What We Like
If you are searching for a method to tone and strengthen your abdominal muscles without breaking your back exercising, then you have come to the right place.
I have recently bought and tried the popular
- 1 How does it work?
- 2 Does it really work?
- 3 How much does it cost?
- 4 How often should you use it?
- 5 Flex Belt Vs Slender Tone
- 6 Flex Belt
- 7 Slendertone Ab Belt 6
- 8 How long will it take before I can expect to see results?
- 9 Does it hurt?
- 10 Is it Safe?
- 11 Pros and Cons
- 12 Pros
- 13 Cons
- 14 Using the Flex Belt
- 15 Who can benefit?
- 16 Programs
- 17 Does The Flex Belt Burn Belly Fat
Number of intensity levels
- 19 Gel Pads
- 20 Will it Fit My Waist Size
- 21 Battery and Charging
- 22 What You Get in the Box
- 23 Accessories
- 24 Customer Reviews
- 25 Warranty
- 26 Final Thoughts
How does it work?
The new specialist Flex Belt is the product of more than 30 years of research into electrical muscle stimulating (EMS) technology.
This Belt is a portable device which is mounted on your abdomen and works by sending electrical impulses through the nerves and to your brain to activate the muscles and get them contracting and relaxing, effectively training your muscles as if you were doing abdominal crunches or similar exercises.
The brain normally controls the muscles and tells them what to do, but this Belt helps generate deep electric muscle stimulations contractions and train your abs without breaking a sweat.
It contains electrodes which stimulate the brain and medical-grade Gel Pads which go over your abdomen, ensuring a comfortable fit and relaxing exercise.
Does it really work?
There have been many hoax abdomen Belts appearing on the internet over the last few years. The Flex Belt however, is the only product of its kind to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as it conforms to the Medical Device Directive (93/42/EEC) requirements.
There are also countless positive reviews out there which show that it is genuine and that it really works. The fact that celebrities such as Lisa Rinna, Denise Richards and Jerry Rice endorse the flex belt it is yet further proof that this is a quality product which does a great job in helping you tone and tighten those abdomen muscles.
While my opinion may not count as much as that of a celebrity, I can tell you that I am more than pleased with the gadget – I have been using it for 8 weeks now and I can say it has already done a lot in giving shape and definition to my abs!
But aside from the thousands of positive flex belt reviews and celebrities who support the product, by far the most compelling comes from of Dr John Porcari, Professor in Exercise and Sports Science and Program Director of the Clinical Exercise Physiology program at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse.
Dr Porcari is an avid supporter of the Flex Belt system and for very good reason. In 2005, Dr Porcari et al, conducted a study on the effects of self-administered neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) which was published in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine.
They observed changes in strength, endurance and body measures among participants’ perceived satisfaction using the NMES belt.
Remarkably, the study showed that males and females had significant improvements in their scores at the 4-Week and 8-Week testing points for both the Shape Evaluation and Body Satisfaction Scales. All participants in the muscle stimulation group reported they felt their midsections were more "toned" and "firmed" as a result of using the ab belt system.
In their wrap up of the results the authors concluded: “This study found that the use of the Slendertone FLEXTM belt significantly increased abdominal strength and endurance, decreased waist girth, and improved self-perceived abdominal firmness and tone. The results probably can be attributed to the strength of the electrically induced muscle contractions made possible by the quality of the electrodes utilized, as well as the stimulator itself.”
The results of the study provide a glowing report card on the effectiveness and remember this was back in 2005, long before the new and improved model appeared on the market. I’ll have more to say about that in a moment.
How much does it cost?
The device comes with pretty much everything you need to start abdominal toning, but you should know that the Gel Pads that go over your abdomen last for about 30 sessions. You can get replacement Pads for as low as 15 dollars these days – which isn’t a bad investment for a month’s worth of exercising without any effort.
How often should you use it?
Experts recommend that you use the it for 30 minutes each day over the course of the first four weeks or so. While you may think that you don’t have that amount of time each day, you should consider that this is a comfortable and flexible Belt that fits comfortably on your waist without hindering your movements in any way.
You can wear it and activate it at your desired intensity, which ranges from 1 to 150, and still go about many of your daily activities.
