The Ascend electric standing desk converter by OMT-Vehyl. When it was first brought to my attention I thought that it was a good-looking product with some nice features. It wasn’t until I saw the assembly video that I became very interested in the Ascend. During the video I noticed that the Ascend was using a LogicData control box, which I know to be a high-quality product. This was very intriguing to me because I have yet to test an electric standing desk converter that didn’t have cheap Chinese electronics. While the Ascend has high end electronics and an attractive price point, it does have some drawbacks that could make some buyers look for alternatives. In this review I will cover all aspects of the desk, from the good to the bad, so that you know whether the Ascend will be a good product for you.
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OMT-Vehyl Ascend Review Snapshot
- Made in the USA
- High quality electronics, gears and glides
- Large height adjustment range
- Push button height adjustment
- Monitors are not adjustable
- Keyboard bounce
- Excessive shake with Dual Monitors
- Poor Ergonomics When Sitting
- No task space
- Safety concern
- Requires assembly
Ascend Standing Desk Manufacturer
OMT is located in Hoya, Germany and has been in business since 1946. OMT grew to prominence in the 1950s when they saw the growing need for office desks and began producing metal desk frames. They are now a leading producer of office table systems. Veyhl started doing business in 1951 as a novelty company, producing things like bed frames. In 1990, they began utilizing gas spring technology to create height adjustable tables. Veyhl now operates out of a 200,000-square foot facility in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. The two companies have a strong alliance so a new entity was formed to focus on the US market, which became OMT-Veyhl USA Corporation.
OMT-Veyhl USA was started in 2004 and currently operates out of a 220,000-square foot facility in Holland, Michigan. They are an OEM for a number of different companies. They handle all metal fabrication, powder coating and assembly in house. They even make their own boxes for shipping.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
– Country of Origin
– Specs / Features / Pricing
– Return Policy and Warranty
– Build Quality
– Gear and Glides
– Making Adjustments
– Task and Keyboard Space
– Wire Management
– What I Like
– What I Don’t Like
– Bottom Line
Country of Origin
Made in USA
Weight Limit Keyboard Tray: 35 lbs.
Weight Limit Monitors: 32 lbs.
Unit Weight: 45 lbs.
Overall at lowest height: 35”W x 24”D x 26”H
Overall at highest height: 35”W x 24”D x 44.75”H
Base Dimensions: 35”W x 24”D
Keyboard Platform Dimensions: 29.25”W x 13.25”D
Max Keyboard Platform Height: 20”H
Min Keyboard Platform Height: 1.25”H
Max Monitor Platform Height: 37.25”H to center of monitor
Min Monitor Platform Height: 14.75”H to center of monitor
Distance Front of Keyboard Tray to Monitor: 14”
Sits on Top of Your Existing Desk
Single or Dual Monitors
Push Button Height Adjustment with Infinite Stops
Integrated Wire Management
2020 Price – Unknown
When this product was released, it was called the SimplyFast Ascend and sold for a starting price of $399.00. SimplyFast was a brand that OMT-Vehyl had started as an attempt to sell directly to the public instead of through their dealer network. The SimplyFast brand is no longer being used to sell the Ascend and it is now only available through dealers and through a quote by order basis from OMT-Vehyl. For pricing, contact OMT-Vehyl directly.
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Since OMT-Vehyl stopped selling the Ascend directly on thier website, they no longer have return details available. I am not aware of any authorized dealers because OMT does not make that information available, like most manufacturer do. For these reason, you will need to reach out to OMT-Vehyl directly to get that information.
The Ascend has different warranty coverage periods depending on the item. The frame is covered for 10 years. The gears and spindle are covered for five years. The electronics and motor are covered for two years.
The Ascend will ship via FedEx Ground. The item arrives in a single, rectangle box that weighs around 60 pounds and lacks handles. I would recommend moving the box with two people. The item was packaged very well, with reinforced cardboard protecting the entire outside of the box. Most of the individual parts were wrapped in foam and separately boxed. This is some of the best packaging I have seen on a standing desk converter. The product arrived with no damage or defects.
The Ascend does require assembly. It took me about 10 minutes to get everything unpackaged and laid out. It then took me about 30 minutes to assemble the unit. It is important to note that the Vesa screws for mounting your monitor are not included. You may also need a Phillips head screwdriver to attach your Vesa screws. The assembly process is straightforward but there were a couple pain points that I will address.
