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Autonomous SmartDesk 2 Standing Desk Review

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Autonomous SmartDesk 2 Standing Desk 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

Home Edition: $348 with small 53x30 top
Business Edition: $448 in same configuration

Warranty

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

Lift Type

Home Edition: single-stage, single-motor electric
Business Edition: dual-stage, dual-motor Electric

Transit Speed

Home Edition: Tested at 0.8 inch per second (world's slowest)
Business Edition: Tested at 2.1 inches per second (world's fastest, and noisiest)

Controller

Digital readout with four memory presets

Sizes Available

53x30 or 70x30 (+$80)

Colors Available

Black, White, Light Oak, Walnut, or Bamboo (+$50)

Minimum Height

Home: 29"
Business: 24"

Maximum Height

Home: 47"
Business: 51"

Weight Capacity

Home Edition: 220 lbs. not including top
Business Edition: 300 lbs. not including top

NEAT™-certified

No

Where to Buy
Positives

Cheap. Really, really cheap. The cheapest Chinese-made standing desk you can buy anywhere.

Negatives

Extremely poor quality. Stability, reliability, noise, lift strength are all sub-par, while the company claims they are "superior to any other desk" among their many hyperbolic statements. After a catastrophic reliability issue with their first vendor, Jiecang, Autonomous released the SmartDesk 2 using parts from a new cut-rate Chinese supplier, but similar issues afflict the design. Limitation of only one oddball desk size (53x30) on the Home Edition, and only two on the Business Edition (adds a 70x30 option) pales in comparison to competitors that offer hundreds or thousands of size and decor combinations, and much longer warranties.

Experts' Rating
Stability
Reliability
Customer Experience
Quality and Aesthetics
Innovation
Value
Suitability for Treadmill Desking
Bottom Line

There's no such thing as a free lunch, and a $299 desk made from the lowest cost components in China is not worth the savings over a desk of reasonable quality and reliability. The SmartDesk 2 Home Edition with its single-motor, single-stage base is weak as a kitten and shaky even at relatively low heights, with a one year warranty that tells you all you need to know-it's lucky to last a year. The more robust dual-motor, dual-stage Business Edition is a definite improvement worth the $100 but still shakes like a leaf at standing height, and isn't built to last. For not a lot more money you could upgrade to a quality vendor with better real-world specs and better support.

Experts' Rating
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Review Details

Detailed Review

When we originally reviewed the Autonomous SmartDesk Standing Desk a couple of years ago we had to give it our lowest-possible rating—a 1/2-star— that we’d given to any electric standing desk. This was due to the massive quality issues they experienced with their Jeicang-sourced componentry, plus a preponderance of negative customer reviews on Reddit, Autonomous’s Facebook page, and other public forums (we frankly stopped counting after the first few hundred ranting reviews we read), as well as comments left here on our site by frustrated autonomous customers.

Having never seen any company emerge in this industry with such an incredibly bad consumer reputation we felt we had to place a red caution flag on the Smart Desk, and on Autonomous as a company. Over 100,000 customers (according to the company) have since taken the bait on the massive advertising campaigns this Chinese company runs for it’s $348 desk (originally $249), their anti-establishment social media and website messaging, and all-too-obviously curated “5-star” reviews published on their website.

When a company of millennials sells mostly to an audience of millennials they can really rock a social media campaign. And so to drown out all the negative reviews Autonomous literally ran a cash-for-reviews social media campaign, with specific rules disallowing any negative feedback. While in our book that sort of thing steps over the ethics line by a country mile, it generated an exhaustively long scroll of happy customer photos on their website, and gave Autonomous a fighting chance to stick around long enough to find new component vendors in China and relaunch the product line. Their primary offering is now known as the SmartDesk 2 Standing Desk.

We’ve updated this review to reflect the new SmartDesk 2 standing desks—both the single-motor, single-stage Home Edition, and the dual-motor, dual-stage Business Edition. These are both based on all-new componentry from Chinese upstart frame manufacturer Aoke and actuator/electronics manufacturer, TiMotion. Prices have remained the same for both units.

