The Fitness Reality 1000 rowing machine is one of the latest models to embrace technology, namely Bluetooth. A growing number of rowers and home fitness equipment now come with connectivity to online apps and programs that help you track your progress. As of the date of this review (May 2019), as far as we know this is the lowest priced machine to have this feature.
But before we get onto the tech stuff, what about the nuts and bolts?
The Fitness Reality takes about 30-40 minutes to assemble and requires minimal DIY skills and know-how. It's pretty good build quality for a budget machine and feels quite stable. The rowing position is comfortable with a good-sized seat, wide and well-padded handle and a sloped beam that's not too low for getting on and off. One big plus for this model is the length of the beam which makes it suitable for users of up to 6' 6" which its rail inseam of 39" - roughly your inside leg length.
The footrests are wide and have a thick velcro band that should hold even the largest feet in position while you row your heart out!
This is a magnetic resistance rower and is very quiet. So if you're in an apartment, or using it in a small space, the noise really isn't going to cause any problems, unlike some of the air rowers out there. It has 14 levels of resistance that are selected using the knob under the monitor - see photo on the right. We've had reports that some users found little difference between levels 1 and 14, but we had no such issue with ours so this suggests some models may have a fault.
This model can be stored vertically and comes with wheels at the front so you can, fold it, tilt it up and roll out of the way when you're done.
Fitness Reality make a big play on how you can use this rower for additional exercises. The design allows you can stand in front of the machine and use the handle for bicep curls, tricep extensions etc. But to be honest, I do know one person who uses equipment this way as it's better with a couple of small dumbbells. And this is a pretty good rowing machine, so just use it to row :0)
With Bluetooth you get a nicely laid out color display with more information - see photo on the right. If you have a chest strap you can use track your heart rate (note, this doesn't come with a strap). It's still a little limited, but it's early days and we're sure more features will be added soon. Still a nice touch, though.
The Fitness Reality 1000 is a good value rowing machine. It's reasonably well-made, has a long beam making it suitable for the tall rower (not many in this price range have a longer pull.) Yes it may have a basic monitor, but the Bluetooth app makes up for this and gives it the edge over much of the competition under $300.
If you're on a budget, this is well worth considering.