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Autonomous SmartDesk Review

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Autonomous SmartDesk Review

Overview
Review Summary

The company makes over-the-top marketing claims like "the highest-rated desk in the world" and maintains its bases are of "unparalleled technology." As far as we can tell, the only things this company is "best in the world" at is their gift for marketing hyperbole, and finding the cheapest possible components to make a standing desk. Customer complaints on public forums number in the hundreds, if not more.

MSRP / List Price

$249 with small top and single-motor, height range-limited base.
$349 with small top and dual-motor, three-leg base.

Street Price

In typical configurations, a full desk will run you $530 to $660 with shipping.

Shipping

Free with Amazon Prime

Warranty

Recently upped from one year to five years, but play it safe and buy through Amazon

Lift Type

Electric

Transit Speed

Single-motor, single-stage base: 1 inch per second (world's slowest)
Dual-motor, dual-stage base: listed as 2.3 inches per second (which would make it the world's fastest, if true)

Controller

Digital readout with four memory presets

Sizes Available

50x30 or 70x30

Colors Available

Black, White, Light Oak, Bamboo, and Walnut

Weight Capacity

Single-motor base 220 lbs.
Dual-motor base 300 lbs.

Where to Buy
Positives

Cheap. Really, really cheap. Has an AI option if you don't already have an Amazon Echo or some other personal assistant.

Negatives

Extremely low quality. Can take months to receive your desk after you pay for it. "Ergonomic cutout" option is anything but ergonomic. For not a lot more you can buy something of far greater quality. Customer complaints are rampant across public forums.

Experts' Rating
Expert Rating
Bottom Line

There's no such thing as a free lunch, and a $249 desk made from the lowest cost components in China is not likely worth the savings. Some products that start out in Kickstarter campaigns get refined and over time and more appropriately priced for the company's long-term viability; we're not sure Autonomous has made that leap yet. It's a risky buy, but if you're going to go for it, we recommend avoiding the ultra-cheap single-motor base and suggest the dual-motor base option; it'll actually go low enough, and high enough, for the average American user. Stability, reliability of the motors, and durability/appearance of the tabletop are our chief concerns.

Experts' Rating
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Review Details

[Editors’ Update: Based upon a preponderance of negative customer reviews on Reddit, Autonomous’s Facebook page, and other public forums (we frankly lost count after the first few hundred ranting reviews we read) we have lowered our rating on this product further, to the lowest possible half-star ranking. Having never seen any company emerge in this industry with such an incredibly bad consumer reputation we feel we must place a red caution flag on the Autonomous Smart Desk, and on Autonomous as a company. Tens of thousands of customers have purportedly taken the bait on the massive advertising campaigns Autonomous runs for it’s $249 desk, and their populist, anti-establishment, social media and website messaging, and the obviously curated “5-star” reviews published on their website.

The company’s founder openly reports that Autonomous’ deeply discounted product has spurred “100% month to month revenue growth” and severe growing pains, yet the company continues to advertise at full throttle. This flies in the face of logic when Autonomous appears to be experiencing an out-of-control explosion of customer service, supply chain and quality issues. If the FTC isn’t already investigating this company, it well should. We are particularly concerned for consumers who wait so many months for their product, and have a purportedly difficult time obtaining refunds, that they may lose their option of disputing their credit card charges by the time their disappointment arrives (the protection period varies by bank issuer; debit card payers often have only two months, e.g.). As your mother probably told you about being a wary consumer, “if something looks too good to be true, it probably is.”]

The Autonomous SmartDesk was launched on both Indiegogo and Kickstarter in 2015, offered as a gimmicky AI personal assistant (akin to an Amazon Echo but with extremely limited functionality, relatively speaking). Oh, and it also happens to come with an entire desk. It was an interesting approach, and it worked – they raised over $200,000 in advance orders.

SmartDesk 2 AI

SmartDesk with its personal assistant perched on top.