The first pain point came on step 3, which requires you to mount the feet to the column with two screws for each foot. I like how easy the feet are to line up because of the male to female connection created. The annoying part was trying to tighten the two screws on the foot that were being blocked by the electronics package. I was able to get the Allen wrench in there but I could only get about a 1/3 of a turn, so it was quite tedious getting both screws tightened. Using a screw shooter with a long bit extension may be a way to save a bit of time on this step.
The second pain point was step 5, which requires you to mount your keyboard tray to the column with three screws. The problem I had was getting all three holes to line up at the same time. You need to slide the keyboard tray onto the column where a small cut-out has been made in the keyboard tray. The cut-out on the keyboard tray was barely wide enough to fit on the column. It was so tight that it actually scratched the column from. This tight fit gives very little wiggle room to line the holes up. The screw holes are placed at a weird angle and there is nothing to hold the tray. It was difficult to hold the tray, line up the holes and screw them in, all at the same time. This is a step that I would recommend having a second person for.
One thing that I want to stress is the importance of having fully tightened hardware at all times. The movement and vibrations on an electric desk can cause screws to back out over time. I have already noticed that my dual monitor crossbar has come loose enough for me to wiggle it. The hardware on the Ascend does not come with locking washers so I would recommend using a product like Loctite to ensure a tight fit.
This product is made in the USA and this is evident when seeing the parts. The overall quality of the components used on this product are among the best I have seen on a standing desk converter. All of the metal components are fabricated and painted in the US. There are no imperfections where two pieces of steel have been formed into one, like I have seen on lower quality products. All of the welds are clean and the paint is consistent across the whole unit.
Control Box and Switch
The inner workings of the Ascend are also very impressive. I was very pleased to see that OMT-Vehyl chose to use LogicData for their control box and switch. LogicData is an Austrian company that produces some of the highest quality control boxes for height adjustable tables worldwide. The Ascend uses the SMART-e system which is actually the same control box we used to use on our very own VertDesk v3. This control box has .3 watt standby power with a number of different features available.
The SMART-e comes with overload protection and anti-collision avoidance enabled. Overload protection will stop the unit from moving when the weight limit is exceeded. This helps to protect the motor and gears from being over-worked and burning out. Collision avoidance is a system that stops and reverses the desk slightly when it makes contact with something. LogicData calls their collision avoidance “Intelligent System Protection”. The switch used on the Ascend is the LogicData TOUCHbasic-inlay. This is a very basic button with an up and down switch.
The Ascend uses a German made 24V Bosch motor to power the desk. This is a motor that we are quite familiar with at this point. We’ve seen it in previous electric desks we have tested, like the IKEA Bekant and ModDesk Pro. We have been less than impressed with this motor because of its inconsistent lifting speeds and sound. We feel that this Bosch motor is underpowered for the full desk applications we have seen it previously used on. I do not see that being a problem on the Ascend since the weight rating is less than 70 lbs. I can still hear that the volume of the motor can be inconsistent at times which means that it is working harder at some points than others but the motor should not be underpowered for this application. The consistency I found in the lifting speed helps to confirm those feelings.
The single stage gear system on the Ascend is very high quality. This is a product that is made by OMT. It looks and functions very similarly to the Ketterer gear used in our VertDesk v3. The Ascend’s gear functions very smoothly with a minimal amount of lubrication. This is a big increase in quality from Chinese made products.
Glides are a very important component to an electric standing desk. Glides are used to close the gap between the two steel columns so that there is less play or wiggle between them. Glides also allow the column to move more smoothly and prevent bidning since the metal is not rubbing up against each other. The glide system used on the Ascend is very good quality. There are glides on the top and bottom of the column with very little lubricant used.
I tested the noise level through five full cycles up and down. I found the noise to be between 50-55 decibels in both directions. This would be comparable to the sound of a refrigerator or home conversation. This is one of the quietest electric standing desk product we have tested to date.
The Ascend’s base requires a desk space of 35”W x 24”D. The unit moves straight up and down so the clearance required will be the same at all heights. If you choose to use dual monitors, you may need a little extra clearance than the 35” width. My dual 24” monitors were each about 4” wider than the base on each side.
