iMovR Captain’s Standing Desk Review
- Must Read
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If you’re tired of the typical “two legs and a slab of wood” standing desk design, the Captain’s Desk is a breath of fresh air. Packaging that design with the technological features of the Lander Lite base makes for an exceptional desk. You get the warranty, assembly, stability, height range and quality you would expect from a premium, American-made iMovR desk, plus a stunning design and the strong Baltic or Red River birch desktop.
|MSRP / List Price||
Red River Birch:
Free shipping in the lower 48 states
Frame: Lifetime Warranty
Precision dual-motor components from Linak
1.6 inches per second
Intuitive gesture height control paddle with Bluetooth sync to free smartphone app
41″ x 27.5″
|Colors Available||See all 9 stain finishes|
Single-Stage Base: 27.35” – 47.5″
168W nominal when in motion, <0.1W standby
|Typical Assembly Time||
Once components are removed from packaging typical assembly time is 5 minutes. One tool (an Allen key) is included for attaching the feet to the lifting columns. No other tools are required. See assembly video
Compare to All Top-Rated Standing Desks
|Where to buy||
Buy on iMovR
|Ease of Assembly|
|Quality and Aesthetics|
|Suitability for Treadmill Desking|
|Positives||The Captain’s Desk appeal as a feature piece of furniture and talking point is unmatched. This desk just looks cool. The Baltic or Red River birch construction is appealing, so strong that it adds to the desk’s stability, and good for the environment. The drawer helps you reclaim some desktop real estate and declutter your desk. 95% factory pre-assembled means a simple assembly of a few minutes with a provided tool. Made-in-USA quality and an excellent warranty. Built-in health coach reminders result in 117% increase in use at standing height, according to studies. Controlled by the same smartphone app as the original Lander, via Bluetooth link to the sleek and intuitive gesture height control paddle.|
|Negatives||It’s not compatible with a keyboard tray and not easily compatible with a monitor arm, so it's more ideal for laptop users and those who simply do not intend to have either a monitor arm or keyboard tray on their standing desk. There are only two sizes available, targeting primarily the home office user. While the extensive height range of the Lander Lite base is generally great for treadmill desk users, the lack of a SteadyType keyboard tray option and monitor arm mounting challenges prevent us from giving it a high score for the office treadmill application; other iMovR desk models are better suited for that.|
We’ve seen many standing desks over the years and with the exception of a few outliers, they are all roughly the same: They have two legs, a slab of wood and some sort of hand controller for commanding it to move up and down.
In fact, allow us the opportunity to vent a little about something we find truly irksome in our industry. Whenever we see one of the big commercial office furniture companies like Herman Miller or Steelcase showcase the mug shot and bio of a glorified furniture designer on their standing desk product pages—when all they’ve done is select an OEM vendor for the electric lifting base, throw a slab of HPL on it, and call it good—we have to ROFLOL.
Their standing desks are not Eames chairs, they are as utilitarian, and frankly uninspired as can be. At best the “designer” might have personally selected the palette of laminate colors that would be offered. Big whoop. It’s akin to saying that your very special Michelin chef invented the hard boiled egg and it is better than all other hard boiled eggs ever created because he signed his name to it while gazing towards the future of haute cuisine.
As standing desk reviewers we spend most of our time comparing stability and specs. Ergonomics and component quality. Warranties and shipping costs. Mundane stuff, relatively speaking. So it’s refreshing to see a desk where that’s not the main point, but it still certainly meets and exceeds the standards in those areas.
The Captain’s Desk from iMovR is notable for a variety of reasons, the main one being that among a sea of standing desks with that same basic formula, it is different. That’s really what iMovR is hoping hooks you on the Captain’s Desk. As ubiquitous as standing desks have become, the Captain’s Desk gives you the opportunity to make a bold statement about your style, not to mention your knack for finding the unusual and mesmerizing artifact to take center stage in your office.
You can go with a beautiful solid wood top, for sure. iMovR already offers 36 different solid wood stain-species combinations, and countless sizes from compact desks to large L-desks and everything in between. But even an elegant solid wood slab doesn’t quite compare to the immediate attention-grabbing impact of a unique shape like the Captain’s Desk.
The Captain’s Desk is the first desk of a nautical theme that iMovR is calling their new limited edition Baltic Line (the other is the more simply stated Ensign’s Desk). According to their marketing spiel, iMovR’s lead furniture designer, Vincent Leman, endeavored to provoke romantic allusions to the age of exploration on the high seas.
