The M5 is a product from the FlexiSpot CompactRiser Series. This series was specifically designed for smaller spaces and cubicles. It is advertised as being just as sturdy as their Classic Series but in a slimmed down version, with infinite position lock. I am a fan of the FlexiSpot Classic Series so I was anxious to get a chance to try the Compact Series. Here is what I found while testing the M5.
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FlexiSpot is a brand by Locktek that focuses on sit to stand solutions for the office. Locktek is a leading manufacturer of mounting solutions for TVs and monitors. They have a presence worldwide and are an OEM manufacturer for dozens of different brands.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
– Country of Origin
– Specs / Features / Pricing
– Return Policy and Warranty
– Build Quality
– Making Adjustments
– Task and Keyboard Space
– Wire Management
– What I Like
– What I Don’t Like
– Bottom Line
Country of Origin
Made in China
Weight Limit: 33 lbs.
Product Weight: 47 lbs.
Overall at lowest height: 32”W x 31.25”D x 6.5”H
Overall at highest height: 32”W x 30.25”D x 17”H
Base Dimensions: 18”W x 19.25”D
Keyboard Tray Dimensions: Front – 26.5”W x 9”D, Back – 21”W x 9”D
Monitor Platform Dimensions: Front – 32”W x 21”D, Back – 28”W x 21”D
Max Keyboard Platform Height: 11.5”H
Max Upper Platform Height: 17”H
Min Keyboard Platform Height: 0”H
Min Upper Platform Height: 6.5”H
Distance from Monitor to Front of Keyboard: 24”
Gas assisted lift mechanism with infinite position lock
Sits on top of your existing desk
Two-tier design: Upper monitor platform with lower keyboard & mouse platform
Slot on monitor platform to securely hold a tablet or smart phone
Grommet mount for FlexiSpot monitors
Negative keyboard tilt option
Rubber keyboard tray palm supports
2019 Price – $239.99
Black, White or Mahogany
The M5 is returnable within the first 30 days for a full refund. You will be responsible for the return shipping charges. The item must be returned in its original packaging and in “like new” condition.
The FlexiSpot M5 comes with a 3-year comprehensive warranty.
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Orders placed during normal business hours will be processed the same business day. Your order will arrive within 3-5 days via UPS Ground. TheM5 is packaged very well with the entire unit being protected by thick foam. There was no cosmetic or structural damage to the product upon arrival to our office. The unit is over 60 pounds with the packaging so you will want to have a second person available to help bring the unit into your office.
The FlexiSpot M5 requires a bit of assembly. All hardware and tools needed for assembly are included. You will need to attach a metal plate to the underside of the keyboard tray with six screws. There are two clips on the underside of the monitor platform. You will need to release both clips to allow the keyboard tray’s metal bracket to slide into the mounting bracket underneath the monitor platform.
After sliding the keyboard tray into the bracket, clamp both clips down to lock the keyboard tray in place. The whole assembly process should take you around 10 minutes. I would recommend keeping that second person around to help you lift the unit on top of your desk.
The M5 is another standing desk converter that is coming out of China but it is on the better end of the build quality spectrum. The product features a heavy base with single z shaped lifting design. The base provides a strong anchor and the metal pieces feel strong and sturdy. The phenolic used on both platforms feels durable and has a nice finish. The M5 features a single gas locking cylinder to aid in height adjustment which also allows infinite position locking. The height adjustment handle is easy to press with the movement process being smooth and quiet.
The base on the M5 is almost a square, with dimensions of 18”W x 19.25”D. You will need at least this much desk space to place the M5 on top of. The platforms are larger than the base so you will need to make sure you have enough clearance for the unit all the way to its highest height. The movement on the M5 causes the overall depth to be slightly larger in the lowest position and the depth shortness as you raise the unit. In the lowest position, you will need a minimum space of 32”W x 31.25”D.
The M5 is not a product that is meant to be moved after placing it on your desk. It is simply too heavy. The unit weighs 83 pounds so it is not practical to move the unit from location to location or on and off your desk. It is also not meant to be moved around the top of your desk. The underside of the base has non-slip rubber pads so it is held firmly in place at all times.
Adjusting the M5
The M5 has two different adjustments. The first is going to be height adjustment. This adjustment is controlled with a single handle found underneath the right side of the monitor platform. Pressing the handle will unlock the gas cylinder and you will be able to move the platforms up or down. Releasing the handle will lock the cylinder in place.
The M5 has infinite position lock so you can choose any position instead of being limited to a preset number of height options. When in the highest position, the M5’s monitor platform is straight over the base. As you lower the unit, the platforms move forward so you need a little extra space behind you when sitting compared to standing. The adjustment process is very simple to do, requiring little physical effort to perform adjustments in either direction.
