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Autonomous isn’t one of the big names in the smart desk market (to the extent that there is such a thing), but the company offers two models that are well worth considering.
I’ve tested the more expensive SmartDesk Pro here, though a lot of my thoughts here also apply to the cheaper SmartDesk Core. If you don’t mind a smaller height range and shorter warranty, you may well be happy with the cheaper model.
Features & design
Height range 66.5 – 132cm / 26.2” to 52”
Up to four saved positions
The SmartDesk Pro is a electrical-powered, motor-driven standing desk. So if you ever want to adjust its height, you’ll need to have it plugged in.
The perk of that is that, unlike desks such as the Bakker Elkhuizen Work & Move, you don’t need to put in any effort yourself to raise or lower the desk: just a push of a button will do the trick.
Counting the desktop, it can range from 26.2-inches to 52-inches in height, which is a pretty impressive range. I’m 5’11”, and the desk goes lower than I can comfortably sit and higher than I could realistically stand. Despite the motor, it’s impressively quiet while adjusting too.
A small control panel on the right-hand side lets you raise and lower the desk, and also includes four buttons for custom saved settings. You could easily set ideal sitting and standing heights for two different people.
The only odd downside to these is that just pressing the button doesn’t move the desk to the right spot — you have to hold the button the whole time, and then the motor will stop once it hits the correct height. It’s a minor annoyance, but quickly becomes tedious.
In the US, the desk is available with a choice of three different desktop sizes. But they’re not all available internationally: in the UK, only the middle size is available sale. It’s still generously sized at 135x74cm, though, and fits my dual monitor work setup.
The top comes in a range of both solid color, wood, and bamboo finishes, while the steel frame is available in white, black, or grey. Between all those choices, you should be able to get a style that suits your home office.
Whatever finish you pick, the desk has a sleek, modern look. It also benefits from useful cable management holes to help you keep everything tidy.
Setup & build quality
Setup takes up to an hour
Slightly unclear instructions
If I have a major complaint, it’s that setting up the SmartDesk Pro took more time, effort, and tools than I would have liked.
There are a fair few bits you’ve got to screw, wire, and assemble, and the company’s included instructions are at times cryptic.
Mounting the frame onto the desk was especially troublesome, with no guidelines given on how to line everything up right. It only really requires fairly basic DIY skills, but it is a step above your average Ikea flatpack in difficulty.
Once assembled it is at least pretty solid — well, assuming you do it about right –s helped by the solid steel legs and wide feet. There’s an occasional light wobble to the table top (hard to avoid entirely) but never the feeling that things might actually go wrong.
Price & availability
In the US, the SmartDesk Pro starts at $499. That gets you the smallest 43×24-inch tabletop, while the 53×29-inch regular model I tested costs at least $599. There’s also a 70.5×30-inch XL version starting at $949. All three are available from the Autonomous store.
Prices in the rest of the world are based on conversions from the US price, so will vary depending on the exchange rate. In the UK, only the regular model is available, starting at £718.80 via the Autonomous store.
That’s a pretty fair price considering everything you’re getting, but there are more affordable standing desks out there, including Autonomous’ own SmartDesk Core. It starts at $399/£538.80.
The Autonomous SmartDesk Pro is a solid standing desk that’s definitely worth considering. Its customization options are a key strength, with plenty of different finishes, sizes (if you’re in the US) and heights all available.
Four preset heights make moving between them easier, but having to hold down the button quickly gets annoying. That’s the only day-to-day frustration, though — after the complicated setup, there’s very little to complain about here.
If you’re looking for an attractive, versatile standing desk that’s still solidly built, the SmartDesk Pro could be for you. Just make sure it’s the right Autonomous desk for you.
Editor’s note: This review originally appeared on techadvisor.com.