Fully Jarvis Albright Standing Desk Review
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|MSRP / List Price||
Alloy frame color: +$20
10 years on frame and electrical components, 5 years on desktop
Jiecang Electric Lifting Base
Single-stage: 1.3 ips
Standard up/down or programmable memory controller for $35 more
60″ x 30″
Desktop: Walnut stained maple, cherry stained maple, light stained maple and sealed natural maple
Drawer: Sealed natural maple, cherry stained maple, light stained maple, mahogany stained maple, walnut stained maple, black and white
Frame: Black, silver, white and alloy
350 lbs not including desktop (which isn’t specified)
Desktop: 60″ x 30″
|Typical Assembly Time||
About an hour
|NEAT™ Certified by Mayo Clinic||
|Where to buy||
Buy on Fully
|Ease of Assembly|
|Quality and Aesthetics|
|Suitability for Treadmill Desking|
|Positives||One of the few "designer" standing desks on the market, the Albright is indeed quite pleasing to the eye. If you like the solid wood secretary desk look, this is one of the few in the market.|
|Negatives||Only one size (30"x60"), only one wood species (maple). A very pricey, American-made, hand-crafted desktop that's planted on a commodity-grade Chinese-made lifting base that's hard to assemble and not of the nicest quality, so a bit mismatched. Drawers are very small (only 7" wide) and take up a lot of the desk surface area; especially if you want to be able to open them without clearing things out of the way each time. Non-adjustable built-in shelf makes it impossible to mount an ergonomic monitor arm.|
One of the first ‘designer’ standing desks on the market
Fully (which has seen been folded into Knoll, which has since been folded into Herman Miller) was actually the first standing desk maker to introduce designer desks a few years ago, with models such as their Jarvis Evolve (our review on that one is in the works).
Since getting acquired—and acquired again—however, it feels like they’ve taken their focus away from designer desks and moved diametrically towards the other end of the market with a commodity focus. Nowadays, these pretty variants of the vaunted Jarvis standing desk line are hidden away in a dusty corner of the site at the bottom of page two of their standing desk listings, and we can understand why so few are being sold anymore.
Sadly, Fully seems to be much more interested in high-volume, bottom basement desk models, and has neglected the pricier niche products—continually thinning them out over the past couple of years. The Albright is just another red-headed stepchild in their product offering line-up now, it appears, with only one size offering (30″x60″) and one species (maple) being offered.
You have to be Questlove to get away with wearing gold Crocs to the Oscars
Like any piece of solid wood fine furniture, the Albright isn’t cheap. Prices start at about $1,900. So we have to ask, why would anyone buy a desktop this nice—hand-crafted in the USA—with a commodity-grade Jiecang base made in China? It’s a mish-mash that doesn’t make sense to us, yet Fully and its archrival, UpLift, have both done it for years with all their solid wood desk offerings. So that’s our biggest issue with the Albright, and a tough one to overcome. Besides the quality, look & feel and reliability issues of the Jiecang base, it is one that you have to arduously assemble entirely on your own before you can even use the desk.
The most direct competitor to the Albright right now is probably either the iMovR Ensign’s Desk or Captain’s Desk, both of which are built on state-of-the-art Linak bases that are precision robotically manufactured in the USA and arrive 95% factory pre-assembled. In this price range, and being fine furniture items, a consumer should expect nothing less than a very clean and delightful user experience, not an IKEA project for the weekend.
As for the desktop quality itself, there’s a lot that goes into the shaping, sanding, staining and sealing of solid wood desktops, as we elaborate on in our replete primer on Choosing the Right Top for Your Standing Desk. While the Albright and Evolve are produced in the same Benton Harbor, Michigan shop where iMovR has their solid wood tops made (including the Ensign’s and Captain’s desks) there is a stark contrast in the degree of finishing that goes into them.
Fully’s solid wood tops are minimally finished, not even sealed against moisture damage on the bottoms, and minimally smoothed on the edges; whereas iMovR’s are fully ergo-contoured all around and have more passes of finishing and sealing all around, with a higher standard of perfection when it comes to contending with imperfections in the natural wood. Of course, the latter involves more labor and costs a little more, but they are better at meeting customers’ expectations at this price range. More importantly, they look a lot nicer and will stand up against humidity and temperature changes much better. iMovR also exclusively offers zero-VOC options for those who are severely chemically sensitive and has a much more robust warranty.
Drawers add storage but at the expense of desktop real estate
Fully markets the Albright as being a “streamlined take on the classic Carlton House Desk” but it’s clearly not. A Carlton House desk would have a lot more drawers underneath than on top. The Albright is a minimalist Secretary Desk with two diminutive top-side drawers. And that’s OK, that’s all some people need. A Carlton House Desk is the last thing you would want to lift with the power available in a standing desk base, as it would weigh a ton. But there’s no need to be so hyperbolic in claiming something it is not.
The two drawers are smallish – each only 3″ high by 7″ wide and 15″ deep on the inside – but they still kill a lot of real estate on top of the desk. This is one reason we tend to like the Jarvis Evolve with its under-desk drawers better from the real estate standpoint (there are other issues with going all the way across with drawers, like running into your lap when seated, and not being able to mount a keyboard tray, but we’ll cover those in that review). But the other issue with real estate is keeping the space in front of the drawers clear so they can stay open. Check out our round-up of our storage and drawer solutions for standing desks that we recently published for other ideas on how to achieve this.
The top itself comes in four different stain colors: Walnut stained maple, cherry stained maple, light stained maple and sealed natural maple. The drawers come in seven colors: Sealed natural maple, cherry stained maple, light stained maple, mahogany stained maple, walnut stained maple, black and white. The frame comes in four colors: Black, silver, white and alloy. The alloy frame color costs an extra $20 and is one of many upgrades available.
Other upgrades are different bases. You can choose a single-stage frame that has a height range of 29″-48.3″ or a dual-stage frame with a height range of 24.5″-50″. There’s also a dual-stage “low” frame option with a height range of 21.9″-42.2″. Both dual-stage frames cost an extra $20. Fully claims all of the bases have a weight capacity of 350 lbs but they don’t tell you that you need to subtract the weight of the desktop from this figure, so the real lift capacity of this base is more like 250 lbs. As we cover in our lab test of the Jiecang base, however, there are a lot of caveats around this weight lift rating the buyer should be aware of. We’re also a little concerned about why the Jiecang base used on the Albright only comes with a 10-year warranty when the one used on other Jarvis desks has been upgraded to 15 years. There is no explanation for this.
There are two handsets available. The standard option has simple up and down buttons. For $35, you can get a more typical controller for desks in this price range with four height memory presets.
It’s really sad to see that the player that first pioneered designer standing desks in the industry has skulked away from it in favor of the “race to the bottom” commodity game, ever since getting acquired by (now) a $3B+ commercial furniture company. We guess that’s to be expected, but it’s still disappointing. The good news is other players have entered the arena with much more competitive products that are better built, with far more design options, better warranties, and entirely made in America, not using any significant components from China.
If it’s a designer desk you’re looking for there are much better, newer options available today than the Albright. If it’s the drawers that attract you to the Albright be sure to check out all the different ways you can add storage and drawers to standing desks nowadays. If you like the idea of a monitor shelf instead of an ergonomic monitor arm please check out our roundup of monitor risers and standing desks with built-in monitor shelves. And if it’s the solid wood desktop that attracts you to the Albright definitely check out our comprehensive round-up of Solid Wood Standing Desk reviews.