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Review: The Duke will get ya on your feet – or on your butt

Gizmag tries out The Duke, a sitting/standing desk converter
Gizmag tries out The Duke, a sitting/standing desk converter
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The version of The Duke that we received is designed for a computer setup with a single VESA-mount monitor
1/7
The version of The Duke that we received is designed for a computer setup with a single VESA-mount monitor
The Duke is very stable, and sits flush to the desktop when in sitting mode
2/7
The Duke is very stable, and sits flush to the desktop when in sitting mode
Gizmag tries out The Duke, a sitting/standing desk converter
3/7
Gizmag tries out The Duke, a sitting/standing desk converter
The Duke has some extra space on its platform for things like a phone or pen and paper
4/7
The Duke has some extra space on its platform for things like a phone or pen and paper
The Duke can raise a maximum payload of 12 lb (5.4 kg) a total distance of 17 inches (43 cm)
5/7
The Duke can raise a maximum payload of 12 lb (5.4 kg) a total distance of 17 inches (43 cm)
The screen sits at a user-defined distance above the The Duke's keyboard shelf, rising and falling along the shaft with it
6/7
The screen sits at a user-defined distance above the The Duke's keyboard shelf, rising and falling along the shaft with it
Moving everything up and down is very easy, and is managed simply by depressing a hand lever on one side of The Duke
7/7
Moving everything up and down is very easy, and is managed simply by depressing a hand lever on one side of The Duke

We've been hearing a lot about the detrimental effects of sitting too much, and how standing desks can help minimize the problem. If you've already got a perfectly good regular desk, though, do you really want to replace it? That's why some companies are now offering standing desk "converters," that sit on top of a normal desk – some of the fancier ones even let you switch between sitting and standing modes. We recently tried out just such a beast, in the form of BTOD's grandly-named The Duke.

The version of The Duke that we received is designed for a computer setup with a single VESA-mount monitor – VESA means that the monitor has four screw holes on the back, allowing it to be mounted vertically. A separate BTOD model caters to computers such as iMacs or laptops.

Putting The Duke together was pretty straight-ahead, requiring only a screwdriver and an included Allen key. It took us around 45 minutes, and was no harder than assembling a piece of Ikea furniture. Some of the thick steel components are quite heavy, however, so a slight bit of hefting is required.

Once assembled, the unit holds the keyboard and mouse on a sturdy platform, which can be raised up and down a central helium-filled shaft to suit the user as they transition between sitting and standing. The screen sits at a user-defined distance above the keyboard shelf, rising and falling along the shaft with it. Via a pivoting mount, users can change the viewing angle of the monitor, or even swivel it 90 degrees between landscape and portrait modes.

The Duke is very stable, and sits flush to the desktop when in sitting mode
The Duke is very stable, and sits flush to the desktop when in sitting mode

And yes, The Duke works just as it's claimed to. Moving everything up and down is very easy, and is managed simply by depressing a hand lever on one side – because the shaft is gas-filled, it's not unlike the process of raising or lowering the pedestal of an office chair.

It's also very stable, sits flush to the desktop when in sitting mode, and has some extra space on the platform for things like a phone or pen and paper. The only real gripe we had was that it was somewhat fiddly running the keyboard and mouse cables from the front of the platform out through the guide holes in the back – perhaps if the sides of the unit were open, it would be easier to access those cords.

As far as specs go, The Duke weighs 44 lb (20 kg), requires a desk surface at least 24 inches deep (61 cm), and can raise a maximum payload of 12 lb (5.4 kg) a total distance of 17 inches (43 cm). It's priced at US$499.

Product page: The Duke

3 comments
Racqia Dvorak
$500 for a monitor and keyboard mount. The business world is so very fond of overpaying that it messes up prices for the rest of humanity.
gizmowiz
Now they need to add a portable treadmill to the floor area so when you stand you can exercise.......
bergamot69
I like the concept- but I'd have to know that the keyboard is high enough in it's highest position. I have to stand to use a certain PC at work- it isn't a height adjustable desk, and it is set to allow shorter people to use it. Being 6' tall, its too low for me, and I have to stoop slightly to use it, causing back ache, and also its much harder to type that way because my hands are at an unnatural angle for typing. Fortunately, I don't have to use it many times a day, and for relatively short periods.