1280s Elliptical Interactive Trainer Review

Proform 1280s


  • Length: 6.3' (76 In)
  • Width: 2.5' (31 In)
  • Height: 5.25' (63 In)
  • Weight: 195 Pounds

I would venture to guess that this is one of proform’s largest and heaviest models. At 6.3 feet in length and 195 pounds, it’s a monster. This is a bit of a surprise since proform is know to make smaller elliptical trainers with a small base.

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How does this affect the performance? Well, I can’t say that proform makes the most durable elliptical trainer because they don’t.

However, even if the construction process of this elliptical has improved a little, it should be able to handle it’s user weight a little better. But, if the materials are questionable, as they are with other proform models, it shouldn’t matter.

The thing I like about the size of the proform 1280s elliptical trainer is the fact that it can accommodate taller users. I find elliptical trainers with smaller frames to be way too constricting for the taller individual (over 6'). By using a larger frame and wheel base, it allows more room for longer legs - Provided they have either adjustable peddles and/or longer elliptical stride.

Unfortunately you just can’t pick this elliptical trainer up and move it around since it is pretty bulky. I would say the proform 1280s elliptical trainer is more stationary.

Adjustable resistance/peddles

  • Electronic magnetic variable resistance
  • Resistance levels - Unknown
  • 5 position peddle adjustments

The proform 1280s elliptical trainer uses electromagnetic resistance which is standard on an elliptical trainer over $350. Again, electromagnetic resistance is very quiet and more reliable than a manual resistance.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find out how many resistance levels are associated with the proform 1280s elliptical trainer. It’s funny because proform doesn’t provide you with any of their important specs on their web page like dimensions, construction materials, elliptical stride and product weight. I this is very important information and should be readily available on their sales data.

Of course, this immediately sets off red flags in my head since any reputable elliptical manufacturer will have this information readily available on the web site without you having to hunt down this very important information. I find proform very bad for this. They’re big on pushing the bells and whistles but lack any solid information about the structure and detail of their elliptical trainers. Very questionable.

Fortunately, the proform 1280s comes with 5 position peddle adjustments (see below). I think this is a great idea because you can get so much more from your elliptical workouts. Firstly, it can accommodate most of the users in your family no matter how tall they are.

Also, the proform 1280s elliptical trainer comes with “reflex step” technology. Basically, the peddles on the 1280s elliptical will flex with each step, then returns to its original position all the while lessening the impact of each stride. That is, as you take a stride, the peddle will adjust from one position to another avoiding any over stretching of the ankle area and keep the impact of the exercise down.

Elliptical stride

  • 18" Diameter stride

I do like the elliptical stride. Most elliptical trainers under $1,000 will only have 15" - 16" elliptical strides. By using a limited elliptical stride, the taller individuals will not get the same benefit from a full range of motion as a smaller individual. Longer legs need a longer stride to get the full benefit from an elliptical trainer.

Also, by using adjustable peddles, the elliptical trainer can adjust to the user instead of the user having to try and adjust to the elliptical trainer. This is a big plus for the proform 1280s elliptical trainer. Really, anyone can use this elliptical machine, regardless of how tall or small you since it will conform to user height.

Display/control panel

  • 2 window LCD screen
  • speed
  • time
  • distance
  • calories
  • rpm and other vital statistics

AC adapter included.

The proform 1280s elliptical trainer uses 2 LCD windows for feedback and readout indicators. The windows are on either side of the console. The necessary stats are available and again, proform provides little information with regards to the readouts. What are “other vital statistics”? I’ve tried contacting proform for their “real time” help line and nobody seems to know either. Well, based on the information provided, you get the necessary readouts.

The proform 1280s comes with an ac adapter so you can plug you elliptical machine into the wall and off you go.


  • 12 programs

Again, proform does not give you any information about what kinds of programs are on the 1280s elliptical trainer website. However, after looking at the users manual ($4.50 for the owners manual), I can see that they have the following programs:

• Aerobic plateau - Heart rate program;
• Self select - Heart rate program;
• Weight loss plateau - Smart programs;
• Weight loss progressive - Smart program;
• Weight loss interval - Smart program;
• Aerobic plateau - Smart program;
• Aerobic progressive - Smart program;
• Aerobic interval - Smart program;
• Aerobic long interval - Smart program;
• Performance progressive - Smart program;
• Performance interval - Smart program;
• Performance interval - Smart program.

The programs are ok and should be standard on an elliptical trainer over $500.

There are 2 heart rate controlled programs which allow you to exercise according to your desired heart rate. Basically, the program will automatically vary the resistance levels according to each stage of exercise and will prompt you to vary your pace in order to keep you exercising in your target heart rate.

