Does the ergonomic workstation do what it claims? (November 11th, 2013)
Product Manufacturer: Ergotron
- - Wide range of motion for customization - Durable - Comfortable and easy to use
- - Cannot adjust left/right tilt tension of the tray - Puts stress on the desk - Quality control on work surface
Ergotron has been a standard in tech workflow solutions for some time. Known best for monitor stand configurations and wall mount systems, it isn't uncommon to see them in use by law enforcement offices or hospitals across the country. At the consumer level, the company has pushed the standing desk movement with their line of WorkFit products, with the aim to make working while standing as accessible as if one were sitting. The line has offered a more affordable solution than motor assisted, rising desks. The company has now turned its attention to creating a WorkFit for Apple customers, bringing out the WorkFit-P for Apple for use with the full range of MacBook products.
Like most of the products from Ergotron, the durability of the WorkFit-P for Apple standing desk solution is made clear by its heft before it is even pulled from the box. At more than 20 pounds, it becomes apparent why Ergotron's products can last a purchaser for years when properly cared for. The aluminum construction from the desk mount to the articulating arm has heft, but isn't overburdening to a user. The design process obviously had the mobility of the entire apparatus in mind.
Mounting the WorkFit-P to a desk with the provided bracket, with its 4.75-inch lip mount, offers enough security that everyday interaction with the stand should be of no concern. Ergotron does make mention of a minimum desk thickness of 0.78 inch for using this particular mount (which the desk used in testing came just under). Significant force pushed upon into the mounting pole or vigorous up and down movements clearly displayed a flexing of the wood in the desk.
The arm itself offers an ease of use that casts a shadow onto the pricier fully-elevating desks that one might look at instead of one of the WorkFit products. The articulating arm that Ergotron offers makes use of a constant force technology -- tension is always applied to the arm by springs to keep the added weight from a laptop from causing the entire arm to fall, limited only by a 10 pound maximum weight limit (five pounds less than the standard version). More force is required when transitioning to a sitting position because of this.
When sitting down with the unit, users can easily use two hands to pull down the tray anywhere in its 20-inch lift range, then use one hand to bring up the unit as tension in the springs is released. If the force needed to move the arm is too much or the entire system is too stiff or too loose, it is as easy as tightening some hex bolts to alter. Ergotron even offers the tools to do so in each box, with the exception of a 13mm socket to fix the tray's swivel motion.
The work surface that the WorkFit-P offers for this Apple version looks different than other surfaces that would be offered on these sit-stand stations. Instead of being constructed of compressed wood, the "for Apple" model has an aluminum deck, blending well with the styling of modern MacBook. It should be pointed out that the coloring is slightly off from the brushed aluminum shell of a MacBook, and the texture is quite a bit smoother. The finish is either painted on or coated with a clear finish; the scent exudes once the box is open is a dead giveaway.
There are some issues with the work surface as it stands. Compared to the standard WorkFit-P model, the "for Apple" station is slightly smaller, coming in at 24x12.5 inches compared to 26x18 inches. There is still plenty of working space once a laptop is placed on it, but there is no clear reason why this size change was made.
The modified design is less cumbersome than the tray on the standard version, so it may be the evolution of the product line. The lip where a wrist would rest during use also appears to have waves in the metal. This is seen mostly at the far edges with the largest roll visible on the right side.
Perhaps the biggest issue with the WorkFit-P for Apple comes in the lack of adjustability in the left and right tilt of the work surface. As it stands, there is a lock in place to keep it from going greater than approximately 10 degrees in shift in either direction. Thus, the tension cannot be adjusted to make this tilting more rigid or remove the ability to tilt it altogether. After putting the arm together, we attempted to tighten this down.
The instructions made no mention of being able to do so, so some exploratory efforts were taken. Unfortunately, our experimentation resulted in the cracking of the plastic cover that hides the bolts where the tray connects to the arm. Once the suspected adjustment point was revealed, it was found that there was no way to tighten it. Much like some of the fasteners visible at the joints of the arm, it appears to be riveted together.
There is no doubt that Ergotron has made a product that will last for years in the WorkFit-P for Apple. The stand is relatively easy to put together, is made of quality materials, and has a weight that lets you know that your MacBook is going to be in safe hands. It must be questioned why the WorkFit-P for Apple has a higher price that the standard version, though.
Given the that the only visible difference is the size and material of the work surface, one might wonder why there is a $70 difference. The increased cost still pales in comparison to the $1,000 dollars you may spend on a desk that can transition between sitting and standing at a far slower speed than the Ergotron.
Personal preference will weigh heavily on the perfect position, which may make the tilting issue a deal breaker for some, given its lack of user adjustability. However, we didn't find either the cost differential or the static tilt to take away what Ergotron is trying to accomplish to change working culture with the Workfit-P.