The UPLIFT 900 is an affordable sit/stand desk option with competitive features.
I'm a firm believer that it is just important to invest in your workstation's furniture as it is to invest in the technology that is used while at it. When you spend so much time at a single location for work purposes, adding comfort and versatility to your life is proven to boost productivity as well as help keep you healthier over time.
My first non-tech investment in my workstation was my Herman Miller Embody chair that I bought for around $1300. This keeps me comfortable when sitting although I have still been in the market for a sit/stand desk to stay on my feet for at least part of the day.
After a great deal of research, I placed an order for an Uplift 900 from the people over at The Human Solution after reading many favorable reviews as well as comparing their models to those at competing price-points.
In the following article, I'll provide my honest opinion of this product based on my personal experience with it after a two-month period. Rest assured, no outside influences or bias have had any effect on the outcome of this review.
Ordering & Shipment
Generally, I wouldn't go into detail about the ordering or shipping process, but I think it was important to discuss this within the review for a few reasons.
Website Ordering Experience
First off, the only resource to order the Uplift 900 is from its parent company, The Human Solution's website. From a consumer's standpoint, the website's architecture is scattered, and it has an early-Internet feel to it as if it hasn't caught up to modern times.
One of my biggest complaints (which I'll get into why later) is the lack of any real product photography throughout their product line. The vast majority of the sample images shown in the product pages are computer generated thus giving you no concise indication of what your resulting desk will look like when it arrives.
After spending a good amount of time browsing their site and ultimately speaking with a chat support representative, I decided on a regular Uplift 900 model with black legs and paired it with a custom 80″ Designer White (High-Gloss) laminate top after confirming with the representative that it was indeed a sleek, gloss finish in comparison to the cheaper, dull white.
Since I planned to have this desk integrated into my workstation for the next 5-10 years, I wanted to get the exact look that I sought after and this way enough for me to justify the extra $260 difference in price.
Throughout the checkout process, there is a variety of customizations you can add for an additional cost including roller casters, keyboard trays, grommets, wire management solutions, and even a treadmill that fits under the desk to walk or run while you work. I spent an extra $29 for roller casters to help move it throughout my office by myself as well as $19 for their basic wire management tray.
When purchasing an oversized item such as this, it isn't suited to ship it through a standard freight service like USPS, UPS, or Fedex. Fortunately, The Human Solution offers free standard shipping on orders over $85 within the Continental US through a shipping company called RL Carriers.
Here's the timetable of my first order:
- February 19th – Order placed, and e-mail confirmation received
- February 26th – Shipping confirmation received via e-mail with tracking number
- March 4th – Shipment was delivered to my office.
Total time from order to receiving my desk took 13 days which is pretty reasonable overall considering the shipping was free, and it had come quite a long ways from Texas to Massachusetts.
Unboxing & Assembly
While the ordering process wasn't the best due to the outdated website experience, I felt pretty confident about my order having spoken to several representatives from The Human Solution, who were attentive and helpful where needed.
An Unpleasant Surprise
When the shipment arrived, I was excited to unbox it and get a glimpse of the “High Gloss” White top that I had custom ordered since there was only computer generated images on the website. Unfortunately, I was caught off guard when I opened the laminate top to find it as a standard white top with no gloss or shine to it in any aspect.
Considering I paid an additional $280 for this custom top, I wasn't too happy and immediately called The Human Solution team to figure out what went wrong. They apologized for the situation and stated some mix-up had happened either in their warehouse or by way of their custom laminating contractor (separate from The Human Solution) and they would immediately send me out a replacement desk to remedy the issue.
Fast forward two weeks later, my second desk arrives and like the original it still offered the same matte white finish without a hint of gloss or shine to it despite all the paperwork stating the top was listed as “high gloss/shine”. When I spoke to my contact from The Human Solution he said the following:
“After following up with our provider, he explained that the high gloss white laminate top is a 100% gloss for a laminate top. As the top is not plastic, it is not going to have the same level of “glossiness” as the Apple accessories you included in your pictures.
While the high gloss white laminate top is a 100% gloss for the laminate, the white laminate that we stock is considered a 60% gloss already, which may be leading to the two desks looking very similar. I have attached a picture of a sample of each top that the provider sent us as well, you can see that the samples are very similar in this example.
I would also like to apologize personally for the inconvenience and if the top is not quite the finish you were looking for. We do not stock the high gloss white top so our sales pros were not aware the difference between the two was so minimal.
As I said, we do not carry the top you ordered in stock. Since this was a custom order with laminate finish, we have a very limited sample size with these and have not received complaints until your order. Rest assured we are looking into solutions now that we know the differences are minimal.”
To sum it up, paying the $280 for a custom Designer White Gloss top turned out to be a terrible choice as I spent a significant amount extra to get a top that is nearly identical to that of the cheaper, standard white finish.
At this point, I had two desks for the price of one though neither was the exact configuration that I ordered. Don't get me wrong, The Human Solution representatives and customer service did seem to care and were helpful throughout my process, but I ultimately didn't end up with the desk I wanted for the price I paid so in this respect, I was disappointed with the final result though this is something I could live with.
The Assembly Process
Given my circumstances, I've now gone through the assembly process not once, but twice so I am pretty experienced with the situation. Both times, I built the desk alone without the help of anyone else. I wouldn't recommend doing this for most since the assistance of someone else to hold pieces in place and help lift the desk onto its feet when finished would have been beneficial.
