You may not have heard, but apparently sitting is the new smoking. Sitting all day will give you heart disease, cramps, and pimples. Well, not quite, but it certainly seems that as in many things, variety is the key to success, and it’s not wise to sit (or stand) for an entire day, but you should instead mix it up. As a largely desk-bound tech worker, the solution is clearly to find some way to lift my large heavy Mac up and down to let me stand at least some of the time. Does the Varidesk deliver? Find out in the next five words: solid, functional, simple, varied, quality.
No screws, no nails: just put it on the desk and it stays put.
The Varidesk is a heavy, heavy beast. Even though it sits entirely on top of a regular desk, it weighs quite a bit, and if you’re looking at a standing desk because you have some level of back problems, you’ll definitely want a friend to help you lift this 20 kg+ monster onto your desk. Once there, it just sits there. It doesn’t move, it doesn’t wobble or creak. It feels reliable, and I trust it with the large, heavy Retina-screen iMac I’ve placed on it.
To move, squeeze the handles on each side, then lift up or push down.
This part is quite easy—does it do what it claims? Yes it does. To move from one position to another, you reach around under the top platform, pull both handles up, then move the entire unit up or down. It’s sprung, and while it doesn’t exactly glide effortlessly, it doesn’t require too much muscle. When you release the handles, it more or less stays where it is, but a nudge will move it again. For stability, you can (and should) push up or down to find one of several notches where it will stay firmly put. There are plenty, and it’s not hard to find a good spot.
A large area for keyboard and mouse, space for everything else.
One reason the Varidesk appeals is that it’s got no motorized parts, and it works with my existing desk. It’s black, works with the vast majority of office-style furniture, and can easily be moved to a future desk. I can also leave peripherals that don’t need to move—like hard drives and audio interfaces—on the regular non-movable desktop. It’s easy to manage, quick to adjust, and there’s little to go wrong.
Go for a Pro model if you want a comfortable amount of space for a larger keyboard.
The Varidesk range consists of the Single, Single Plus, Pro, Pro Plus, and Pro Plus 48. Essentially, the Single and Single Plus take one monitor, while the Pro and Pro Plus take two. The Plus models have two levels of surfaces, the higher one for the monitors and the lower for your keyboard and mouse. The non-Plus models have one single workplace which doesn’t go as low as the desk, so your input devices sit at desk level when low, and with your monitor(s) when high. Finally, the Pro Plus 48 bears a heavier load (~20 kg) than the other models (~15 kg).
I went for the Varidesk Pro Plus: Plus because I wanted the ergonomics of a constantly split-level keyboard, and Pro because I wanted the extra width on the lower platform for my full-size wired keyboard. No regrets, and the extra space on top is welcome too.
Nothing unexpected underneath—nothing loose or messy.
Certainly, it looks and feels like a quality product. There’s no assembly required, just (with help) put it on your desk, remove the packing materials, and load it up. After a few weeks of use, there are no loose components, worn patches, or regrets. The lower platform doesn’t wobble, and is big enough to fit a graphics tablet or musical keyboard when I’m feeling extra creative.
Sitting or standing—it works well.
The Varidesk ticks several boxes I was looking for in a standing desk. It works with my existing and future office furniture, it accommodates my gloriously outsized iMac and keyboard with room to spare, and there was a generous, shipping-included return policy offered. I won’t be needing it—this desk lets me sit, stand and switch between the two as often as my body needs. Recommended.
Varidesk Pro Plus: US $350