When I first decided I wanted a standing desk, I installed a couple of shelves—one at the perfect height for my keyboard and the other about a foot higher for my laptop and extra monitor.
Sure enough, I didn’t stick with it. It wasn’t that I didn’t like standing while I work. I simply wanted to move around and change my scenery (hence why I cofounded Workfrom). In Portland, Oregon, where I live, access to natural light drives my desire to be mobile. Where I put my first standing desk worked well for the morning light, but not so much for the afternoon, and I found that I simply didn’t use it often.
When I heard about the X-Stand standing desk, it sounded like the perfect solution to my desire to stand and need to be mobile.
My first reaction was that it’s as stylish in person as it is on their site. Next, I thought it felt a little heavier than I’d like to be portable. Nevertheless, I immediately set it on my desk at home, in less than a minute, and got to work. I’m 5’5″ and it gave me a perfect standing height on its lowest setting. I had so much fun, I decided to add it to my bag and headed out to work from Elevator Commons.
Reactions in the Wild
There, I found a spot at a table that sits lower than my desk at home, and once again it gave me a perfect standing height on its second and highest setting. The only negative was that I couldn’t get any work done because everyone wanted to chat! “What’s that?” they all asked, which launched into longer conversations about mobile work gear, Workfrom and letting folks try it out. I was surprised how everyone found either the low or high setting to work well, and we ranged from 5’3″ to 6’1″.
Back home, I set it up again, this time wanting to use my external monitor while standing. I propped the monitor up on a few books, using the X-Stand for my laptop, and though I got the heights where I wanted them, I couldn’t find a good configuration for an external keyboard and mouse.
X-Stand Standing Desk vs the Roost
My girlfriend and a few friends had backed the Roost when they launched on Kickstarter, so I’ve had access to one for over a year. It’s a stand for your laptop that sets it at an ergonomically-friendly height by slanting it open, requiring you to use an external mouse and keyboard. It’s ridiculously light and portable, made of a thin plastic, so I found myself getting asked to compare the two quite often as I traveled more with the X-Stand. (Check out the Roost on Amazon via this affiliate link.)
What I realized as I found myself comparing the two is that it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison. The X-Stand is for standing. The Roost is for sitting (or standing) in a more comfortable and healthier position, where your head isn’t constantly turned down, peering at the laptop monitor a good 6-12 inches lower than where it should be to relieve strain.
Even so, I found myself preferring the X-Stand over the Roost due to its stability. Intentionally made in America out of FSC-certified, CARB II compliant bamboo, the X-Stand gives you a solid platform that doesn’t wobble. With a small base, it can be used nearly anywhere, including narrow bench tables. On its lower setting, I can use it like I would the Roost to put my laptop monitor at a comfortable height for viewing and using an external keyboard and mouse on the desk.
Doing this comparison did leave me wishing the X-Stand had a slant to it, so I could get both the benefit of standing and the benefit of an ergonomically correct posture. I’ve decided to order a Roost alternative that will sit on top of the X-Stand to give me the best of both worlds. Stay tuned!
The Run Down
On a scale of 1-10 w/10 being the best.
Versatility: 7 due to only accommodating the laptop. I couldn’t find a great way to use it with any externals. I suspect I could get a second or even third one to use with my monitor and art tablet but I didn’t try it.
Portability: 7 due to its weight. Perfect for moving around the home but I often leave it behind when I need a light bag for the day.
Price: 10. Majority of standing desks I researched came in between $200 to over $1,000.
Comfort: 10. I never ran into a situation where I couldn’t get a comfortable height (I’m 5’5″) due to its versatility and extremely stable base.
- Roaming: 6 due to its weight. The weight doesn’t impact its use at home, but if you’re a digital nomad and need to travel light, this isn’t a great match.
- At home: 8. Ridiculously easy to setup when you want to stand and easy to set aside when you want to take a break or sit. I never find myself working from my kitchen island anymore.
If you think you’d like standing more but don’t want to commit, the X-Stand is a perfect choice. They even recommend when starting w/a standing desk to alternate. Hard to do that if you select a fixed standing desk and expensive to do that if you buy a motorized sitting/standing desk. And if you live in small space or don’t have a dedicated office area, I’d recommend giving the X-Stand a try. Use the promo code “WORKFROM” and get 10% off and free shipping inside the U.S., good through the end of 2017.
. . .
Are you using a standing desk or contemplating the purchase of one? Please share your thoughts in the comments below, or tweet @Workfrom using #untethered.