My Standing Desk: A Review of the XDesk Terra Pro

A high quality desk from a company with terrible quality control

August 01, 2019

As a software engineer, I do a lot of sitting. I work for the Cleveland Clinic Foundation during the day and run a small software consulting business at night, which means a lot of time hunched over a keyboard. I’ve found using a standing desk helps relieve back pain and soreness.

I started my standing desk experiment back in 2015 with a Jarvis standing desk. It was affordable and fit all of my needs, but it had some drawbacks: the two-legged desk was wobbly and smaller than I’d like. At only 42”, it was an excellent side desk to my boring 58” desk, but it couldn’t fit my whole setup.

This year I decided to upgrade my standing desk to something larger and more stable. I wanted something high quality that will last me forever, so I saved up and started researching. Eventually, I landed on the Terra Pro desk from XDesk. Here is a photo of the configuration I chose:

XDesk Terra Pro with the Dark Plantation Oak desk finish, silver matte legs, extended to 72". Added the "artisan bar," which is just a fancy footrest. Not pictured: I chose three grommets instead of one, and added the wireless charging pad.

First Impressions

Don't worry. I didn't end up keeping this rug.

The finish and build quality of the desk are both excellent. There wasn’t a scratch on any of the parts, and the desk feels incredibly stable. Unfortunately, the desk wasn’t usable when it arrived for a few reasons. That leads me to the negatives for this desk:

Cons

1. XDesk sent me a desk that didn’t work, and it took a long time to sort out.

The desk arrived on a Friday, but came without a power cable. I reached out to support, and they overnighted it to arrive on Monday. No big deal.

When the power cable arrived, the assembled desk kept flashing an error and was unusable. I reached out to support and they overnighted a new control box. Frustrating, but still not a deal-breaker.

When the new control box arrived, the same error happened, so XDesk sent me new legs. When the new legs arrived, they asked that I package and ship the old ones back. The new legs couldn’t be overnighted, so the desk stayed unassembled in my office for the majority of the week. When they arrived, the desk flashed the same error.

At this point, I was ripping my hair out and about to ship everything back and give up on XDesk altogether. It was a full week after my desk arrived and I still couldn’t use it.

The only thing my desk could do for the first week was flash Error 32 and Error 30 repeatedly.

It turns out XDesk zip-tied the wires to the wrong legs, and the only way to get the desk working was to cut all the zip-ties and re-route the wires. My wife and I tried this approach with the original legs, but those were defective, so it didn’t work. With the new, non-defective legs, we got the desk working.

XDesk’s support was extremely helpful in getting replacement parts shipped – they answered the phone within 5 minutes every time I called, which is phenomenal. But their production team doesn’t check the desks before they ship. Their engineer admitted not knowing what the specific error codes meant. For a desk that costs $3500, I don’t think that’s acceptable.

2. There was a mixup between XDesk and the delivery company.

XDesk offers the option of delivering the desk inside your house as opposed to at your front door. The fee for this is expensive at $350, but I opted in to spare the back pain of lugging it in myself.

Unfortunately, there was a disconnect between XDesk and the shipping company, and they refused indoor delivery. On Friday, the 300-lb crate was dropped off in my garage. With some help from my wife, I was able to get all of the pieces indoors individually. NextDesk was extremely quick at refunding this fee, though, as you’ll see below.

3. You have to hold down a preset while the desk raises or lowers.

As a safety precaution, XDesk requires you to hold down a preset while raising or lowering the desk. If you set ‘preset1’ to 35”, for example, and the desk is at 27”, you’ll need to hold down the ‘preset1’ button until the desk raises to 35”, at which point it will stop.

My old standing desk didn’t have this limitation, and it never felt dangerous. But, I can see why XDesk would implement this, and I only count it as a small (albeit daily) nuisance.


Pros

The delivery and setup experience was terrible, but that sums up the cons with this desk. After the desk was up and running, I found it exceeded all expectations.

1. The build quality is excellent.

The dark oak finish is stunning, and the matte silver legs are expertly crafted. Every detail feels well thought-out and polished. It’s a pleasure to look at and use.

2. If the parts weren’t initially defective, it would’ve been a breeze to assemble.

The instructions are well written and easy to follow. I had no problem assembling the desk.

3. There is almost no shake or wobble whatsoever.

Compared to my previous two-legged sit-stand desk, this desk is rock-solid in both sit and stand positions. On my old desk, typing on the keyboard would rattle the desk enough to shake my monitors. The Terra Pro is much sturdier.

4. The XDesk support team is phenomenal.

As I mentioned, I had a bunch of problems with my desk. The desk came with a missing cable, defective legs, and wires that were zip-tied to the wrong locations. The XDesk support team made resolving these issues way less stressful than it could have been. They answered the phone within minutes every time I called and were always helpful.

If I had to rate their support team I wouldn’t hesitate to give them a 10/10. It’s unfortunate I needed to call them as much as I did, but they made the process much easier.


Overall, now that all the issues have been resolved, I’m thrilled with my XDesk Terra Pro. It’s built like a tank and fits the aesthetic in my office.

I would highly recommend this desk to anyone, but I would preface it by saying XDesk’s quality control isn’t great. For a $3500 desk, I would’ve expected them to test it once before shipping it.


Other Reading

The Harvard Medical School published a post called The truth behind standing desks that’s worth a read.

Another software engineer, Brent Ozar, wrote up a review on the desk here (note: this was back when XDesk was called NextDesk). We seem to agree on a lot of points, but I recommend you give his review a read.