The second adjustment is going to be the keyboard tray tilt. There are two different positions to choose from. The first position is 0°, which is flat. The second position is negative tilt of about -10°. To adjust the tilt, you need to lift up on the front of the keyboard tray to see two small black plastic pieces toward the back of the tray. These plastic pieces can be flipped in one of two ways. Adjusting both plastic pieces in the same direction will allow for the keyboard tray to be tilted or flat.
The M5 is not going to be the most stable standing desk converter but it doesn’t have any red flags. The M5 features a heavy-duty metal base with rubber pads underneath it. The base is extremely stable. It does not swivel or slide at all so there is a strong anchor point for the whole unit. The problem is that it is difficult to produce a stable product with the single z shaped base design choice used on the M5.
When the unit is in the lowest position, the keyboard tray is at its furthest distance from the point that the arm connects to the base. Having a single arm that lays flat when in the lowest position acts like a diving board since the keyboard tray does not come into contact with your desk. Instead, the tray is free to bounce which also leads to quite a bit of monitor shake when in the lowest position. We see the same problem on products like the Uplift Adapt and HealthPostures TaskMate Executive.
As you move the M5 upwards, the arm is raised and the platforms move away from you slightly. The weight is distributed more evenly over the base and the angle of the arm provides more support than when it is lying flat in the seated position. This improves both keyboard bounce and monitor shake as the unit gets higher.
Since the M5 has a single arm for the base, there is more side to side tilt on the monitor platform than models like the FlexiSpot M2 or Ergotron WorkFit-T that feature a double base system. The single arm is connected to the underside of the monitor platform but it is in the center of the platform instead of having an arm on each side. The single arm in the center of the platform allows the platform tilt from side to side. This motion is less pronounced as you raise the unit.
|Sitting Wobble (10%)||Standing Wobble (15%)||Sitting Bounce (10%)||Standing Bounce (15%)||Sitting Shake (10%)||Standing Shake (15%)||General (25%)||Total Score|
The M5 has a separate keyboard tray and monitor platform but they remain at a fixed height from each other, at about 6.5”. This means that the M5 is not dual ergonomic. Being unable to adjust the monitor separately from the keyboard tray may make it difficult to achieve an ergonomic viewing angle for some people. Adding a monitor arm to the M5 will make the unit dual ergonomic and may alleviate these problems.
Another concern with the monitor height is that the minimum platform height is 6.5” which is on the high side for standing desk converters. I have an upward viewing angle with my 27” monitor when seated. This may not be the case with a smaller monitor(s) but this could be an issue for some people.
The M5 is on a very short list of standing desk converters that allow their keyboard tray to go as low as the desk they are sitting on. This is very nice because your normal typing posture will not be altered when seated. The M5’s keyboard tray will go as high as 11.5” off your desk. This will allow an ergonomic typing height for people up to 5’8” when using a 30” desk. The keyboard tray is also tilt adjustable for users that prefer negative tilt for a neutral wrist position. To use the negative tilt properly, you will need to use the keyboard tray about an inch lower than you normally would if you didn’t have the keyboard tray tilted.
My monitor screen is about 24” from the front of the keyboard tray which puts my viewing distance at about 27”-30”. This distance will be slightly further for smaller monitors or dual monitor set ups. The recommended ergonomic viewing distance is 20”-40”. The M5 should put you somewhere in the middle of this range.
The M5 has a large monitor platform that is 21” deep and 32” wide at the back. The platform has a tapered shape toward the front which makes the front of the monitor platform about 28” wide. The platform is thick with a slanted front edge. There is a lot of usable task space on the monitor platform and the lack of cut-outs makes it possible to use larger objects like full notebooks or catalogues. The platform may not be large enough for dual monitors, depending on their size.
The back of the platform has a small grommet hole that can be used to mount the FlexiSpot brand monitor arms. The front of the platform also has the convenience tray seen on the Classic Series of standing desk converters from FlexiSpot. This tray can be used to vertically store smart phones, iPads or tablets.
The keyboard tray is a bit awkward, in my opinion. The tray is only 9” deep, which is among the smallest depths on a standing desk converter’s keyboard tray. Even with such a small depth, the middle of the front edge of the tray is angled inward. This creates an awkward shape and removes valuable space.
I am not a big fan of the rubber wrist pads on the keyboard tray. The wrist pads are very stiff and not squishy like we see on higher-end converters like the Humanscale QuickStand or TaskMate Executive. There also isn’t really room for the wrist pads. Like I said earlier, the keyboard tray is only 9” deep, so you need all the space you can get for your keyboard and mouse.
