UPLIFT Desk review

The UPLIFT Desk stands and delivers at a price you can actually afford

The UPLIFT Desk delivers on the fronts that actually matter, with a professional look and technology built for the 21st century.
The UPLIFT Desk delivers on the fronts that actually matter, with a professional look and technology built for the 21st century.
The UPLIFT Desk delivers on the fronts that actually matter, with a professional look and technology built for the 21st century.

Highs

  • Hassle-free assembly
  • Adjustable height
  • Solid, well-built construction
  • Economically priced
  • Handy, one-touch memory

Lows

  • Offers little more than adjustable height
  • Minor wobble at highest elevation

Reinventing the wheel is tough — perhaps that’s why the wheel’s design hasn’t changed since the tail end of the Neolithic. And while the traditional desk isn’t necessary a wheel, it’s a piece of furniture so heavily rooted in the fundamentals that we balk at the mere thought of its so-called evolution. I mean, how do you improve on a piece of architecture that’s little more than a slab of wood and a few legs to hold it up?

The standing desk is a leap forward for desk ergonomics, though. Right now, there exists a girth of research highlighting the health benefits you’ll receive if you stand for a portion of the workday as opposed to sitting. The alternate posture is said to improve blood flow, strengthen muscles, and alleviate unwanted back pain often associated with prolonged periods of sitting. There are likely even more benefits than the current data suggests, too, many of which help boost productivity in the workplace.

The UPLIFT Desk is one of many in a crowded field of electric, height-adjustable desks. However, whereas its competitors shine in terms of robust customization and features, UPLIFT’s offering excels because of its modest price tag and lack thereof. It does no more than intended or need be — but it does it really well.

Out of the box

For review purposes, we opted for the base model of the UPLIFT Desk, which consists of a single pair of telescoping base legs and a laminated, mahogany top. The company offers a welcome breadth of laminate builds to choose from — along with solid bamboo and reclaimed wood offerings — each of which you can then customize with additional accessories such as built-in monitor arms and keyboard trays at an added cost. The options are plentiful, allowing you tack on as much (or as little) functionality as you see fit.

UpLift 900
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

The UPLIFT Desk arrived in multiple packages, though none were particularly cumbersome to move despite their hefty weight and awkward appearance. We unboxed each component one by one, and following the included set of instructions, assembled the desk within two hours using a manual screwdriver and a little bit of floor space. A set of electric tools and another pair of hands could have surely expedited the entire process, but it wasn’t a necessity given just how straightforward and simplistic the desk’s overall design is.

If you can build a coffee table or bed frame from IKEA, you can handle setting up an UPLIFT Desk. Alas, you’ll have to do without the köttbullar and smörgåskaviar.

Sitting pretty

Everything came together once the UPLIFT Desk was properly assembled and placed within our spacious workspace — the bull pen where 50-odd desks sit neatly amid rows lined with Nerf darts. The model we reviewed measured 60 x 30 inches, which feels much like an industry standard given nearly every other standing desk we’ve run across is similar in size and stature. Regardless, the smooth, inch-thick plateau granted ample space for all work and non-work necessities. An all-in-one PC sat front and center, with a 13-inch laptop, several mugs, and a notepad at the sidelines. It even provided enough space for my frivolous knickknacks, which included a small tree and a bar of soap (don’t ask).

If you can build a coffee table or bed frame from IKEA, you can set up an UPLIFT Desk.

Space isn’t the only appeal, though. The desk’s polished, professional design rendered it fairly inconspicuous when nestled beside other desks in the office, even if the reddish top stood in contrast to the maple desktops peppering the room. UPLIFT uses a discrete design to achieve this level of subtlety, essentially allowing you to pack the desk’s vital electronics underneath at either side of the durable C-frame. In fact, if it weren’t for the seven-button keypad that sits flush with the front of the desk, you would never suspect it could do anything other than sit there, motionless.

Houston, we have lift off

The joy of the UPLIFT Desk is its ability to elevate above the crowd in a matter of seconds, with little effort on your part. The desk fluctuates between 20.5 and 50.3 inches and does so using the aforementioned keypad, quietly emitting a slight hum that never rises above 45 decibels. The etched buttons on the keypad facilitate all the motion, allowing you to go from the lowest configuration to the highest in just under 20 seconds using one of two arrow keys.

UpLift 900
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

The rest of the buttons serve as part of the one-touch digital memory system, a convenient tool that lets you program four different buttons to a specified height of your own choosing. Once set, you merely need to press one of the preset keys and watch as your desk automatically elevates to the desired height. A digital height display even showcases the current elevation — just in case you were curious.

Sheer convenience isn’t without drawbacks, however. The UPLIFT Desk exhibits a slight wobble when sitting at max height, one that doesn’t necessarily impede its performance but leaves us somewhat cautious when placing tall items, or those more prone to tipping, on the desk’s surface. We wouldn’t recommend placing a vertical monitor on the desk or using it to get your Jenga on at full elevation. Like politics, some things are best left for the kitchen table.

