Hardware & Tech Reviews - - by Niall De'Ath

Blood, sweat and spinal implosions: A week with the Varidesk Soho

Blood, sweat and spinal implosions: A week with the Varidesk Soho Image: Varidesk

A standing desk feels like a horrifying torture method devised to punish users for any lethargic desires, but it does have the attractive offer of keeping us more healthy than…not at all. As technology and gaming writers, we hardly qualify for the Olympian Adonis body type we use as a colourful euphemism on our tragically undersold Geek2Geek dating profile, so adding in a little bit of fitness to our lives could hardly hurt.

Spoiler alert! It hurts.

We picked up the much touted Varidesk Soho, the smallest standing desk available from a company that has been working their fingers to the bone to make sure the modern adult gets at least a few fleeting moments of exercise during their day to day. It is a pretty simple piece of kit, a small stand that you plant on top of your desk to give you a comfortable elevation while using a laptop. But the basic design hides the challenge involved in sticking with the arduous task awaiting those who dare take the Varidesk challenge.

We’re pretty set in our ways, blowing insane funds on reclining desk chairs, head rests and memory foam mouse pads, which has had two main consequences on our bodies. We are constantly inches away from falling into a comfort coma, but our legs and arms have the durability of Twiglets. The Varidesk takes no prisoners and this became very clear after the initial over zealous cockyness wore off. After an hour, the back pain began, after two our legs were twitching, after three we were sweating. We stopped there on the first session, lest our spine burst its way from our backs in a misguided effort to force us back to the chair.

But shocker; it felt great. Yeah, we were aching, tears were shed, but the endorphins had been slowly drip fed into our body as our brain rewarded us for attempting to increase our lifespan for a few minutes. So much so, we went back to the Varidesk less than an hour after quitting.

Cut to two days later, and we were sporting a beastly six pack, had a neck like a steel beam and women were lining up outside the office, just to catch a glipse of the sexiest men alive. Nah, not really. We were still struggling to keep it going for longer than a few hours, but gradually, we were getting better. It felt less like a choice and a hell of a lot more normal to stand and work, and the early morning tiredness was slowly but surely ebbing away as we worked our horrifyingly underused muscles.

Could it be that we were getting just that little bit healthier? It was true that we were sleeping longer in the evenings, no doubt because of the extra sententious activity, and we felt chirpier and less inclined to explode over someone leaving paper cups around the place. The results were becoming interesting.

By the end of the week we had got over the initial pains and strange popping sounds, and honestly, we felt pretty good. The concept of standing to work or during leisure activities feels like a back step with a little bit of counter intuitive thinking thrown in for good measure, but in practice it works out surprisingly well. Did it make us better looking? Nah. Did it stop us smoking? Nah. Did it solve all our problems in life? Not by a long shot. But what it did do was improve our mood, help out our back by quite a bit and help to make us feel superior when surrounded by the lazy masses still stuck on their chairs.

So, is the Varidesk worth your time? We’re inclined to argue that it might just be, especially if you are worried about what all that sitting about might be doing to your inside bits. Where problems develop is regarding the price tag attached however, as the Soho will cost you £150, which feels disproportionately hefty when you consider exactly what you are getting. The desk is durable, reliable and does look nice, but at that money if feels like it is lacking a few extra features to sell us on.

If we would make a suggestion, a home liposuction tool would help to make us feel healthier, or end our lives in an explosive fashion. Hey, at least we would look good.


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