Skip to main content

I run Windows Central from the ultimate standing desk

Standing and standup desks have become the new rage in home offices and workplaces around the world, including the United States. So it makes sense that I should take a look at one I've been using for the last few months. You may be asking, why is he reviewing a desk? The answer is twofold. For one, it is #MobileFit month, and this is part of the category. Number two, it's a fun way for you people to peek behind the curtain to see what I use every day at my job.

So with that introduction, let's take a look at the Anthro Elevate II Adjusta standing desk, including a video review to see it in action!

Anthro (www.anthro.com (opens in new tab)) makes the Elevate II Adjusta out in Oregon. If that name rings familiar, it's because we recently featured their Surface organizing cabinets for companies and schools. In addition to those storage solutions, Anthro makes industrial desks for hospitals and the prosumer market, who demand high quality and sturdy desks for work. They're a pretty awesome company and a few of the employees even use Windows Phone and visit this site.

Built for abuse

Let's get something out the way. Anthro desks are not the kind of things you go and pickup from Staples or IKEA. While those desks are a great solution for some, the type of desks and equipment that Anthro makes are the ones that last years, if not decades. Because of that they're heavier, more robust, built from fine materials, all in the U.S., and they command a higher price.

The tradeoff for the initial investment is you're getting something that will last you a very long time, and it's not something made from compressed wood held together with plastic screws and glue.

What is the Elevate II Adjusta?

It's a standup desk, but more than that it's fully adjustable. That means this is either a standup desk, or at a touch of button, a regular, sit down desk:

"Dual-surface Elevate II Adjusta is the ultimate standing desk with complete adjustability. Push a button to electrically move the front and back work surfaces simultaneously."

It's also near the top of what you can buy these days for a standup desk on the market.

The Elevate II Adjusta has two levels: the top shelf is for your computers, monitors, etc. while the second is for the keyboard. The desk comes in two sizes, including 48 or 60-inches in length. The one you see in the photos and our video is the big 60-inch version.

Using the online configurator, you can choose which options you want to including finish/color (black, maple, white or wenge) and accessories to meet your needs. For instance, I wanted the massive 16 Outlet Power Bar, which is only available for the 60-inch model. The Power Bar attaches to the back and gives an extensive 16 outlets for all of your gear…it's like tech heaven. You can also add things like a metal cup holder and monitor arms. You can have three 27-inch monitors in place on this desk and it can hold up to 150 lbs in total weight, while still lifting everything.

You can also add a CPU caddy to hold your PC off the ground and attached to the desk. Cables are routed in the back through a wire gutter to keep things neat and organized. In fact, I have just two cables coming off of the desk, including one for the desk itself and the other for the Power Bar. It's a very clean setup.

The desk is powered by two actuators in the legs, and they can raise and lower the desk from 28 to 47 inches high.

The desk arrived in one large box (plus accessories in separate ones) and it required an 18-wheeler for delivery. Granted, the desk itself was not that big, but it won't fit on a UPS truck! I live in an apartment complex though, and I was able to manage it easy enough. Assembly took about two to three hours and was done by myself, except for the flipping of the final product, which required two people for obvious reasons. All in all, it was a simple and flawless experience.

Why a standing desk?

Mobile Nations has a policy: you write a million words, and they buy you a standup desk as a reward. I'm currently up to 1,311,274 words from the last few years of writing. Combined with my recent move and there's no way I'd turn down a new premium battle station. It has made my life easier just due to the space, but I also feel more energetic behind it.

Also, a lot of research has shown that productivity increases when standing, instead of slouching in a chair all day. Likewise, when combined with a gel-mat for your feet, standing desks are better for your back and posture, in addition to keeping you moving all day. If your feet get sore, you can get a foot stand or rocker to help offset the pressure.

Or, if you're tired, just push a button and pull up a seat as you now have a nice 'regular' desk.

Anthro also claims that you burn 172 calories every 60 minutes just by standing, which probably has some truth in it as your legs do a lot more work all day. Anthro classifies all of this under their 'MoveMore' slogan (opens in new tab).

Why I like it

The Elevate II Adjust is solidly built. Everything is screwed in with large bolts and hex screws right into the wood. The base is metal as are the keyboard tray arms, which are controlled via a hand-brake mechanism for height and position.

I chose the Maple wood finish which also has a 'smooth comfort edge,' instead of sharp corners. It's some beautiful work, and it's nice not to have something made with particle board in it.

The Elevate Adjusta II is also on wheels (backend) so that I can easily move it around. That's important as the desk weighs…let's just say a lot.