We’ve written aplenty about how Jiecang standing desk bases have had a checkered past when it comes to product quality, and the very nadir of that story was the dirt-cheap componentry they produced for Autonomous’ first standing desk. Ironically, Jiecang continues to supply components (albeit better ones) to Autonomous’ chief rivals, including the Jarvis Desk (Fully), the UpLift Desk (HumanSolution) and the StandDesk Pro, among others, but they’ve lost the Autonomous account for good.

Among the problems that the flawed Jiecang componentry created for Autonomous at the time was a massive inventory and replacement parts backlog. While founder Duy Huynh was boasting to customers and competitors that the company was growing “100% month-to-month,” they were at the same time experiencing severe growing pains, with some rather catastrophic issues in customer service, supply chain and quality control. We were particularly concerned for consumers who waited for as long as five months for their product, only to have it fail out of the box, and have a difficult time obtaining a refund. At the time we suggested the FTC look into their business practices.

User reviews on Autonomous stand desks run the gamut from hating/returning the product to being absolutely delighted with it. Many complained then, and still complain now of serious product quality issues—particularly if purchased with a tabletop (see contemporaneous user comments posted below by many of our readers). Even on Amazon, which is known for its exaggerated ratings on office fitness products, most Autonomous desk reviews are in the 3 to 4-star range, with plenty of 1-star reviews describing total product failure (anything less than a 4-1/2 star rating in this category on Amazon is a flag to check the 1-star reviews before buying). This is particularly true, even today, with its Home Edition desk.

While the Jiecang episode is behind them now, some things have not changed at Autonomous. The company’s business plan is still to produce the very cheapest possible office furniture products in China and sell direct to less-discriminating millennial customers who may put low price ahead of decent product quality, warranty or service, much less buying American. Autonomous’ marketing practices are still frankly quite horrid, with false claims of everything from making the quietest motors to having the most reliable products in the industry. Naturally, they claim that the Smart Desk is “#1 top-rated desk in the world.”  Well, not on any professional office fitness products reviews site, it isn’t.

Hyperbolic claims of product superiority are complemented by mismatched specifications between what they claim in website descriptive text versus in sketches. Live chat interactions with their employees offered even more variations on the specs, leaving us truly puzzled as to what to list in the specs box at the top of this review.

One thing that has remained problematic after the switch to a new Chinese factory is that in order to keep product costs lower than anyone else’s Autonomous pushes an insane amount of assembly labor onto the consumer. Maybe spending an entire afternoon assembling a really cheap desk with 48 bolts and screws and lousy documentation is your idea of fun, but most buyers of the SmartDesk products are flabbergasted by having been duped into believing the website’s promises of easy assembly. Many give up have way through assembly and attempt to return the product for a refund, only to be stifled by atrocious customer service (again, we refer you to user comments below and all over the internet).

If after reading this and other reviews of the SmartDesk you decide you just can’t pass up such a good price for a standing desk then do yourself a favor and at least hire out assembly to some poor schmo on TaskRabbit and transfer the misery to them. Or spend that extra dough on a better desk—the choice is yours. For our money we’d rather not reward the kind of marketing chicanery Autonomous excels at.

Note that this desk is included in our Top Stand Up Desks Under $400 round-up if you’d like to quickly compare it to other desks in its price range.

A brief company history

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 happened to come with an entire desk attached to it! It was an interesting approach, and it worked – they raised over $200,000 in advance orders.

Autonomous got its company name from its AI smart home roots. They launched a “personal robot” (a.k.a. personal assistant) on Kickstarter under the name Robotbase in 2014. The smart home project would eventually be largely abandoned for sake of the more lucrative office furniture business. In a podcast interview with the founder, Duy Huynh proclaimed he really didn’t understand why Google and Amazon were excited about home automation (clearly their Kickstarter product did not kill Alexa so that might just be sour grapes), and the thing that started out as the sales gimmick to sell more personal assistants, the desk, became their core business overnight.