One final area that Locktek overlooked was a barrier at the front of the keyboard tray. This keeps the keyboard and/or mouse from sliding off the back of the keyboard tray when using it in a negative tilt position.
The M5 has a couple tools that can help with wire management. The first is the convenience tray on the front of the monitor platform. It has slots underneath it that can be used for running charger cords under the monitor platform. The second is the cable sleeve that is included with the hardware. This helps to organize the wires that you run off the back of the monitor platform. The M5 does not have any other tools but the design used will not put cords in jeopardy of being damaged as long as they are run off the back of the unit.
The only safety concern is the pinch points located between the adjustable arm frame and the gas lift cylinder within the frame. This is nowhere near your hands when making adjustments or tasking. It is also clearly marked with loud stickers.
What do I like?
Infinite Position Lock
Being able to choose any position without being limited to a set number of choices is a luxury not typically seen on standing desk converters in this price range. Infinite position lock is a function I usually see on higher-end products so it is an attractive feature on the M5.
Keyboard Tray Minimum Height
Being able to use the keyboard tray at the same height as your regular desk is another feature that is rarely seen on standing desk converters. It is nice not having to adjust your normal sitting position to accommodate for the standing desk converter, instead of the converter adapting to you.
The M5 is among the easiest standing desk converters to adjust. The entire adjustment process requires very little physical effort even when fully loaded. It feels smooth and can be done within a few seconds.
Good Task Space
The monitor platform on the M5 provides a lot of usable task space. It may not be as wide as other products but it is fairly deep and lacks cut-outs that take away crucial space. I am also glad to see that the Compact Series received the convenience tray in the front of the platform like we have seen on the Classic Series. This may not seem like a huge deal but it really helps to clear up space when you can have your phone and/or tablet sitting vertically in a narrow tray instead of laying flat on the work surface.
What don’t I like?
Fits a very limited range of people
One major hindrance to the M5 is its very limited range of users that can achieve an ergonomic position. According to our standing height calculator, anyone over 5’8” will be too tall to be in the correct ergonomic typing position. I found this to be accurate. I am 5’9” with my shoes on and I would have preferred to use the M5 a tad higher than the unit allowed.
When I first heard that the M5 had a keyboard tray that went as low as your existing desk, I was excited because I thought this would be a good solution for short people that constantly have to deal with converters that raise the minimum height of their keyboard tray. The problem is that the minimum monitor platform height is a bit too high for shorter people.
I have an upward viewing angle with my 27” monitor. I swapped to a 22” monitor and it was in line with my correct viewing angle. Shorter users will most likely have an upward viewing angle with larger monitors so I would recommend monitors that are 22” or less when using the M5.
Poorly Designed Keyboard Tray
Another pretty big hindrance to the M5 is the keyboard tray. The tray is very small and also has rubber palm supports, which limits your keyboard choices to standard or compact keyboards. The shape of the tray is an even further limiting factor. It is awkward to place a keyboard on the tray since the angle of the cut-out doesn’t match your keyboard.
I am not a fan of the negative tilt on the keyboard tray because there is nothing to keep your keyboard and mouse from sliding off the back of the tray. My mouse has slid off the back of the keyboard tray a couple times during my testing. To keep it from crashing to the floor, I finally started setting it on top of the monitor platform when I needed to let go of it.
My keyboard has rubber stoppers on the bottom of it which prevents it from sliding so I did not have the same problem with the keyboard but users without rubber stoppers on their keyboard may have problems with it sliding off the tray.
Not dual ergonomic
The M5 is not dual ergonomic. Not being able to change the height of the keyboard tray and monitor platform independently could be a problem because some people will not be able to have both at the proper ergonomic height.
The M5 only requires minor assembly but many of the converters it competes against arrive fully assembled. This can be a big deal for people that are placing bulk orders or for people that do not want to perform any installation.
The M5 has some fantastic features but unfortunately, I think FlexiSpot barely missed the opportunity to hit this one out of the park. The M5 has a large amount of task space, a solid warranty and is very easy to adjust. It also offers infinite position lock and the rare ability to lower all the way to the same height as the desk it is sitting on.
The problem with the M5 is that the weaknesses with the awkward keyboard tray and limited adjustment range means that a large percentage of the population will not be able to use the M5 comfortably. If you are in the 5’6”-5’8” range, then this could be a nice product for you. But, I think most people will find products like the FlexiSpot Classic or VertDesk Converter to be better options.