Autonomous SmartDesk 2 review: Luxury standing desk at a budget price

Autonomous SmartDesk 2
(Image: © iMore)

iMore Verdict

Bottom line: The SmartDesk 2 is quality made, whisper-quiet, and fits within the range of reasonably priced standing desk options.


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    Quality made

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    Desktop and leg size and color options

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    Whisper-quiet motor

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    Reasonably priced

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    28" - 48" hight range (26" - 52" for the business version)


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    Difficult setup

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    Business version is $100 more

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In today's computer-driven world, more and more people are stuck with their Gluteus Maximus in a chair for eight or more hours every day, which can be hard on the back and the physique. If you work from home, you may have fantasized about just pressing a button and suddenly being able to stand up, stretch those leg and back muscles, but keep the typing going. Autonomous makes a solid quality standing desk that allows you to do just that. With the press of a button, you can go from sit to stand without missing a key type.


Autonomous SmartDesk 2: The features

Autonomous SmartDesk 2

Autonomous SmartDesk 2 (Image credit: iMore)

The SmartDesk 2 comes in two tabletop sizes: 53" x 29" or 70.5" by 30". It also comes in a few different colors: black, white, and natural bamboo. When it comes to legs, you don't have to stick with one or another, you can choose from a gray, black, or white frame for any of the color tabletops. Want a Stormtrooper desk? Choose a white tabletop with black legs.

The table is 1-inch thick, which adds to the overall sturdiness of the desk.

It has a very wide range of height. The Home Office model ranges from 28" to 48" and the Business Office model ranges from 26" to 52" — the biggest range I've seen in a standing desk.

The desk is sturdy enough to hold 300 pounds of weight and still move up and down smoothly. It's speedy, too. It runs about 2-and-a-half inches per second.

The leg frame is a separate leg style, but there is a bracing bar at the top, screwed to the desk's underside, which accounts for the impressive stability.

The SmartDesk 2 is electric. There is a standard panel sitting at the front of the desk within arm's reach that has up and down controls, and also has four memory settings so you and another person can share the same desk with your own presets.

All of the electrical hardware is mounted under the desk, so you don't need a cable basket, but because the cables do tend to dangle, Autonomous includes a package of velcro zip tie cable management strips that mount under the desk with 3M adhesive. It's very versatile.

Autonomous also offers a wide variety of office accessories, like ergonomic chairs, anti-fatigue mats (which I recommend), add-on desk drawers, cable trays, and filing cabinets.

I actually purchased the Ergo Stool, which fits perfectly with the SmartDesk 2 and is so much better for my sitting health than the chair I've been sitting in for years.

Strong silent type

Autonomous SmartDesk 2: What I like

Autonomous SmartDesk 2

Autonomous SmartDesk 2 (Image credit: iMore)

I can't get over just how stable the SmartDesk 2 is. The amount of desk shake while typing is minimal, especially considering it only has one crossbar mounted to the desk (nothing across the lower part of the legs). I set a glass of water on the table and watched it while I typed and, though it did cause some rippling, it wasn't very noticeable.

Speaking of no leg crossbar, the fact that underneath the desk is completely clear means you can shove a bunch of filing cabinets, boxes, or other stacks of junk you're trying to hide without worrying about any crossbar getting in the way.

A lot of standing desks suffer from an annoyingly loud motor, but the SmartDesk barely registers on my Apple Watch's noise meter. While sitting or standing at the desk, it hits about 43 dB and if I hold my wrist right next to the expanding or contracting leg, it maxes out at about 54 dB. General ambient noise is at about 35 dB.

For people that don't fit national height averages, the SmartDesk Business Edition is worth the upgrade. The desk lowers all the way down to 26 inches, which is about two inches lower than most desks (including the Home Edition), and raises to 52-inches high, which is a comfortable standing position for taller typers.

I would have expected the SmartDesk 2 to cost about $600, and it would be worth the price (don't tell Autonomous that), but it comes in at under $400 with a fully customizable table and legs. If you've been pricing standing desks, you'll know that this is an incredible price for the quality (stability, whisper-quiet fast motor, and height range).

Two-person job

Autonomous SmartDesk 2: What I don't like

Autonomous SmartDesk 2

Autonomous SmartDesk 2 (Image credit: iMore)

The SmartDesk 2 is definitely a two-person setup job. I managed to put it together myself but ended up with blisters (because I couldn't find my power drill and had to screw the screws in manually) and a sore back (because lifting the different parts, including the legs and the table separately, was very difficult). This certainly isn't a dealbreaker for any quality office furniture, but be aware: this is not simple, lightweight Ikea furniture with pre-drilled holes and easy wood dowel assembly. Autonomous claims that set up is easy and takes about 15 - 30 minutes. It took me about an hour to set it up alone.

The only real difference between the Home and Business versions of the SmartDesk 2 is that the latter has a wider height range (it also has a 7-year warranty instead of 5). So, it's going to cost you an additional $100 for an additional 6 inches. If you're tall or short, those inches really matter.


Autonomous SmartDesk 2: The conclusion

Autonomous SmartDesk 2

Autonomous SmartDesk 2 (Image credit: iMore)

I've been on the lookout for a good standing desk for a while now, but haven't found the perfect fit for my size and my needs. Autonomous' SmartDesk 2 is nearly perfect. It's quiet, stable, lowers to my height perfectly, and has is completely open underneath so I can tuck away my stacks of gadget boxes.

Though set up is harder than pressboard Ikea furniture, the instructions are clear and easy to understand, I just recommend you have a friend around to help out.

I do wish the Business Edition came with more features for that extra $100, or at least that the Home Edition had the same height range, but if you're below or above average height, I recommend spending the extra $100.

I also highly recommend checking out Autonomous' line of desk accessories and furniture. You can deck out your entire office with a matching set.

Lory Gil

Lory is a renaissance woman, writing news, reviews, and how-to guides for iMore. She also fancies herself a bit of a rock star in her town and spends too much time reading comic books.  If she's not typing away at her keyboard, you can probably find her at Disneyland or watching Star Wars (or both).