Suffice it to say, there are enough of these now in the field that we can scour bountiful user reviews to see how well user experiences match up with our own observations. At least on Amazon, the vast majority of sales, and the more positive reviews, are on the standalone DIY base itself as opposed to the full desk system.  It’s a spotty record as Amazon goes, especially given the known positive bias to Amazon reviews of office fitness products. Many unverified-buyer reviewers also cut the company a lot of slack because they bought it from the Kickstarter campaign.

User reviews run the gamut from hating/returning the product to being absolutely delighted with it. Many complained then, and still complain now of very long wait times for shipping, some serious product quality issues, and nightmarish customer service installation challenges – particular if purchased with a tabletop. The desk is targeted at the DIY crowd, which is a good thing, because if your desk arrives without all the screws, you probably have some around that you could use to finish the job, (and you’re likely to be far more tolerant of shortcomings than the typical consumer). Keep that drill handy; apparently pilot hole alignment can be problematic when attaching the top to the base.

We’re naturally skeptical of anything that sounds too good to be true – we’ve lab-tested far too many electric desks to believe that something this cheap is going to perform as advertised. (Learn about how we test products in Anatomy of a Review.) The company claims its product is the “#1 top-rated desk in the world,” and shows only 5-star ratings on its own website that we have to assume are curated.

There’s no free lunch when it comes to component quality, and at $249 it’s a given that this desk is made as cheaply as an electric height-adjustable desk can possibly be made. But the thing that raises our eyebrows the most about Autonomous is the sheer number of hyperbolic marketing claims on their website. It just didn’t match our own experience when we tried the desk out at the Neocon office furniture trade show in Chicago. And because we’ve tested dozens of desk models in our labs, we have something to compare to that the typical consumer does not.

You Get What You Pay For

There are a lot – and we mean a WHOLE lot – of cheap knock-off electric desk bases coming out of southeast Asia these days. We’ve reviewed a few of the most popular adjustable height bases for DIY desk builders. And we’ve tested many more in our labs and at trade shows like Neocon, where manufacturers bring their wares from around the world. We’ve also toured a number of manufacturing plants in China – enough to know that there’s a wide spectrum of quality that you can expect, and generally you’re not going to find too many components made with precision robotics at this end of the price scale. To be blunt, we’ve seen a lot of bases coming out of dirty, noisy, sweaty factories that would never be allowed to operate under US health and environment standards. The dark, grainy video footage of the factory that Autonomous put on their Kickstarter page definitely suggested the latter.

SmartDesk DIY Standing Desk

The SmartDesk’s standalone DIY Base.

While this review is mostly a forensic one, we did get our hands on an actual unit in Chicago long enough to run a basic assessment. The first clue as to the quality of manufacturing of the Autonomous base was the long black oil streaks we saw running down the white actuator legs. That’s not a good thing. Some grease residue will be seen on any desk, but this was not the normal amount, and implied a problem with the design or manufacturing tolerances of the gaskets between the telescoping leg segments. The second clue was that the only desk they brought with them had failed entirely by the second day of the show, and the booth crew apparently split town, leaving the desk at an odd height between sitting and standing. Now, to be fair, that was early on in their development, and they’ve probably come a long way by now. Indeed, features and prices are continuously changing on their website and in their ad campaigns, and there are indications they may have already changed manufacturer(s), at least for some key components.

What’s not changed since their crowd funding campaigns? Long shipping delays and over-the-top marketing claims. The persistently long shipping delays indicate that the company is using your money to place their next factory order, i.e. they’re not quite out of Kickstarter mode yet. You can get a seemingly great price but you’ll have to wait a very long time to get it. In contrast to numerous other, more established vendors who will ship you a totally customized desk within just a week’s time.

So our first sense of this company was that it wasn’t going to set the world on fire with their unrefined AI product (competing with Amazon Echo is really, really hard, and many users reported removing the clunky electronics after a while and just using the desk), and that they may still have a lot to learn about what it takes to build a real desk manufacturing company. Did we mention that their first Kickstarter campaign was for a DIY robot? It seems odd to branch off from DIY robots to DIY desks, but it’s actually easier than you might think to source a manufacturer in China that can make bases and tops for you – and there’s always one willing to make it cheaper than anyone else to get your business. The only bridge between these products is that they purportedly rely on artificial intelligence, but when it comes to the desk that’s a pretty weak link. In any event, we’re not reviewing the optional AI add-on package here, just the desk.