You can even use it while doing other exercise such as walking outdoors or on a treadmill. To get the most out of your new device, aim to use it 5 times a week for the first 4 weeks of use and then 2 to 3 times a week for maintenance.
I used to wear it while preparing breakfast, doing chores around the home such as washing the dishes and sweeping the floor, and even sitting on the couch. The great thing about its comfortable design is that this Belt is perfect to use at any time of day, so even if you come home tired from work, you can simply strap on and operate it for half an hour or so while you relax watching TV or listen to your favorite music.
Flex Belt Vs Slender Tone
There has been a lot of controversy lately about whether the Slendertone Ab Belt is better than the Flex Belt or vice-versa. I’ll try to solve the dispute by saying that in fact, the Flex Belt is actually a newer model and an improvement over the Slendertone Ab Belt.
It also has several enhancements over the Slendertone Ab belt. Where the Slendertone comes with only one size, the Flex Belt includes extensions to accommodate larger waist sizes. Also the Slendertone Ab’s battery pack, which is builtin and is not rechargeable. Whereas the Flex Belt has an external battery pack which is rechargeable.
The Flex Belt is also slightly more expensive than the Slendertone Ab Belt, although the difference in price is usually no more than 50 dollars.
It comes with an external rechargeable battery pack and 150 intensity levels compared to the 100 levels that the Slendertone Ab Belt range has.
With the Flex Belt and the Slendertone, you get a 2 year warranty, so in my opinion the Flex Belt offers a lot more than the Slendertone Ab Belt in many aspects while costing just a little more than its older counterpart.
How long will it take before I can expect to see results?
The advertisements say that you should see results after 4 to 8 weeks of exercising. To be honest I started to see my abs becoming more toned and defined after 3 weeks or so, and in 5 weeks I was barely able to get away from the mirror, heh! It sure worked for me, and I have read many other positive reviews on amazon from people saying that they started to feel their abdomen get stronger and more toned after 4 to 6 weeks.
You can expect to develop a firm abdomen even sooner if you have less fat around the waistline. However, no matter how you are built, 30 minutes worth of exercising each day should give you the results you hope for in as little as one month or little more.
You need to consider the fact that you also need to maintain your results by using it 2 or 3 times per week thereafter.
If you want to get that soft and round abdomen to look great and feel stronger but you don’t want to sweat for two hours per day at the gym, then this is exactly what you need. For about 200 dollars, you get the chance to work those abs wonderfully while going about your daily routine. What more could you wish for?
Does it hurt?
No, it does not hurt. Most users report a mild pulsing sensation which causes the ab muscles to tighten and then relax again. So really, it just feels like how your ab muscles normally feel when you contract and relax them.
Is it Safe?
I can appreciate why people might have concerns about safety when considering to buy the product. This too was one of my main queries when I was weighing to buy an EMS device. The short answer to whether or not it is safe is, yes it is safe and suitable for use by healthy adults.
You’ll find an entire section of important safety information in the Instruction Manual you receive with your new product. Here it lists a number of contraindications, warnings and precautions, which include situations where readers are advised about their suitability and readiness for using the Belt.
The manual outlines when and why some people should not use the Belt and explains situations when others should delay its use, such as women after childbirth or anyone recovering from injury.
As with embarking on any type of strenuous physical activity and exercise, buyers with any health concerns are advised to get their doctor’s permission before using it.
There are two things that instilled confidence in me about the safety of the abdominal toning belt just prior to deciding to buy it. First, as I mentioned earlier, it conforms to requirements of the Medical Device Directive (93/42/EEC) and second, it has the FDA’s seal of approval with clearance as a class II medical device for sales direct to US consumers.
Therefore, we can know the device is safe as it complies with the FDA’s regulatory requirements and safety standards, and that it has satisfied the agency that it can be used safely and effectively in the home.
Furthermore, the beauty of it is that it gives you control over the intensity levels and options to manually set training programs suited to your current level of fitness.
With programs from beginner to intermediate to advanced, it Belt allows you to start at a very low level of intensity (referred to as a ‘light training level’ in the manual) before gradually building up to higher intensity levels as your abdominals firm and strengthen.
It’s just like starting a fitness program; you start light and slow at the beginning and work your way up as your fitness level increases, thereby reducing any risk of injury from overdoing it. The beginner toning program is the default setting when you switch the unit on for the first time so there’s no need to worry about it being set too high and risk strain or injury to your muscles.