SmartDesk’s marketing is targeted at millennials who are willing to “hack” a workable desk if they can do it for as little money as possible. All these years later Autonomous is still focused on younger customers who see the highly-involved DIY assembly of the desk not so much a hardship as a fun job. And that’s a good thing because this kind of consumer is likely to be far more tolerant of any quality shortcomings.

With over 100,000 millennial customers in its fold Autonomous has branched out to importing dozens of other cheap products from China which they market through the “marketplace” on their website. These include everything from skateboards and lamps to scooters and 3D printers, drones and AR headsets.

Innovation on their standing desk products, if you can call it that, has been limited to last year’s introduction of the SmartDesk 3 Standing Desk with a smartphone that’s literally embedded in the desktop, and a higher-end (as in $50 more than the SmartDesk 2 Business Edition) SmartDesk First Class standing desk. It can only be described as “first class” relative to their cheaper standing desk models. See our separate reviews.

Of course no company that holds itself out as a tech startup would be complete without a blockchain product, so Autonomous has one of these, too. They call it the Handshake app. Don’t look for our review of that. Or the cheaply-made travel luggage, exercise bikes or bed sheets they are heavily focused on marketing these days, neither. On to our review of the Autonomous SmartDesk 2.

You Get What You Pay For

If there’s a theme to the following review, it’s that you get what you pay for—and our favorite corollary—you pay for what you get. There is no free lunch here.

There are a great deal of cheap knock-off electric desk bases coming out of southeast Asia these days. We’ve conducted many dozens of standing desk reviews as well as DIY standing desk base reviews over the years, and we have to state categorically that Autonomous SmartDesk products are the cheapest of the cheap, in every sense of the word.  (Learn more about how we review products in Anatomy of a Review.)

One of the hallmarks of Autonomous SmartDesk models is their relative shakiness as compared to most other standing desks. Before reading on you might want to check out our detailed primer on Why Some Standing Desks Shake More Than Others to learn about all the design factors that impact a desk’s stability. From lightweight feet to sloppy glides in the linear actuators, SmartDesk componentry is bottom-end in just about every component category and this manifests into a decidedly wobbly desk experience.

In fact, while most standing desks have a recommended top-end height for a stable experience, the SmartDesk 2 Home Edition and IKEA Bekant are the only ones that draw concerns at even just 6″ above sitting height. This is in no small part due to the lack of a steel crossbar connecting the two lifting columns, coupled with a thin desktop that provides little stiffness to the parallelogram.

Sorting out the Home Edition vs Business Edition

Autonomous Smart Desk, World's Best Standing Desk

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

Autonomous advertising gets you in the door with it’s $299 desk (plus $49 shipping, or $348 total), which sounds really great. But beware the ol’ bait-and-switch. What you actually get for $348 is a weak as a kitten, single-motor, single-stage desk with a narrow height adjustment range of only 29″ to 47″. Right out of the gate this desk will not go low enough for a lot of shorter people to be seated comfortably, and it isn’t going to be a stable experience for anyone who is of even average height, much less on the tall side.

The Home edition comes in only ONE desktop size, 53″ x 30″. Color choices are black, white, walnut and light oak, all a thinly-coated, lightweight 3/4″-thick MDF affair. Like the bases, these tops are made in China as cheaply as can possibly be made. The base comes in either black, grey or white powder coat paint. There are no other size or decor choices, this is it for the home edition.

For $50 more you can opt for a bamboo top although if you’re seriously considering it you should really read our report on Bamboo Standing Desks – Separating Truth From Fiction in Environmental Claims. Bottom line is that bamboo desktops are an environmental scourge, which Autonomous (and their peers at Jarvis, UpLift and other bamboo standing desk makers) always fail to honestly disclose. Do the planet a favor and don’t pick the bamboo upgrade.

In an age when 99%+ of standing desks are dual motor it really tells you something when Autonomous tries to slough off a single-motor desk as “reliable.” As one of the many things they tossed out to make this desk as cheap as possible, the Home Edition doesn’t have any overload protection. While the desk is rated for 220 lbs of lift the first sign of trouble is its glacially-slow transit speed of 0.8 inches per second (20% slower than the published specification), which gets even slower, and noisier, as you add more desktop loading. This is a key reason why people seem to be burning out Home Edition desks pretty easily.

