ApexDesk Lumi Glass Top Standing Desk Review

June 21, 2022
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ApesDesk Lumi Glass-top standing desk in an office

Overview

Review Summary

The glass top on the ApexDesk Lumi Standing Desk may sound like it will give your office a stylish upgrade, and on the surface, an undamaged version of the desk could do that, at least until you start using it. The glass easily picks up highly visible prints. The controller can be annoying to use before you get the presets established. Lack of safety features in the controller can be dangerous. And that isn’t mentioning the flaws that are overlooked by quality control or damage that happens in transit. But the USB port is a nice addition, and controller being in the glass desktop will protect it from bumps from office chair arms. It is also pretty easy to assemble, if not the fastest we have seen. But those perks are probably not enough to make up for something that is supposed to look stylish but likely won’t arrive that way, even at its low price point.

MSRP / List Price $399
Shipping

FREE shipping via FedEx to the continental United States – Contact ApexDesk for delivery options to Hawaii, Alaska, and other countries

Warranty

2 years on electric parts
5 years on non-electric parts

Lift Type

Single stage lifting columns powered by a single motor

Transit Speed

18mm/0.7 inch per second

Controller

Touch activated controller in glass desk top – LED display of desk height – 3 height preset memory buttons – No collision or tipping detection

Sizes Available

Desktop measures 47” long by 23” wide

Colors Available

Black and white

Construction

Glass desktop with metal frame

Monitor Arm Mounting Options

Limited if not impossible because of the 3-inch frame all around the desk

Adjustment Range

30” to 47.7” tall

Weight Capacity

Listed at 130 lbs

Connectivity Features

No Bluetooth

ANSI/BIFMA Certified

No

NEAT™ Certified by Mayo Clinic

No

Competition

Compare to Other Compact Standing Desks
Compare to Other Standing Desks Under $400
Compare to other Quick-Install Standing Desks

User Reviews See Amazon user reviews
Where to buy Buy on ApexDesk
Buy on Amazon

Rating

Ease of Assembly
4.0
Stability
2.5
Reliability
2.0
Customer Experience
1.5
Quality and Aesthetics
2.0
Ergonomics
1.5
Innovation
3.0
Value
2.0
Suitability for Treadmill Desking
2.0
Positives The Lumi does have a classy-looking glass top when in ideal conditions. And the included USB port and drawer add some convenience that not every desk has. The unique touch-sensitive controls in the glass desktop also try to keep the appearance of a clean and modern workspace. It is also a pretty easy desk to assemble and shouldn't take users around 15 minutes to be up and running.
Negatives Quality control is a real issue, given the damage on our desk when it arrived. Some of the damage was likely caused by shipping in poor packaging, while other marks had to have been caused during manufacturing. While the touch controller is unique, it does come with some annoyances. The tall frame around the edge of the desktop also prevents clamping, not to mention that you wouldn't want tight clamps on a glass top. The motor is also super weak and slow compared to the majority of modern standing desks.

Bottom Line

2.5
All in all, it is one of those “you get what you pay for” situations because you are buying something that might look expensive and classy at a very low price. It may have some interesting features, like the USB port, touch-sensitive controller, and included drawer, but you need to keep its quality in mind. Considering the poor quality control, the challenges with mounting vital ergonomic accessories, and the annoyance of constantly needing to wipe down the glass to keep the desk looking nice, it’s not our favorite standing desk in the under-$400 tier.

The ApexDesk Line-up

ApexDesk is one of the earliest and still most popular brands of standing desks sold on Amazon. While they do ostensibly also sell their products directly off their website, the inventory seems much more limited, delivery isn’t as fast and the consumer protection isn’t nearly as good as when buying through Amazon. So this is one of those brands that’s a lot easier, faster and safer to shop for on Amazon than to go bargain hunting elsewhere.