Each program includes warm up and warm down phases to ensure your muscles are prepared for the main session before relaxing your muscles as the session finishes. I find these warmup and warm down phases really help me when using it as I do when warming up and cooling down from any type of rigorous physical exercise.
Pros and Cons
There are pros and cons to just about everything we buy and indeed it is no different for this product. We weigh the advantages and disadvantages to something we’re interested in and then make an informed decision on whether or not to buy it. It’s good and sensible practise especially when we are parting with our hard-earned money.
Here I hope to offer you some insight into the pros and cons of the ems system after 8 weeks of personal use with the device and hopefully take much of the guesswork out of it for you.
The first thing I can positively say is that while there are pros and cons to this toning belt there are far more advantages to it than not when it comes to the convenience, design and benefits of the product. Below is a list of the pros and cons I’ve found given my use and experience with it.
- It comes with a 60-day money back guarantee. If you’re not completely satisfied with the results you can return the product within 60 days for a full refund of the product price, less shipping and handling. It’s a guarantee that provides peace of mind when considering buying the product and it gives plenty of time to test if it really works for you.
- The portability of the device makes regular use each day easy. I often use it when I’m relaxing and watching television, working at the computer, doing house chores or when I’m pottering about the house.
- It’s very simple to use. I’m not particularly tech savvy so I was thankful for the clear and concise instructions that came with it as it helped a newbie like me get started like a breeze. After I charged the battery, I was able to comfortably strap the Belt to my waist and have it working and toning my abdominals within just a few minutes.
- Works all the major abdominal muscles at the same time. The device is the perfect, time-saving solution for complete abdominal tightening and toning that includes your oblique muscles. No need to work the lower, upper, left and right sides of the midsection. It works the entire abdominal region at the same time!
- Eliminates back and neck strain. Conventional stomach exercises can be a pain in the butt – quite literally. That’s because for many people, movements such as sit ups and crunches can be cause for back strain and/or neck tension. With this device though, you give your abs a complete workout without ever having to perform these exercises.
- Great features and strong user control. It is packed with many great features, so much so that you’re literally spoilt for choice. With a generous 10 built-in training programs and 150 intensity levels, there’s an effective workout for everyone at any level, from the novice to the pro. Once you strap on the Belt you are put in the pilot’s seat with a user friendly handheld controller unit.
- Delivers fast and effective results. The Flex Belt works and you should see results in a matter of weeks, not months. The results are not only fast but effective when using the Belt as directed. It not only firms and tones your abdominals; it helps to feel great while it strengthens your core which is good for your posture, balance and stability.
- The cost of is higher compared with alternative abdominal Belts. This may be an issue for the price sensitive shopper but it’s worth noting that it is still a lot cheaper than paying for a gym membership. Besides it is by far at the top-of-the-line of products available on the market so the extra expense is very well worth it.
- Having to replace the Gel Pads could be considered a drawback with some users. Even with proper care the medical-grade Gel Pads are apparently effective for approximately 30 sessions. However, I have been able to extend their life for longer by taking good care of them. In fact I’ve only had to replace them once so far in 8 weeks of use. My advice from personal experience is carefully follow the instructions on how to use and handle the Pads, and make sure you clean them regularly with a sanitizer and place the covers back on them after each and every session. This will help keep your adhesive durable and in good condition for many more uses to give you maximum mileage on your investment.
- The Flex Belt is not a weight loss product. I hesitate to mention this is a con as there is no claim for it to be a weight loss tool. It will give you tight and toned abdominal muscles but remember to lose excess weight and reduce body fat involves adhering to a reduced-calorie diet plan together with some aerobic exercise.
As you can see, there a few things I can find fault with and have little to complain about it. Everything considered, I really only have good words to say about this nicely designed, nifty ab toner. Seriously, and to the point, the machine is simply the easy way to building some awesome abs!
Using the Flex Belt
While the Flex Belt is straightforward and easy to operate it’s important to know how to use it effectively for maximum results.
First, when you receive the product read the instructions carefully and ensure you assemble it correctly before using it for the first time.
You’ll need to charge the battery by inserting the charger into an electric outlet and then connect it to the unit. You may need to be patient as charge time can take up to 3 hours but I’m sure mine was ready in about 2 and a half hours flat.