Be sure to check out our primer on Do Weight Ratings on Electric Desks Really Matter? to understand why this single-motor, single-stage design with no overload protection is just begging for reliability issues. Side-loading stresses are always an issue with lifting columns that use such cheap “glides” to separate the telescoping tubes as are used in the SmartDesk products.

Factoring for side-load stresses on the simple, single-stage legs, even Autonomous’ own website recommends upgrading to the Business Edition if you’re going to use a triple-monitor setup. That tells you that even they know the 220 lb rating is for “ideal conditions” and doesn’t factor in the weight of the top itself. Single-stage lifting columns are inherently less stable than dual-stage as we explain in our primer on Standing Desk Stability Factors.

The Home Edition comes with the shortest warranty of any standing desk sold today, just one year. We’d be surprised if it lasted that long. In a nutshell, the SmartDesk 2 Home Edition, even with its improved componentry over the old Jiecang-produced version, is a “throwaway” desk that we wouldn’t recommend under any circumstance. At the very least, consider only the Business Edition, or better yet the SmartDesk First Class, if you’re really married to buying a desk from Autonomous.

 

Moving on to the Business Edition…

For an extra $100 ($399 plus $49 shipping, for a total of $448) you can get a dual-motor, dual-stage upgrade, and a crossbar. The Business Edition will lift up to 300 lbs, and be a lot more stable than the Home Edition, but mind you this isn’t saying much. As compared to other Chinese-made standing desks that cost just a shave more (e.g. StandDesk Pro, Jarvis, UpLift) the SmartDesk 2 Business Edition is still a markedly shakier desk. The shaking just starts a few inches higher than with the cheaper desk.

The desk’s controller is upgraded with overload protection (a bare necessity) and provides juice to power the dual synchronized motors. The addition of an adjustable-width crossbar allows it to be sold with larger desktops. Disappointingly, though, Autonomous only offers one other size in addition to the 53″ top, and that’s their 70″ x 30″ XL top. It comes in the same four colors plus bamboo upgrade option as the smaller top.

The dual-stage lifting columns expand the height adjustment range to as low as 24″ or as high as 51″, but undue shakiness still ensues at around 40″. The motors are blazing fast at 2.1 inches-per-second, but noisy as a consequence. Most people would rather trade off a second or two of transit time for a quieter transition.

Like the smaller unit, the Business Edition comes with a digital hand controller with four programmable height presets. Like most of its Chinese competitors this controller can be programmed to allow “one-touch” height changes. Just be aware that all of these Chinese-made desks cannot obtain UL (Underwriters Laboratories) approval in the United States. This may be an issue if you’re planning to bring your desk onto a business, government or education campus where non-UL certified products are disallowed. For US safety regulations a sit-stand desk cannot be in motion if the user’s finger isn’t kept on the button. (The only exception to this is with iMovR’s Lander Desk, which comes with a smartphone app that has a click-wrap liability waiver, and is 100% UL-approved.)

The upgraded components do add up to a more reliable desk, as reflected in the five-year warranty on the Business Edition versus the one-year warranty on the Home desk. Again, that’s not saying much, and is still a shorter warranty than even their Chinese peers (StandDesk, Jarvis, UpLift, et al), much less the American-made competition.

The Business Edition is clearly the big seller for Autonomous. If you’re seriously considering it we recommend comparing it to its closest direct competitor, the StandDesk Pro with ten-year warranty, or SmartDesk’s own First Class Desk ($50 more). The next step up from there would be the Jarvis or UpLift. Beyond that you’re going to be popping into the low-end range of the Made-in-America Standing Desks, which are in an entirely different realm of stability, quality, warranty, and hundreds to thousands of size and decor options.

 

The Bottom Line

If you’ve read this far you can probably tell where we’re going with this. Little has changed in Autonomous’ charge to be the low-price leader in the office furniture business by finding ways to make their products in China cheaper than anyone else can, including their Chinese competition.

