It wasn’t until recently that I noticed gaming desks were becoming a thing. The product which initially caught my eye was Secretlab’s Magnus metal desk, and while it sports a lot of specially designed gamer-centric features, the company doesn’t yet offer an L-shaped configuration. This omission immediately removed it from my radar. That, and the Magnus isn’t a standing desk, something I’ve been craving to utilize for marathon gaming sessions and general healthy work breaks.
Fortunately, Secretlab isn’t the only company jumping into the gaming desk arena. If you’ve ever researched the aforementioned standing desks, you may have run across Uplift, a California-based furniture outfit that specializes in desks that dynamically adjust and provide posture relief for office employees and work-from-home folks alike.
It turns out that, like many other companies looking to cash in on one of the biggest markets around, Uplift is now also catering to the coveted gamer demographic. Thus, the PR team recently sent over one of the group’s premium pieces for review: a slightly modified Standing Achievement Unlocked gaming desk. Yes, roll your eyes at the cynical marketing, but the build quality here is excellent, and it might be the best desk I’ve ever used, standing or otherwise.
While it’s not the most RGB Xtreme product I’ve yet tested, it does check a lot of boxes for today’s modern gamer, though some pesky quirks hold it back from — like the goofy moniker implies — unlocking a true ‘standing achievement’.
Ordering, Arrival and Assembly
Let’s tackle Uplift’s ordering process first, which I found to be somewhat of a mixed bag. If you log on to the Uplift website and begin configuring a desk, it’s immediately apparent (at least it was for me) that the entire process is going to be seriously overwhelming. The good news? Uplift provides an insane amount of customization options for its customers. The bad news? The flood of possibilities can result in some significant choice paralysis.
What you need to initially understand about Uplift’s ‘gamer’ desk offerings is that, unlike Secretlab and its one-of-a-kind Magnus, the options here are essentially cleverly re-named pre-configurations of the company’s ordinary non-gamer desks. You’ve got stuff like Open World Wood Grain, 4-Leg God Mode and my personal favorite, 120 Degrees of Aggro. So while these aren’t necessarily bespoke gaming desks, they are recommended pre-configs for various use cases and, at the very least, give you a good place to start.
Like I mentioned earlier, I ended up choosing a modified Standing Achievement Unlocked configuration for review, an elaborate 72×60 L-shaped battle station that specifically met my needs for two separate activity spaces: Games and art. I figured the shape and size would easily accommodate all of my gaming gear plus provide unique room for writing and drawing.
Even though you can pick from several real wood options for desktops, I went with a Walnut laminate because a) it matched most of my surrounding furniture and b) I thought it would be less precious to me in the long run (in other words, I wouldn’t fret over denting or scratching it).
As far as support goes, I chose the V-2 C-Frame, which allegedly holds up to 535 pounds of weight. I did think about going with the other choice, the V-2 Commercial C-Frame, which features an additional support bar and can adjust lower than the normal C-Frame. But in the end, it seemed like they both had comparable stability, so I went with the typical frame.
As far as assembly goes, putting together this review unit was a lot like building other flavors of boxed furniture. That is to say, equal parts straight-ahead and wildly frustrating. I think part of the issue arises from how many separate boxes the desk arrived in; dozens of individual components all showed up, one by one, until it felt like my entire life was one giant Uplift delivery. Interestingly though, as of this writing, I’m still missing one last part of the desk, something called a Mobile Storage Caddy, that’s lost in the world’s ever-worsening supply chain disaster.
Assembling the desk itself was a pretty common sense affair, though I will say that sometimes the instructions weren’t the clearest, sprinkled with occasional phrases and obtuse diagrams that made things more confusing than they should have been. I’ll also say that you’ll probably want at least one other person to help build one of these desks, and you’ll probably also want to install most of the under-desk accessories before you do the big final desk ‘flip’ (the desk is assembled upside down for the most part until the very end). The instructions mention this but, like most people I’d imagine, I went rogue and ignored the warning.
