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iMovR Freedom Energize Compact Standing Desk: Higher Heights, Lower Depths

By Damien Gula on March 26, 2019 | Hardware Reviews | 0

I have a problem. I’m tall.

Not freakishly tall, but tall enough that most conventional desk do not fit me without some… modifications. If you are like me, you know the usual workarounds like removing keyboard trays or using bricks for risers. If you don’t do these things, say goodbye to the comfort of your knees.

So, when iMovR approached us about reviewing their Freedom Energize Compact Standing Desks, I immediately honed in on the word “compact.” That has never been a word that would describe me. However, with the promise of motorized height adjustment and the ability to match it to my need, it was time to find out if I (and, perhaps you) could benefit from such a desk, both seated and standing. Let’s find out.

Specifications

  • MSRP: Beginning at $638.00 USD (Review Configuration: $842.95 USD)
  • Made-to-order in Michigan
  • Desktops material: 3D Laminate
  • Dimensions: 24” x 47”, 53”, 59”, 65”, 71”
  • Height Range: Freedom base: 26” - 44”, Freedom XT base: 22” - 48”, Freedom XT base with 6” Height Extender: 28” - 54”
  • 16 Desktop Color Options - 5 Solid Colors, 8 Wood Grains, 3 Specialty Tops
  • 3 Base Color Options - Black, silver, white
  • Weight Capacity: 265 lbs.
  • NEAT™ (Non Exercise Activity Thermogensis) Certified

Some History

If you are not familiar with iMovR, this Michigan-based company began in 2013. With the rising trend of preventable ailments developing from sedentary occupations and life-styles, iMovR found purpose in attacking the root of the problems created by extensive periods of sitting - such as lower back pain and circulatory issues. The method? Get people on their feet and moving with standing desks, desktop converters, treadmill desks, and more. With customers in high-end tech companies like Google and Microsoft as well as several departments within the United States government, iMovR has a firmly established footing in the standing desk market.

And there are major distinctions that support that.

Every desk from iMovR is made-to-order. When you order a desk from iMovR, there will be some lead time, but you are getting a freshly made product - not something that has been sitting in a warehouse for months. They are made from components found within the United States or carefully curated from European suppliers to ensures the integrity of the parts while crafting each desk to fit their consumer’s needs. Round this out with desktops being constructed out of the highest density MDF and enhanced through molecular bonding process with the laminate right here in the USA and iMovR’s motto rings true: “American-made Quality, Import Price.” 

With these details in mind, let’s dive in.

Since The Desks are Made-to-Order, What EXACTLY are We Reviewing?

For this review, iMovR sent us their Freedom Energize Compact Standing Desk. Since there are hundreds of combinations of customization from desktop size to color to accessories and modifications, let’s define exactly what we are looking at today. The Freedom line of desks is comprised of the Energize, Energize Compact, and the Cascade. For this review, will be looking at the Compact - simply meaning that the desktop is 24” deep. The Standard line had a 30” desktop whereas the Cascade is equipped with iMovR’s SteadyType keyboard tray. The desktop that was sent to us is one of iMovR’s Select Tops, meaning the desktop is 1 1/8” thick. For the frame, we received the Freedom XT leg set which allows for a more extended range of elevation. iMovR also threw in their Basic Cable Management kit. For colors, I chose their Northern Cloud top with Silver base legs. The price of this configuration is listed and linked above.

First Impressions, Unboxing, and Assembly

I knew that when the Energize desk arrived that it would be no small delivery. However, I did not expect it arriving bound in metal bands and wrapped in heavy plastic on a large wooden pallet delivered via a large shipping truck. While daunting to get into, this was a very considerate detail by making sure the top would stay secure and not crack or damaged in transit. If they were taking this much care in shipping, it spoke well of what I was about to experience.

One recommendation if you live in an apartment building: make sure you have some friends around to help you move everything in. All of the items together weight in over 100 pounds and may require some pivoting.

Upon unboxing, the desktop was wrapped in foam padding with masking tape protecting the edges. Here is where I noticed a distinction between the tops. While each top has pre-drilled holes for ease of assembly, the Select Tops have insert nuts for bolts to secure the frame into the top whereas the Slim Tops uses screws. This distinction on the Select Tops is a great feature if you are ever in need of disassembling and reassembling the desk. Interestingly, both the screws and the bolts were included within the box. With everything looking fine on the desktop front, I moved on to examine the base.

The Freedom XT base was very simple to assemble, with a full glossy manual to make sure each step was as clear with both instructions and pictures as well as videos online. After assembling the base and installing the cable tray, I got to decide which end if the desk I wanted the Digital LCD controller on as well as where I wanted the control module to live. Each side of the desk had pre-drilled holes for their mounting.

