Need to Know
Surface: available in wood, bamboo, or rubber wood
Treatment: EvoGuard hard surface gaming treatment
Sizes: 48", 60", 72", or L-shaped
Cut: rectangle or Ergo Edge
Weight capacity: 355 lbs
Max height: 49.5"
Min height: 23.75"
Speed: 1.5 inches per second.
Price as configured: $1,064
Base price: $698
More than just a trend
About a year ago, we took a look at the possibility of gaming without sitting on a butt-platform. There was a trend starting with standing desks, and we wanted in. How did it work out? Former EIC Evan Lahti found that after a period of relearning his desk habits, it was actually difficult to go back to sitting in a chair. But he went all DIY on the construction of a functional (if slightly dangerous) standing Ikea frankendesk. Sure, that saved on cost, but there was no adjusting the whole setup every time he wanted to change positions.
These days, there are plenty of options in the standing desk market that are fully adjustable at the push of a button. So we got one in from a company that says its desk is actually designed for gaming: EvoDesk.
There are two primary components to the EvoDesk supposedly designed for gamers. The first: the desk has a concave edge on the side where you position yourself. This gets you closer in to the whole surface area of the desk while giving your arms more reach. The second is a coating EvoDesk calls EvoGuard, which is a fancy name for a hard surface coating that's textured similarly to hard-surface mouse mats. The idea here is to forego a mat altogether, but that might depend on the mouse you use.
Putting the EvoDesk together is a pretty straightforward affair, though the manual could use a bit of work. I reviewed the highly regarded NextDesk Air for Maximum PC, which came with far better documentation. Instructions aside, the EvoDesk comes together in about an hour with two people working together.
There are some aspects to the construction of the EvoDesk that could use some improvement. For example, the majority of the screws don't go into holes that are countersunk. This means things can be misaligned, and for the most part, screws will leave scuff marks around their holes. Then there are parts where screws and their mounts don't fit properly, such as in the desk control module, where the module's mounting bracket was slightly too small for its accompanying screws.
Comparing the NextDesk Air to the EvoDesk is a bit unfair, considering the Air costs more than double. There are also many more components to assemble with the EvoDesk. Once fully assembled, however, I found that the EvoDesk was more stable in terms of shake. This is largely due the greater surface area and more mounting points of the EvoDesk's columns. And although it doesn't have a stabilizing crossbeam for its columns like the NextDesk Air, it doesn't seem to need one.
EvoDesk supplied its desk to us with a set of Harmon/Kardon Soundsticks III speakers, which also came with mountings for the desk. The subwoofer attaches to the underside of the desk surface toward the rear. The Soundsticks III is a 2.1 system that sounds quite good for its class, but if you already have better hardware (or want surround) you'll want to leave the Soundsticks III out of the options list and handle your own 5.1 setup or headphones.
Once completed, the EvoDesk flips over and stands strong. Adjusting the desk to the desired position was an easy affair, thanks to the 3-position memory control module. You can have one position each for sitting, eating, and standing. We also appreciate the control module's one-touch adjustment, which is better than the NextDesk's, where you have to actually hold down the memory button for the entire duration of the adjustment.
Got a lot of wires dangling? No problem. The EvoDesk has a vanity cover that stretches the entire length of the desk where you can hide your cables. The rear wire opening is also cut large, letting you snake in thick cables without running out of room. The cover flap that covers the cutout is removable.
A true gaming desk?
The EvoDesk's claim to fame—besides being electronically height adjustable—is mainly its EvoGuard finish. The surface treatment is hard, feels thick, but remains smooth. I tried a variety of gaming mice, optical and laser, and all of them performed well. During intense sessions of CS:GO, I was able to avoid air shooting and maintain accurate body shots on the enemy. Your mileage may vary based on actual skill.
Mouse movements are smooth on the EvoDesk's surface. It's rough enough to keep the mouse from feeling like it's gliding on ice, but feels like an actual gaming mouse pad. I do have some concern with wear of the desk surface over time, though. EvoDesk says that its surface treatment is designed to take incredible abuse, so only time will tell, but as my Razer Destructor 2 pad is going strong after two years without visible wear, I expect the EvoDesk to take a good beating. You can, of course, still use a mousepad if you're concerned.
The true measure of the EvoDesk is letting you stand comfortably while gaming. Building your own standing desk is a cheap alternative, but the height can't be easily adjusted, if at all. I was able to dial in a perfect position and get right to business.
Getting used to standing takes a bit of time. You'll want to give yourself some break periods to avoid feeling aches in your legs. This will happen at first but will disappear once your body adjusts. You'll also want to get yourself a real standing mat to avoid foot fatigue. This part is crucial to using a standing desk, and a rug or rubber slippers aren't going to cut it.
After several weeks with the EvoDesk, I made some minor adjustments here and there with its height, but got fairly accustomed to playing all my games standing. And these were several-hour-long gaming sessions, not just quickies. Switching to productivity mode was a similar affair. As my body adjusted, I was able to complete a full nine-hour work day without sitting down.
You can, of course, spend less for a standing desk. IKEA has its BEKANT that starts at $500. It's not as nice as the EvoDesk, but it works. Other companies are making high-quality desks, too. The Jarvis standing desk from Ergo Depot is a favorite among standing desk enthusiasts, which is actually on sale right now for $600. GeekDesk's V3 desk is also a solid option for those looking for a desk that's an upgrade above the BEKANT. GeekDesk's options start at $700. None of the above desks have a surface treatment that feels as good as the EvoDesk, but we reckon you can solve that with an actual mouse pad.
Standing desks have become quite the talk among ergonomics enthusiasts as of late. More companies are coming out with fancier options, better motors, and other unique features. At its most basic, the EvoDesk performs all of its functions very well. In fact, despite a few nitpicks, I liked it so much my old traditional desk now sits in storage, disassembled.