6/10/20 Update: District Judge William M. Conley dismissed the case against us. You can read more here BTOD Lawsuit: Case Dismissed Next Technologies Inc. v. Beyond The Office Door, LLC
5/14/20 Update: If you’ve been following our brand, you may or may not have seen that we were in a lawsuit with a company called Next Technologies based in Georgetown, TX. This is the parent company for both EvoDesk and Xdesk, formally named NextDesk. At the direction of our counsel, we haven’t really addressed this lawsuit publicly. But unfortunately, because of their continued attacks on our business and me personally, we thought it was important we cover five of the main areas that they’ve outlined on their website, what they call “BTOD Exposed.” In the video below we cover the Xdesk Terra and show you how the claims they are making against us are false.
Today we are going to be taking a closer look at the EvoDesk and the problems associated with their electric standing desk. The EvoDesk is the lower-end brand from XDesk and features JieCang Linear technology for the frame. If you’ve had a chance to read some of our other JieCang problem posts, many of the same issues exist within the EvoDesk. While the OEM JieCang offers one of the better Chinese made standing desks, the problems their frames possess could potentially be a deal breaker. Let’s take a closer look at the EvoDesk and see if it is a good option for your standing desk needs.
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1. Over Lubrication
One of the most common issues with the JieCang frame and Chinese standing desks in general is over lubrication. This lubrication problem is likely linked to low quality plastics used for glide systems and a lack of quality control shown in most Chinese brands.
Because low quality plastics wear unevenly, the potential for binding exists within the columns. To improve the efficiency of the glides and prolong the life of the desk, manufacturers will use lubricants inside the column. High quality glides, that are made from Dupont Delrin plastics, are designed to provide a natural lubricant and reduce the need for a lot of extra lubricant. After cycling the EvoDesk only a handful of times you will start to see the white lubricant building up on the outside of the columns. Opening the EvoDesk’s columns, the over lubrication became obvious. Of the six different JieCang frames we have brought in, each has had the same issue.
The over lubrication problem didn’t just exist in the glides. This was a problem throughout both columns. Taking a closer look at the gear, we found that while a different type of lubricant is in use, it was still in excessive amounts. I’m not sure how much this would impact the efficiency of the gear, but it shows a lack of attention to detail. Considering this is an issue with all of the JieCang frames, my concern is linked to the level of quality control that exists at JieCang.
You would think the most obvious solution for this would be to clean up the columns as they cycle. Unfortunately, this problem would be impossible to completely resolve as the desk will continue to show streaks of white lubricant. The secondary issue is that JieCang likely deems it necessary to use an excessive amount of lubricant to operate for the entire life cycle. By removing the lubricant there stands a chance that you could negatively impact the functionality of the desk.
2. Cheap Glide System
We touched on this subject a bit with the over lubrication section, but the cheap glide system is a major concern for the JieCang frame. Binding in the column is a real issue with standing desks, specifically when an anti-collision function is engaged. As glides begin to wear down, their effectiveness begins to decrease as well. When higher quality glides are used, they hold up much better over high-cycle counts. Through cycle testing other JieCang frames, we have found that binding in the columns can start as early as 400 cycles.
The second problem associated with the lower quality glides is how it impacts the stability of the desk. We’ve found that it doesn’t require a lot of movement within the columns to create stability issues as the desk is raised to standing height. Because lower quality glides tend to wear down faster, desks that cut costs with their glides will see significant changes in their stability over their lifetime. The EvoDesk wasn’t very stable to start, so this problem has the potential to get much worse the longer you own the desk.
The best solution would be for these manufacturers to start using higher quality glide systems. Many choose not to because of the cost savings associated with less expensive glide systems. Until better glides are used, Chinese manufacturers will have to continue to over lubricate to ensure the desks function properly.
Note: We have cycled tested two frames for JieCang and each has shown binding problems in the columns. Their solution was to send an updated control box that significantly reduced the sensitivity on the anti-collision function. This worked, but it made the desk much less safe. Specifically because the brands that currently offer JieCang have engaged the one-touch button functionality. The new control box was so desensitized that it was strong enough to break through large 1/4” thick pieces of MDF with a laminate finish. This would easily break fingers and poses a serious safety concern.
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3. Stability Issues
The EvoDesk is designed with a T-base for their frame without the use of a traditional cross support system. Through our experience we have found that the T bases “feel” less stable than the alternative C-base desks. Even if they are equally as stable with front to back rocking motions, they give the impression they are less stable because of their center mounted base design. This design distributes the weight of the desk surface equally front to back, making it much easier to rock the desk surface. A C-base designs puts more of the desk surface weight forward, letting gravity pull down on one side of the top. This makes it more difficult to rock the desk and creates an illusion of being more stable.