A tale of two desks

The UPLIFT Desk is an excellent piece of furniture in many respects, yet there is an elephant in the room: West Coast-based company Ergo Depot, which manufactures standing desks that are remarkably similar to that of UPLIFT. We recently had the company’s Jarvis desk in for review, and upon close inspection, we noticed that the frame components for the two desks are identical aside from the branding. Moreover, both companies sell standing desks starting at $599, with nearly the same selection of laminate tops and optional accessories. Other facets, such as the return policy and warranty, are also identical.

Deciding between the two desks really just comes down to personal preference and minor discrepancies. The bamboo Jarvis desk offers a beveled edge, for instance, while UPLIFT provides additional alternatives in the form of reclaimed wood.

Conclusion

When it comes down to it, UPLIFT’s offerings are some of the best currently available. The UPLIFT Desk effortlessly combines form and functionality at a cost that’s approachable, while leaving off the bells and whistles associated with higher-end standing desks such as the Stir Kinetic Desk M1. The extensive customization and practical aesthetic just round out the highlights — and did we mention it rises on command? We’ve seen more expensive furniture that lacks such convenience.

We might like to see some additional, built-in resourcefulness — take the dry-erase surface of the UpDesk UpRight, for example — but the blatant lack of such unconventional features is actually appealing in its own right. The UPLIFT Desk does exactly what it sets out to do, and more importantly, does it well. My back is starting to feel better already.

Highs

  • Hassle-free assembly
  • Adjustable height
  • Solid, well-built construction
  • Economically priced
  • Handy, one-touch memory

Lows

  • Offers little more than adjustable height
  • Minor wobble at highest elevation
Mobile

Open wide: LG G7 ThinQ vs. Huawei Mate 20 Pro vs. Asus ROG Phone

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro has swapped the monochrome sensor on its camera for a wide-angle lens, so how does it compare to the LG G7 ThinQ, and the surprisingly strong challenge from the Asus ROG Phone?
Deals

These Black Friday furniture deals offer up to 80 percent off

Retailers across all industries use Black Friday to offer incredible deals on everything from kitchen appliances, to full bedroom sets. As such, it’s the ideal time to upgrade your space with pieces that will make you feel more…
Emerging Tech

Glass orb packs all the constellations in the night sky into fancy desk ornament

Ever wanted to know more about the star constellations? A stunning new Kickstarter campaign, taking the form of a fancy desk ornament that re-creates the night sky in a glass orb, aims to help.
Smart Home

In the market for an Instant Pot? These are the four best

Instant Pots are perfect for people who don't have the kitchen space to store all kinds of appliances, minimalists who want to keep their homes lean and mean, and home cooks who love versatility in the kitchen.
Smart Home

Viral tweets remind us not to ask our parents how to microwave a turkey

People on Twitter decided it would be funny to ask their moms if it's OK to cook the main course for Thanksgiving dinner in the microwave. They were right. The responses were hilarious.
Computing

The Best Black Friday Deals from Best Buy in 2018

We've been hard at work assembling all the best Black Friday deals Best Buy offers in 2018 and putting them in one place to save you time and money this holiday season. From laptops to TVs, game consoles to smart speakers and much more…
Smart Home

With Personal Food Computers, nerd farmers are finding the best way to grow

MIT research scientist Caleb Harper wants to grow basil designed to prevent heart disease. It involves a personal food computer, climate manipulation, and open sourcing food. One day, your doctor could prescribe you a diet of food grown…
Deals

The best Walmart Black Friday deals in 2018

Walmart has historically been the undisputed king of Black Friday deals. The mega-store is known for offering deals on products in almost every category, from smart TVs to children’s toys. We're combing through every deal as it is…
Product Review

LG’s XBOOM WK9 smart display has solid sound ... for a price

Introduced way back at CES in January 2018, LG’s WK9 smart display is finally on store shelves. But how does it compare to other smart displays on the market? We took a look and a listen to find out.
Deals

Save big on Blink XT home security camera bundles with Amazon’s Black Friday sale

Amazon is currently offering steep discounts on Blink XT home security camera bundles for Black Friday. For the 5-camera system, you can save $150, bringing the overall price down to just $350.
Smart Home

The best Alexa-enabled devices you can utilize with Amazon's Echo lineup

Ever since Amazon added the Dot, Tap, and Show to its Echo lineup, Alexa-enabled devices have exploded. Here's a guide to everything Alexa can control in your smart home, from lights to locks to appliances.
Deals

Amazon slashes prices on Hoover vacuums for Black Friday 2018

If you're hoping to snag a quality vacuum cleaner for a Black Friday price, Hoover is your best bet. Upright vacuums, stick vacuums, and carpet cleaners have all been discounted for a limited time.
Smart Home

Here’s how to keep Thanksgiving leftovers edible for longer

Thanksgiving leftovers are tasty and can often feed you for days, but how long before bacteria and mold make the turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce no longer safe to eat? Keeping food fresh is easy as pie -- here's how.
Smart Home

These Amazon Alexa devices are deeply discounted for Black Friday

Whether buying for yourself or for people on your gift list, Amazon lined up an impressive array of single units, multi-packs, and combinations of Alexa devices at great prices for Black Friday. Existing Alexa customers get early access.