Unpacking the Marketing Claims

Autonomous Smart Desk, World's Best Standing Desk

“The world’s best marketing hyperbole, period.”

$249 for an adjustable height desk sounds really great, but this is a highly misleading bait-and-switch advertising tactic to get you to their website where you’ll find out what it really costs with all the options you’d actually want. In classic cheesy marketing style they notate that “traditional retail” for the same desk would be $1,500.  There are certainly $1500, made-in-America desks available that are ten times as nice, but that’s not what you’re going to be getting here with the cheapest variety of Chinese components.

Autonomous claims to have the most configurable desk in the world, with “270 options.” Ahem, there are plenty of other desk manufacturers out there that offer many more. Sounds like a lot but it basically boils down to only 90 permutations, that we could count, of the following choices: 5 laminate colors (black, white, walnut, light oak, and bamboo), three leg colors (black, white, or gray) and three tabletop sizes (53×30 “classic,” 53×30 with an “ergonomic cutout”, and 70×30), and lastly, a super-cheap “home edition” single-stage base with a single motor driving both legs, or “business edition” dual-stage, dual synchronized motors).  We’ll get to the bases later in the review.

Autonomous must be counting some other options (like their AI personal assistant) in coming up with a purported 270 combinations, but this array of options is actually quite limited compared to the much wider range of desk size and color options you’ll find from other makers we’ve reviewed. Let’s keep going.

Heavy Duty Industrial Grade Steel is not a feature. Aluminum would be a feature. Sounds good, though, doesn’t it? Not to burst anyone’s bubble but 99% of sit-stand desks are made of the same stuff. It’s how you form it – and the manufacturing tolerances between the leg segments (measured in microns) – that counts. Stability and rigidity go hand-in-hand, and it’s how the steel is formed and the plastic gaskets in between the steel segments that determine whether a desk is really “heavy duty.”

SmartDesk Bamboo

…featuring bamboo surface

Grade A Wood and Bamboo Tops is one of the more ludicrous claims the company makes. This isn’t USDA beef; there is no such grading system. In fact, the lamination used on these tabletops is the cheapest and most ubiquitous kind you’ll find in southeast Asia, using high pressure laminate and glued-on edge-banding, and leaving exposed seams that over time allow moisture and air into the MDF (particle board) core of the tabletop. They’ll degrade over time like any other cheaply made tabletop, and that’s a comment we also saw come up frequently in user reviews. Despite the great-sounding “Grade A” construction, these tops don’t compare to hardwood, nor do they compare to much more advanced 3D lamination that is increasingly used in American-made products. And if you’re concerned about environmental impact from the chemicals used to make these tops, you can be certain that the tops were not made in a plant that could meet the stringent US EPA environmental standards.

SmartDesk with Ergonomic Cut-Out

…and an “ergonomic cutout”

The “ergonomic cutout” is curiously very deeply cut. When seated, some chair backs may prevent you from rolling all the way forward so that you could reach the keyboard comfortably. Larger individuals will have to squeeze into the “cockpit,” which may be uncomfortable (do they know what the average American looks like?). Installing an ergonomic keyboard tray on this desk is impossible, and if you use a large monitor you may find that you’re too close to your screen and start developing neck strain and eye strain as a result. We’re still grasping for what is ergonomic about this oddly contoured cutout they charge an extra $50 for. They can call it whatever they want, but it isn’t ergonomic.

The most affordable standing desk on Earth sounds really great. We’ve seen other companies make this claim, though, including IKEA with their abysmal Bekant desk that has garnered more negative user reviews than any other desk we’ve ever reviewed, or seen.

#1 rated desk on Earth,” again, sounds really great. We’d like to see all the user reviews they didn’t publish. Earth is a big place, and there are a lot of desk reviews these folks have not yet read.

