Varidesk Pro Plus 36£365
I have been intrigued by colleagues and friends using standing desks for a while now. I can see how it might help with posture and the like, that makes sense. But, just how comfortable is it? Well, Varidesk sent me their Pro Plus 36 to find out.
I spend a full working day sat at a desk for my day job. Then, after some food, I’m up in my home office for another 4-5 hours. No matter how good the chairs I use at both desks, this is not going to be great for my body.
In fact, if you follow a similar routine, not only do we have to worry about bad posture when sitting for extended periods of time, but also the fact that we’re more likely to die faster (according to some studies).
Now, a standing desk is a great way to alleviate some of these problems and keep your body active during a long day in the office. The Varidesk Pro Plus 36 can turn almost any standard desk into a height-adjustable standing desk quickly and easily.
Varidesk Pro Plus 36 design
The Pro Plus divides my usual flat surface into two distinct platforms. The top work surface measures 36-inches wide by 12.25-inches. This area provides plenty of space for even the largest monitors. I currently am using the monster AOC AGON AG322QCX 32-inch curved monitor. I have also managed to fit a pair of miniPOD speakers on this tier too. You could utilise this space for two monitors, if that’s more your thing. Also, Varidesk sells a twin monitor bracket should you prefer.
Suspended 3.5-inches beneath this top work surface is a keyboard tray platform that spans the width of the Varidesk. This tray is 14.25-inches deep. So, it has enough space for a full-size keyboard with additional space set aside for a left- or right-handed mouse action.
The work surfaces both feature a stippled, textured finish, and have rounded corners and blunt edges.
Beneath either side of the upper level are little lever handles. Pulling them outwards whilst lifting or lowering the top level activates the Varidesk’s transformation.
Said transformation raises the whole working area up to 14-inches in the air.
The desk sent to me is white and, according to the sticker, it has a max weight capacity of 35lbs (15.88kg).
Varidesk Pro Plus 36 performance
There are a long list of reasons why sitting all day isn’t good for you. Firstly, sitting slows down your metabolism, which can increase your risk of diabetes and heart disease. Additionally, that means you burn fewer calories while you’re hard at work.
A 2013 report from BBC News found that while the average person burns around 50 calories per hour while sitting, that can be increased to around 70 just by standing up for the same period.
Using my basic grasp of maths this means if you work for eight hours, and stand for four of them, you’ll burn an additional 80 calories every day. That’s an extra 400 calories burned every week if you work five days a week. Furthermore, that’s 1,600 calories a month. Over time, this can make a massive difference.
No matter how you look at it, then, sitting too long is likely to kill you quicker somehow. But standing for too long isn’t good for you, either. That’s why you should alternate between sitting and standing throughout your day.
Setting up the Varidesk
I was armed with screwdrivers and cleared a space in preparation. I then opened the carton only to discover that it was ready to go. Has flat-pack furniture got me brainwashed in to thinking everything requires assembling?
Whatever the reason, I was a happy Jay.
All that was left to do was to clear a 36-inch by 24-inch space on my desk. The actual footprint of the Varidesk Pro Plus 36 is 36×29.75-inches but its feet don’t run its full depth.
To transfer from a seated desk position to standing is incredibly easy. All you have to do is simply squeeze the two handles found beneath its top tier and pull.
The whole process takes just three seconds, according to Varidesk. Granted, I haven’t timed it myself, but that sounds about right. A point worth noting if you have minimal space around your desk, as the Varidesk rises, it also comes towards you which means you have to allow a couple of feet extra behind you.
Also, the desk’s spring-loaded mechanism means moving it takes very little effort, even with a huge curved monitor and a pair of not-so-light speakers aboard.
Perhaps more importantly if you’re looking to use a Varidesk in an office, the transition is almost silent. I have seen other transforming desks that are either powered by an electric motor or even hand-cranked, and these could disturb people in the same room as you and your desk. Even the electric versions whir away audibly.
It does take some self-training but it doesn’t take long. I set a timer on my phone to ping every 40 minutes to remind me to stand. Then, after 20 minutes, I’d sit back down again.
It’s not much of a faff and that routine soon became as second-nature as breaking for a brew.
There is a difference
The stiffness I sometimes get across my shoulders has all but gone away. I do sit in a gaming chair with good support but having the standing session does seem to remove some of the muscular stiffness I would get.
Your body does have to get used to your new regime though. My legs did ache a little on occasions during the first week-or-so. Saying that, it did make me move a little bit whilst working.
Good, but could be better
I am enjoying the versatility of the Varidesk, but it hasn’t been a faultless performance.
When I am getting in to what I am typing I tend to hit the keys harder (I’m a trained typist who learned the craft on manual typewriters – yeah, I am *that* old!). This does make the desk shake a bit when extended. Not much, and not enough to cause concern, but it is noticable. That said, as I am 6 foot 2, I do have the desk at its highest setting. It might not have this issue at one of the other 10 levels it can be set at.
Secondly, I would love some cable management incorporated to the Varidesk Pro Plus 36.
With speakers, a microphone, keyboard and mouse, if you’re not careful how you route your cabling you could have issues. I have actually Velcroed most cables out of the way and the power brick for the monitor has been strapped to the Varidesk.
Finally, although there is plenty of room to use a mouse, an extendable leaf would also make a great option.
Varidesk Pro Plus 36 review conclusion
I went in to this review open minded but skeptical as to whether-or-not I’d warm to standing desks. The result is a surprising “this actually isn’t too bad. I’d go as far to say I really like it”.
I have found that working upright isn’t that weird after a while. Although, I have yet to bring erect gaming (stop sniggering at the back!) in to the equation.
In fact, at the day job now, I find it odd to stay seated at my desk after an hour-or-so.
I like that the Varidesk is easy to raise and lower, and that it does this practically silently.
Yes, cable management would be awesome but, on the whole, the Varidesk does many things right. It is also built like a tank.
I will certainly tell other people who are considering a standing desk to check out the Varidesk range, in particular the Pro Plus 36.
Price and availability
The Varidesk Pro Plus 36 is available in white or black direct from their website for £365.
You can also purchase it for the same price from Amazon UK.