Review Approach:

A height-adjustable desk is incredibly cool, want to see how useful it will be.
Height adjustable desks are nothing new, but an electronic smart desk with four presets that is built for standing as well as sitting; it has to be seen to be believed!
Ben Sellwood

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Bad ergonomics make for a back-breaking daily grind for those in office environments, Autonomous has energised the actuated desk scene with their purpose-built, high specification smart desks that take your working experience to the next level and allow you to sit or stand at a suitable height whatever your preference. Autonomous is a global network of innovators who believe in taking apart, examining, and reassembling your routine to re-engineer your workday to their exacting standards. By analysing existing solutions, using cherry-picked components from industry leaders and selling directly to you with no middle-men, you can benefit from their core value ethos of head-to-toe health, outstanding quality and value for money.

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I imagine a lot of you will be thinking "surely a desk is a desk" and to the untrained eye you would also think that this has been done before, and how can this be of any real day-to-day use? Let me start off this review by stating that this desk is hands down the best desk I have ever come into contact with. Even if it didn't have any level of automation and I had to adjust it manually, the quality and construction is second to none. I have been through several desks over the decades, from various furniture stores, and I cannot remember ever being so aghast at a simple wood and metal construction. Autonomous has literally spotted a niche and filled it with the best possible solution they could come up with, pulling out all the stops, and to be honest, I really don't have much to grumble about in terms of build quality and component durability. This desk is exceptional.

They have thought of everything. When you try to out-think a desk design team in terms of what features are essential, and what would be cool, this has pretty much got everything dialled in that you could possibly require. Cable management is at the fore, with not one but two holes positioned towards the central aft with solid metal flanges and rubberised grommets to safely tuck all of your pesky cables down underneath. The surface itself is an expansive 53" x 29" area (or 1537 inches squared) composed of medium density fibreboard and coated in a high gloss yet mottled looking finish, which is a terrible fingerprint vacuum and perhaps my most disagreeable feature of this desk. It is minor, I know, and perhaps I am knit-picking here, but something "anti-fingerprint" would have been amazing instead. The workspace never wobbled of flexed during my time stress testing it, which is commendable for a meer 1" thick MDF worktop. The legs have cunningly hidden actuators built into them that can jointly lift a solid 300lbs, or 21-stones in weight if you're in the UK, and is composed of SPCC steel in a very office typical grey metallic finish. They are capable of full extension in under three seconds from 28" to 48" height, and is exceptionally quiet with a 45dB noise level which is handy if you're constantly fiddling with it or need to adjust it after someone else would have been using it. Let's face it, who wouldn't want to test out this office gizmo? Underneath the wooden top is the brains of the SmartDesk 2, with all cables satisfyingly clicking into it and is screwed to the underside out of the way neatly and a bountiful number of cable ties prevent anything getting tangled up or dangling down on your legs or feet. Speaking of feet: there are four slightly adjustable ones attached to the legs undersides to allow you to compensate for any possible floor slant and to protect your hardwood or linoleum floors from the tough metal legs denting into them.

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(Lowest heigh setting: 27.9")

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(Highest height setting: 46.8")

The total assembly time was approximately 25 minutes with a little more time being used to figure out the IKEA style images in the instructions than actually building it. At the end of the construction, you have a solidly built desk and a handful of extra parts which I imagine is in the case of encountering any anomalies in the bolts or to avoid there being anything missing at all. It is always better to have them and not need them than to need them and not have them as they say. During my initial set up of the SmartDesk 2 I found that it measured 27.9" to 46.8" height as opposed to the 28" to 48" height is was supposed to accommodate, however with such a small variance involved it was not a huge issue or anything that you could really get you down for any reason. When you start it up you have to calibrate the unit and it finds the lowest point first, from there you can adjust it upward as required and save these settings to a preset; as you can tell they really have thought of everything. I automatically set the lowest height to preset one, the highest height to preset four and left the second and third free for anything in-between that I may need in future. This meant that with a simple tap of the "1" or "4" buttons I could go from the lowest setting to highest setting in a pinch, and as stated above, in under three seconds with zero muscular energy spent on my behalf. This would be ideal for anyone with a disability, or even any level of frailty too, meaning that I could envisage this desk being easily used by virtually anyone once assembled and positioned, as it weighs a hefty 67lb when built. It's always a pleasure to adjust too, with two small arrow buttons allowing for immediate adjustment at a smooth increment, keeping your ergonomics and body health paramount to its design traits.

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As a person who works on their feet all day, I rarely get to sit down at a desk probably only for 30 minutes or so per day for a break. Even at home, I use my dining table to hammer away at reviews or coding, so it is somewhat of a novelty for me to actually have a desk to sit at and enjoy. As some of you know I moved house recently and my old trusty IKEA desk got water damaged beyond economical repair whilst in storage. I'm even toying with taking the SmartDesk 2 to work with me to use as a new back office desk, mainly due to the rickety ancient one we have been supplied looking at best like a bunch of termites holding hands; I genuinely don't know how much longer that thing is going to hold together, it's a time bomb every time you put even a heap of paperwork down on it. A standing desk would be ideal at my place of gainful employment, as we rarely get to sit down and usually have to hunch or the short stature of our existing one to read emails on or write notes.

Overall the Autonomous SmartDesk 2 is a rock-solid piece of home/office kit that fills the niche of low down or high up desks in one futuristic package. If you're good at building things then this really is a sinch to set up, if not it's very easy to get set up by anyone handy by nature, and once it's up there is no way it's coming down due to its super sturdy nature and precision-engineered parts. I cannot recommend this product highly enough, it is ideal in almost every way, but I do recommend you to choose a less finger-print conducive colouration or finish if possible, as I felt I had to constantly clean around it to remove every traces of activity.

Official Site Page

Verdict
What We Liked . . . 4 adjustable presets and a range from 28" to 48" is impressive 300lb weight limit means it can lift your entire setup without flinching Excellent build quality throughout makes it as solid as a rock What We Didn't Like . . . Short desk length of this 53" model is not ideal for dual/triple monitor setups The mottled wooden finish is a fingerprint magnet
9.5
out of 10
Overall
Amazing piece of technology meets a range of ergonomic needs in one fell swoop. Hugely useful, easy to operate and an incredible example of design simplicity all in all. If every office had these installed no one could complain about desk height and the world would be far more productive!

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