The EvoDesk was stable below 40” when we tested the front to back rocking motion. Once you raised the desk to above 43” to 44” that motion became bad. Unfortunately, for the EvoDesk, front to back rocking wasn’t the only stability issue with their frame. During our stability testing, we also found that it had wobble issues starting as early as 39”. This wobble motion became bad by 42” tall and would impact your work efficiency.
Fixing the stability issues with the EvoDesk requires a couple changes. The most important change would be to update their frame to the version that GeekDesk v3 uses. The addition of a traditional cross support has helped them create a more stable option. In fact, this is the most stable JieCang frame we have tested to date. Alternatively, EvoDesk could go back to their older design which was similar to the Uplift Desk. This included the non-traditional columns (small on bottom and big on top) with the wedge system. This design has proven to be more stable with left to right wobble testing. The only issue they had with their previous design was that they still utilized the T base design.
4. Low Quality Electronics
A common problem we have found among all Chinese desks tested has been their low quality electronics. This really shouldn’t be a surprise, as these standing desks have also come with the lowest price tags available. Unfortunately, for the EvoDesk, it carries a price tag that is higher than some of the best standing desks tested under $1000, but still includes low quality electronics.
Opening the control box on the EvoDesk, the first thing you will notice is that it is using the standard two board design from JieCang. This two board design is typical of the cheap control boxes we have tested. The main reason they use a two board system is cost savings. Instead of investing in a single board engineered specifically for their standing desk, JieCang has gone with mass produced circuit boards. When you look closer at each of the boards, you’ll find a low level of quality control with excessive use of caulk to hold their electronic components in place. Another concern with the two board system is the poor connections between each, linked with cheap connectors. These tend to be loose and are likely to be the first portion of the control box to fail.
Both Linak and LogicData have proven to be much better options than what is found on the JieCang products. Looking at these two brands, the first thing you notice is how clean their boards are. Using single circuit boards versus two, they have made the investment to create a better product. Each brand is void of any excessive use of caulk. You also won’t find poorly wrapped toroid coils or cheap plastic connections inside their control boxes.
5. T Base Mounting Clearance Problems
Something that doesn’t get talked enough about is clearance issues underneath the surfaces of standing desks. Depending on the frame design, there is likely a portion of the frame that will cross between the columns underneath the desk top. Looking at the T base design of the EvoDesk, where this frame is placed could be a problem for users who plan to mount accessories from a brand other than EvoDesk. A T base design is perfectly center mounted underneath the desk surface. The frame of the EvoDesk is about 6” wide, which leaves close to 12” on either side of the frame to mount accessories. The most commonly affected accessories are those that require large depth clearance. Keyboard trays, CPU holders and pencil drawers are the most popular products that require a depth of 16” or more.
EvoDesk has said that their brand of accessories will fit the underside of the desk surface. We have not reviewed their accessories, so we cannot verify this information. If you are handy, your best solution would be to create some type of shim to span the frame. My suggestion would be to use small pieces of 2×4’s to span across the frame. It’s important to note this will drop the accessory down a couple inches, so if knee clearance is an issue you should consider that as well. Alternatively you can look at products that use a C base design for their frame. Set back of center, this creates more clearance to mount accessories. Also, looking at desktop sizes, the measurements I provided above were for a 30” deep desktop. If you were to select a desk that is 24” deep, this mounting depth would become an even bigger issue. I would suggest sticking with the deep desk surface if possible for your space.
6. Cost When Compared To Alternative JieCang Products
During the past year we have tested over 20 electric standing desks. Through that process I can confidently say that you truly pay for what you get. When looking at the desks that are offered under $400, the products that sell for $600 and up are generally much better products. Of course, there always has to be an exception to that rule. The EvoDesk is that exception, with a price that is close to $800, once you have included their shipping charge. While the EvoDesk has a lot to offer, with a wide adjustment range and good lifting capacity, it isn’t any better than the other JieCang competitors.
Looking at both Jarvis by Fully and the Uplift Desk, each offers virtually the same frame with a seven year warranty for 20-30% less money. With really no advantage to go with the EvoDesk, that price difference is hard to swallow. If you want to get a JieCang frame that offers better stability for around the same price, the GeekDesk v3 would be another option. If you’d like a better overall desk for less money, we have found two options that are around the $600 mark.
Taking a closer look at the EvoDesk, there are clear problems that come with this product. When you factor in the the price of the EvoDesk, equipped with a 30”x60” top and programmable switch, you find yourself north of $800. Compare this to virtually the same product in the Uplift Desk and Jarvis and it’s hard to see why you’d buy this version of the JieCang frame. Even better quality products exist for 20% less than EvoDesk, making the decision to avoid an EvoDesk easier. The EvoDesk ranked in the middle of our list for the best standing desks in 2018, but you’ll likely find much better value the higher you go into the list.