SmartDesk Electric AdjustmentUnparalleled performance through advanced Electric Motor System.” OK, this is where we have to vomit a little in our mouths. Autonomous offers two bases. The Home Edition is a single-motor, single-stage base. This means that one motor is driving both legs, with a transmission rod and a bunch of gearing in between them. You won’t find many single-motor bases made anymore; just about every other base manufacturer has figured out that you can make a much better base with dual synchronized motors, with far greater reliability, for a relatively small cost increment. You’ll also find very few single-stage electric bases (meaning two telescoping leg segments) anymore, as the rest of the world has moved to dual-stage bases (3-telescoping leg segments) for their better range of height adjustment. Users frequently noted that the single-stage base could not go low enough to sit or high enough to stand.

If your plans for this desk are to put it in the garage and use it only occasionally, the $249 desk may be a good bargain. But if you’re planning to use it as your everyday work desk we’d strongly recommend at least popping the extra $100 for the dual-motor base, and getting full height range adjustability. The company claims a 220 lb. rating on the single-stage, and 300 lb. rating on the dual-stage base. Please, be sure to read our article on Do Weight Ratings on Electric Desks Really Matter? Hint: they do matter, but side-loading and manufacturing tolerances on the telescoping segments matter a whole lot more.

The transit speed on the Home Edition desk is a pokey 1 inch per second – literally the slowest desk we’re aware of on the market (slower even than the vintage GeekDesk), and not what we’d call “advanced.” They do claim The most silent standing desk with advanced Noise Cancellation Engineering – sound level at only 39 dB during movement,” though this is very subjective as it can be measured in a hundred different ways. That’s why we prefer to test these desks in our labs under comparable conditions just like the other desks we’ve tested (learn more about that in our Testing Standards for Standing Desks).

Generally speaking though, slower desks are quieter. At this price range it’s a question of whether you’d rather have a loud, fast-moving desk, or a slow-moving, quiet desk. The single-stage, single-motor Autonomous base seems to be of the latter variety. If you want fast and quiet you won’t find it in this price range. As for “noise cancelling technology” there is not a shred of truth to this claim, no active noise cancellation circuitry is built into this desk (nor any other desk); we assuming this is just a misunderstanding on the part of the Chinese-to-English translator.  The Business Edition base claims a 2.3 inches per second transit speed, which we find hard to believe as it is far faster than any other desk we’ve EVER seen in all our years of reviewing height adjustable desks. They do not publish the dB rating on this newer base, but we can only assume it would sound like a small turbine jet engine at that spindle rotation speed, and we would seriously question its long term reliability. Surprisingly, Autonomous does not claim to be the fastest desk in the world. They missed that one.

As for height range the two desk bases have pretty conventional stroke ranges for being two-segment and three-segment desks. The Home Edition has a range of 29″ – 47″ and does not meet ANSI/BIFMA minimums. The Business Edition has a range of 24″ to 51″.

I am Autonomous, Autonomous Smart Desk

“I am Autonomous” – well, at least that’s my name…

Smart Keypad that remembers your perfect sitting and standing heights is again pretty conventional for a standing desk, but many users reported being misled into thinking that once you press a stored memory key the desk would move to that preset height all on its own, or “autonomously.” The words “I am Autonomous” are actually printed right on the hand controller, so it’s easy to imagine how users might come to expect this. The fact is, in order for a desk to be sold with an Underwriters Laboratories (UL) certification in the US, the controller must be programmed so that you have to hold your finger on the preset button the entire time the desk is in motion.

Apparently this upset a lot of customers, so Autonomous removed this programming in its most recent version of the product, and now has a “fire and forget” memory preset. Unfortunately this violates UL safety regulations, but they’re probably not aware of this in China. Both the ANSI/BIFMA and UL certifications are generally required for any adjustable height desk going into a government agency, school, or major corporation. If you’re buying it for yourself to use in your home office, you can certainly choose to look the other way.

The most energy efficient standing desk – only 0.06 watt standby power consumption is yet again another one of these “best in the world” claims. It may surprise you that even under US law (the Lanham Act), it’s not illegal for a company to make such unfounded claims as “best on earth” without providing any evidence whatsoever.