The nautical theme is certainly evident in the Captain’s Desk, with its classically angular features of a captain’s “davenport desk” crossed with a military campaign desk’s perimeter fencing (for keeping your navigation instruments from rolling off the table in rocking seas, of course).
While iMovR’s desks have always been on the cutting edge of ergodynamics, with the greatest height adjustment range of any desk manufacturer, softly ergo-contoured edges, and the ability to accept just about any monitor arm and keyboard tray on the market, the Captain’s Desk is clearly designed primarily for the home office laptop user.
You can’t attach a keyboard tray to the iMovR Captain’s Desk because of its built-in drawer. And while you can technically install a monitor arm in any of the three provided 1.75″-diameter grommet holes, getting the perfect position isn’t as easy as when sliding an edge clamp around until you find that sweet spot—which isn’t possible due to the perimeter fencing on the desktop.
There are cheaper desks, more ergonomic desks and more practical desks, but we haven’t before seen a more invigorating standing desk than this, especially for smaller home office spaces. It doesn’t just blend into the room, it makes a bold statement to any visitor that this is your central command post, not just your office. If you believe that stimulating surroundings can help inspire your best creativity this may be the ideal desk for you. Let the landlubbers be envious. (OK, we’ll stop with the pirate talk now. Maybe.)
Beguiled by Birch
The iMovR Captain’s Desk top is made using a beautiful 12-ply Baltic birch, which comes from a region spanning both Russia and Finland’s coastlines on the Baltic Sea, the second-largest sustainable forest in the world. Essentially, you get the look of maple in a much stronger and more stable form. Baltic birch has been used for hundreds of years by European makers of fine cabinetry and fine musical instruments because of how durable and precisely machinable it is. The Baltic line was originally designed with genuine Baltic birch from Russia. Due to the conflict, this lumber became impossible to get, but iMovR, has been able to source the same exact material from Finland, albeit at a significantly higher cost.
The desk is also available in an alternative multi-ply birch available from the Red River Valley in Vietnam, which is nearly identical in quality, stability, and appearance to Baltic, but available at the significantly lower cost. The inner plies of the Red River birch are made from Acacia or Eucalyptus, which can have a darker edge on some of the plies. The top and bottom veneers are still genuine birch.
The Baltic birch panels are made up of a dozen 1.5 mm-thick sheets of veneer that are bonded together in alternating grain direction. That makes for a void-free core that is exceptionally strong and stable, much more so than a plank of natural hardwood. There are several different grades given to the Baltic birch plywood. iMovR uses only the top grade B/BB.
That top grade means the face and back veneers have to be made from a single veneer sheet. The face is clear, free of defects and of a light-uniform color. The back can have a small amount of color-matched “football” patches (where branches grew out of the tree), but no one is looking at the bottom. We’ve seen a few other standing desks made with Baltic birch before—none in this class of designer furniture— typically made with one of the five lower grades of birch, if even genuine Baltic birch. The process is virtually the same for Red River birch materials.
As we cover in our primer on choosing the right desktop, desktop materials vary widely by cost and quality from powder coat, to bamboo, to high-pressure laminate (HPL), to 3D laminate, to reclaimed and solid wood. Baltic and Red River birch fit next to solid wood in that spectrum, but is significantly less expensive. It also has the advantage of being much less susceptible to flex and movement from changes in temperature and humidity.
Baltic and Red River birch also stand out with its lower environmental impact compared to natural hardwoods like maple, cherry or oak. It grows quickly and takes less than half the raw wood material to match the strength and rigidity of a natural hardwood plank (the 0.70”-thick birch panels used in the Captain’s desk are actually stronger and more stable than the 1.25” hardwood tops offered on the Lander Desks).
The Captain’s Desk Baltic and Red River birches come in eight different stains or a natural, unstained finish (only for Baltic Birch) (see the full-screen color swatches or order samples). iMovR uses GREENGuard-certified, formaldehyde-free stains and sealants, and this is one aspect of picking a desk we always try to emphasize. Using stains and sealants like this isn’t just about the environment, it’s about the user. We often see user reviews with complaints about the smell from stains and sealants on lower-quality solid wood desktops, especially those imported from Asia.
