With sitting all day being considered the new smoking, standing desks are more popular than ever.
If you’re looking for the best standing desk money can buy, look no further than Stir’s new $US2,990 Kinetic Desk M1. It can be raised and lowered with a tap of your fingers.
The desk’s design is top notch, and the integrated display on the desk’s surface makes it a “smart” desk that learns from your sitting and standing habits.
The M1 is the second smart desk from ex-Apple engineer JP Labrosse, who was part of the original iPod team. The desk’s design pedigree clearly shows; everything about the M1 seems logical and thought out: the physical design of the desk is sleek and sturdy, and the 5-inch embedded LCD touchscreen is surprisingly useful and doesn’t get in the way of your work.
Underneath the touchscreen are the desk’s brains. A tiny processor (which can be removed and upgraded in the future) keeps track of your preferences, height settings, and habits. For offices with shared desks, you can sign in using the screen or by Bluetooth with a Fitbit, but the desk automatically detects when you approach and turns on the display.
All of the desk’s controls are handled by the touchscreen. You can manually change from seated to standing position, check the time, see how long you’ve been standing or sitting, set a daily standing goal, or check out a history of your standing and sitting habits.
This brings us to the coolest feature of the M1: How it notifies you to change positions.
Using a feature Stir is calling Whisperbreath, the desk will notify you with a gentle 1-inch rise and fall of the desk. The reminder is easy enough to ignore if you’re in the zone, and the M1 will learn if there are certain times of the day where you want to keep sitting and standing.
Here’s what it looks like in action. After the notification, a double tap on the screen gives the desk the go-ahead to change positions.
After trying the M1 out for myself, I can certainly say that the Stir team understands how busy people are, and the group made a smart choice in avoiding an audio or visual-based notification. People have enough beeps and buzzes in their lives, and I found the Whisperbreath feature unobtrusive and useful.
If you decide to change positions after a Whisperbreath notification, you just tap the touchscreen twice and the desk will gradually raise or lower. If you ignore it, nothing happens and you’re free to continue working how you were. Of course, you can set a custom height for when you’re standing and sitting, and the desk’s motorised internals make the transition quiet and shake-free.
The M1 needs to be assembled after it’s delivered, but you really only have to attach the desk’s surface to the motorised legs, and there’s literally only eight bolts to the process (Stir says you’ll need two people, though, for lifting it into place).
So should you buy one? The biggest barrier is certainly the $US2,990 pricetag: It’s more than $US1,000 cheaper than Stir’s first desk, the more angular F1, but most people still won’t be able to afford it. Unfortunately, the M1 is currently on the fence between being a consumer product and bulk-order office product that buyers will purchase in sets of 100 or 1,000.
But from a consumer standpoint, buying the M1 is like purchasing a competitively priced sports car. Sure, there are cheaper options, but you’re paying for the high level of design, quality, and longevity, and the M1 delivers in all those areas.
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