We read and watched elliptical reviews for about a month before making this purchase. Budget-wise we knew we didn't want a flimsy less-than-$180 one, and wasn't going to spend over $1k for the heavy duty ones, so this Schwinn one was right for us.
Setup was easy enough with the straightforward instructions, you just have to measure or eyeball the alignment on your own as the instructions aren't so specific about that. We took our time putting it together and at times I assembled myself as a woman alone, sometimes my husband would assemble by himself alone, and we finished the assembly together. All the metal-on-metal moving parts are pre-greased so that's a nice touch. There's also an included bottle of machine oil that I recommend using as well after assembly. I imagine it's the same as sewing machine oil or fax machine oil.
As for the ride, it's pretty much plug-and-play after you perform the balance calibrations outlined in the instruction book. It does feel 'tighter' than the Life Fitness or Fitness Reality ones you might be used to using at the gym, but the stride and quality of workout is excellent. The tightness may also be due to the newness of the machine, and it'll take a few miles on it before it feels smooth.
The iPad/ tablet stand is pretty cool and it has an included audio cable that you can use to attach to the built-in speakers to watch your videos during your workouts, which I really like.
Just a few minor cons: The data panel a little old-timey and reminiscent of one of those old plastic-y Casio keyboards from the 90s but it's still functional. The heart rate contacts on the stationary grips have a hard time reading your body's data; we still haven't actually gotten the heart rate to display the whole week we've been using this machine, and we're certain we correctly attached the connectors haha but I wear a fitbit anyway which is more accurate so I'm not so concerned if the heart rate doesn't appear on the machine itself.