I use the Adjusta II probably 90% of the time standing up. For real intense writing sessions or days when I'm not feeling well I'll use it in the normal sit-down position, but that's the exception.

What I have on it

If you see the photos and the video tour of the desk, you'll notice I have a lot on it, including

  • LG 27-inch HD monitor
  • Dell XPS 27 all-in-one computer with a Wide QHD touchscreen
  • Logitech C920 webcam (moving to C930e this week)
  • Cup holder for drinks
  • Rode podcaster microphone, extension arm and shock mount
  • Razer Deathstalker keyboard
  • Logitech Performance MX mouse
  • Document stand
  • Various phones and chargers within arm's reach
  • Surface 2 and Surface Pro 3

This desk has so much space on it that I have all of that and room to move, leave a camera on the keyboard tray, etc. Plus I'm standing!

Pricing and availability

Take a deep breath: the Anthro Elevate II Adjusta starts at $1849 for the 48-inch width version and heads up to $2099 for the 60-inch Plus edition. Toss in all the accessories, and you're looking at $2700 for the cream of the crop.

Although that may seem a lot, when you consider the cost of the technology on the desk and how much people spend on computers versus real industrial furniture, it's a fair price. Don't forget, all of this is made in the US by a small company out in Oregon, who have been around for 30 years. It is quality equipment, and it commands a high price.

Personally, I think it's totally worth it if you're stuck behind a computer for eight to ten hours a day, five days a week. I can say I work better with it and glad I have it.

There are cheaper solutions out there, even from Anthro. The Elevate II Adjust though has it all, including two levels, large work area, electric movement for raising and lowering and a small cadre of accessories to maximize your work space. So consider this review as starting from the top of what is out there in the market.

All in all, I'm very pleased with the Elevate II Adjusta and if you're considering a really good standing desk, add this one to the top of your list.

Want to learn more? Head to Anthro's website (opens in new tab) or take a look at the Elevate II Adjusta's page (opens in new tab) for more information, including their other standing desk models (opens in new tab). Their blog (opens in new tab) also has some neat information on the benefits of standup desks.

