Wednesday, 4 February 2015

'The Standing Desk' (+Downsides)

In hopes to lead a healthier lifestyle in 2015, I had gone and bought myself a laptop stand off eBay for £9.99 that can elevate the laptop from a desk so that I can use it whilst standing. Because standing is said to be a lot more healthier than sitting for it reduces the chances of heart problems in future, and ever since I came back from Korea it felt weird and uncomfortable for me to remain stationary and sitting for long hours on a daily basis.

My work space.

However, this particular structure (and possible many others) comes with a couple of setbacks that I believe everyone should be aware about.

It's wobbly.
Whilst I'm typing happily away on my laptop at the best optimum height, the stand wobbles, therefore the laptop wobbles, which really irritates the hell out of me. One way to reduce wobble is to spread the table legs further apart for more stability, but yet it still wobbles to an extent that irks me. And by spreading the legs, the optimum height becomes lowered slightly which irks me even more! Oh the struggle.

Legs extended so that the table is as an ideal height, whilst feets are trying their best to stay on the table.

The higher you want the desk to be, the larger the desk you need.
In order to minimalise wobble, and increase elevation/height, a larger desk space is needed to accomodate room for the table legs to spread out upon. Quite counter-intuitive for when you increase table height you don't actually increase a lot, because by spreading out the legs the table lowers.

It can only fit up to a 15inch laptop probably.
My 15inch Samsung laptop doesn't event fit 100% well on the plastic panel that you place your laptop on. Imagine trying to get a 17inch on this thing. Even with 15inches I have a problem where the bottom left corner of my laptop doesn't actually touch the elevated laptop part, so when I press down on it the laptop moves. Additionally because of this, it can also slide a bit, which worries me that one morning I may find my laptop on the floor, smashed.

The white thing is the middle is stuck at that length! Featuring 2 cooling fans.

Beware of jamming.
The part that holds the laptop up at an angle has become stuck. I can't get the part to shrink back to its compact size, let alone extend it anymore. Good thing it's stuck at an ideal length that keeps my laptop at a decent angle. However, this means that this damn thing is no longer portable because this one part is going to prevent the entire thing from folding up together, unless I break this one part by forcing it back in. What do?!

(Initial) Back and leg-ache
This applies generally to all forms of standing desks. I got a lot more pain out of this than expected. During the first few weeks of use, the back, legs and heels of my feet were screaming by the end of the day. Even though I did take odd breaks here and there sitting down to do other non-laptop related stuff. But once this torturous period had passed, I experienced little to no pain, meaning my body probably numbed itself in response since I wasn't planning to stop this hellish regime.

Sweaty feet
Perhaps it's because it's Winter and thus my radiator is on high, and it just so happens that it is right beneath my desk area, but man do my feet get sweaty and slidy against my slippers within a few hours! Though recently I haven't experienced this, perhaps the radiator is no longer as high as it used to be. Or maybe my feet just got used to it.

A few great things about this desk: space for a mouse, pen holder, and 'thin cup holder'.

Despite these setbacks, it's still a decent laptop stand for £9.99 - you can't expect it to be amazing. It has yet to collapse or fall apart on me - just that one extender is now seemingly permanently stuck, and it does the job. The extra space for the mouse next to the laptop is very useful, whilst the pen and cup holder not so much. I rarely use the pen holder, and never used the cup holder since all my cups/mugs are larger than size it can hold. Besides, I don't trust myself with placing liquids close to my laptop after what happened during my first year at university - in short I knocked my cup of green tea onto the keyboard.
It would be great if there was extra space on the desk for me to place my graphics tablet on, as well as other bits and bobs that I plan to use in conjunction with the laptop. Then again, I'm better off just getting an actual large standing table/desk that provides this. Let me get a job first.

Would I recommend this particular standing desk? Yes, if you want to be healthy on a budget. If you got money to spend, then just go for a proper sized standing table/desk because it just makes life easier than having to jump between 2 levels. Or better yet, if you like DIY build one yourself!
I'm pretty sure there are other better standing desks out there in the market that don't wobble or hog up desk space in order to elevate itself. Just do some research and be sensible to realise that cheap plastic stands that are promoted as portable and lightweight are pretty much liars.

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