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An Economic Alternative With Minor Flaws | #childsafety | #kids | #chldern | #parents | #schoolsafey


Key Takeaways

  • The Autonomous SmartDesk Core is an affordable standing desk option that is consumer-friendly and functions well for casual home use.
  • The desk has a solid steel frame and a dual motor that allows for smooth height adjustment, even though the desktop material may look cheap up close.
  • However, the desk lacks important safety features such as anti-collision and a child lock, and there is limited wire management built into the desk. Assembly can also be difficult for one person.


Standing desks are a great way to combat some common ails of office life, from stiff backs to bad knees. The Autonomous SmartDesk Core blends a sleek style with simple functionality but falls just short of some more premium options on the market.

Months before I tested out the 43 x 24-inch white-on-white Autonomous SmartDesk Core, I reviewed FlexiSpot’s Pro Plus Standing Desk and Comhar Pro Standing Desk. Autonomous doesn’t quite match the level of those higher-priced options, but there’s a really good reason for that. The SmartDesk Core retails for $399. FlexiSpot’s E7 and Q8 are $579.99 and $799 respectively. Taking into consideration the price difference, the SmartDesk Core is a more consumer-friendly model that will work better in the casual user’s home. Its finishings may be a little underwhelming, and the assembly process was a little intensive, but overall, it functions just as you’d expect a standing desk to.

The sleek white desk I tested was simple in design, but its steel frame worked as needed, quietly lifting the desktop up to a comfortable 48 inches. There are a few tweaks I’d make, primarily to how the desk is shipped and two missing features, but overall the SmartDesk Core is a good option for more casual home use and a decent starter desk.

Autonomous SmartDesk Core

The essential standing desk with electric dual motors. For all-day productivity and increased well-being.

Material
Top: Warp-proof MDF wood; Frame: SPCC Steel

Product Dimensions
Desktop: 43 x 24 x 1in (109 x 61 x 2.5cm)

Height Adjustable
Yes; 29.4 to 48in (74.7 to 121.9cm)

Lifting capacity
265lbs

Lift speed
2.3in per second

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Pros

  • Affordable price tag
  • Steel frame is durable
  • Dual motor is quiet and efficient
  • Responsive panel with memory features
Cons

  • No real safety feature
  • Lacking wire management
  • Desktop feels a little cheap
  • Assembly is difficult for one individual

Unpacking and Assembly: A Rough Start

I was a little spoiled with FlexiSpot’s desks. Both were shipped partially assembled, so I really only had to attach the lower frame in a simple three-step process. Autonomous sends an entire project where nothing is assembled, and there are two boxes worth of scattered materials. Not even the power supply or the wire supports to the bottom of the desk are in place. It’s a minor annoyance exacerbated by the heft of the desk.

For those that don’t have the option to follow the “team lift” recommendation, you’re working with nearly 100 lbs between the desktop and steel frame. It’s ultimately a trivial matter if you have a second set of hands, but having enjoyed a much easier assembly with other models, I was a little taken aback.

Good Solid Construction

That being said, there’s little negative to say about the overall build of the desk. The frame is a solid SPCC steel that holds up to 265 lbs. It’s sturdy, and I didn’t feel any wiggle, even when used on a plush carpet.

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The SmartDesk Core maneuvers smoothly between 29.4 and 48 inches. It runs on dual motors, one in each leg, for even height adjustment with the press of a button. Considering the lower price, I was pleasantly surprised that the motor worked just as well as higher-priced models. It was actually faster than FlexiSpot, moving at 2.3 inches per second compared to 1.4.

When it came to design, the biggest pitfall was the material of the desktop. The warp-proof MDF wood looks nice from afar, but up close, it has an almost plastic, cheap-looking appearance. The desktop is an inch thick, which is the same as the FlexiSpot models, but the rounded edge made it look a little thinner.

A Simple and Responsive Control Panel

Autonomous SmartDesk Core control panel
Mark LoProto / How-To Geek

There are no elaborate bells or whistles to worry about when learning the control panel. It screws directly into the underside of the desk and features four programmable memory slots, a digital readout of the current height, and hard-to-miss arrow buttons. I didn’t run into any issues with the panel itself, but the buttons were so large and prominent that it did make them a little too easy to accidentally bump into and trigger.

Missing Two Pivotal Features

The underside of my desk is often used as storage for items of note, most importantly my desktop tower. I didn’t take the time to measure the distance between the top of the tower and the bottom of the desk at its lowest, so the first time I brought the FlexiSpot desk down to its lowest point of 22 inches, I was quite glad there was an anti-collision feature.

Autonomous opted to forego anti-collision for the SmartDesk Core, which you may think is because 29.4 inches is a decent distance off the ground. However, the CDC puts the average toddler height above 30 inches, meaning Autonomous could prove to be a little dangerous if a child accidentally triggers a lower programmed height and decides to camp out underneath.

It’s a pretty significant safety feature considering the frame adjusts pretty quickly and is strong enough to actively lift 265 lbs. There’s also no child lock feature on the control panel, so you’ll have to rig a smart plug or another method to guarantee your child’s safety.

Very Basic Wire Management

Cables tied to the underside of the Autonomous SmartDesk Core
Mark LoProto / How-To Geek

It sounds like a pretty small oversight, but the lack of a wire organizer was quite surprising. The desk does come with cable ties that stick to the undercarriage of the desk, but it’s not a replacement for a designated spot to neatly feed the wires into.

If you’re trying to wire your computer setup and keep things neat, you’ll have to come up with a solution of your own or spend $39 on the Autonomous Cable Tray. The desk does come with two wire feeds in the two back corners, which helps to keep things neat. But having nothing underneath negates it a little.

Should You Buy the Autonomous SmartDesk Core?

Do you want to feel energized and vigorous after a day of working in the office? You’re definitely going to want to enter the standing desk space, and the Autonomous SmartDesk Core is a good model to test the waters. Its lower price is appealing, and its shortcomings are relatively easy to overlook.

Though the quality of the desktop isn’t quite premium, it’s durable and will withstand daily use without issue. I didn’t notice scratches or scuffs after a few weeks of heavy use as my primary office desk. While the lack of suitable wire management is irksome, there are options, particularly through Autonomous. A wire organizer certainly should have been included, but at least the company provided cable ties.

Autonomous took its biggest misstep with safety. No anti-collision and the lack of a child lock on the control panel may sway parents. The minimum height of 29 inches isn’t floor level, but it’s just low enough to prove dangerous to a young child. It’s still a good desk for most households, especially since you can get it as small as 43 x 23 inches, but there’s the caveat that children shouldn’t be around it without supervision.

At $399, Autonomous delivers a consumer-friendly standing desk that could help transform how you feel after a long day at your desk.

Autonomous SmartDesk Core

The essential standing desk with electric dual motors. For all-day productivity and increased well-being.

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