There are five desk lines offered by ApexDesk:

  • In this review we’re going to dive deep into the Lumi, the newest in their line-up. It is a 47” desk with a tempered glass top. 
  • The Elite Series is their top-selling desk, fundamentally a single-stage, dual-motor base available in 60” and 71” widths.
  • ApexDesk also offers the Flex Series in the same widths as the Elite, but with the base upgraded to a dual-stage and thus accommodating shorter and taller users much better. 
  • The Vortex is more minimalist, with a single-motor, single-stage base and an HPL-laminated desktop available in 48”, 55”, and 60” widths.
  • They also make some Pneumatic Standing Desks that are a bit old school and not nearly as popular as the electrics, but fit that niche where someone wants an untethered mobile desk for use with an untethered laptop or for non-computing purposes.

The company has had a long enough track record for us to figure out where their products generally sit on the value spectrum for consumers, i.e. how good they are within their respective price ranges. It’s a bit of a mixed picture. 

On the one hand, ApexDesk is a Chinese factory that produces commodity-grade sit-stand desks for high-volume sales through Amazon. They do this all pretty much by remote control, other than the fact that they use a contract fulfillment warehouse in Los Angeles to position their inventory in the US. There is literally no phone number to call in the USA; all contact is either through Amazon’s customer service email relay or a contact form on ApexDesk’s website. There are literally dozens of companies selling stand-up desks on Amazon that fit this description (Generally under $400). Most of them price their products well lower ApexDesk’s most popular models, with the Lumi being the exception at $399, just under the wire.

The next tier up is filled with what appear to be US companies, like Fully, Uplift Desk, Autonomous, Flexispot and Vari, although their products are still commodity-grade and made-in-China, with all that implies (generally under $800). It’s not until you move up to more premium American-made brands that you get top-quality, commercial-grade standing desks with solid US-based engineering and customer support, and relatively infinite customization options. See our comprehensive round-up of all standing desk reviews sorted by our experts’ ratings within each price tier.

ApexDesk’s most popular models sit decidedly in the middle between the two tiers of commodity-grade, Chinese-made standing desks. They’re definitely more expensive than some, while slightly less expensive than the US-native brands that still make their sit-stand desk products in China. 

As goes with the territory when importing such goods, there are fairly limited sizes and finishes to choose from when it comes to the desktops and even the bases that are offered. It’s all about fast-turning inventory. 

How the ApexDesk Lumi Stacks Up to the Competition

In this review we look at the Lumi desk series, which was added to their offerings in late 2021. At a starting price of $399 for a 47” size this desk lands in that cluster of super-cheap, sub-standard standing desks we’ve reviewed in the under-$400 range, that occupy more than 90% of the search results for “standing desk” on Amazon. But it is so close to the edge, that we wondered if the quality was of the next tier of under $800 desks. As it turns out, probably not.

Like a lot of Chinese standing desk manufacturers, ApexDesk is prone to making hyperbolic marketing claims—especially when it comes to quality and performance of their products—while at the same time being famous for making things as cheap as possible to produce. So in this review we’re going to dive into just how true their claims are, and focus on where they’re clearly better than, equal to, or worse than other made-in-China brands. (Read our primer to learn all about the major differences between Chinese-made and American/European-made standing desks.)

ApexDesk benefited for several years from a “top rating” on their Elite line from CNN Underscored in the standing desk category, which the company continues to promote in its marketing materials even though they’ve been replaced on CNN by other brands since. The fact is many of these product review sites that have been acquired by major media companies like CNN over the years are not expert reviewers, they’re SEO-generating review factories. Most of their “reviews” are fluff promos monetized with Amazon links and sometimes advertising fees, and they usually don’t even test the physical product (they certainly haven’t lab tested dozens and dozens of standing desks with real engineers like we have for the past decade). But even a single-paragraph review bestowed by a trusted brand like CNN has probably helped a lot of consumers decide to buy the ApexDesk brand. (Forgive us for grinding our axe a bit about those other review sites.)

