As of late, we have seen a surge in popularity in the segment of on-desk monitor risers (a.k.a. standing desk converters), such as the previously reviewed Flexispot ClassicRiser. The main advantages of these height-adjustable platforms is that they cost less, and are more mobile (than a full sit-stand desk, at least).
With a height-adjustable riser, it’s easy to turn any existing work surface into an impromptu sit-stand workspace–a kitchen table, a folding table, or an old work desk. Most offer accessories that allow one to expand functionality, such as power strips, monitor arms, and document/tablet holders, which allows full use of the space provided.
Today we are reviewing at the E-1 height-adjustable riser, a new product, from a new brand based in the U.S., TrenDesks (a.k.a. SunField LLC).
The TrenDesks Story
As a relative newcomer to the industry, you may have never heard about TrenDesks before. TrenDesks was founded by Chinese entrepreneur Shane Feng during his time as a graduate student at Kansas State University, in Manhattan, Kansas. After experiencing neck and back pain after years of working in a traditional office environment, he looked to solve the problem for both himself and anyone else experiencing similar issues.
Hunching over a desk most of the day, Shane found that he frequently needed to take breaks to stand up or walk around. Then he read about standing desks. He thought about just building one for himself; but building an adjustable standing desk is more complicated than he had initially thought. To come up with a design that he was truly happy with, Shane needed to apply knowledge from his manufacturing background, talk with physical therapists and study good ergonomic design.
Besides his manufacturing experience and desire to help others, Shane also has one other trick in his belt–his family owns a manufacturing company in China. With a great idea and his connections back home, he spent a year designing, perfecting, and manufacturing the first TrenDesks models before launching their first product–the E-1 Height-Adjustable Standing Desk Riser–in 2017.
What Comes In The Box
The E-1, as reviewed, comes in a large, heavy box (60 lbs or so), so be careful when getting it inside!
Mostly pre-assembled, you can quickly see that the weight of the unit comes from the fact that the desk is made of quality materials. With a solid steel frame combined with a large resin workspace, this is made as well, if not better, than competition of a similar spec.
After pulling everything out of the box, I unwrapped the protective film off of each component and was basically ready to go from there, after which I placed it on a table, set up my monitors, keyboard, mouse, and cables, and gave it a go.
Usage was very similar to the previously reviewed Flexispot, with the dual handles on each side to raise/lower the work surface. The action of lifting or lowering was made very easy by way of the gas-springs on each side, and required very little effort (although effort required to raise it does depend on how much weight you have on top, it never gets to the point where you need to forcibly struggle with it).
When fully raised there was no wobble, even with quite a bit of weight on top–this is due to the rectangular frame that goes all the way along the underside of the work platform, improving stability.
The work surface itself seemed very hard and scratch resistant during the couple of weeks I’ve used it thus far, which was one of my main complaints regarding the Flexispot. That being said, the white surface of the model I was reviewing definitely showed dust and scratches less than the black model of the Flexispot. Although aesthetically I personally prefer black, white may be the way to go if minor blemishes/dust build-up bothers you at all.
The cable organizer, and power strip (available for purchase) with dual USB ports, is also appreciated, as I’m not a fan of cable clutter. This allows you to easily charge your phone or tablet, as well as plug in your laptop and/or monitor, while only needing a single cord running down the back of your riser/table to the electrical outlet.
My setup also has a dual monitor arm (available for purchase), which allows you to connect two 24″ monitors side-by-side. This is a great way to make the most of the available surface area of your E-1, as if lets you do away with the sometime bulky monitor stands (as long as your monitors are VESA compliant, which most are).
TrenDesks E-1 vs. The Competition
The most obvious competitor is the previously reviewed Flexispot ClassicRiser, which has been available for the past couple of years. At first glance, whether by coincidence or not, much of the basic design and layout of the E-1 is quite similar to the ClassicRiser.
Both are very solid, and the build quality is top-notch with each. Both use a similar two-handle gas-spring system to raise and lower the work surface. However, there are some definite advantages on the TrenDesks E-1 that similar products lack. Both accomodate people from about 5′ to 6’5″ or so.
The biggest feature that I ended up loving was the adjustable keyboard tray. I can’t tell you how many times I found it a huge annoyance that the keyboard tray was fixed on my ClassicRiser–whether when moving it from location to location, or just having it on the table, with the tray sticking out all of the time. It’s a fairly simple mechanism that allows it to slide in and out, so I can only guess that it was a cost-saving measure by Flexispot to not include it on their product (the Flexispot version’s keyboard tray is attached in a single position via four hand screws).
The keyboard tray is also large enough to accommodate a full keyboard and still leave room to use a mouse over to the side (I use a Logitech MX Anywhere 2 for my laptop setup, and a Logitech MX Master 2S for my desktop)– a must when maintaining a proper ergonomic setup (eyes pointing straight ahead at the monitor, elbows bent at no more than a 45 degree angle to your body to work the keyboard and mouse).
Aesthetically, I prefer the straight-backed design of the E-1 work surface, versus the slightly curved back of the Flexispot. The E-1 also has a wider workspace, at 40in (102cm) standard (although you can opt to buy a larger version of the Flexispot desk in black or white only at a higher price).
One mostly-aesthetic touch that the Flexispot has over the E-1 is that there are softer lines and plastic moulding along parts of the steel base and crossbars, which allows for a bit software appearance, versus the more angular, utilitarian look with the E-1.
Note that the E-1 only comes in black and white, in one size (40″/102cm), while the Flexispot comes in four sizing options (27″/69cm, 35″/89cm, 41″/104cm and 47″/119cm), and has four varieties of laminate (including two wood grain options for the 35″ version).
Quality, Warranty, and Returns
TrenDesks offers a 30 Day Guarantee, in which if you don’t like their product for any reason within that window of time you can send it back to them, postage-paid, for a full refund (shipping charges may apply to Alaska, Hawaii, and other areas outside of the continental U.S.).
They also offer a One Year Warranty, which guarantees the desk to be free from manufacturer defects for a year past the purchase date. Any repairs during this one-year period will be done free of charge, although you will need to pay shipping on your end to get the product back to TrenDesks for repairs.
There is a bit of competition when it comes to on-desk sit-stand risers as of late, with other, often better-known companies (Flexispot, Varidesk, etc.) selling their versions on the market. All are similarly designed, priced about the same, and perform the same function in the end.
My take is, in regard to the build quality, size of the work area, and (especially) sliding keyboard tray functionality alone, the TrenDesks E-1 is a great value for the money, coming in at or below competitor’s prices.
Note: I was provided with a test unit from TrenDesks in exchange for my honest review.