Next, connect the unit to the Belt by clicking them together at the unit connector. Finally, remove the covers from the patterned side of the Gel Pads and place them on the Belt, with the large single Pad placed in the centre and the two smaller Pads at each side. Note the waist sizes to ensure they are positioned in the right location for your body.
Once the Belt is assembled, it’s important you position it on your waist with the Pads pressed firm on your skin. Make sure it fits snug and secure so it doesn’t move about when in use. If you followed the starting instructions as directed, you’re now ready to begin.
So to start, press the on/off button and hold it until the unit is switched on. Select the program you want to use by pressing the program button. Then, by pressing the intensity buttons, begin to increase the intensity levels for both the left and right side until you feel your muscles begin to pulsate and contract.
Note the intensity level displayed on the screen. If it doesn’t feel intense enough, then simply shuffle through the levels until you find an intensity you’re comfortable using.
If the intensity feels too strong, then decrease it until you are at a comfortable level. Once you feel you’ve reached the right level, you can lock that in through activating the keylock function by pressing and holding the information (i) button. You can deactivate the keylock function at any time you like, again by holding the information button for a count of two.
To get the most out of your device, the Instruction Manual recommends you follow a 30 day plan where you use the Belt 5 times a week for the first 4 weeks and record your highest intensity level achieved during each workout. This plan gives your ab muscles a full 2 days rest each week to allow them to recover. From there, you only need to it 2 to 3 times per week to maintain your results.
I got to admit my first use was a reality check when I saw my maximum intensity level I achieved. While it wasn’t too bad I thought I was a lot stronger. I knew then and there I had a long way to go. But now looking back, I can see my progress has been frankly quite remarkable.
Who can benefit?
Any healthy adult can benefit using the device. I know as I have already experienced the benefits of using it over the past 8 weeks. It would be especially beneficial for those with mobility issues or those with back or neck pain from doing conventional abdominal exercise – noting the Instruction Manual strongly advises such people and anyone else recovering from injury to get their doctor’s clearance before using the device.
Dr John Porcari, who I mentioned earlier in this review, a leading expert in exercise physiology, explained in a short video posted on YouTube why he thinks the Flex Belt is widely beneficial.
“I think the Flex Belt would be beneficial for a wide variety of fitness levels. If you take people who are unfit, who are not use to exercising, well they can use the Flex Belt and see results very, very rapidly. I think it runs the gamut for people who are even highly fit because with the range of intensity on the Flex Belt going all the way up to 150, that’s going to challenge even the most fit person…. I think even people with low back pain or people who can’t do curl ups or abdominal work, will have a tremendous benefit from using the Flex Belt.”
Other people who would benefit from using the Flex Belt are people who haven’t finances to get a gym membership or attend a gym regularly. Parents with young children and busy lifestyles would get a lot from using the Flex Belt around the home.
If traveling to a health club or going outdoors is not practical then the portable Flex Belt is the convenient home-based solution for you.
You can get as much if not more benefit as regular strenuous abdominal exercise from using the Belt in the comfort of your own home. All you need to do is place the Pads on the Belt, strap it to your waist, turn on the unit and be using it in just a couple of minutes.
One of the standout features is its 10 built-in toning programs. These programs are customised for people at just about every level of fitness, from the novice to the advanced and pro. So users can select the exercise program according to their current level of development and fitness and experience an abdominal workout that is both challenging and comfortable.
One of the key highlights is its design to create muscle confusion to continually shock the muscle into growing stronger. This is a very important exercise science that athletes pay big dollars to expert trainers and coaches to achieve. So what is muscle confusion? It is simply the practice of changing up training routines, programs and exercises to keep the muscle groups from adapting to the stimulus and hitting a training plateau.
But you don’t have to worry about complex training methods of continuous muscle overload or paying for expensive coaching to achieve muscle confusion training because it is all built into the system for you with its range and variety of programs.
Dr John Porcari, in his comments, explains the importance and benefits of the muscle confusion technique created by the different programs:
“In the field we call that muscle confusion because if you lift weights or do any exercise program and you do the same overload stimulus time and time again your body’s going to get use to it and tends to plateau.