Desktop Quality – An Almost Classy Wreck

Glass tops aren’t a very popular option on standing desks due to their fragility, weight, and propensity for showing dust and fingerprints, so the Lumi was interesting to evaluate. While their website only claims that the desktop is glass, it is actually a glass surface on top of a metal box framework. 

There is some kind of sparkly backing between the glass and the metal frame, which does create an interesting aesthetic effect that some people might like. With that, in general — when it’s freshly cleaned — it does look nice and classy. Unlike many other desk surfaces, like low-quality laminates, the glass is hard enough to make scratches difficult and just writing on papers on the surface won’t leave impressions. But like all glass, if it gets hit too hard, it will chip or crack — unlike surfaces that have a little bit of flex in them that will endure impacts to a higher degree.

While the very essence of being a standing desk helps improve working ergonomics, the desktop itself still has pretty angular edges that would be uncomfortable to rest your arms or wrist on. It also tends to be a little colder than wood.

Fingerprints on Lumi Glass desktop
After only a few minutes of use, the glass top picks up fingerprints and smudges very easily. Keep windex and wipes handy if you want it to look good.

Speaking of touching the desk, that is something you will definitely want to try to avoid, lest you need to pull out a hanky and wipe the desktop down many times a day. The glass surface, while sleek and attractive when clean, easily picks up oily fingerprints to leave a surface that doesn’t look so pretty after only a few minutes of use.

Close-up of scratch in the surface underneath the glass
A scratch in the black backing under the glass demonstrates the kind of quality control the factory employs before shipping a product.

However, there are some issues with the desktop that we received from ApexDesk. On the surface, just under the glass top, there looks like a scrape in the sparkly “black galaxy” backing. It isn’t huge, and it doesn’t affect the function of the desk, but it is a blemish that takes away from the aesthetic of the desk. This speaks to the quality control of ApexDesk and what kind of product they are willing to send to their customers. If they send you something with such an obvious flaw you can see right away, what other flaws are they willing to let slide that average customers won’t notice until it is too late?

 

Scratches in the metal frame of the glass top standing desk
This kind of damage to the frame of the desk shows the inferior quality of the packaging more than anything. Be prepared for such defects when the desk arrives.

The metal frame of the top also came with some scratches in the black paint, and weird impressions that wouldn’t wipe off, likely from the microfoam and cardboard packaging pieces rubbing against the thinly-painted metal in transit. The packaging seems pretty standard for commodity-grade desks in this price range, which means that rather than paying more to provide packaging that will truly protect the product until it gets to the customer, they accept the damage to some of their desks as part of the cost of doing business, and will ship replacements if the customer wants to go through the hassle of filing a warranty claim and then repackaging and sending the damaged desk back in on their own nickel.

Extra Features

The Lumi does come with a couple of perks to the desktop. 

The compact drawer in the front of the desk, while not very deep, is spacious enough to hold most common office equipment needs like writing utensils, papers, a tablet, and maybe some snacks. It slides easily on its track and holds in place when closed with only a little extra effort to pull it out from underneath the drawer.

USB port on the right side of the Lumi desktop
More and more standing desks are adding this USB feature into their workstations, whether through the controller, the desk itself, or add-on accessories.

On the right edge of the desk, near the control panel, a single USB-A port (2 Amp) can be used to charge your phone or other mobile devices. Though we wish there was a second port, even one is a bonus you won’t usually find in desks if you don’t buy accessories to go with it. Just make sure that you don’t want to set the right side up against the wall because you will need that clearance to plug in.

Desktop Compatibility Shortcomings

There are a few things you will need to note about the desktop if you consider getting the ApexDesk Lumi. 

Modern optical mice work really well on opaque desktops, but don’t work very well on glass surfaces, so you will need to use a mouse pad. You would probably want a large one to keep the skin oils from your hand from smearing all over the front of the desk and prevent scratching from the mouse movement.

