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IT & Systems Management

Ergotron WorkFit-A review: Have a seat or stand at attention with your Mac

Ergotron's WorkFit-A Sit-Stand Workstation for Apple is quite a nice package as a whole, but in the end I ran into one issue that affected the overall performance of the product.

What's attactive about the WorkFit-A is the ability to affix itself to an existing desk. If you use the WorkFit-A, you won't have to replace your desk or modify it with motorized legs, unless your desk is monstrously thick. The WorkFit-A I looked at is designed specifically for Apples current iMac, Thunderbolt Display, and Cinema Displays. It works with many of Apple's older iMacs and displays as well, but not all of them. Ergontron has a compatibility guide on its website.

While it's technically possible to use non-Apple displays with the WorkFit-A, it's tricky to determine whether they will fit or not. The position for the display to rest is designed specifically for newer Apple iMacs and Cinema Displays. Some of the older models either have a footprint that's too big or too thick. However, if you have a display with a footprint similar enough to Apple's, you could pull it off, but I wouldn't recommend it.

Assembly required

To set up the WorkFit-A, your desk or surface can't extend beyond 31.5 inches, and the desktop can't be thicker than 2.56 inches. The WorkFit-A fit the table I use quite easily, but if your desk has a back to it you might not find a spot to mount it. You can set up the WorkFit-A in a grommet hole as well, if you desk has one or you want to cut one. Ergotron's instructions are very clear and concise, and the company even includes some of the tools you might not have but need to set up the desk, including a ratchet and 8mm socket bit.

The main arm that clamps to the desk can be adjusted to extend outward. I had to lengthen the arm, per the instructions, since my table was on the outer limits of the arm's reach.

After attaching the arm to the desk, assembling the rest of the WorkFit-A is a fairly simple process. You attach the keyboard tray by sliding it into place, then slip the base of your iMac or Apple display under a plastic flap and back against a support bracket. Next, route the wires for your mouse and keyboard--a wired keyboard is fine, but with limited space for maneuvering, a wireless mouse is probably your best bet. Once that's done you place the large metal surface on top of the display base and fasten it with two screws, locking everything securely in place.

Take a stand

With the arm properly adjusted, you can pull the WorkFit-A station down and the keyboard tray will hang over the edge of the desk. This allows you to go from a standing position to a sitting position with minimal effort.

Depending on what you have on the WorkFit-A--an iMac or an Apple display--you can easily adjust the tension with the provided ratchet in the joints to accommodate for different weights.

Unfortunately, what's bothersome about the WorkFit-A is that the monitor jiggles when typing. It's easy enough to ignore at first, but after a few hours it's tiring. After a few weeks of using the stand, the wiggle in the arm was enough to get me to stop using it. Ergotron's forum has a post by a customer looking for a fix, and the response was to either "get used to the bounce" or to get the $699 WorkFit-D desk.

Jiggle aside, the WorkFit-A does have a lot of great features, including an adjustable tilt for the keyboard, and the ability to swing the arm into a wide range of positions. Curved desks are easily accommodated, and you can even swivel the WorkFit-A a complete 180 degrees if you want, just make sure your power cord has enough slack. The entire platform, including the keyboard, can tilt a small amount; for example, if you desk isn't perfectly level, the WorkFit-A station can adjust to compensate for that.

Something else of note: the desk space underneath the arm is going to be rendered less than useful. If you're raising and lowering the arm frequently, the space beneath it will be occupied by your display and the tray. If you're going to swing the arm around, pay attention to anything on your desk that could get knocked over.

Bottom line

The Ergotron WorkFit-A is a good standing desk, if you can get past the jiggling monitor that comes with typing. At $650 it's a significant investment, so be sure to look into other standing desk options if you can, including motorized table legs. However if you can't make any modifications to your current work surface, the WorkFit-A is a viable option for a standing desk.

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