As with most adjustable-height desks, there are plenty of bloggers and Youtube stars out there who’ll give you their review without having any particular expertise in adjustable-height desk technology, or having ever seen another desk side-by-side to compare against. That’s why you’re reading this review. By the way, to get all our reviews as we publish them please subscribe to our free newsletter.

The Bottom Line

Like we’ve been saying throughout this review, there is no such thing as a free lunch, and if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. In this case, many of the company’s marketing claims are outlandishly false. DIYers are a different breed of cat than most desk consumers. They’re far more willing to put up with long shipping delays, or scrounging for screws that were missing from the box, or taking it all apart and waiting for a replacement part if a component fails under warranty. In the name of getting a bargain price they might even be willing to buy a new desk in a couple of years should this one fail prematurely. Most consumers we hear from would rather never hassle with a desk failure – it can really put a crimp in your work productivity if your desk became stuck at sitting or standing height – or worse, in between.

While the company recently changed over to the Autonomous SmartDesk 2, with very little information published as to the differences (the aesthetics of the controller seem different, so they may have had reason to change manufacturers), they have expanded their warranty coverage from one year to five years. That might have been absolutely necessary given that many desk makers have gone to offering five to ten year warranties these days, but this company hasn’t had a five year track record yet, so caveat emptor, “let the buyer beware” – we’ve seen their flair for hyperbolic claims. In fact, making exaggerated claims of excellence is the one thing we might say Autonomous is “the best in the world” at.

This is a bottom dollar product, and we’re wondering how the company can even stay in business very long at these selling prices. The fact that customers are made to prepay for the desk before the factory in China starts making it gives us pause. At such low margins, the company could easily run into a cash crunch while holding onto customers’ monies and be unable to fulfill. It wouldn’t be the first time this has happened with Kickstarter-launched businesses. So if you’re going to buy an Autonomous desk, we recommend getting it from ActiveDesk on Amazon – which appears to be the same company (a.k.a. Vifah) – and take some extra comfort in the liberal return policies of Amazon.

Be sure to check out all the desks we’ve put to the test in our Comparison Review of Electric Height-Adjustable Desks.

21 Comments
Leave a response
  • Bryan
    November 22, 2017 at 11:54 am

    I purchased my Smart Desk 2 (as well as one of their chairs which is great) in December 2016. Basic 50×30 model, all black. It arrived quickly and was very easy to put together. Took maybe an hour and a half by myself. All parts seemed to be very good quality, I’m not sure where the reviewers description of cheapest parts available comes from. The legs are very heavy and sturdy. The desktop is thick and very nice. Go to Ikea and look at their sit/stand desks. They are much, much cheaper quality. Also their customer service has responded incredibly quickly to any questions I’ve had about a keyboard tray for the desk.

    I am an audio engineer and I work from my home studio mixing music at least 20 hours per week. I’ve used and abused this desk for the past 11 months and it is still in top notch condition. I have slid heavy audio rack equipment with sharp edges across the desk and there are still barely even slight scratches. The motor has functioned perfectly with zero issues, even when I had well over 100 pounds of audio equipment on the desk.

    I would highly recommend this desk to anyone looking for a sit/stand desk. I would give it 5/5 stars and I cannot understand the reviewers unbelievably negative experience with the desk.

    • Misca
      January 1, 2018 at 5:36 pm

      Bryan, How is your desk holding up? I took a bus trip up to New York on Nov 22, 2017 to visit the Autonomous company showroom and found out that they CLOSED the New York Showroom, as well as the other TWO showrooms they had in Chicago and California!. Bummer… I was hoping to try the desk before purchasing. Seems the company doesn’t want to pay for retail space in the highest metro area’s in the country.

  • AJ
    November 21, 2017 at 9:17 am

    I don’t know how people can run a business like this and survive.

    I bought mine nearly two months ago and it still hasn’t shipped. Ship date has been pushed 3 times.

    A month after ordering I received an email from “Hang Mai” with my order number in the subject. The body of the email was brief text telling me the bamboo ergo top was no longer available and asking if I wanted the non-ergo, and it was signed “Hilary.” Nothing else on the signature.
    At first glance it looked like Spam and I almost deleted it. There was zero mention of”Autonomous anywhere in the email and no company logos.
    Extremely unprofessional.
    I replied to the email with the new top I wanted, and never heard back.
    I got on their chat support a week later to make sure they received my updated request, they hadn’t. The person asked who I sent the email to. I gave her the names and email address. She said to email the support address.
    I said can you not update my order? She did (seems like that would be something a good customer service rep would volunteer to do).

