Standing desks are all rage, but not everyone can afford a fancy model that switches electrically from one sitting to a height with the touch of a button. Most of us are stuck with traditional fixed work tables.
This is where desk converters come in. These rigs rest on a regular desk, and you can raise and lower them depending on how you want to work. Such devices have a platform for your screen, along with a separate surface for a keyboard and mouse. Presto! You have a fully functional standing desk, often at a more affordable price.
I have written about pultomakers before (see "Cheaper alternatives to expensive standing desks", April 8, 2016) and had not planned to return to the subject. But a new Ergotron product got my attention because it solves problems I've seen in other such converters. Achieving perfection is difficult with the equipment of this ilk, partly because of the varying user's tastes and needs, but the WorkFit-TX Standing Desk Converter comes closer than anyone else I've ever seen. It's not cheap, though.
Let's review WorkFit TX's features and how they make it stand out from the package.
Up, Up and Away
Like other desktop converters, WorkFit TX works dependent on a lever system for manually raising and lowering the device. This may be a bit of training for you, given WorkFit-TX's mass and weight.
Gently moving WorkFit TX straight up and down. Some converters bend toward the user as they move upwards, which can eat into precious workstations.
This fact alone is not a reason to choose WorkFit TX from the Ergotron hardware line, since the company sells other converters that work in the same way, but it is worth pointing out this because of the compelling product's waving behavior.
It's Deep, Man
Usually you place the screen on a table-like platform that rises and lowers with the rest of the device. The WorkFit-TX shelf is wide enough to accommodate two displays, and also includes a metal rod on which a pair of monitors can be mounted. Nothing new here.
But the WorkFit-TX platform is also deep. To many people, especially those of us who grow older, this depth is crucial because close-ups can be hard to read. I have found such a close-up view optically unsustainable, which prevents me from using other converters from Ergotron and its competitors.
With WorkFit TX, though i can adjust iMac's depth positioning depending on the mood and how my eyes feel that day. It's great.
The depth of the screen platform serves a different purpose, Ergotron told me. Users have requested additional rooms to accommodate smartphones and tablets, spread work documents, distribute personal tchotchkes, fix external devices and more. There is plenty of room for all this. However, WorkFit-TX lacks an integrated slot or tripod to keep a smartphone and / or a tablet at a comfortable point of view, which is a cool feature found on other Ergotron converters.
Keep a Low Profile
WorkFit-TX's platform can seem very impressive in its extended position for use while standing. But in a design improvement, Ergotron found out how to reduce the platform's profile when it is in a lowered position. It does not disappear right from the view, but it does not dominate the desktop and adds the inherent claustrophobia to a workbook.
We Had As Your Input
When using a desktop desk or desktop converter, you need a place to put the keyboard and mouse (or trackpad). Some standing desks offer just a large surface to hold everything: the screen, keyboard, mouse and so on.
It's usually bad ergonomics since your forearms should bend at about 90º when writing and the screen should be right in front of your face. Given the body of most people, it requires a good bit of separation between the keyboard and the screen. (The lack of separation is one of the sharp ergonomic problems with laptops, and even more with an iPad Pro with a smart keyboard.)
With desktop converters, a more common event is to obtain a separate input device tray in a lower height than the monitor's platform. Usually the drawer is locked in that height. On WorkFit TX, however, you can adjust the keyboard board by its own handle and drop it as far as 3.5 inches (9 cm) underneath the desktop. This is important since many fixed desktops are too high for comfortable and healthy typing.
The board can also be tilted. That is, you can angled the edge near you slightly upwards, through flip-out feet underneath the platform. You can find this wonder, but such a tilt is a gift for people who need to keep their wrists straight or angled slightly. (The way most keyboards are louder on the back can be uncomfortable for those who have trouble keeping their wrists up while writing.)
At 28 cm (71 cm), the WorkFit-TX keyboard tray is also wide enough to accommodate a keyboard with enough extra space for comfortable use of rodent, which is not true for many other converters. Nevertheless, it helps if you use a smaller keyboard like Apple Magic Keyboard. The drawer is 8 cm (20 cm) deep, which gives plenty of room for mousing.
Just as important, the WorkFit-TX drawer is thick and solid, unlike others that are flimsy and tend to bend and it is firmly attached to the rest of the device so it will not twist.
The board has a design element that annoyed me: a raised lip on the far edge that my Magic Mouse was turned on. I was relieved to find that I could remove the lip with a Phillips screwdriver.
Now for the bad news
WorkFit-TX, but thoughtfully designed, is not for everyone. The extra deep screening platform, although it is a blessing in many ways, means that the inverter can have a tight fit on the shallow desks found in many office furniture. It is 27 cm (69 cm) deep and 32 inches (81 cm) wide and weighs 58.5 pounds (26.6 kg). In general, WorkFit-TX is a bit of an animal that some will not like.
Also at $ 599 it's expensive for those without the company's accounting accounts. See my previous article about converters for a number of less expensive alternatives. Also check out Ergotron WorkFit-Z Mini; It has some of the problems described in this article, but only at $ 199. It's worth seeing.
If you replace your current desktop, there is an option, because of the cost of WorkFit TX, or a little more, you can find full desktop, the type that elevates and lowers by pressing a button. I have a standing desk in the office of my daily employer, and I prefer it over any converter.
But for those who have a big desk and some extra money, WorkFit-TX is the best sit-stand converter I've seen so far.