your rower to *anything else* on the planet, you are out of luck. As for build and quality, Concept2 is my favorite workout machine ever. The Concept2 brand should be familiar to anyone who has ever stepped into a gym. They are durable and the customer service is second to none. But if you're purchasing something this expensive you should demand software and connectivity on par with that luxury. (oh, and also, the online web portal and logbook is a throwback to the late 90's and hasn't seen an update in years. It only allows the upload of last season's data from your log card, even if you have a lifetime meters and workouts reaching back three years... which is odd... the card can hold the data, why can't it be uploaded? aaaaaaand, it is difficult to connect to the portal in general. So, there's that.)