The Ascend is not a product that you buy for its mobility. The unit is heavy, awkwardly shaped and needs to be plugged into a power source. Moving it from office to office is not practical. It is also not practical to slide the unit from one section of your desk to another. The unit has rubber stoppers underneath the base that prevent it from sliding.
Adjusting the OMT-Vehyl Ascend
There are two different adjustments on the Ascend, overall height adjustment and monitor height adjustment. The monitor height adjustment is done manually. First, remove the monitor(s) from the mounting bracket with a screwdriver. Then, use an Allen wrench to remove the two screws that hold the monitor mount or crossbar if you are using dual monitors. You can then move the mount up or down and re-attach it to the column with the two screws. There are four different heights to choose from with about a 1.5” gap between each position. This adjustment process is pretty lengthy and may not be practical to be perofming multiple times a day.
The second adjustment is the overall height adjustment. The overall height adjustment is controlled by pushing an up or down button found on the front of the column. The button is very basic and lacks any programmable options but it is very responsive, with no delay. The movement is smooth, consistent and quiet. The adjustment speed was the same through all of my tests at 1.47” per second, which is on par with industry leaders.
The Ascend has a really good foundation. The high-grade steel and quality craftsmanship means that the components feel solid and the unit feels sturdy. The base is really wide compared to the rest of the unit and the rubber stoppers hold the entire product firmly in place. The keyboard tray sits flat on your desk when sitting so there is no bounce and very little monitor shake. There is little to no side to side movement at all heights.
Unfortunately, this strong foundation does not fully translate to the standing position. There are two weaknesses when standing: keyboard bounce and monitor shake with the dual set-up. The bounce is present for two reasons. The first is that the tray is attached to a mounting bracket with three screws but there is not a support bracket or bar or anything that helps the screws to hold the tray. This allows the metal keyboard tray to behave like a diving board, just less pronounced. The second reason for the keyboard bounce is the way that keyboard mounting bracket is attached to the column. The bracket is not fixed and it allows the keyboard to tilt side and also contributes to the keyboard bounce.
The monitor shake is limited when using a single monitor set-up. The problems with shake are present on the dual monitor version. The is because the dual monitor mount is one piece of steel that lacks rigidity. It is very easy to bend, bounce and vibrate. Your monitors are mounted directly to the bar, with no mounting bracket to buffer the connection. Since the crossbar can bend so easily, your monitor will move from the slightest movement or vibration on the unit. If any hard contact is made with the unit, the crossbar behaves like wings and your monitors will move for quite a while, unless you grab them to make them stop. Because the single and dual monitor versions are so much different when it comes to monitor shake, I’ve made two different stability scores below.
|Sitting Wobble (10%)||Standing Wobble (15%)||Sitting Bounce (10%)||Standing Bounce (15%)||Sitting Shake (10%)||Standing Shake (15%)||General (25%)||Total Score|
|Sitting Wobble (10%)||Standing Wobble (15%)||Sitting Bounce (10%)||Standing Bounce (15%)||Sitting Shake (10%)||Standing Shake (15%)||General (25%)||Total Score|
The Ascend has its good and it bad when it comes to ergonomics. The first downside is going to be the increased minimum keyboard tray height when seated. The Ascend raises your normal seated typing position by over an inch. This is one of the larger increases I have seen on a standing desk converter of this kind. This will change most user’s seated typing position because they will have to reach up to the tray.
The second downside is the lack of a practical monitor height adjustment. Not being able to easily adjust the monitor height means that it isn’t really practical to adjust it more than the first time you set it up for your standing height. This will cause the monitor to be too high for you while you are sitting and will force an upward viewing angle.
While the sitting position is going to have its problems, the standing position excels. The keyboard tray adjustment range allows for an ergonomic typing height for people up to 6’9”. This is one of tallest standing desk converters I have tested. While the monitor height adjustment will only really be done at set-up, the Ascend is dual ergonomic and will allow you to position the height of both your keyboard tray and monitor at the correct ergonomic height at the same time.
The best viewing distance to reduce eye strain over prolonged hours is 20”-40”. My monitor was 14” from the front of the keyboard tray, which put my viewing distance around 20”.
Unfortunately, the Ascend does not have any task space. If you use a small keyboard, you may be able to fit something small on the tray, like a smartphone or beverage. Any other objects will need to be on your main desk.
