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Product Review: The Varidesk Pro Standing Desk

The Varidesk, from Coppell-based Gemmy Industries
The Varidesk, from Coppell-based Gemmy Industries

As has been mentioned earlier, I use a standing desk at work. Partly I do it because sitting is horrible for your health. If you want to die, go ahead and keep sitting. Me, I want to live. So I clack away at my computer while doing a very boring dance with something called the Kangaroo, manufactured by Ergo Desktop. Is it working? I’m typing this, aren’t I? Still on the right side of the turf, buddy! (For now.)

All of which I offer by way of a setup to a tale about the odd delivery I received yesterday at work. The receptionist told me I had a delivery. (Which reminds me. We have an immediate opening for a new receptionist. Our lovely Monica is moving to Canada for some mysterious reason.) Anyway, at the front desk I was greeted by a box almost big enough to contain the Big Hoss. In it, I found one (1) Varidesk Pro, manufactured by a Coppell concern called Gemmy Industries. Why had Gemmy sent me this fine piece of ergonomic furniture with a retail value of $300? No idea. The box contained no letter of introduction. Just a sales order packing list. Maybe I bought the thing late at night, drunk on Belgian beer, and I didn’t remember the transaction. But I don’t think so.

After fiddling with the Varidesk a bit, I summoned our IT support engineer and sometime dining correspondent slash photographer, Matthew Shelley. I said, “Hey, weren’t you asking me about my standing desk?” He said, “Yeah.” I said, “Want this?” And he carted off the Varidesk to his IT lair. Today, Matthew wrote the following review of the Varidesk:

Matthew Shelley standing at his Varidesk, feeling strong and robust
Matthew Shelley standing at his Varidesk, feeling strong and robust

I feel strong and robust while standing and working. My self-importance is escalating by the hour. I just turned around and looked at Jonathan [his assistant] sitting in his chair, helping a new employee add her email to her phone, and I thought, “Pfft, what meager duty is this he performs? I tower over such puny endeavors with my height and presence. I think I shall bite someone for pleasure.” I need to start attending more meetings and command my priorities and initiatives from a similar pulpit.

Now for the details. I love the desktop space of this contraption. There’s room for my tea, cashews, keyboard, mouse, 5×6 framed artwork and a stack of software. It’s the perfect height at full extension for my wrists to sit ergonomically on the keyboard. The ease of moving it up and down is also quite swell. Unfortunately, I cannot move in between sitting and standing because the rear of the stand at full height is already pressed to the back of my corner desk. I would have to pull the monitor forward, lower it, and then move the monitor back. Who the fuck has time for that? Speaking of the monitor, the surface height is too low for proper viewing. I am using two monitor stands hitting around 8 inches to get my eye line in proper position. Also, the monitor needs to be shoved backward almost to the point of falling off to be at a distance I’m comfortable with.

All in all, I would give it 4.5 stars out of 7. It’s spacious, attractive, and sturdy. The only negatives are the lack of monitor stand and depth. With the proper additions, this will be staying with me through all that is to come.

I echo Matthew’s sentiments. While my Kangaroo, compared to the Varidesk, looks like something I built in my garage, the Kangaroo’s desk height and monitor height can be adjusted independently. This is especially important if you use a tiny laptop, as I do.

Back to work, people. Remember to get off your bottoms whenever and however possible.

The somewhat janky-looking Kangaroo, with its tiny but necessary support leg under the desk and an adjustable monitor surface
The somewhat janky-looking Kangaroo, with its tiny but necessary support leg under the desk and an adjustable monitor surface

5 comments on “Product Review: The Varidesk Pro Standing Desk

  1. Tim great review, but I would like to offer an additional couple of options for people that are are 5’11″ or shorter.

    The rule of thumb for anyone that does not want to experience pain while working is to sit & type in an “L” shape (Feet flat on the ground or footrest, and be able to line the top of your keyboard with your elbow.

    Most contract furniture workstations are between 28″ & 30″ off the floor. The sit stand retro fit products you reviewed all add at least an inch because they rest on the top workstation. To give you an idea, a 6′ person seated would comfortably type at a 29.5″ height a 5’2″ person would be at about 23″ typing level, thus a 30″ or 31″ typing surface would be tragic.

    Two of our most popular solutions offer a much larger variance in height adjustment to server a larger community. Both of these products are used by Fortune 25 companies as well as 5 person companies and home users:

    Best Solutions for the Price: http://www.ergoprise.com/s2s-height-adjustable-standing-desk
    Best Retro Solution. As you can see the keyboard tray goes below the desk top: http://www.ergoprise.com/workfit-a-with-suspended-keyboard-single-hd

    Hope this helps a bit.

    Thanks.

    Peter

  2. Actually no proof standing desks help: From http://abcnews.go.com/Health/rise-jury-health-benefits-standing-desks/story?id=20882446

    Marc Hamilton, a professor of inactivity physiology at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La., has led numerous studies that demonstrate the health dangers of sloth. He said there is little doubt that long periods of sitting carries health risks, but he has never seen evidence directly linking the use of standing or moving desks to improved health.

    “It’s a creative idea, but it’s not been scientifically proven,” he said. “As of now, there’s really no research to show they do any good.”

    Hamilton doesn’t believe there’s any harm in using a standing desk but suspects it would supply borderline health benefits at best. He doubts whether it would cause the small muscles throughout the body to contract often enough to change the bad biochemistry that arises from too little movement.

  3. “As of now, there’s really no research to show they do any good.” – and might I add , as you noted, that there is also no evidence to show they do any harm. Sitting has been proven to be bad. We know this. And all I know is that my posture is better, my neck doesn’t hurt, and sometimes I am on the verge of a sweat. As much as I try to have good posture in my chair, i just can’t keep it up for long. (bait offered)

    I also find myself lifting off my heels to relieve strain on my knees which in turn gets my calves pumping. Dunking a basketball is not far off.

    Try it out. If it doesn’t work for you, don’t use it. Apart from what Hamilton “suspects,” that’s the only way to find out for yourself.

  4. Varidesk is useless. No work space once you set your keyboard and mouse to work. I don’t know if standing harms or helps, but I can’t sit, so stuck with standing. Returning a Varidesk costs more in the end than just giving it away. I’ll try to sell it, but should that fail I’ll offer it as a donation to a true masochist. This is an awful unit for real work. This unit, as a matter of fact, might prove harmful to those who try to use it. Sorry, but that’s my opinion because it has already started carpel tunnel syndrome and I’ve never had that before. Understand that all photos shown online to represent this as a roomy platform have been manipulated. That space does NOT exist.