As you’ve probably heard by now, sitting too much during your day is bad for your health. To counteract the health problems of sedentary office work, more and more people are turning to standing desks, looking to reap the cardiovascular rewards of an elevated workspace. But unfortunately, the fact of the matter is that standing all day has problems of its own.
The human body (and mind) seems to do best with a combination of standing and sitting, but few of us have the opportunity to enjoy a desk that can actually handle both postures in a comfortable fashion.
That’s where the DVG ActiveDesk comes in.
Sitter Stander Faster Stronger
I’ve been using improvised standing desks at home and in the office for about five years now (built with combinations of crates and boxes to get my keyboard, monitor, and mouse at the proper relative heights. It mostly looks awful, but it works ) but as you can imagine, having a dedicated standing desk is a huge step up. The fact that the DVG ActiveDesk is also capable of going from standing to sitting and back at the touch of a button is like a dream come true.
The ActiveDesk consists of two parts, a frame that’s available in white, black, or grey and a tabletop that comes in a few different colors and styles. The frame is the star of the show here, as that’s the part that actually has the moving parts in it. The frame can be adjusted from a low height of 28 inches to a high of 46 inches, which is a range that covers everything from practically sitting on the floor at the lowest end to a bit too high for me to use comfortably, even though I stand 6’1″.
The ActiveDesk includes a control panel that you attach to the front underside edge of the desk on whichever side you choose. With the control panel you can swiftly, smoothly, and quietly tweak the desk to your exact right height, down to fractions of an inch. You can also program four pre-sets, so you can switch from your perfect standing height back to sitting mode with a single button press.
You probably won’t use all four pre-set buttons if the desk is just for you, but it’s a great option in a shared work environment like an office or at home, where people of different heights can program their own pre-sets.
Showing off the ActiveDesk’s transformation from one pre-set to another was always fun, and those in the office who saw it in action were universally impressed. It’s a smooth and quiet process, and steady enough to not upset a Styrofoam cup of coffee.
You can even keep gaming while the desk is in motion…though your results may vary.
Assembly & Customization
Assembling the frame is fairly simple, and the whole thing came together in about 45 minutes for me, with plenty of breaks. You’ll need a screwdriver for some of the trickiest parts (attaching the tabletop to the frame, for example) so an electric screwdriver will be a big help, if you have that option.
You could conceivably use a different tabletop along with the ActiveDesk frame, though of course if you choose to do that then DVG isn’t responsible for perfect results. Even with the official DVG tabletops you’re simply screwing the frame to the tabletop, though, and the fact that the frame is quite sturdy and can be adjusted to greater widths means it could work well with a wide variety of tabletop options.
If you do go for a custom desktop I wouldn’t go any narrower than 53″ inches width-wise (the width of the standard options) or much deeper than 30″ (the depth of all the DVG options) to ensure stability. If you have a desk surface at home you love that fits those dimensions, though, you might want to try giving it a new lease on life with a ActiveDesk frame.
There’s a bit of customization in the assembly of the ActiveDesk, in that you’re free to attach the power brick and control panel where you want them, within the range of reach of their cords. That’s actually a nice feature, as if you know for certain where you’ll be putting your desk you can put the brick on the side nearest your outlet of choice to minimize cord spaghetti.
That cord spaghetti issue will probably be the biggest annoyance for those that like an orderly workspace. If you plan to use the convertible aspect of the desk you’ll need to allow a fair amount of slack in your cords, and that means it can be a challenge to bind cords into a neat package. The desk frame does come with a nice pack of cable ties to help with this, and you can use these to attach cables to the underside of your desktop, but it’s going to be a bit more work than you might be used to if you want to get your cables in order.
That’s just the price you pay for living the standing desk dream.
Buy this Workspace
Pricing and availability subject to change. Updated 9/2/16.
DVG ActiveDesk frame in grey – $245.00.
DVG ActiveDesk tabletop – $159.00.
Acer Predator gaming laptop – $1,499.00.
Acer Predator X34 gaming monitor – $1,199.99.
Rosewill SP-7260 speakers –$89.99.
Blue Yeti Microphone Blackout Edition – $129.99.
Steelseries Apex M500 keyboard – $99.99.
Steelseries Rival 700 mouse – $99.99.
C-3PO Funko – $10.99.
Note: The original published version of this article referred to the DVG ActiveDesk by the product’s previous name, the Autonomous SmartDesk.