A Captain Needs A Drawer
The one big disadvantage to converting from a sitting desk to a standing desk is losing drawer space. Because this is an issue for pretty much every standing desk owner, a wide range of solutions have popped up over the years.
These include mobile file pedestals and smaller, attachable drawers. Both of these options work, but cheap ones suffer greatly from poor quality, limited color choices and unappealing design.
The iMovR Captain’s Desk comes in two sizes, 41” x 27.5” and 51” x 27.5”, and both have a single drawer. The drawer has an interior measurement of 8.75” deep x 29.5” wide on the 41” desk and 8.75” deep and 39.5” wide on the 51” desk. It provides enough space to hold a few office supplies, a notepad, a tablet, a phone, etc.
The drawer is very wide but not very deep, because of interference with the crossbar running between the two lifting columns on the “T-leg” Lander Lite base. Such a high aspect ratio results in a bit of wobble in the drawer slides when opening the drawer. This is unavoidable due to the geometry even though the slides are of very high quality. The good news, though, is that the slides have a nice detented closure so the drawer face always appears perfectly tidy and exhibits no wiggling when closed.
All Your Instruments, Close At Hand
The Captain’s Desk has 1.75″ grommet holes and iMovR now offers the Rondo Micro to bring power up to the desktop with these smaller grommet holes. The Rondo Micro is available with a number of different modules with AC, USB-A and USB-C outlets. Bringing power to the desktop helps you avoid excess bending over and reaching which (as we discussed in our primer on ergodynamics) can lead to injury. Also, be sure to check out our roundup of cable management kits. You don’t want to buy a desk that looks like this and then have a snarl of cables underneath it.
Speaking of grommet holes, check out our article on grommet holes, with everything you need to know about the different ways to use them to enhance your workstation, what to look for in your grommet holes, and where to find the desks with the best ones.
An Exceptional Top Needs An Exceptional Base
Fortunately, the Captain’s Desk has called a parley between style and substance. The style is there, as we discussed above, while the substance is provided by iMovR’s state-of-the-art Lander Lite lifting base. (We’ve often seen beautiful, expensive hardwood tops being sold on a cheap, commodity-grade base made in China, and it puzzles us as to why anyone would ever want to do that.)
The desk comes in both single-stage and dual-stage configurations. The single-stage (2-segment leg) version is for those users who are of middling height and not concerned with the extreme bottom end and top end height reaches of the desk. While the dual-stage legs will give you a reach of 24”-50”, the single-stage legs will shorten that range to 27.35”-47.5” (top included).
The good news for the vertically-challenged among us is that the Captain’s Desk can be raised up an additional 6” with iMovR’s leg extension kit. Attaching these extensions to the dual-stage Captain’s Desk will endow it with an astounding 30″-56″ height adjustment range.
The iMovR Captain’s Desk has a lift capacity of 225 lbs and moves at 1.6 inches-per-second, at a very quiet volume. With all the strength and rigidity of the desktop the stability of the desk is slightly better than comparably sized desks with simple rectangular tops.
The base comes in white, black and silver.
Command And Control
Like iMovR’s Lander line, the Captain’s Desk comes with Linak’s intuitive gesture height control paddle installed, which are very intuitive to use. Just tap the paddle up or down to get the desk to move in that direction. It’ll automatically stop at the next pre-programmed height preference. Most anything you can do through the recessed buttons on the paddle you can also do through the downloadable smartphone app.
The Captain’s Desk has two programmable height favorites, perfect for storing your “sit” and “stand” height presets. For desks that are going to be shared between multiple users, each user would record their height favorites in their own phone app. Whenever they step up to the desk and sync-up to it over Bluetooth the desk will automatically re-acquire their personalized settings from the profile on their phone.
There’s a built-in health coach, which will remind you to stand at intervals that you set to your own preferences, either by flashing the LED in the paddle, sending a push notification to your phone, or both.
Not sure how meaningful it is to have a built-in health coach? The data is in, and it may surprise you. Read this study in which users with a built-in health coach increased their standing time by 117%.
Assembles In Under 10 Minutes – No Toolbox Required
Like the Lander Lite desk line, the Captain’s Desk is 95% factory pre-assembled, and each unit is individually tested before shipping out to the customer. The entire desk arrives in a single carton, shipped by FedEx through iMovR’s QuickShip program. iMovR pre-manufactures QuickShip desks in the most popular sizes and colors so they can ship immediately after an order.