By constantly changing your workout routine it’s gonna maximise the benefits because your body always has to adapt to a change in stimulus. That’s what’s nice about the Flex Belt and the different programs is that you’re always challenging the muscle in a different fashion so your body never gets use to one workout all the time. It never gets bored, it’s always adapting and always changing."
The 10 toning programs provide not only variety for each and every session of your abdominal workout, but effective powerful stimuli for fast results toward building core strength and totally awesome abs!
Does The Flex Belt Burn Belly Fat
The short and straight answer is no. It is not designed to be a weight loss aid. Electronic ab toners are designed to strengthen your stomach muscle and not to burn fat.
To get the best results you should looked to do some cardio exercise and watch what you are eating if you are carry excess body fat.
Number of intensity levels
The 150 levels of intensity is one of the most popular features and key reason for so many positive customer reviews. I love the option of being able to adjust the your workout with ease by using the handheld unit controller, or set it at my desired level with the keylock function.
As I explained earlier, if you find the levels of intensity feel either too weak or strong, then use the controller buttons to increase or decrease the intensity until you are at a comfortable level. Then activate the keylock function to lock in that intensity level. With so many levels you can fine-tune the intensity to customize your workout according to your comfort level and tolerance. But to achieve best results, make sure you endeavor to raise the intensity levels a little higher each session.
While your abs shouldn’t be strained to the point you’re feeling uncomfortable or experiencing excessive post-exercise muscle soreness, it should be sufficiently challenging in order to stimulate the muscles, which will fast-track your progress to toned and tight abs.
It comes with medical grade, high quality Pads which transmit electrical impulses to your abdominal muscles and external obliques. The role these play in the performance can’t be overstated. As Dr John Porcari explains:
“We’ve tried other abdominal muscle stimulation devices and the thing I liked about the Flex Belt was right away when you put it on you can feel that you’re getting powerful muscular contractions but it’s comfortable to use. Look at a lot of products on the market. You just can’t get a very strong abdominal contraction because the electrodes are so poor and the stimulator is so poor. The Flex Belt provides very powerful contractions in a comfortable fashion.”
This is why it is so important you care for the Gel Pads by keeping them clean and properly put away in their cases after every session. This will not only prolong their life by taking thorough care of them, but will ensure you maximise your results when using it and save you a few coin in the process.
Will it Fit My Waist Size
Probably one of the more innovative enhancements to the ergonomically designed Flex Belt is its design to accommodate larger waist sizes. This is a highly important and useful feature as it is essential the Pads cover the midsection in the right locations to ensure the transmitted impulses are targeting all the abdominal and external oblique muscles.
The three belt size ranges are as follows:
Small – For waist sizes 24” to 31” / 61 to 79 cm
Medium – For waist sizes 32” to 40” / 81 to 102 cm
Large – For waist sizes 41” to 47” / 104 to 119 cm
The options to position the Pads and extend the size means people with larger waist sizes can equally benefit from using the device.
The beauty of the extendable Belt is that it is suitable for both men and women and allows people of varying waist size to position the Gel Pads at the front of the abdomen and oblique muscles, so when you’re using the device you’re contracting all the muscles at the centre and sides of your midsection simultaneously.
This is a benefit of multiples for users as it not only works all the abdominal muscles together, it saves you lots of time, sweat and effort!
Battery and Charging
There’s just so many new and improved features to the Flex Belt that absolutely nothing has been left undone in the design to provide the best user experience and convenience. Unlike many other products on the market, it has a rechargeable
I’ve found that I only need to charge the battery after every three or four sessions. And I’m pleased to report that even after 8 weeks of regular use the battery is still performing strong! Of course having a rechargeable power pack means you won’t have the nuisance and expense of having to frequently replace flat batteries. Furthermore, for added convenience, the rechargeable controller fits nicely in the palm of your hand or if you prefer, you can place it securely into the pouch on the Belt.
What You Get in the Box
Your box contents should include the following parts:
Belt: This is your ergonomically designed and portable Belt that fits comfortably on your waist. According to the Manual, the Belt is designed for both men and women and fits waist sizes from 24 inches (61 cm) to 47 inches (104 cm).
Controller Unit: The handheld, rechargeable electronic controller unit which measures 2.3 by 4.7 inches fits nicely into the palm of your hand or in the pocket on the Belt.
Unit Connector: This connects the Controller Unit to the Belt.