While there are a dozen or so employees in the Redlands, CA office, most of Autonomous’ employees are in China and Vietnam. They did at one point have retail showrooms in LA, San Francisco and New York but these seem to have been closed down as there is no longer any mention of them on the autonomous.ai website.

From the time of our first review Autonomous has thankfully taken down a lot of their most egregious marketing claims. For example, they used to claim that their $249 desk was of the same quality as a $1500 from Steelcase or Herman Miller. But they continue to claim that their desks have 39 dB noise signatures versus their 60-65 dB real-world noise levels (remember, that’s an exponential scale), that they’re a “technology company” making these desks more reliable and stronger than the competition through innovation, and so on. While they are a bona fide technology company when it comes to their AI and blockchain software, when it comes to electromechanical standing desk frames there’s no evidence of any tech advancements whatsoever.

In truth Autonomous’ innovation has been in cost-cutting and leveraging social media and online marketing (with the help of outlandish marketing claims) to sell an extraordinary number of desks to the millennial market in the US. These are not leading-edge products as they’d have you believe, and they don’t even manufacture any of the components themselves. With its new “marketplace” on the autonomous.ai website it appears that Duy Huynh has steered the ship to new frontiers, exploiting his youthful customer base to sell them as many things as he can possible float over the Pacific.

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.

 

Still confused by the plethora of options in stand-up desks? Explore our most recommended StandDesk Alternatives.

Or check out all the desks we’ve put to the test in our Electric Height-Adjustable Desk Comparison Reviews.

To learn more about the differences between Chinese versus American-made standing desks see our detailed Comparison Review of Made-in-USA Standing Desks.

To learn more about what goes into the stability rating of a standing desk read our in-depth description at Why Some Standing Desks Shake More Than Others.

To learn all about the different tabletop options available for standing desks check out our Ultimate Guide to Desk Tops.

You can also check out our reviews of other Autonomous products, the SmartDesk First Class Desk, the AI-peppered SmartDesk 3 Standing Desk, and the SmartDesk Mini Standing Desk Converter.

25 Comments
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  • Erskine
    February 7, 2019 at 9:13 am

    I was doing some online browsing for work tables and stools to set up an at-home office quickly. My brother referred me to Autonomous and so I checked out the website. I was impressed with what I saw and read and so I decided to make a purchase for two tables and two ergo stools on January 10, 2019. The stools arrived five days later along with an email from the company. The email implied that my order had been completed and only referenced the stools. I became worried at that point because of how misleading the email was. It did not properly communicate that my order was actually partially fulfilled and that my desk order had still not been completed. I waited over a week and there was no communication from the company about the rest of my order other than the website’s expected delivery range of January 21 – January 25. I called on January 22nd and left a voicemail. I then called on January 24th after not hearing from the company in over 24 hours. At this point, I was very worried that my money had been taken and that I was not going to get the rest of my order. No one picked up the phone after I called on January 24th. So then my sister-in-law called from another number and suddenly someone answers the phone. I was very annoyed and asked quite bluntly, “Why is it so hard to get someone to answer the phones? I’ve been calling for the past three days and no one answers? Also, I left a voicemail nearly two days ago. Why hasnt that been returned?” The response I received was absolutely ridiculous: “Oh, well if you called us earlier in the weekend, we are very busy but I am trying to get to every call and voicemail as soon as I can.” Now, I’m thinking to myself this company cannot be credible. You mean to tell me that when it gets busy people do not answer the phone? It was laughable. Truly. Needless to say, I spoke on the phone with the agent for about 20 minutes. She listen to my several complaints and then acknowledged that my tables were or back order and were not even in inventory. So she had no clue on when a new shipment would arrive. She speculated that the shipment might be in in a week or so. What I found to be unprofessional and disturbing about Autonomous is that:
    1. The company FAILED to notify me once they realized that my order was not inventory. It is not satisfactory to allow customers to purchase an item without them having full knowledge that the order is not yet available. Once the company realized that the order was not in stock, then I should have been notified in a reasonable amount of time with such information so that I could determine if I wanted a refund or if I could wait.
    2.The company FAILED to update their shipping delivery dates once they realized that my order was not in stock. I am calling the company on January 24th and the website says that my delivery is expected by January 25th. We clearly knew that that deadline was not going to be met. So why is the website still providing me with an expected delivery date that CLEARLY cannot be met?
    3. The company is UNRESPONSIVE with phones. I had to break my social media hiatus to leave this message since clearly they do not invest in telephone communication. If a customer leaves a voicemail, that voicemail should be returned AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, especially if its concerning a product or service that has already been purchased. I ordered my product on 1/10 and they processed and completed my payment on 1/11. So clearly if you can process my payment in less than 24 hours then you should be able to return a phone call just as quickly.
    4. The company is UNRESPONSIVE with phones. Yes, I am saying it again because it took for my sister-in-law to call them before I could contact someone. In fact, I just called them before I started to right this message and guess what…NO ONE PICKED UP. This company is a JOKE!