Assembly requires the use of an Allen wrench (included) and a Phillips head screwdriver or a drill with a Phillips head bit. I recommend the latter. Without the extra cable management kit, the desk does come with adhesive-backed plastic hooks to use for holding the cables running to the control module in place. The basic cable management kit contained 6 feet of wraparound cable sleeve, magnetic clamps, zip ties, and larger cable clamps to hold up the wrapped segments of cabling.

All total, assembly took around an hour - human error included.

Usage Impressions

If you have never had the experience of repeatedly banging your knees against a desk, it is difficult to fully encapsulate the bliss of adjusting a desk to the perfect, ergonomic height without sacrificing your lower appendages or your spine. Now, this experience is not as unique to iMovR’s Freedom desks, but what sets it apart, however, is the quality of the components, the design, the shape of the legs, and the linear actuators used within.

Why does all of that matter?

One of the common complaints against standing desks is their propensity to wobble when at their higher heights. This problem is typically found in designs without crossbars, wedged connecting points to the desktop, and the shape of the leg tubes. iMovR has accounted for each of these issues by providing a tapered top to the motor housing, a bracket system to mount the legs to the desktop, and by using a more rectangular lift shape with smooth gliding actuators for raising and lowering the desk. While these mitigate a majority of the wobble, there is a slight amount if you are looking for it.

But what about gaming while standing? That seems like a pretty foreign concept and, honestly, I was a bit skeptical. I imagined that I would have flashbacks of standing in an old EB Games huddled around their demo console with broken controllers trying to play whatever it was they were trying to sell.

With Destiny 2’s Season of the Drifter in full swing, what better way to test the stability of the Energize than to hop into some intense rounds of Gambit Prime and Reckoning to test out just how stable the desk was. Turns out, it held up to my twitchy mouse movements. It may sound goofy, but I found myself a bit more focused and attentive to what was going on with freedom to pace in front of my PC during loading screens. It is entirely possible that this was a psychosomatic observation, but it would make for an interesting experiment. 

From a size standpoint, if you have a multi-monitor setup or have space needs for more than one system, you may want to consider bumping up to either the non-Compact version of the Freedom Energize with a longer top or check out one of iMovR’s other product lines. While I did not personally find the depth of the Freedom Energize Compact to be too much of an issue, at 59”, I found the desktop to be a little cramped with my PC, monitor, iMac, and podcasting gear on it. My space needs are not yours, so plan accordingly.

The controls are fairly simple to use with an up and a down arrow to adjust the desk. They do go beyond that with options to set your ideal height on the top and low end. This is a pretty handy feature to keep you consistent with how you are using the desk, but it does require some trial and error to figure out just where those settings are for you. This module can also detect current going to the motors and the temperature within to ensure that nothing shorts our or burns out.

Final Thoughts

Sure, there are cheaper options on the market, but you have to weigh out the cost and benefits over time. Cheaply constructed products typically require more frequent replacement, but it is wise to read customer reviews before making an investment like this. Ultimately, you need to find the right desk that will meet your needs and fit your size. After many hours of use, I can say that the iMovR Freedom Energize desk was a welcome battle station upgrade for me.

Let’s face it: we all age and our bodies need to be taken care of. iMovR’s Freedom Energize desks are meant to keep us here longer to enjoy the things we love doing. Could standing a little bit during a gaming session help your physical health? Perhaps. A desk like this strikes me as an investment in just that. And if you are going to make an investment like that, it is worth doing right. iMovR is so convinced that they are the ones doing it right that they are offering a $100 rebate to anyone looking to switch from an UpLift or Varidesk.

If you have never tried a standing desk, we would encourage you do so. Impressions like this are very subjective because I am not you - our needs are different. Shop around. You may just find that the Energize is the desk to take you to new heights.

Pros

  • Made-to-order desks ensure your desk is built to your space needs
  • Solid build quality
  • Ease of assembly

Cons

  • A steep buy-in can be preventative
  • Basic cable management kit may not be right for all users

The product discussed in this article was provided by the manufacturer for the purposes of review.


Pastor_Dame

Damien Gula

Born in the heyday of mullets and the El Camino to a tech-foward family, Damien joined the MMORPG.com team back in 2017 to review hardware and games as well as provide coverage for press preview events. He has participated in a number of MMOs over the years, including World of Warcraft, RIFT, Guild Wars 2, and the Destiny series. When he isn't writing for MMORPG.com, Damien is a pastor by trade who loves talking with anyone interested about life, God, and video games (in no particular order). He also co-hosts a podcast dedicated to these conversation with fellow MMORPG writer Matt Keith called Roll The Level.