Right now I’m sitting on my backside. Some years ago, when I was at school, I somehow chose a profession which would involve me sitting down for many hours on end. It’s not healthy. It’s not good for you.
My fitness band keeps telling me off. It gives me a friendly little vibrate every now and then, informing me that I should perhaps get up and move around. Trouble is, I can’t do that too often else I’d never get anything done.
This is where Varidesk comes in. They sell a wide range of height adjustable working solutions for your desk or your cubicle. They also do compact standing desks too, which are great for laptops and tablets. They look a little like small ironing boards on your desk and start at £150.
In addition to all that, there’s height adjustable chairs, monitor arms and anti-fatigue mats.
In this review we’re going to have a look at the Exec 40 – a sturdy and solid rising desk designed for taller users. If you’re 6’1″ or taller, this is for you. There’s also a cheaper ProPlus desk which will suit everyone else and you can choose from a 30, 36 or 48 inch model. Those are £365. The one we’re reviewing here is £495.
Yes, that is a lot. While the price sinks in, I should also make clear that these aren’t full desks in the traditional sense of the word. They don’t have four legs and you don’t sit them on the floor. No. Instead, you put them on your existing desk.
This one here needs a proper office desk. If you’ve got one of those curvy corner desks then you’d be better looking at a Cube Corner desk instead. This one, however, needs a decent and full-sized office desk to sit on. Why? Well, because it’s big, it’s heavy and … did I say it was big?
The bottom part, sitting on your desk, is 65cm deep. If your desk isn’t that deep then you need to look at another product. It’s also just a bit wider than a metre, so check the width too.
The weight? Well, let me put it this way. You’ll need two people to carry this thing and place it on your desk. At 43.1 kg it’s not advisable to try lifting it yourself. Yes, 43.1 kg.
OK, so now I’ve got the weight, the dimensions and the price out of the way – I’ll excuse most of these things by saying that it’s immensely solid and planted. I honestly thought it would topple over and the sheer thought of putting two monitors, keyboards, mice and laptops on this thing filled me with dread. I hoped to find some sort of clamp in the box to hook it onto my desk but, truth is, it really doesn’t need one.
That hugely hefty 43.1 kg weight means that it supports 15.8 kg of kit, so you can put two monitors on this, laptops and lots of other bits.
You can see how I’ve laid things out here but you have the ability to adjust as you see fit – there’s more than enough surface space for multiple monitors, papers, mouse pads, notepads and other accessories.
The lower keyboard tray slides out and fits a full-size keyboard and mouse with plenty of room to spare.
The spring mechanism on the side works like a dream – you simply put both hands into the slots on the side of the upper tray to release the locking mechanism. This lets you select one of nine positions so that you get just the right height. It works brilliantly at making the once-hefty weight of the unit (and everything on it) simply glide up and down. It’s a really nice, smooth motion and you can transition without any worries from the sitting to standing position very easily.
Setting up isn’t a problem, it’s ready to go – no installation required. You can easily tie your monitor, keyboard and other cables back – just ensure that you have enough slack in your cabling and definitely setup your desk while the unit is in it’s fully “up” position so that you know that those cables are the right length.
The slide-out lower deck is something that I really liked – it meant that when the unit was up, your keyboard came close to your body, making working easier.
I really liked the standing position. As well as daydreaming that I was Fatboy Slim, it gave me a strange energy and extra freedom. Plus, of course, it meant that I could do a bit o dancing while I listened to music on my headphones.
Indeed, Varidesk are so confident you’ll feel the benefits that they offer a a full refund and free return if you aren’t happy after trying it for 30 days.
For more information, head to Varidesk.com on that. Overall though, I have to say that it’s extremely well made, immensely solid, perfectly designed and really easy to move up and down with that spring-assisted lift. Yes, they’re well over £350 (and £495 for this particular model), but they’re incredibly well thought out and you can totally trust them.
It means you can move around more, work in a flexible way and become more active too. I also strangely became a little more productive whilst using it.