Disclosure: iMovR and WorkWhileWalking have mutual ownership interest*
When iMovR launched its new Omega desk line last year with the Everest and Denali models, they had the top-end and bottom-end covered with a premium electric desk and manual crank desk, respectively. Now with the new Omega Olympus they’ve got what is likely to become their most popular desk model coyet – an ideal compromise, if you will, between hi-tech features and affordable price – and is definitely destined to become the most popular desk for pairing with an office treadmill, bar none. The Omega line has one key distinguishing feature that separates it from all other stand up desks in the market today: each model has a built-in SteadyType keyboard tray that improves the user’s typing speed, accuracy and comfort, while reinforcing the stability of the entire desk – whether used as a standing desk, walking desk, or even – gasp – as a sitting desk. iMovR, more than any other company, has blazed the path in researching computing ergonomics in the standing and walking modes, discovering along the way that they differ very significantly from what we thought we knew solely based on decades of research on seated computer workers. They have, in a practical sense, re-written the book on ergonomics for the modern computerist.
SteadyType: A New Sensation
The SteadyType keyboard tray became immediately popular upon its introduction, especially for treadmill desk users who were frustrated with the general floppiness of underdesk-mounted keyboard trays, and seeing their typing errors increase commensurately with their walking speed. iMovR reports that about 40% of their standing desk customers now opt for SteadyType as well, especially if they were already inclined to use an ergonomic keyboard tray. So while Omega desks have become our unqualified go-to recommendation for anyone building a treadmill desk workstation, we also recommend them above all others for standing users as well, budget allowing. The SteadyType feature adds $275 to the cost of a desk, which is slightly less than a really good keyboard tray, yet twice as much as a feeble one.
May We Have Your Attention For a Moment?
The steeper angles that can be achieved with the SteadyType keyboard tray (up to 85 degrees without losing the keyboard, but more practically intended to be used in the 25 to 40 degree range) allow users to maintain the most neutral possible shoulder, arm and wrist positions. Most keyboard trays max out at 15 degrees because they were designed for seated positions, where a steeper angle setting would run into your lap. Increased desk stability comes from the fact that the “moment,” or lever length of the keyboard tray is radically reduced. The pivot bar holding up the SteadyType keyboard platform is only about 10″ away from the lifting legs and crossbar of the desk frame, rather than an extra foot beyond the user edge of the desk. This design leads to a whole lot less monitor shaking and typo-making as compared to using a classic ergonomic keyboard tray with any other 2-legged desk. While the Omega line is iMovR’s flagship product line featuring the SteadyType tray, we are told that they are planning to license the patent to all other desk manufacturers in the near future, so expect to see this feature appear on other makers’ desks by next year.
ThermoDesk Vs. Omega Stand Up Desk
iMovR now makes more models of adjustable height standing desks and tables than any other manufacturer. When you break it down, however, their ThermoDesk line (Elite, UpTown and Ellure) and their Omega Desk line (Everest, Olympus and Denali) are identical to each other except for the inclusion of the SteadyType tray built into the Omega versions. So the Olympus Stand Up Desk is simply the ThermoDesk UpTown Desk with a SteadyType keyboard tray built in. The only other difference is that UpTown can be configured with either a thin or thick tabletop, whereas the Olympus comes only in the conference table-thick (1.125″) version.
Custom Desk, Rapid Shipped
The Olympus comes in five different widths: 42″, 47″, 59″, 71″ and 83″ – the last two of which can be used as full sit-stand-walk workstations, with the legs being spread far enough apart to allow for an office treadmill and full-sized office chair to be comfortably used side-by-side. Users can select from eleven standard colors of iMovR’s exclusive 3D-laminated surfaces (more on that below), and a choice of black or silver powder coat paint on the base. Like iMovR’s ThermoDesk, Omega Desk and Synapse product lines, UpTown desks are made-to-order and shipped within five to seven business days, “Dell style.”