    Couple weeks later I got on the chat and asked about the status, they said they had it shipping the 15th. That came and went with no update in status and no notification from the company that it would be delayed. I got back on their support chat and now they say they have it shipping the 22nd.
    Somehow I doubt it…

    I posted on their Facebook page something to the effect of y’all might have a good desk but 41 days and it still hasn’t shipped? That was a week or two ago. No response, no Facebook Chat to say hey let’s look into this for you. They just deleted my post.

    Seems like a terrible way to run a business.

  • September 24, 2017 at 2:36 pm

    I bought a Smart Desk 2 in the XL size, walnut, with full dual motor legs. It arrived to me in 6 days from placing my order and not a single component was out of place or damaged in transit. Putting it together was a breeze and I’ve been using it as my daily home office desk for about 6 months now without a single problem. It’s sturdy, goes up and down without any problems — time will tell, I’m sure, but for now I don’t see any problems cropping up in the near future.
    It’s worth noting I live in Boston, and they ship out of New York, which certainly helped get a speedier and safer delivery.

    I can’t speak for everyone, but based on my experience I’d recommend one to a friend.

  • Ken
    July 18, 2017 at 11:31 am

    I bought the 70×30 business addition edition with walnut top. It arrived shortly after I ordered it. I’ve had it a few months and I have been very happy with my purchase. I noticed the links to amazon are not for the autonomous version.

  • Robert Smith
    May 23, 2017 at 1:54 pm

    I purchased a desk with the AI unit added on.
    As expected the desk was delayed, as were the additional parts, namely the AI unit. Putting together the desk, holes did not line up… Since I paid for the AI unit last August 2016, I have been given approximately 6 or 7 new delivery dates – ALL OF WHICH have come and gone. The company basically sold and took money for something that doesn’t even exist without letting me know at any stage. I had to chase them up each time to find out where the unit was. Now they have refunded my credit card, which I no longer carry (as it was 9 months ago) a small amount for ‘inconvenience’ and say I have to take it up with the credit card company to see it… The customer service is terrible. The ethics of the company is beyond abhorrent. Do yourself a favor and stay well away from them. To offer, and take money for products that don’t even exist is criminal.. but they don’t mind.

  • Shannon
    April 5, 2017 at 12:09 pm

    I bought my desk in Nov 2016. I had not seen this review until now. But frankly, I am happy with my purchase. I got the dual motor version with the white counter top. I upgraded to the dual motor because it had a wider height range, and was faster. I have experienced no quality issues on any part of the desk. I use the desk daily in my home office, typically raising and lowering it 3-4 times during the course of a day. It is fairly quiet and fast. I have never owned or really used any other standing desk before, so maybe I don’t know what I’m missing… This article states that its review is “mostly a forensic one”, but they did happen to spend a little bit of time with an actual desk “long enough for a basic assessment”. I don’t understand how you give a review based on so little actual experience with the item in question. At any rate, my experience has been positive. I would buy it again.

    • Shannon
      February 2, 2018 at 10:25 pm

      Just an update from my original post. I have now had the desk for over a year. Within about six months, there was an issue with the motor. I had raised it to it’s highest level in order to clean under it, and when I went to lower the desk again, only one side started to lower. Seeing this was definitely a problem I halted the movement and removed everything from the desk before everything fell off. At this point the motor would not move again. I chatted with a support person, who led me through a process of recalibrating the motor. Within a few minutes we had the desk down to it’s lowest height (on both sides). But at that point, the desk would not raise again. The person I chatted with offered to send a new control box, which arrived a few days later. I installed it within a few minutes and everything was fine again. My take- it was certainly a technical issue, inconvenient for a few days. But it was quickly resolved without much fuss. I am still raising/lowering the desk 3-4 times per day without issue. Overall I am still very happy. As mentioned originally, I don’t have any experience with other standing desks, but I have not felt any issues with the stability that have been mentioned in other reviews. My desk height while standing is 46″. I have two monitors mounted to the desk, and they do shake a little, if I am typing fanatically, but I don’t usually notice it. Overall a good value.

