Review: Standing Desk Makes Using the iPad Touchscreen Easier

Steve Jobs was often asked about the concept of a touchscreen Mac. He believed that a desktop computer should not have a touchscreen because it put too much strain on the user to reach forward and up to touch or drag a finger across a touchscreen throughout the work day. It's hard to keep your hand elevated for long periods and he felt the iPad was better suited on your lap or balanced on another arm, etc. But something happened since he left us. The iPad got bigger and gained USB-C so you can plug in peripherals. The new iPadOS adds multitasking and Apple is openly asking us to ask "what is a computer", so now it's not unreasonable to see a fully loaded iPad Pro on a desk with a keyboard, companion monitor, and even a mouse.

Related: Turn Your iPad into a Second Monitor with iPadOS Sidecar

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Autonomous

So how do you avoid the repetitive stress that comes with a touchscreen device, or any computer? A standing desk is becoming a common solution. But Autonomous sent a Smart Desk 2 ($349) for me to try, and it's more than just a standing desk. You can sit or stand with the Smart Desk 2, and it electronically and automatically adjusts to four different heights that you can set using a handy control pad on the bottom right side of the desk.

Autonomous

You can customize an Autonomous desk using assorted color combinations such as white, black, walnut, white oak or bamboo desk with white, black, or gray legs. I found it to have a very clean, modern design that was right at home with the Apple ecosystem. There are integrated grommets to tuck away cables, which is even more important with a motorized desk. You don't want things coming unplugged or interfering with the movement. You can save a little by providing your own desktop, or spend a little more for extras like taller or larger or two-person desks. Keep in mind that it's heavy, so shipping adds $49.

Autonomous

There is some assembly and configuration required, so you may want assistance if you're not handy. Still, the Autonomous Desk was easy to unpack, build, and set up. Using it was a bit of a challenge, but only because I wasn't patient. After reading the instructions, I pressed two buttons at once and held to initiate. It did not set after holding for 5 seconds. It turns out it needs more like 20 seconds. Once I did that, it worked, and now I use it regularly and with ease.

Autonomous

Pros

  • Automatically adjusts to desired level
  • Program up to four levels
  • Available in assorted color combinations
  • Clean, elegant design
  • Integrated grommets

Cons

  • Heavy (shipping adds $49)
  • Some assembly and configuration required

Final Verdict

The Smart Desk 2 from Autonomous can adjust to the way you work, throughout the day.

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Todd Bernhard's picture

Todd Bernhard is a bestselling (6+ million downloads) award-winning (AARP, About.com, BestAppEver.com, Digital Hollywood, and Verizon) developer and founder of NoTie.NET, an app developer specializing in Talking Ringtone apps including AutoRingtone. And his profile photo is of the last known sighting of Mr. Bernhard wearing a tie, circa 2007!

An iPhone is almost always attached to his hip or in his pocket, but over the years, Mr. Bernhard has owned an Apple Newton, a Motorola Marco, an HP 95LX, a Compaq iPaq, a Palm Treo, and a Nokia e62. In addition to writing for iPhone Life, Mr. Bernhard has written for its sister publications, PocketPC Magazine and The HP Palmtop Paper.