Simply plug in your age, and put you hands on the hand grips to get your pulse and you can exercise in your target heart rate.

The 1280s elliptical trainer also has smart programs. What does this mean? Well, basically, each program will automatically change the resistance of the peddles and will prompt you to increase or decrease your pace as it guides you through the exercise. A nice feature.

You also get a manual program which you can control the resistance and the ramp angle with a touch of a button. Overall, the proform 1280s elliptical trainer has all the features of a high end elliptical trainer.


  • Made from tubular steel
  • Maximum user weight: 250 pounds

The proform 1280s elliptical trainer is a pretty large elliptical machine. At 195 pounds, it is an elliptical heavy weight. The frame on the 1280s elliptical trainer is large enough to accommodate even the tallest of users and given the actual weight of the proform 1280s it can offset any wobbles at high speeds. However, this all depends on the construction process of the proform 1280s elliptical trainer and from what I can tell, it is questionable.

Still, the frame is large enough for large individuals.

Heart rate monitor

  • No
  • Pulse grips on handle bars

If you need to get your heart rate, simply grip the handle bars and you'll get a reading on the display screen.

Dual action handle bars

  • Yes

Warranty and service

  • 90 day parts
  • 90 day labor
  • 30 day money back guarantee
  • Free shipping from proform

What I do like about proform is the live help. Go to their website, find the live help button on the top menu and simply type in a question and you’ll have an answer on the spot by a live operator.

The warranty is pretty flimsy. Remember, you get what you pay for and the warranty will always reflect what kind of exercise equipment you get. A 90 day warranty doesn't speak highly of a product.

Now, the proform 1280s elliptical trainer comes with a 30 day money back guarantee. According to their return policy, which states:

"We give a 30-day trial period on all products. If you are not satisfied in that time frame, please call 1-866-896-9777 for a return authorization number then just put the product back in the box and take it to your curb. We will pick it up and pay the return shipping. Your order will be refunded for all charges less the initial shipping charge when we receive it at our warehouse."

So, just beware of this very short warranty policy.

Extended warranty is also available. If you are interested in purchasing the proform 1280s elliptical trainer, I would strongly suggest you get the extended warranty. There are 3 extended warranty options, 1 year ($69.95), 2 years ($99.95), or 3 years ($119.95).

Price/cost effectiveness

• $599

For $599, the proform 1280s elliptical trainer is pretty cost effective. There are plenty of fantastic features on this elliptical trainer that you will only find on high end elliptical trainers. I really like the fact that the 1280s elliptical comes with incline technology.

Special features

  • 9 position incline;
  • Reflex step;
  • iFit workouts;
  • Built in interactive disk player - includes 2 discs;
    Cool air fan

Proform is very big on features for their elliptical trainers. The biggest feature for the 1280s elliptical machine is the incline.

To be honest, you won’t find incline technology on any elliptical trainer for under $1,000.

The proform 1280s elliptical trainer has 9 different incline positions for you to choose from. You can actually change the incline position while you are exercising. A very interesting feature to say the least and one that is very attractive for those of you who are looking for something different in an elliptical trainer.

Now, incline positions allow you to work different muscle groups from different angles, therefore varying the degree of stress. For example, on a low setting, you’ll feel like you cross country skiing and on it’s highest level, you’ll feel like your on a stair climber.

With the built in interactive disk player, you can play interactive workout disks right on your console that control your speed, incline or resistance.

A trainer’s voice will come on the disk all the while providing you with energizing music that is supposed to motivate you. However, if you wish to listen to your cd’s instead, simply hit the manual button and plug in your disk. All in all an interesting feature.

iFit workouts are interesting. Basically, this technology allows you to use interactive discs, videos and the internet to control the resistance of your elliptical trainer. From what I can understand, you can use discs (2 are included) with the 1280s elliptical or the patch into the internet.

The proform 1280s elliptical trainer also comes with a fan located in the console. Allows you too cool off while you are working out.

Overall, I think the features are fabulous for the proform 1280s elliptical trainer. I know that proform is very “feature heavy” on a lot of their products but that leaves to question the durability. Proform elliptical machines are not known for their durability and I would guess that it’s not one of proform’s top priorities.

However, if you were to get top durability with this product, the price would not be $599. I guess with proform it’s one or the other (features vs construction). I would recommend the 1280s elliptical trainer if you were to go with at least a one year warranty. It’s got a lot of nice features and the 18 inch elliptical stride is fantastic for this price. You won't find these kinds of features on any other elliptical for under $600.

You can find the proform 1280s elliptical trainer at Proform.com.

All the best,


As the owner of Building Muscle 101, I am committed to providing you the best practical weight training advice. I've been training for over 24 years (and still train to this day!) and the advice and guidance I provide comes directly from my experience and knowledge.

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