Basically, once this L-shaped desk was fashioned together and flipped, I found it very difficult to make any additional adjustments. Case in point: I had to dissect it two or three times and put everything back together again in order to apply changes to some of the leveling feet, and let me tell you, the process was not pleasant. After an Uplift desk is put together, it’s put together. Only madmen indulge in do-overs here.
That said, all the components, including the hefty feet and framing, are quite heavy and well-made. I was a little apprehensive when it came time to initially try out the Walnut laminate as a basic work surface, because I’ve had laminate desks in the past that were on the cheaper side and admittedly didn’t feel great. Uplift’s laminate, it turns out, is very sturdy and has a nice smooth texture. It’s not the thickest desktop around (save that for the real wood variants that Uplift offers, I suppose), but it gets the job done.
Add-Ons and Accessories
My desk review unit came with a decent number of add-ons and accessories which essentially serve to flesh out functionality and productivity. Seeing as this is a gaming blog, I was first and foremost attracted to the CPU Holder, an under-desk hanging mount that’s designed to hold PC towers off the ground and free up space on top of the desk. Much to my dismay, the holder wouldn’t accommodate my daily driver mid-tower build (roughly 9 inches wide), nor any of my other similarly sized gaming PCs.
I suppose this holder is only compatible with much thinner builds, which was a big disappointment. It would be great if Uplift offered another holder variant that was specifically designed for wider computers. Luckily, the holder isn’t the only accessory made for keeping your gaming PC set up in a separate space.
This leads us to one of my favorite accessories that Uplift offers: the ingenious Desk Extension. It’s essentially a hefty metal tray that attaches to the side of the desk — the sturdy frame specifically — and offers more real estate for things like controllers, consoles, PCs or whatever else your gamer heart desires. While the CPU holder was a letdown, the desk extension essentially provides the same solution, only above instead of below.
Note that an additional drilled-in metal bracket is required to support the Desk Extension if you’re planning on placing over 30 pounds atop or underneath (i.e. a decent-sized PC tower) though the extension itself with bracket can allegedly hold up to 60 pounds of weight. I placed a 36-pound mid-tower on top and it’s been holding the PC just fine with no noticeable bowing or sagging.
Complimenting the extension is the Crestview monitor arm. Uplift offers several different monitor mounting solutions, each of which cater to different display needs. Because of its 33 pound weight capability, I went with the Crestview arm, mostly so I’d have the option to accommodate a heavier screen if need be.
I’m currently rocking an ASUS PG32UQ, which is a 32 inch 4K gaming monitor that weighs in nicely under the Crestview’s load limit at only 21.4 pounds. With the monitor attached via VESA mount, the clamped Crestview provides a solid range of motion, and the adjustment knobs are pretty intuitive. The bottom line is that it supports my ASUS monitor beautifully with minimal extraneous movement once situated.
I was also able to install what Uplift calls the Monitor Arm Wiring Kit, which essentially turns the base of the Crestview into a combo USB 3.0/audio hub. The wiring kit feeds directly into a PC via long cables and provides easy access for two front-facing USB 3.0 ports and two audio jacks. These are excellent for using console controllers in wired mode. Additionally, the audio jacks provide a convenient plug-in area for headsets and the like.
Speaking of wiring, this desk did come with two different styles of grommets: A simple feed-through, as well as a two-outlet power input variant. These are solid for routing cables through to Uplift’s under-desk surge protector, something you’ll want to utilize so you’re not yanking plugs out of wall sockets.
Then there’s storage. Uplift shipped several solid options for this review unit, which included a large file cabinet, an under desk drawer, hanging storage cubby and a floor storage caddy. The hanging cubby is especially nice for keeping gaming accessories at the ready, while the padded shelf included above the desk drawer is notably good for storing tablets like iPads.