Attaching an edge clamp, much less a grommet-mounted monitor arm is essentially impossible. Even if you could get the edge clamp around the 3”-high metal skirt, you’d be clamping onto glass with something that’s going to move a lot when your desk goes up and down, and probably crack it. You will need to use a laptop or standing monitor, and you’ll want that monitor to be set back as far as possible on the shallow 23”-deep surface for optimal distance from your eyes.

Looking at the front edge of the desk, the notion of mounting an ergonomic keyboard tray is similarly impossible given the drawer that is in the way. Bottom line, this isn’t the kind of desk you want to spend all day at, but might be fine for short stints of laptop work. And you’ll definitely want to get a wrist rest to place in front of your keyboard to keep skin oils from your wrists and forearms for smearing on the glass, in addition to the needed ergonomic comfort.

Lifting Base

The lifting mechanism on the Lumi is a single, low-speed motor driving two single-stage lifting columns through a transmission rod. The lower power, combined with a relatively heavy desktop for its size (glass does that), results in an excruciatingly slow transit speed. We clocked it at a slovenly 18mm per second speed (0.7 inches per second). 

This is the slowest speed in an electric standing desk that we have ever seen, conjuring up memories of watching paint dry. Up until now, the slowest desk we’ve ever lab tested was the Branch Standing Desk at 1 inch per second. These days, most desks run at 1.5 inches per second or better, with next-gen lifting columns rumored to be coming out in 2023 with 60 and even 80mm/sec (2.4ips and 3.15ips respectively), so an 18mm/sec lifting speed is quite a backwards step in the competitive context .

The good news is that the slower the motor, the quieter the desk, and the Lumi standing desk is definitely among the quietest desks we’ve ever tested. 

On the stability aspect of the base, it does seem pretty stable and doesn’t shake too much during what would be normal use, even at its full standing height. This is likely due to the boxy metal architecture of the desktop giving the Lumi both good lateral and longitudinal stability. It is, however, quite prone to tipping backwards with anything more than a normal bump to the front of the desk. To mitigate this danger, users will probably want to set the back of a desk close to a wall. There is also a tiny stutter when you start to move the desk up or down, likely caused by the power of the motor being transferred along the transmission drive shaft to the second lifting column. This is common for desks that only use one motor.

The lowest height setting of the desk is 30 inches, and the highest is 47.7 inches. This meets ANSI/BIFMA G1-2013 ergonomic guidelines for standing desks on the high end, but definitely not the low end. Shorter users will find the 30” minimum height to be uncomfortably high and ergonomically suboptimal, especially since an articulating keyboard tray (the common hack for accommodating shorter users) cannot be installed on the Lumi. With a single-stage base it’s also not ideal for very tall users, so it really only suits medium-height users. 

We also found more scrapes on the legs and feet of the Lumi that happened either because of poor quality control or insufficient packaging.

Scratch in the black paint on the leg of the standing desk
Scratches in the black paint on the leg are possibly from poor gliders in the lifting columns.
Chips and scrapes on the edge of the feet of the Lumi standing desk
The defects in the paint around the edge of the feet could have been from a flawed painting process or damage through shipping.

The Controller

In-desk touch controller for the Lumi glass top standing desk
The setup of touch-sensitive controls in the desktop itself has both advantages and disadvantages, depending on what the user prefres.

The controller for the Lumi is very different from most other sit/stand desks you see around. Rather than have a wired controller that is attached underneath the desktop, the controller is embedded in the glass desktop and is touch sensitive. While this under-glass design keeps the desk looking sleek and stylish, it does present some possible problems. 

If you are shuffling papers around anywhere near the controller, or you have a child or a pet that’s fascinated by these backlit buttons, it would be pretty easy to accidentally press one of them. Luckily, they thought of this and made sure there was a lock button that you have to hold for 3 seconds before any of the other buttons will work. 

However, as we experimented with the desk we found that this lock re-engaged way too quickly for our liking. If you are trying to find the right height for you, going back between adjusting the level and testing your position will be a hassle. On the other hand, once you have done that, you can set the memory preset heights to make it so you only have to unlock and press one button for the desk to start moving.