Daniel Rubino
Executive Editor

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

242 Comments
  • That is crazy. In a good way, I like the setup. Now work on the decor haha
  • Nice!
  • That's coming ;) Just moved a few months ago, so still getting things setup here for the long haul.
  • Daniel...why do I see an iPhone on your desk ?
  • Why not, I bet he also has a Moto x cause its many editors choice phone. Michael from pocketnow he has a Moto x on 1 pocket and a Lumia 1020 on the other.
  • Hah, I do have a Moto X! It even has 'WPCentral' on the back for the moniker.
  • Because I bought an iPhone. I also have a few Android devices and an iPad Mini.
  • For times when he needs to get some real work done on a phone.
  • Isheep alert! Beware! Brought to you by the Nexus M8
  • Daniel occasionally writes for iMore, I think! And also being a editor in chief he really will have to compare various platforms and devices!!
  • Wow...Daniel, do you listen to the TWiV podcast? (1:48 in the video). Kinda curious since you never said anything about you being a medical guy like me. Also the host of that podcast taught me Virology online.
  • I do on occasion. I did medical work as a sleep tech for years and minored in biology in college, doing some work in genetics and virology.
  • Wow I always thought Writers and editors always have only a degree in English before they do a job ;)Just curious, what did you major in Daniel?
  • Poli Sci; minored in psych and bio. Later went on to do linguistics, and language/brain grad work, including some for the gov't post 9/11 (look up CASL). Later got into sleep medicine at Weill Cornell. I've had an interesting life, lol.
  • Wow I'm 16 and I'm struggling whether to choose studying technology or being in the medical field.
  • Whaaatt? Seriously I'm very impressed Daniel. Genetics, Virology and Bacteriology are all what I do in the lab. We could link up more Daniel and share thoughts. Wow, thought I was the only Medical-Techy guy here.
  • I'm a bit out of practice these days, so mostly dabble just for fun in reading up on it. Cool profession though, congrats.
  • LOL all you're missing is the portable potty...
  • I W A N T I T :D
  • Wooow Dan!! Truly awesome!!!
  • Think the cat will enjoy too....
  • Looks like Mobile Nations pays very well.
  • We're a small company. If you perform well, there's benefits. We're all self-starters and hard workers.
  • Thats great. Definately not knocking it.
  • Definitely not.
  • is he sponsored?
  • Great!!
  • Show off, ha ha. Nice rig man. Thanks the hard work too.
  • I want that monitor :'(
  • I'm crying on the inside, this setup is beautiful. 
  • your desk looks awesome though an Xbox one would have made it just 100% perfect lol
  • Hah. I could do that I suppose...wire up a TV on the wall. Hmm...
  • Upvote
  • Almost close to my dream setup. Very close 
  • Impressive.
  • I would be impressed if there was a treadmill in front of the desk.
  • I spot an iPhone Daniel. Traitor lol.
  • Becuz windohs fown dusnt have appz!!! /s
  • What happened to your keyboard bro?
  • What if he has a stroke and can't write so well? You don't know. :P
  • My goodness that first pic can drive anyone crazy
  • These standing desks always remind me of that guy who maid the game "braid" they make you look like the antagonist in a tech movie or something :D
  • Don't you get tired when you have to prepare such a long article like this one standing? Unmmm you must have a chair hidden by the corner Daniel!!!
  • lol, I do have a rather nice chair. For the Surface review, I sat for a good chunk of that. So yeah, it's good to change it up and that's the fun part with these desks, you have options!
  • Also, how would you do PC gaming while standing up? It's just a strange idea, a standing desk. Lol.
  • When I was a kid, we did gaming standing up all the time. They were called arcades, lol.
  • That's different. Games have greatly evolved over time. Many games require heavy mouse and keyboard use. Can you do those standing up, or you need to pull up a chair?
  • hahahahah... so many hours playing street fighter for me!
  • +9000 street fighter and tekken
  • I know, right?  Stacking quarters on the machines....I got next.  
  • Calorie claim is the highest I've seen. Better way to say it may be that standing at a desk burns about 20% more calories than sitting at a desk.
  • Yeah, I think that's a fair re-wording, as we just burn calories by existing and not doing anything. Standing only adds a bit on top of that, so yeah.
  • just burn calories by existing
    ha ha. Man. you made my day. I'm getting a shirt with this. 
  • Daniel, but don't overdo...you may develop Varicose veins problem due to long hour standing. But I like the idea the table height can be controlled, so you can raise it after sitting for long time on a chair and continue to work standing.
  • I have to get good shoes that don't mess up my back from standing up all day, before I even think about a stand up desk.
  • Wow! Pure amazing!
  • Daniel Good one...interesting...but most interesting thing is still missing wp8.1 ...any news of os update.:crying:
  • Ohhhh Myyy Goddd!! I want one(with the devices).. :D :D
    No.. Seriously I want one of this desk. :)
  • Arrange for a competition in which the winner takes home the entire setup :P
  • An iPhone on the desk? Nnnnnnoooo Daniel ;)
  • Daniel, sorry but not very impressed. Where is the tread mill in front of the desk, set at a 30 degree incline at top speed?!?! ;-D In reality of course, I think this in an outstanding (hah) set up!  
  • I see what you did there :D
  • This is totally crazy. Lot more than Windows stuff is going out there.i like it.
  • Nice pair of skechers daniel, article about it>?
  • Nice but mine is better
  • Sweet!! That is one awesome set up Daniel!
    I have one question though, do you do the Hustlin' Anthem while you work (check Kat Williams hustling) ? Jk jk
    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=kLDitGAUrno
  • That's such a stupid question. Of course he does. :P
  • Hahahahaha
  • Any geek that sees this will think they have died and gone to Microsoft heaven :P
  • Not everyone will see it like that. I see his setup as being sturdy, efficient, healthy and highly up to date!!! My setup is the opposite: Not as sturdy...I have no idea where it was manufactured, a wire nightmare as the cable management is not built into the desk, not healthy (many hamburgers have sat next to a Surface) and missing some of the latest hardware. I have more tech on my desk at work than Daniel has though (a plus and a minus). My setup isn't as nice as his though, I have a standard IT Dept issued, L shaped desk with overhead compartments for storing extra hardware and snacks, dual widescreen monitors, 2x Dell XPS 13 ultrabooks, Dell Venu 8 Pro, Desktop with Windows 8.1 Update, Desktop with Windows 7 and  the Deep Freeze console, Lumia 1020, Lumia 1520, Nexus 5, Nokia 808 PureView, Nokia N8, iPhone 4, iPhone 4s, (sold the 64GB 5s), iPad 4, iPad Air and Galaxay Tab 2. I turned down the option to get a MacBook Air. All of that tech is on my desk daily, it is like piloting the Starship Enterprise!!! U