Also included were three handy clamp-on padded desk shelves. These, like the storage options, are excellent for keeping gaming accessories in easy-to-reach places. Or better yet, any of the copious gaming collectibles littering my workspace. I currently have my Oculus Quest 2 charging station situated on one of them and it looks clean.
Fitting into this similar category are the clamp-on E7 LED lamps that Uplift sent over. These touch-sensitive lights come in real handy as they don’t take up any precious desktop real estate other than a tiny edge mounting point. They’re fully adjustable in all kinds of directions and can be adjusted by way of color temperature and dimming.
Lastly, my review unit came with a rather robust keyboard tray, the Switch Ultra Thin specifically. After installing, unfortunately, I came to the conclusion that it simply wasn’t going to meet my gaming needs. I much prefer the feel of having the keyboard on top of the desk instead, as it provides a more reliably maneuverable surface for mouse and keyboard gameplay. Plus, even with a track spacer, the keyboard tray placed me too far away from my display, something I didn’t exactly appreciate.
The downside to not using the keyboard tray is that my monitor shakes slightly when I type. This could be because I’m an aggressive typist (what a weird label) or it may come down to the nature of monitor arms and VESA mounts being susceptible to vibration. This could lead me to reinstalling the keyboard tray once again down the line, but we’ll have to wait and see.
Functionality and Gaming
If you’re thinking about buying an Uplift desk, you’re obviously looking for something that can easily adjust between sitting and standing positions. The good news is that my Uplift review unit has performed swimmingly during testing, and rather quietly, too. The motor is rather unobtrusive when the desk is on the move, though my particular unit presents with a soft knocking sound when lowering, and I’m not sure if that’s normal or not, or if it’s coming from a particular leg or the control box. Whatever it is, the sound doesn’t seem to affect performance or stability in any noticeable way.
Movement of the desk is controlled via a sleek front-facing keypad, and the particular one I went with for this build is the Advanced Comfort variant. It has soft rubber buttons and can remember up to four separate programmable height pre-sets. This makes it easy to switch between sitting and standing modes that you’ve previously dialed in, specifically to a tenth of an inch.
As far as functional ranges go, the lowest the legs will sink is 25.2 inches and the desk reaches an apex of 50.8 inches when pushed to the maximum height. The bottom line is that I’m over six feet tall and this desk accommodates my full height just fine. It’s actually slightly too tall at the very top end, and even when fully extended, this Uplift desk has minimal (if any) wobble. I can get my monitor and lamp to tremble it I put some effort into shaking the desk but it never feels like anything is going to topple over. I also have this desk installed on carpet (I know, I know), so I’d assume that hardwood would provide even more support.
What’s immediately strange about using a standing desk after using sitting desks your entire life is that, well, it moves. I say this facetiously, only because I’ve engaged the standing feature on more than one occasion while devices have remained plugged in to power bars near the floor. Lots of yanked out power bricks during my testing, I’ll tell you.
On that note, gaming while standing does take some getting used to. I don’t think I’ve stood up and played games since my halcyon arcade days back in the ‘90s, and while it’s a bit odd to be totally upright while blasting Spartans in Halo Infinite, it does provide a nice break for longer gaming sessions. Not necessarily something I’d want to do all the time, but having the option to break things up is, dare I say, healthy.
At the end of the day, the Standing Achievement Unlocked desk is a definite winner. It’s solid, sturdy, has plenty of useful accessories and performs its standing feature very well.
Yes, the website building process is tedious and overwhelming, as is the exercise of actually putting the physical desk together. Additionally, there might be something going on with that knocking noise when engaging the lowering function, but the jury is still out on that.
Still, Uplift’s overall end product is one of extremely high quality and makes both gaming and working long hours more sustainable and enjoyable. I do, however, wish that there were more gamer-centric features, like RGB lighting and perhaps a slightly refined cable management solution like what the Magnus sports.
Disclosure: Uplift provided review product for coverage purposes.