One of iMovR’s Quick-Install designs, assembly is a breeze and the entire customer experience of how quickly you go from unboxing to working at your standing desk is about as good as it gets. See the installation video to get a complete understanding of how simple a task it is.
The desktop itself is produced by skilled artisan craftsmen in Benton Harbor, Michigan, using the same 7-step process and in the same facility as iMovR’s legendary solid wood desktops. The entire process of cutting, sanding, staining, sealing and assembling the desk takes three weeks from time of order if you want to customize your stain and other options. However, we are told there will soon be a quick-ship option for both desk sizes, configured with the full-range XT base, in both Natural and Espresso stain. So if you’re OK with the configuration iMovR will pop one into FedEx for you on the next business day.
iMovR has not sent this desk to be ANSI/BIFMA certified at an independent lab because it isn’t targeted at the government and large enterprise customers that typically require ANSI/BIFMA X5.5-2014 Certification. But given that it is even more rigid than the Lander Lite desk line upon which it is built, and that the rest of the Lander Lite desk line is X5.5-2014 certified, it would surely exceed the test standard. (Learn more about the gold standard for independent laboratory testing of standing desks in our primer on ANSI/BIFMA certification.)
The Captain’s Desk is made entirely in the USA and comes with an industry-leading lifetime warranty on the frame and 15-year warranty on the motors and electronics, as well as a 100-day satisfaction guarantee. To enable such a bullet-proof warranty a manufacturer has to have tremendous faith in the componentry, precision machining and testing of the product that are reflected in the higher price you pay for a product like this.
While some of the Chinese-made competitors like UpLift and Fully (both using a lifting base manufactured by Jiecang) have upped their warranty terms to seemingly match iMovR’s, consumers should be aware that not all warranties are created equal. Some insert a bevy of carve-outs in the fine print that might leave you out in the cold if ever you run into a component failure in the future. In fact, there’s so much spin going on in warranty terms marketing claims these days that we had to write a separate primer just on How To Compare Warranty Policies Between Standing Desk Manufacturers, which we encourage the consumer to read ahead of making their final purchase decision.
Our staff experts’ advice is to always go with the higher-quality componentry of a top-shelf American or European-made base and significantly reduce the odds of ever having to deal with the immense hassle of an out-of-commission desk. Keep in mind that desks generally start to underperform before they fail, and loose manufacturing tolerances will lead to performance issues such as grease streaking, squeaking when in transit, and increasing shakiness over time.
You can’t quantify design, but you’ll either love how the Captain’s Desk desk looks, in which case you won’t mind the inability to add a keyboard tray and the difficulty of adding a monitor arm, or it won’t float your boat. As we mentioned, it really is designed primarily for the laptop user. (In fact if you love the Baltic or Red River birch but prefer to keep your ergonomic options open, stand by for the Ensign’s Desk coming out later this year, which will fully accommodate keyboard trays and monitor arms.)
If you do love the unique design of the iMovR Captain’s Desk, you won’t find any reasons to change your mind as you look deeper. Aside from stunning looks, the Baltic and Red River birches are strong and stable. The same goes for the state-of-the-art, robotically-built Lander Lite lifting base. Assembly almost couldn’t be easier, and there’s the same industry-leading warranty as on all of iMovR American-made desks to ease your mind.
If the storage possibilities in a desk are what you are looking for, see our other reviews on desks with built-in storage options.
Ahar there, we thank our good mateys for suffering through a little pirate talk when it isn’t even Talk Like A Pirate Day; it’s not often that we get to have a little fun writing a review of yet another standing desk!
Epilogue: One note to our readers on why iMovR has made the Baltic Line a “Limited Edition,” at least for now. We’ve learned that Baltic birch, like so many raw commodities during the pandemic economy, has become incredibly hard to get. With the boom in home furnishings purchasing going on worldwide, European consumers have been buying so much Baltic birch furniture that there simply hasn’t been enough lumber left over to reach American shores. Coupled with deep ocean shipping capacity constraints and cost increases, the result has been months-long outages of supply of top-grade Baltic birch in the United States for the first time in history. So don’t be surprised if these Baltic line desks do sell out on occasion and have long backorder times until things smooth out in the global supply chain. This all goes to make this desk even more unique and something you’re unlikely to ever see anywhere else.