The keyboard tray is made from thin, formed steel with a powder coat paint finish. The tray is a rectangle shape at the front with tapered back corners. It is large enough to fit my oversized keyboard with plenty of space for my mouse.
There are a few tools included for wire management on the Ascend. OMT-Vehyl sends a couple adhesive backed clips that can be attached to the back of the column. There is also a metal case that is attached to the top of the column with two screws. It runs down the back side of the column to hide any cords coming from your monitor. Unfortunately, there is not a way to manage cords from your keyboard platform or the cords from the switch. I would recommend using a wireless keyboard and mouse on the Ascend.
I have one safety concern and that is the potential for the front of the keyboard tray to pinch fingers or hands. The Ascend does have collision avoidance, as discussed above. The problem is that the front of the keyboard tray does not have enough leverage to trigger the protection system and make it stop moving. Instead, the keyboard tray simply bends. This goes back to the three screw mounting system chosen by OMT-Vehyl. There is nothing supporting the front of the tray so the collision avoidance system will not engage unless contact is made with the back of the keyboard tray.
What do I like?
Made in the USA
The Ascend is a product that is American made. The high-end components, attention to detail and good quality control are all factors that contribute to a well-built product with a very low chance for defects. This is also great option for people that only buy products that are made in the USA.
High Quality Electronics, Gears and Glides
All of the internal components are very good quality. The LogicData control box and gear system are top of the line. The glides appear to be made out of something similar to Delrin Acetal, which is also going to be a high-end product. This is a huge advantage over the other electric converters I have reviewed since most them have far more limited technology that is coming from China.
Push Button Height Adjustment
Being able to adjust the height by pushing a button is very convenient. The lifting speed is consistent and the unit is very quiet. This is an advantage over manual converters that may require considerable effort to adjust. This can be a nice option for people with an injury or low strength.
Large Adjustment Range
The selection of standing desk converters for people that are over 6’0” is limited so it was nice to see the huge range on the Ascend. The range on the Ascend allows for people up to 6’9” to be in an ergonomic position.
What don’t I like?
Monitors Lack Adjustment
The lack of monitor adjustment is the biggest disappointment for me. Yes, the unit has height adjustable monitors but it is not a practical adjustment to be making each time you adjust the height of the unit. It only really benefits you during the initial set-up to ensure your monitors are at the correct ergonomic viewing height. This is the first Vesa mounted converter I have tested that didn’t allow the monitors to tilt, pan or rotate.
Noticeable Keyboard Bounce
The metal keyboard tray is durable and well-made but the keyboard bounce is not something I can ignore. Unfortunately, I think the amount of keyboard movement will negatively impact the work of most people.
Dual Monitors Shake Excessively
Along with the QuickStand Lite, the Ascend dual monitor version has the most monitor shake I have seen on a converter. The shake is quite a nuisance because they will shake for so long that you end up just grabbing them to stop them from moving. It also doesn’t take much to make them start shaking. Simply typing can make them start shaking.
Poor Ergonomics When Sitting
The combination of the really thick keyboard tray and the lack of a practical monitor height adjustment means that you will be reaching up to your keyboard and looking up at your monitor. Both of these go against recommended ergonomic principles.
No Task Space
Not having any task space is a bit surprising. This is actually the first converter I have tested that doesn’t have any task space. The thick keyboard tray and wide base do not allow you to use your desk when sitting. The platform is too small to allow for any task space when standing. You will need to have a separate space for objects you typically like to have within your reach.
Electric converters are going to pose safety risks that manual models do not because of the power of the motor. The Ascend has anti-collision avoidance but it does not always trigger so this can be a concern.
One of the biggest reasons people buy standing desk converters is how easy it is to start standing right away. To do this, many converter models arrive fully assembled. The Ascend will require you to put about 30-60 minutes into the installation process.
I have really mixed feelings about the Ascend standing desk converter. The Ascend has a lot of great things going for it. The high-end components and US manufacturing separate it from the rest of the electric converters I have tested. The unit is adjustable with a button and has a massive height adjustment range. The unit provides good value at its price point for the quality of components you are getting.
The problem I have with the Ascend is that the downsides have a large effect on your work experience. I would not recommend using this product with dual monitors. The amount of shake is just too much. The very limited monitor adjustability and lack of task space also negatively impact your work experience. In its current design, I see this item as best suited for single monitor users that will be using it in the sitting position, on a limited basis.