It’s all about the base
A strong, stable and reliable base is the foundation of any stand up desk, and thus its quality and performance should be of paramount importance to the buyer. While the UpStage 30 base that sits beneath the Olympus desktop is made in China – like all but a few of the top-tier standing desks in the market – iMovR has these bases manufactured in the largest and most technology advanced linear actuator manufacturing plant in the country. It reaches 50” high (including the desktop), exceeding the ANSI/BIFMA governmental spec for stand up desks, and thus providing greater stability for taller users and treadmill desk users.
Brawny, and Then Some, Yet Quiet as a Bunny
The precision dual motors of the UpStage 30 base can lift an impressive 360 lbs. No other two-legged adjustable height desk, with the exception of the Electra and the Uprise, have as much lifting capacity. While granted, most people are unlikely to have 360 lbs worth of tabletop, computer, monitors and other desktop detritus to pile on this base, being overpowered directly translates to the long-term reliability of the motors and linear actuators. As a rule of thumb, bases with higher lifting capacities come with longer warranties, a key expression of the manufacturers’ confidence in their products’ reliability. Indeed the considerable warranty on the Olympus is lifetime on the frame and five years on the motors and all other components.
The UpStage 30’s travel speed averages around 1.5 inches per second, which is a little better than most of the competition in the mid-tier. However, it’s rare at this price point to see an acceleration and deceleration dampening feature. The benefit of the dampening feature is that your coffee is unlikely to slosh out of its cup and pens are less likely to roll off the desk when it’s on the move. As mentioned above, the base is the quietest we’ve ever tested in our labs, registering under 41 decibels. To put that into perspective consider the Jiecang base, another Chinese-made product widely used on mid-tier desks including the Jarvis, S2S, and Uplift 900. The Jiecang bases register at about 60 dB (decibels being a logarithmic scale), making them four times noisier than Olympus, despite moving up and down at a slightly slower transit speed.
At first blush it appeared that iMovR did something magical to get a single base to telescope in width to accommodate tabletop widths spanning 42″ all the way up to 83″. In point of fact there are two different bases. The UpStage 30N (“narrow”) is shipped with the 42”, 47” and 59” wide tops, and the UpStage 30W (“wide”) is shipped with the 71” and 83” tops. The difference between the two frames comes down to the lengths of the crossbar components. So unlike the other ThermoDesk and Omega Desk products that use a single base to accommodate all tabletop sizes, the Olympus uses two different bases. The upshot of this design choice is the extraordinarily wide range of tabletop dimensions the buyer can choose from. Regardless of the base version, the UpStage is an extremely rigid design, featuring heavier and thicker feet than found on most height-adjustable desks. The combination of improvements in frame design, foot design and leg extension ability makes the base one of the most solid we’ve ever tested for either stand up desk or treadmill desk use (the latter being the most demanding test scenario). Given iMovR’s impending release of their first treadmill base – the ThermoTread GT – we’re not surprised to see the measures they’ve taken to take stability up a couple of notches ahead of the competition.
The UpStage base’s lateral and longitudinal stability are markedly superior when contrasted with the commodity Jiecang base that is so commonly used by other desk makers these days. It also reaches higher, adding stability at loftier desk heights by creating more overlap between the telescoping leg segments when they are extended to their limits. A digital controller with LED height readout and three programmable height presets (one for sitting, one for standing, and a third for walking, e.g.) is included as a standard component with the Olympus. You can customize your Olympus desk further with optional caster wheels. With this wheel kit, your Olympus can move easily along the floor or carpet. Made of top-grade materials these casters will never mar a beautiful floor. Most importantly, you can lock these wheels in place when not in use, to keep your desk stable and stationary. Especially if you plan to install casters we highly recommend iMovR’s Advanced Cable Management Kit for keeping all your dangling cords nicely together as you shuttle your desk around the office. For an easy storage solution, choose the optional Mobile File Cabinet: This heavy-duty, compact cabinet easily rolls into place and is finished with the same 3D lamination of the table top, guaranteed to match your desk.