    Needless to say, I ended my conversation with the rep by saying if my order was not delivered within a week that I want a refund.

    I called back on January 31st because of course my order had not been delivered. So I called them on my cell phone and of course NO ONE ANSWERED! So I had to call them on my Google number and then someone answered. I asked for a refund and I was told that it had already been shipped. I said I did not care. I gave you all ONE week to get the rest of my order completed. It’s now been 21 days and still I do not have what I need to complete an office that I needed to have up and running WEEKS ago. (Side note: Wayfair is a winner. If you’re looking for RELIABLE customer service and RELIABLE delivery, choose them instead. This company is trash.) Needless to say, my refund wasn’t processed because the item was still in delivery. ALLEGEDLY this is their policy.

    So how does this story end? My tables arrived on 2/5/2019. Nearly 30 days after I placed my order, it is now complete. Too bad though. I’ll be calling them from another UNKNOWN number today to have them come pick up their crap and process my refund.

    Bottomline: If you are looking for office equipment/ furniture and you are not in a rush nor do you care to have any customer service, then this is the company for you. Otherwise, RUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUN far away from Autonomous. By far, this was the WORST customer service experience ever, particularly from a FIRST-TIME (and LAST TIME) customer.

  • Allen Sanchez
    June 13, 2018 at 6:02 pm

    I purchased THE $350 home edition of this desk. The mechanism is a joke: One tiny piece of plastic holding the whole thing together as well as a tiny rod and a mechanism that keeps shifting and the table shakes every time you put it up or down. The 30 day warrantee is from the day they ship it, not from the day you get it. Took 2 weeks to get and another week before I got to assemble it and a week later -after going up and down a handful of times the mechanism no longer works. -Right after the 30 day trial which has more clauses and more thought put into it than the actual desk. The manual is confusing, putting it together requires a lot of finagling and adjusting and readjusting, its not a straight forward process. They should have markings where the screws go in, there are none, you have to read and re read the manual several times to figure out how it all goes together. The table top is heavy, it scratched while putting it together, scratches extremely easy. The rod mechanism is really an absolute joke for a table this heavy. Maybe the more expensive desk with 2 motors is better but they said I could not upgrade unless I shipped this desk back in its original packaging. You have to break the packaging apart to get to the desk. Am I supposed to keep the boxing materials for 1-5 years in case it breaks down? That’s ridiculous. Do yourself a favor, go to IKEA and pay a little more, they give you 365 days to return anything no questions asked, these mail order people are ridiculous, they put in 10X more thought on how to cheat you out of your money with their ridiculous and inflexible and impossible ‘return/warantee’ policies than they put thinking about the mechanism of this desk or how to even put some markers on the frame so you don’t have to spend a whole day putting the desk together and scratch the table top trying to make it fit. PLEASE CONTACT ME IF YOU HAD A BAD EXPERIENCE, I WILL BE FILING A CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT OVER THIS AND LOOKING FOR MORE VICTIMS OF AUTONOMOUS DESKS. I AM A LITIGATION PARALEGAL AND HAVE ALOT OF CLASS ACTION EXPERIENCE.

  • 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.

  • 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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