A sturdy introduction to standing desks, but size is a limiting factor
Strong - holds up to 16kg
Pre-assembled - no tools needed
Can hold multiple displays and peripherals
Not suitable for all desk or office sizes
Favours wireless peripherals
Dimensions: 91.5cm (W) x 75.5cm (D) x 11.5cm (H)
11 height settings
Standing is the new sitting - or so the walk-to-work evangelists would have everyone believe. You might not be convinced, but there are plenty of websites and studies touting the health benefits: from weight loss to better posture (they don't (yet) take into account the fact that standing up in an office of sitters makes you look like the loser in a game of musical chairs).
That being said, we were sent the new white version of the Varidesk ProPlus 36 to review and, being the intrepid types whose armchair is definitely not their most valued possession, we decided to give it a shot.
Varidesk builds modules to convert a normal sitting desk to a standing one - much cheaper than having to have a whole new desk made from scratch. The ProPlus 36, the second-largest model in the range, can hold two monitors and features dual levels: one for screens and one for your keyboard and mouse.
The first thing that we noticed, even before opening the box, was the size. This thing is enormous, and you'll probably need a helper to get it onto your desk in the first place (as if your office mates weren't judging you enough already); it weighs almost 24kg.
In its base lowered position, the ProPlus 36 is 91.5cm (or 36 in., hence the name) wide and 75.5cm deep; when raised to its highest level, the top will be 44.5cm off of your desk.
Obviously, you need a big desk to accommodate this beast; a £14.99 bit of MDF from Argos is not going to cut it. That being said, the unit is pre-assembled and doesn't need any extra tools to be attached to your desk; it's constructed so that its own weight holds it down, even when fully extended and loaded with displays, keyboards coffee cups and whatever other miscellaneous stuff grows on desks. It can hold almost 16kg, so even leaning on it (lightly) won't overbalance it. Overall, we were impressed by the sturdiness.
Two levers at the side unlock the ProPlus so users can adjust its height (up to 11 settings). This is a smooth, silent procedure - we've heard that older models made a nasty metallic clunk when unlocked, but that wasn't a problem with our review sample.
The unit doesn't only go up; at higher extensions it also comes forwards, and that means it can fill more than 1m of horizontal space (106cm). You may need extra room behind you to retain the recommended 50cm minimum distance from your eyes to your monitor. Again, this isn't a product for people with small working areas.
At its lowest level, the ProPlus can be used like any normal sitting desk. You'll want to make sure that there's nothing underneath the unit when returning it to its lowest height, or that any cables will be caught inside. Wireless peripherals are obviously the preferred solution, but if that's not possible you'll just need to be careful - although Varidesk does throw in a pack of velcro cable ties. We had no problem using a wired mouse, keyboard and speakers.
As an added bonus, the slightly rough surface of the ProPlus makes for an excellent mouse mat replacement.
Standing desks are still pretty uncommon, but Varidesk (the ProPlus 36 costs £365 at the time of writing) has lowered the barrier to entry while producing a solid piece of kit. The size does mean that it won't be for everyone, though.