  • March 31, 2017 at 11:31 pm

    I frankly love the desk. I had to wait about 3 months for my desk, a month longer than they claimed I would get it. Yes, because of the frame change. They discounted me $50 for the inconvenience though. I use the motor several times a day and have had no issues.

    I ordered the bamboo top which looks good and had held up well so far. I’m under no illusions though. For that price, I suspect the table top is particle board in the middle. If I want a higher quality top, I can take it off and add my own. You can even just buy the stand.

    I find the review here a little misleading. I went to the reddit link they gave and the first comment trashes the desk, but the ones below seem to be fairly happy.

    Most standing desks I looked at were $1000 or more. I feel this is a quality solidly built product that is priced well.

  • L. Harrington
    March 3, 2017 at 4:19 pm

    I bought both the DIY kit, dual motor desk kit. (Wanted to use my antique desk top), and an Ergo chair. I am a frequent early adopter of new technology.

    I was willing to wait 3-4 months for my equipment, but I needed a bit more info along the way as the shipping deadline approached. None was forthcoming. Nevertheless, I persisted. 😉

    Getting nowhere with Customer Service, I finally requested a call from a supervisor. I was told I would get one in 48 hours. I never did. My chair was shipped. My perception was that it was done so to “shut me up”. The chair arrived, the color was jarring, but most of it was great. The huge exception being the arms. They SUCKED and were unlike any other office chair I’ve ever used.

    Their mount was solid. Their up/down height adjustability was solid. Their comfort was poor. Their in/out adjustability was fluid. One cannot lock one’s preference in place. It’s a constant, wiggly annoyance.

    But the worst of all, was the arc swing of the “front” of the armrests. I could not see any ergonomic advantage. Only a super-annoying moving target.

    I had been offered a 30 day return window. I was ready to exercise it, but wanted to have a real-life *conversation* about my issues before I did that. I never got that.

    They did call. Anonymously. Via private cell phones, it seems. Unprofessional with a capital U. I didn’t answer because I don’t answer calls I don’t recognize. They never left a message. It took days to unravel what was happening. All of the effort on my end.

    Finally, in desperation, we communicated via chat. They agreed to ship me a new chair in a different color and swore up and down that the arm “problem” had been fixed. No more arc wiggle. I said I had seen YouTube videos which mentioned the same issue and showed it in video detail. I was assured it was an early problem that had been corrected.

    They were wrong. 100%, maddeningly WRONG. I never spoke to the same person twice, hence “they”. I did not get the impression they gave a damn.

    It may sound petty, or sexist, but this business woman’s opinion of the chat avatar’s is that they were boudoir shots. All hair, little face and a come-hither look. Soooo unprofessional! Why??

    The color of the Ergo chair is much improved, but the function is identical. We will attempt to fix it ourselves.

    Meanwhile, one might have expected to have someone reach out to a disgruntled customer to make sure their “cure” was all good. Crickets. Clearly, no one at Autonomous gives a rat’s ass.

    I’ve never been burned as an early adopter and/or beta tester. I generally become an evangelist. NOT this time. Autonomous has sucked all the joy from a previously-highly-anticipated purchase.

  • Erin
    February 23, 2017 at 9:16 am

    I received mine less than a week after ordering it on 2/23/2017. I had no issues putting it together. It came with extra screws. It works great, no problems what so ever. I’m very happy with it. Time will tell if it is a well made product. I got the basic black model I have a laptop and 2 27 inch monitors on it. It is very solid and stable.

  • Lola
    February 14, 2017 at 9:58 am

    Bought one with 53′ bamboo top on January 2017. I got it in 10 days. Nothing was missing in the package. The bamboo top looks good. Works and it looks nice for the price. The only thing similar as price was an Ikea one.
    What I didn’t like it: the top was 0.75 inch and not 1 inch like they market on the website. Sometimes The smart keypad doesn’t remember the memorized height and goes down when is supposed to go up. Pressing the button several time will make it remember the original position. It doesn’t have as an option a keyboard mouse tray to mount under the desk and is very hard to find one because of the dimensions of the desk.