The thought of assembling a motorized sit/stand desk seemed like a daunting task prior without any prior knowledge, but fortunately the process is rather simple and there is both written documentation included with each desk as well as an online YouTube walk-through that shows you step-by-step in under 6 minutes:
As crazy as it sounds, most Ikea items that I've purchased were tougher to assemble than the Uplift 900 was so for this I was relieved.
Design & Build Quality
From a design standpoint, the Uplift 900 couldn't be much simpler. It is comprised of two legs and a laminate top with the basic structure of a fold-out table. There are no built-in storage components though depending on your preferred desk height, there could be plenty of room under for small storage or filing cabinets.
Each of the legs is comprised of a heavy steel frame that ships in a collapsed state. The legs harness three separate pieces when extended at its maximum height. According to another source, this is a Jiecang base which is also used on competing models like the Ergoprise S2S or Ergo Depot Jarvis Desk. From my experience, the base is notably durable so I don't see them deteriorating through any standard use and I'd expect them to long outlive the top laminate piece.
I was pretty disappointed with the top for reasons beyond the whole gloss/matte laminate debacle. On both tops that I was sent, I noticed several nicks, marks, and cracks in various areas (especially around the PVC edging) that had to have been present prior to the shipping process as these areas were covered with thick foam once they were packaged and in transit.
Along with these defects, the PVC edging was applied poorly so there is even gaps along the seam between the laminate top. This is a small gripe, but one to mention nonetheless. Since receiving my desks, I've noticed the laminate white tops are prone to attracting small markings from placing my camera bodies, monitors, lenses, or other (mostly rubberized) items. These markings are temporary and can be simply removed with some Windex and a cloth, but keeping the top clean is tougher than I had imagined.
When it comes down to durability, the top is primarily comprised of particle board with a laminate top and notably ugly PVC edging so longevity is certainly a concern especially if you plan to put a lot of weight on it for extended periods. Along with the custom laminate, I also opted for the 80″ size which is the largest offered. For the price that I ultimately paid for my custom top is sufficient though underwhelming and something I could see deteriorating over the next five years.
Real World Function & Performance
With two Uplift 900s at my disposal, I've been utilizing each for the following purpose:
- One acts as a traditional desk which holds my desktop and various photo/video/audio accessories that I use for capture and editing purposes. This is where I spend most of my time writing articles, browsing the web, and editing the media shown on this website.
- The second desk is used for photography/video purposes and is also where I lay out all my various DSLR and mirrorless camera bodies as well as lenses when not in use. The sit/stand element allows me to adjust the desk height for different angles rather than the cumbersome process of adjusting each tripod leg individually.
In regards to real-world use, I have to say the benefits of a sit/stand desk warrant the price-tag especially when you break down the cost over time. Being able to re-position the desk height and switch from a sitting to standing position without any hassles has helped me boost productivity and feel better overall while gaining many indirect health benefits (lower risk of obesity, cancer, diabetes, etc).
The Uplift 900 is simple to operate with the keypad offering a real-time indication of your desk height with up/down controls as well as four memory presets. I am a fan of its versatility with the ability to bump the desk height up a few inches if need be or quickly reset to a pre-defined memory point.
The range of motion offered by the adjustable legs is extensive with 26″ of adjustment potential. The minimum height is 24.4″ and the maximum height of 49.6″, plenty of range for a whole multitude of uses. For my needs, I keep my sitting position mapped at 30.5 inches and my standing position is best suited at 40.5″.
Transitioning between different desk heights is smooth so I don't need to worry about my monitor or lenses falling over and becoming damaged. The motors that raise and lower the legs aren't silent, but notably quiet for what I had expected. Utilizing the desk's height adjustment feature shouldn't be a large annoyance or disturbance in a shared office environment.
Stability is a huge factor when evaluating a sit/stand desk, and these results can vary depending on how much weight is placed on top of your desk. With the base used in the Uplift 900, the stability is the most stable when fully collapsed (at its lowest point) and weakens slightly as the desk height rises. Even at its highest point, the Uplift 900 is still stable enough to use comfortably in my experience although you will get some slight wobble when performing tasks like typing on a keyboard. Is it the sturdiest sit/stand option on the market? No, surely not though for the price I am satisfied with the overall stability.
I am glad that I purchased locking casters as they were easy to install and have come into great use when rearranging my office or in the event that I need to move my desk temporarily. On the other hand, the wire management tray wasn't the best way to spend $19 as it is somewhat limited in regards to size and the adhesive backing that sticks to the bottom of the desktop recently gave leaving half of the tray hanging freely.
Something that I didn't realize was absolutely necessary with a sit/stand desk is the purchase of an anti-fatigue mat. Standing on my feet even for a half an hour while at the desk gets extremely tiresome on my feet. It only took one day of owning my Uplift 900 before I had placed an order for a third-party mat. After some research, I decided on the CumulusPRO Commercial Grade Anti-Fatigue Comfort Mat and have been very happy with its performance. I am now able stand for hours on end without pain in my heels or the arches of my feet which would be present if I had been just utilizing the a bare floor.
I'm happy with my decision to finally invest in a sit/stand desk and I think the Uplift 900 is a solid choice that offers great versatility and quality for such a low price-point. If you are ordering this with the idea that it is a top of the line desk, you'll be better off saving up for a NextDesk where the “top” portion will have a more premium look, feel, and build to it.
For any prospective Uplift 900 buyers, I would HIGHLY recommend anyone ordering through The Human Solution stick to their standard models as my decision to order a custom top became a real headache and ultimately I didn't end up with the exact desk that I thought I had purchased. Despite all this, I have found the Uplift 900 to be a budget-friendly, sit/stand desk model that remains a top contender if you're in the market at this price-point.