Varidesk Soho; An In-Depth Review

Varidesk quickly rose to the contender spot among desktop converters after its release to the market in 2013. And rightfully so, as Varidesk products brings a lot of advantages, from superior quality over many of its contemporaries, no-assembly design, and easy adjustments and setups. By the time of its release, those features were enough for the brand to dominate the market. But as years go by, and as manufacturers starts to catch up, Varidesk innovated and expanded their catalog by introducing new product such as the Pro Plus and the Cube Corner 48, both of which have been reviewed here at Dual Monitors Guide.  Both however, are bulky, as with most Varidesk designs. Enter the  Varidesk Soho, a desktop riser dedicated for small office home office use. What makes this product unique? Check out this in-depth review.

 

Varidesk Soho (image from Amazon)


Who is it for?


The  Varidesk Soho is designed for computer users who wish to use a sit-stand desk everywhere, without replacing their existing desk, or having their existing desk entirely occupied by a large sit-stand workstation. It is light, foldable and portable, which means it’s also great for traveling. Users can bring this desktop riser to their work and bring it back to their homes after their shift or even for conference tables for business meetings.

  

Benefits

Varidesk Soho Compact Sit-Stand Workstation solves the common problem among sit-stand workstation – bulky, heavy, and designed to almost completely replace your desk top with its enormous size and footprint. Rather than being a permanent fixture on your desk, this Varidesk model is light, compact, foldable, and portable, meaning you can bring it anywhere with you.

 

Not Your Usual Varidesk

The Soho is far from the typical Varidesk desktop workstations in terms of design. Like the others models, it too doesn’t require assembly, all you need to do is pull it out from its box, set it on top of your existing desk, position your computer and you’re good to go. However, it’s more of a laptop riser. Also, unlike the other models, this one is light and small enough that anyone can set it up themselves.

 

Compact, Small Footprint and Portable (to some extent)

Varidesk Soho (image from Amazon)


Compact, lightweight and small foot print is the major advantage of  Varidesk Soho’s design over the other products of the brand, making it of course, a portable sit-stand desktop riser solution. It has a footprint of 14x31 inches, which is the slimmest among other products under Varidesk. It’s small and compact enough to fit with any existing desk, even for cubicle desks, but big enough to support any laptop size and some papers.

Also, because it’s foldable, it is portable. Users can bring this desktop riser from home and back, move it to different areas in their office, and bring it with them for business meetings. However, it has a comparatively larger footprint than most portable desktop riser, which means you will need adequate desk space to use it. Also, it weighs around 10 lbs., which means you may put it in your car, but it’s definitely not the light when you slide it inside your bag.

Varidesk Soho (image from Amazon)


The small space of course, means limited space for work peripherals and office equipment, as it only measures 11.25x27.5 inches. This means there is no enough room to accommodate extra keyboard, which ultimately means you’re stuck with the keyboard of your laptop.

Also, again because of its design, the weight capacity of this product is only at 10 lbs., which is the weakest among Varidesk workstations, which typically goes up to 35 lbs. But then again, a typical 15-inch laptop can weigh only around 6 lbs., so there’s really nothing to worry about if you use it for its intended purpose. Power users, such as those looking to work with dual monitor or multiple monitor should look somewhere else, as this one can’t accommodate such setup.

 

Design and Features

Varidesk Soho (image from Amazon)


Stippled Pattern for Work Surface To Keep Your Laptop In Place

Another very obvious difference in Soho from other Varidesk models is the design of the work surface. Rather than using a smooth finish like other great products such as Ergotron Workfit-T, this one uses a rough finish of stippled pattern, which is a bit bumpy, and can definitely be an issue if you’re writing on a piece of paper. Obviously, this pattern design is more for function than aesthetics, as its main purpose is to help keep your laptop in place.



Old-Fashioned But Trusted Adjustment Through The Spring-Loaded Locking System

Despite of having the different design than other models, especially on the base, Varidesk Soho comes with pretty much the same adjustment and locking system. It can be set in different height settings using the spring-loaded lever-locking mechanism. To adjust the height of the work surface, simply press the two hand levers positioned on both sides, raise or lower the surface to your desired height, and then release the locking mechanism to your preferred height.

 

The spring underneath helps the desktop risers booth the height adjustment, allowing effortless height and switching from sitting to standing position, and vice versa.

This adjustment mechanism also able to avoid the common flaw that plagued many risers in the market, including the Varidesk. Typically, height adjustment mechanism moves in arc and towards the user when adjusting the height, which actually pushes the user away from their desk and consuming more floor space. This often times becomes an issue for users who needs to be at arm’s reach with some important stuff on the desk. Also, it takes away the space-saving feature, as it actually consumes more space. Varidesk Soho on the other hand, adjusts height in vertical plane (up or down), which is quite a welcome improvement for Varidesk.

 

Adequate Height Adjustment Range

Like most Varidesk models, Soho maxes out at 15.75 inches in height adjustment, a little lower than many of its competitors, as some can reach up to 21 inches above the table. Actual maximum height of desktop converters are measured by the height of your existing desk, thus, make sure you determine the whether the height range will be adequate for you, especially if you’re quite tall. Height ranges of most products are mostly one-size-fits-all, but it’s always better to get the right one that go through the hassle of sending the product back for replacement.

 

Decent Ergonomics

Varidesk Soho offers incredible alternative from the standard workstation, but that doesn’t mean it also offers the same exceptional ergonomics. The lever-locking height mechanism, although works just fine, may cause some difficulty to some users in finding the most ideal height setting for the work surface, as users’ options will be limited to the 9 height setting options with  1.75-inch increments. An incorrect height setting can result into excess flexion when working, which leads to strain on wrists and arms, and can lead into some serious problems such as back, shoulder and neck pain in the long run.

 

The work surface is also a bit narrow, which doesn’t only limit stuff things you can put on top, but also difficult to customize. And unlike many of more advanced desktop converters, such as Quickstand,  Varidesk Soho doesn’t come with a monitor mount.


Tech Specs



Bottom Line

Varidesk Soho (image from Amazon)


The compact and mobile design of this  Varidesk Soho of course, results to some ergonomic shortcomings, which is something we can expect, considering the compromises. It does have the benefit of easy and quick adjustment, affordable price, and compact, making it a compelling choice for people with limited work space, especially for cubicles. It is considerably light, making it easy to move around. Also, it comes fully assembled, which means no assembly required.

Another questionable issue would be the brand’s standard 1-year warranty, which his easily among the lowest in its category. Most desktop converters offer 3 to 5-year warranty coverage, which definitely will give you better confidence in the product’s reliability.

 

Also, the design may be able to eliminate the arc in height adjustment, but it doesn’t really change the fact the lever-lock adjustment mechanism of Soho is not as ergonomic as counterbalance adjustment system or advanced gas-assisted adjustment system, for many reasons. For one, level locking will only leave us with height increments to choose from when adjusting the height, in the case of Soho, there are only 9 height settings to choose from, with 1.75 inch increments, and there are no way for precision adjustment. Gas-assisted mechanism such as in Kangaroo desktop riser, lets you set the height of the workstation and fine-tune it precisely to your height and ergonomic needs.

Second, level locking system can be loud, though this should not be an issue, except if you switch from sitting to standing, or change the height every couple of minutes. To compare, Ergotron WorkFit-S and Humanscale Quickstand adjusts height in a completely silent fashion, thanks to the counterbalance system that barely makes a hiss sound.

All in all, Varidesk Soho is a pretty decent product, particularly for laptop users working on limited work space.

For more in-depth reviews like this, check out Dual Monitors Guide today!



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