3D Laminated Tabletop, Conference Table-Thick
The elegant Olympus tabletops feature 3D lamination that wraps around the contoured edges of the desktop and even through the grommet holes, extending the life of the tabletop (keeping damaging moisture from degrading the wood over time), and giving the it the appearance of having been fashioned from a single piece of hardwood. Each tabletop, regardless of width, features dual 3.15″ (80 mm) grommet holes that can accept optional, flush-mounted upgrades like nodes that supply power through AC sockets or USB ports and Aircharge wireless cell phone chargers, or just be used for cable pass-through. You would not want to cover these gorgeous grommet holes with cheap plastic caps; there’s no exposed MDF wood to hide on any desk made by iMovR. The Surf(x) 3D laminate that iMovR uses is significantly more resistant to scratches, dings and chemicals than the conventional high pressure lamination still used by most other desk manufacturers, and dramatically better than the powder-coated paint used by some of the low-cost competitors. Hence the unusually long five year warranty on all iMovR tabletops. Available standard woodgrain colors include Mahogany, Hayward Cherry, Shaker Cherry, Almond Cherry, Light Maple and Urban Walnut, while Black, Designer (frosty) White, Warm White (beige), Haute Gray (putty) and a stunning Shark Gray are the available solid colors. In addition there are over sixty more custom color options for bulk institutional buyers to match the décor of their existing furniture as closely as possible. See the complete color palette. All tabletops are made with recessed nuts for installing it to the base using machine screws. This not only makes it easier to assemble and disassemble the desk but it prevents the degradation of the screw holes that can come from taking the desk apart and reassembling it too many times. The extra-thick 1.125″ tabletop also modestly enhances the lateral stability of the desk, especially at the wider widths.
How the Omega Olympus Compares to the Omega Denali and Omega Everest
As we said at the beginning, the Olympus is designed as the middle offering in iMovR’s Omega line-up. The Denali costs less, yes, but height adjustments are made by cranking the handle three turns for every inch as opposed to using an electric switch, and its top reach is only 49″ as compared to the Olympus’ standard 50″ top height—54″ if using the new leg extension option. The comparison to the Omega Everest – arguably the very best desk in the world for use with a walking treadmill – is more subtle. The Everest is entirely made in America, including the base, and comes with double the warranty – ten years – on the precision Bosch motors. Its controller is a bit nicer – with four programmable height presets as opposed to the three in the Olympus – but its overall look and feel is just a bit more solid and attractive. The Olympus, on the other hand, actually has 64% more lifting power and is at least 4 dB quieter than its pricier cousin, the Elite. To be clear, both are still at least four times quieter than most competitors’ desks, but spec-t0-spec the UpStage 30 base used in the Olympus is darned impressive for the money. Both have built-in anti-collision as well, and as soon as iMovR releases the extension legs for the Elite/Everest, both will have the exact same height and width range, too. The tabletop sizes and color options are essentially identical between the two. So it really comes down to this: The Everest has a bit better warranty, a nicer hand controller and its base is also made in the USA, versus the Olympus having a stronger and quieter base for less money. Hence our prediction that the UpTown/Olympus twins well soon begin to outsell the Elite/Everest, which has been iMovR’s top seller to date.
*Full disclosure: iMovR and WorkWhileWalking have mutual ownership interest. However, we can assure our readers that on this side of the fence we expose the good and the bad of every product, regardless of any financial connection we may have to the manufacturer. iMovR product reviews are done with the same editorial responsibility we have always had reviewing other third party products that we also sell in our stores.
Olympus desks are made to order and arrive within ten to fourteen business days from order placement. They are shipped palletized by freight from Grand Rapids, Michigan. The standard shipping price for Olympus desks, including all optional items purchased at the same time, is only $99. iMovR also offers a variety of delivery upgrades including room of choice delivery and, uniquely, factory pre-assembly. The Olympus has an excellent warranty of Lifetime on the frame, and five years on the tabletop, moving parts and electronics.
Check out our comprehensive Comparison Review of Electric Standing Desks.