Battery Charger: You will need to plug the battery charger into both an electrical outlet and to the controller unit to charge it and power the Belt.
Instruction Manual: This is your detailed guide to setting up and using the Flex Belt. Users should read the Manual through thoroughly to get acquainted with its functions and programs, and the important safety information it includes.
Quick Start Guide: This is an additional guide to help you get started using the device. While the guide provides very brief and clear setup instructions to get started easily and quickly I’d encourage you read the Instruction Manual before using the device for the first time.
Flex belt mini
The flex belt mini is an addon that you can buy that targets the glute muscle (bottom). You need to have the controller for the flex belt in order to us the flex mini so you cannot purchase it as a standalone product
The flex arm is another addon you can purchase that targets the major muscles in the arm the biceps and triceps. You also need the main controller to be able to use this addon.
There are countless positive customer reviews you can read through on the amazon site, and there’s also a number of negative reviews. I’ve actually read through some of the negative reviews as well and was sorry to read about the issues some customers found with the Belt as it hasn’t been my experience at all.
For example, some user reviews say that it didn’t quite work as well as they expected for losing weight. As I mentioned previously in my review, it is not a weight reduction tool. You can’t expect to see your new toned and tight abs if you carry too much body fat and a thick cushion around your midsection. Layers of fat will reduce the visibility of abs even when they are well developed.
So remember that a reduced-calorie diet and regular aerobic exercise is what will help you to lose weight if you need to, and you can do this in your home - even while using your Flex Belt. It’s also important to include healthy foods in your diet, such as fresh fruit, vegetables, lean meats and whole grain foods.
Even fitness enthusiasts and athletes with highly developed abs built through strenuous exercise need to keep their body weight in reasonable check or otherwise see their abs fade beneath increasing layers of fat.
Another common complaint I read
If you still have second thoughts or any concerns about buying it, then your mind can be put at ease with the company’s generous 2-year warranty.
You can read more about the terms of the warranty at the company’s official website. Here is what it states in part:
“This very fair warranty covers defects in manufacture that arise from correct use of the product in accordance with the product manual and instructions. In the unlikely event that a problem should occur, please call us for return information.”
Thereafter you’ll find listed the company’s contact details including their US toll free and international phone numbers.
So what this means is if you have any issue or problem with the Flex Built within 2 years of your purchase, they will offer to either repair the belt for you or provide you with a replacement.
And also don’t forget the it comes with that no questions asked 60-day money back guarantee I discussed earlier in my review.
So you can have peace of mind and assurance that any risk you may perceive with your purchase is covered by both the company-backed guarantee and warranty!
As I said at the beginning of my flex belt review, I have been using the product for 8 weeks at this time of writing. I am so excited by the results I’ve seen so far that I couldn’t help but to share my experiences in detail.
One of my main aims is to give you detailed information based on my own knowledge and use to help you make an informed decision on whether the product is for you. I hope I’ve achieved that.
When I received my product I was delighted to see what came with my purchase. The Belt, Sticky Pads, System Controller, and Charger are all high quality products and the Instruction Manual and Guide are very helpful with getting started using the device. In my opinion the company really does strive to provide excellent customer service and satisfaction.
I found setting it up and preparing for my first workout relatively straightforward. I only had to wait for the battery to reach full charge and then I was on my way.
I ensure to maintain the battery charge so when I’m ready for my next workout, all I need to do is take the covers off the Pads, place them on the Belt, wrap it to my waist and I am working my abs within a couple of minutes.
I find the it very easy to use. Its light weight and portable and I can use it just about everywhere, at any time of the day or night, around the home while going about my usual routine. I often use it while sitting on the couch watching television or while working on my computer. Provided it is fitted snug and secure to my waist, the Flex Belt is very comfortable and versatile.
Yes the price is a little higher than other products on the market. But this is because it is really in a class of its own when it comes to quality, comfort and delivering fast and effective results.
It’s really only the Gel Pads that have ongoing costs. I’ve seen them reasonably priced at $15-$20 for the set of three Pads. Remember that if you take good care of them they can last longer than the recommended 30 uses before replacing them. You’ll also find that once you have reached your desired goal, you won’t need to replace the Pads anywhere as often as you’ll only be using the Belt for 2 to 3 times a week to maintain your results.
Finally, don’t forget the company’s generous 2-year warranty period and