  • Paul
    February 8, 2017 at 7:36 pm

    I have had a great experience with them. I purchased them when they first came out and it did take 2 months to receive it but it was understandable since they just finished their kickstarter. This past month we ordered 7 for our office and they all came within a week. The quality is decent, as I have been using mine for about a year now and have had no issues. Though, you do get what you pay for, and I don’t expect these desks to last past 5 years but the way the software industry goes, we will probably be sold by then anyways and I will be in the big bucks 🙂

  • Chris
    February 4, 2017 at 12:04 am

    I purchased an autonomous desk august 2016 and the desk arrived 3 months later. The worst part about it, the desk arrived with missing parts.. no assembly manual.. and their customer support never responded to me even after I emailed them 3 separate times within 2 weeks. When I asked for a refund, they tried charged me a restocking fee of 30% and they made me pay for shipping back.

    Never again will i be bait and switched with a low price. Don’t buy from autonomous, they’re just not an honest company.

  • Charles
    January 25, 2017 at 3:53 pm

    Bought my Autonomous desk in late December (I think the 27th?) and it arrived two weeks later. They were pretty forthcoming in their shipping delays, so they seem to have figured that out at least. The price is what did it for me – most other sit/stand desks I looked at (in person and online) were at least $200 more (a 50% increase over the $400 53″ bamboo version I bought).

    But pretty much everything else about this review is correct at this point – the quality of the bamboo top is questionable (it’s very obviously just a bamboo laminate, and the edges of mine have several very noticeable cracks). The legs seem pretty decent but I’ve only had the desk for two weeks and haven’t spent a whole lot of time at it yet.

    What is most curious is their website appears to only show 5-star reviews, and navigating the reviews is essentially impossible considering the large # and the inability to view more than 5 reviews at a time. I left a 3-star review (because really, it’s a pretty decent desk for the price) and I highly doubt it’ll ever show up on the website. Shady business practices at best.

    I fell for the marketing hype. I wouldn’t recommend the desk.

  • Ferry
    January 23, 2017 at 7:14 pm

    Never ever buy this, I bought this desk and chair for the Thanks Giving 2016. in January they shipped Desk after server email and I am still waiting for my chair like a fool. They try to refund for the chair which I paid in Thanks giving for Chair and Desk. When I request the refund for the CHair and Shipping they refuse. They messed up the calculation to ship both the Desk and Chair in one shipping was missed. Because the shipping the chair only cost more. So They are refusing the chair to ship.

  • Andrew John
    January 6, 2017 at 4:10 pm

    Do not expect any level of professionalism or support from this company. The product is a nightmare to put together and doesn’t help the instructions are garbage. I had to pay someone to get it to work. I reached out to them 3 times for support and got no response.

  • R
    January 6, 2017 at 4:35 am

    I was about to purchase the Autonomous Smart Desk 2, then found negative opinions on Reddit and your meticulous review, which most likely saved me $300. Now, onto your comparison reviews. Thank you!

  • James
    December 20, 2016 at 10:09 am

    haha I don’t usually make impulse purchases but have been in the market for a new desk. Am so glad I read this first. Definitely not interested in the potential headache…

  • Bella Clementine
    December 6, 2016 at 12:14 pm

    I bought my desk on August. It’s December and still haven’t got my desk yet. I will never do business with them again.

  • John
    October 20, 2016 at 4:35 pm

    I bought the large top of the desk. Stability of the desk is very poor. I notice my monitor shakes a bit when I type. It’s slightly better when you lower the desk, but when you stand, the wiggles is noticeable. Because of this, I regret my purchase… When I emailed their customer service, they said it shakes because its top heavy. And the so called free trial — requires you to pay 30% restore fee… I could not recommend this desk to anyone. Well, I guess you get what you pay for. All the reviews on their websites are positive 5 stars review, I leave a 1 star review and it was never being put up there.

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