At Engadget, we’ve covered plenty of standing desks and peripherals that have changed up our work-from-home setups, but everyone’s use case (and living arrangements) differ. Until now, I’ve struggled to find a standing desk that balances versatility and compactness.
I live in a small, one-bedroom apartment in London, usually working on a dining table instead of a work desk. I don’t use a second screen (I know I should) as I prefer to take my work computer to a coffee shop or across London without losing utility. I do have a wireless keyboard and trackpad, which I usually break out during hectic writing deadlines. But, beyond an IKEA laptop shelf, I’ve never found a standing desk to which I’d be willing to dedicate a corner of my home. I also didn’t want to be reminded of work while relaxing on a Saturday morning.
But Intension's tripod standing desk, with a collapsible design and adjustable height, might be the solution. There are several ‘portable’ standing desks, but Intension’s ‘pro’ model, with particularly industrial legs and an optional wheel add-on, ticked many boxes. The desk surface can be fixed between 28 and 53 inches, making it a suitable work surface for most people.
The tripod setup offers more versatility than typical standing desks, as you can set it up at knee height and use it for board games or puzzles. (People still do puzzles, okay?) The desk can also be angled and fixed if you prefer to type or write at an incline, too. Along one edge, there are two ‘laptop stops’ to keep your laptop on the desk surface, even when tilted.
The wheels (an optional add-on) add even more freedom: I can roll the desk into my bedroom if I’m taking conference calls and want to be out of earshot of the running washing machine in the background. Wouldn’t taking your standing desk outside be nice if you have a garden? That’s possible with a tripod desk. As you can see in the pictures, the tripod part of the desk is pretty substantial, so it'll stay there once it’s tightened in place. That said, because of the way the surface is affixed in a uniform line, the desk part can wobble a little.
Talking of the surface, some tripod desks offer work space barely larger than an inflight tray table in economy-comfort class. Fortunately, this one has a 16- by 28-inch surface, leaving enough space for a (light!) secondary screen, your phone and more. I attached my Blue podcasting mic to an articulating arm and clamped it to the far edge of the desk.
Beyond using a standing desk for everyday PC work, it’s come into its own when I need to film videos for this job, with the perfect space for my autocue (my laptop) and my mic.
It’s a lot more substantial than a typical camera tripod, but also so much sturdier. Oddly enough, the wheelbase is a solid, adjustable triangular base that makes it feel even more rigid. Each wheel can also be locked in place and there are also rubberized feet on the tripod, too. Once it's set up, the feet are unlikely to move independently, whether on hard floors, carpet or rugs.
Its maneuverability is the best part of this tripod desk – even when it’s not in use. While testing, I didn’t deconstruct it and pack it away often, but the ability to do so when I have visitors over or need extra floor space is a boon. Most of the time, I can wheel it into a corner, behind a shelf, out of sight.
The pro model tripod is so incredibly hardy it would probably outlast several items of static furniture. It’s a shame the surface is a little shaky – if they’re looking to refresh this model, a cross strut to stabilize the surface would be a smart place to begin.. It’s not enough of an angle for cups to slide off, but it does feel oddly precarious when the tripod itself is so substantial – and when the desk costs $400.
I tested out the Intension Tripod Standing Desk Pro as a simple standing desk, but its versatility meant I used it for more than just laptop work – it even turned into my podcasting surface of choice. If you’re looking for an even lighter, petite tripod desk – or just a cheaper option – Intension’s basic option is currently on sale for under $200.