If you aren’t using the presets, another issue is the contact with the down button. As the glass top doesn’t offer any give, like other kinds of button controls, you have to make sure that your finger is firmly pressed against the surface. Doing so is simple while the desk is going up, but when going down, the desk is constantly moving away from your finger, so you have to continually adjust and increase the movement or pressure you apply as it moves, which can be uncomfortable, or just plain annoying.

It also does not have any form of tilt or collision detection to stop the desk while in movement if it hits something or goes off balance. This can be a huge safety issue considering that the memory buttons are the “fire and forget” type that don’t require the user to keep depressing the button while the desk is in motion. 

The controller offers 3 memory presets for your height favorites, such as sitting, standing, and perhaps a third height for when standing on a balance board. 

Assembly

Assembly of the Lumi desk was relatively simple, at least compared to many of the other standing desks in this price range that nearly require an engineering degree or make you keep track of dozens of screws, bolts and nuts while you build it. There were just a few pieces: the desktop, two lifting columns, two feet, one center driveshaft, two connectors for the driveshaft, 16 screws, and an allen wrench to put it all together. NOTE: The Lumi that came to us did not quite match the assembly instruction that ApexDesk has online, as the driveshaft seems to have been a different style.

ApexDesk claims that the Lumi can be assembled in under 30 minutes. That is certainly true. It took one of our newest staff reviewers just under 15 minutes to assemble the desk from all the parts laid out and ready to use. So their claim of 30 minutes is a good estimate including unboxing and getting things organized. 

The actual assembly process was pretty quick and almost painless. The directions are not the clearest we have seen, but they are simple enough with a desk that is this straightforward to assemble. It only took our reviewer a few second or third looks at the instructions to know what to do. (See our list of some of our favorite quick install standing desks to see how the Lumi compares to other desks that tout quick assembly.)

One annoyance during assembly was the dust. There was a lot of dust clinging to the desk from the manufacturing and paint process in China. There was also a whole lot of dings and chips in the paint. This isn’t something we usually see. Most manufacturers make sure that their product will arrive clean, and not dinged up before you even get to use it. The quality assurance on this product seems severely lacking. At the very least, plan to get dirty putting it together, and be prepared to clean the entire desk thoroughly before using it lest any of the machine dust get on your skin and clothes.

Size and Style Options

There are very limited options with the ApexDesk Lumi glass top standing desk. You can only choose black or white. There are no other sizes, only 47” x 23”. 

Warranty

The warranty on the ApexDesk Lumi is a pretty standard length for the company and other Chinese based manufacturers. From the date of delivery it covers 2 years for the electronics and 5 for the non-electronic parts. There are lots of exclusions on what kind of damage the warranty actually covers. To keep it simple, it basically covers damage in shipping and if there is only normal wear and tear.

Desks of higher quality will definitely have better warranties. Though they are usually made in the USA or Europe and cost a bit more, you will know that you are getting a product that the company actually believes in and will last a long time. Read our article on how to compare different warranties for more info.

Takeaway

Overall, the Lumi is what ApexDesk says it is without all the hyperbole on quality. It is a $400 dollar desk with the features it claims. But don’t be surprised if it arrives in a poorer condition than you expected.

It does have a basically classy look if it is in perfect condition, but you’ll have to constantly wipe it down to avoid glaring hand and finger prints. The under-glass controller is exotic, but has its frustrations, especially if you don’t use the memory presets. Assembly is relatively quick and easy for a desk this cheap.

All in all, it is one of those “you get what you pay for” situations because you are buying something that might look expensive and classy at a very low price. Considering the poor quality control, the challenges with mounting vital ergonomic accessories, and the annoyance of constantly needing to wipe down the glass to keep the desk looking nice, it’s not our favorite standing desk in the under-$400 tier.

 

Take a look at our list of other quick-install standing desks to see other options for a desk that is pretty painless to assemble.



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