We really wish brands could think of better names than a set of numbers. Phoenix is a good start - it gives you the impression that you can rise from the ashes of being overweight and unfit, and rise to a healthier fitter person. But what's with the 98900? And we're not sure why they add 'power rower' as it really doesn't appear to be related to this particular model.
But's that enough of us ranting - what about the machine?
As we say so many times when reviewing other budget rowers, you won't get a machine like what you may have sat on in a gym. A commercial model will set you back over a thousand bucks (and many much more than that!) So what do you get for just $250.
This is a magnetic resistance model and offers 5 levels that can be altered by a knob beneath the display. If you've rowed much before, you may find even the hardest setting is not much of a challenge. This doesn't mean you won't get a good workout as the main cardio-vascular benefits come from the activity and not just the resistance. However, it would limit the number of different workouts you can add to your regime.
One of the vital parts of a rowing machine is the seat. You could be sitting on it for up to an hour at a time so it has to be comfortable. Of course, butts come in all shapes and sizes so one seat won't suit everyone. The seat is actually quite comfortable and probably one of the best in the low-cost models we've tried. But there's a problem with the glide. Some of our heavier reviewers found it didn't slide as smoothly as it probably should. It wasn't a deal-breaker, but it took the gloss off their enjoyment. It also suggests a possible breakage at some point.
Now one more thing that we think is wrong - the footrests. We can't recall another machine that has them spread quite so far apart. They may be only 2 or 3 inches wider but it felt wrong to have your feet spread this wide. Perhaps if you've never used a rower you wouldn't notice this, but if you have it could take a while to get used to it.
So what about the warranty?
Again without wanting to repeat ourselves, you wouldn't expect a lifetime warranty on the frame of three on the parts.but this one really doesn't cut it for us. Three months on the parts isn't great but sort of what you'd get at this price - it's the one year on the frame that stinks. Most rowers we've tried in this price range come with at least two years on the frame, some even have three! So this does seem a bit mean - especially when the seat doesn't roll smoothly and it creaks a lot when in use.
See more information on warranties here.
The Console/ Display
A number of users who contacted us said they had issues with the standard of packaging and found parts had been damaged in transit - similar comments are made by reviewers on Amazon. This seems to have been resolved as no purchasers have reported the problem to us since June 2013.
As one owner says below, 'it ain't the best rower in the world', and of course it wouldn't be for the price. But as we've said many times before, it's still a few hundred dollars out of your pocket that you wouldn't want to waste on a piece of junk. This certainly isn't that bad - we have seen worse - but it have its limits.
It's fine if your training goals aren't too ambitious but you'll have to spend more if you want to achieve more. Please see our other recommendations below for a better deal in our view.