Today I’m excited to have the opportunity to review the Realspace Magellan Standing Desk, a product offered exclusively by the Office Depot/ OfficeMax stores. Because this product is available to test-drive in most Office Depot and Office Max stores, its popularity has quickly risen. With that rise in popularity came questions from our readers and customers. We are the only review site that brings in all of the desks reviewed and tears them down. Because of this, it takes quite a bit of time to review the desks we write about. Many of you wanted to see what the inside of this desk looked like. To be honest, so did I, which brought us to where we are today. Let’s take a look at the Realspace Magellan to see how it held up to our review process.
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Realspace® Magellan Performance Electric Review Snapshot
- Price Point
- Opportunity To Test Before Buying
- Consistent Paint Finish and Welds
- Single Board Electronics
- Stability at all Heights
- Slow Adjustment Speeds
- Cheap Glide Systems
- Low Quality Gears
- No Collision Avoidance or Overload Protection
- Cheap Laminate With Stickers on Surface
The OEM manufacturer for the Realspace Magellan electric standing desk is HI-MAX INNOVATION, LTD.
Realspace® Magellan Performance Quick Summary Video
The Realspace brand name was created for OEM office furniture products made exclusively for the Office Depot and Office Max stores. The Realspace furniture collections include desks, workstations, chairs, chair mats, storage, and office decor. The Realspace Magellan electric standing desk was introduced in 2017. This product launch allowed Office Depot and Office Max stores to compete with all of the low cost electric standing desks on the market. It is clear that Office Depot is committed to marketing this product, with most stores having the electric and pneumatic versions on their showroom floors.
Height Adjustable Range: 30” – 47”
Travel Speed: .42” per second
Noise Level: 58-60 dB
Weight Capacity: 200 lbs.
Adjustable Width Base: n/a
Adjustable Foot Glides: .5” adjustment
$399.00-$499.99 + $79.99 Shipping Fee (+ local tax rate)
- Single stage column with 17” travel range
- Two button programmable switch standard
- 30-90 minute assembly for most
- 4 plug and 2 usb plus integrated into control box
- 200 lbs. weight capacity
- .42” per second adjustment speed
After 12 months of testing 20+ electric standing desks the results are in!
The packaging for the Realspace Magellan electric standing desk was good. Because they pack the surface and frame in the same box it is very heavy. With the size and weight, my desk shipped via freight carrier. Be prepared to receive a desk outside your front door from a freight carrier. Inside the box, each part was well protected with foam. I received our review unit without any damage to the desk components inside.
The assembly process was straightforward, with no issues getting the Realspace Magellan desk together. While there are a lot of bolts required to complete assembly, each was properly labeled in individual bags that were labeled with letters. If you are only building the desk and not adding accessories, you should have no issues using a hand screwdriver. With threaded metal inserts in the surface, the included allen wrench and your own personal screwdriver will be enough to complete the task. The only component that requires you to screw into the particle board surface was the programmable switch. The two holes for the switch assembly were pre drilled and easy to screw into.
The stability of a standing desk is one of the most important things to consider when shopping for a standing desk. Our stability tests look at different heights where stability issues start and where they become a major problem. Depending on your height, certain standing desks stability issues might not be a problem for you.
There are a lot of different reasons why an electric standing desk is not stable. We have found that an electric standing desk will only be as strong as its weakest component. Our post, that ranks the top four most stable standing desks, is a great resource for those looking to learn about what makes a stable desk.
Front to back: The front to back rocking test for the Realspace Magellan desk was not good. In fact, we found that the motion was bad at the lowest height setting. Because the motion was bad at the bottom, the rocking motion will impact all users at standing height.
Left to right: The left to right wobble test showed slightly better results, although they still were not good. With wobble motions starting at 33” tall, they became bad by 36” and would impact your work efficiency.
Having reviewed quite a few Chinese made electric standing desks, I had a certain expectation for the electronics of this desk. Considering the price point for which it is being sold, the electronics were likely to be lower quality. Much to my surprise, the Realspace Magellan Performance electric standing desk had a single board system.
If you have had a chance to read my other electric standing desk reviews, you know that I prefer to see the single board electronics in standing desks. Lower quality units with two board systems have many overlapping quality issues. The Realspace desks single board was engineered for their standing desk and was unique. I was impressed with how clean the board was, with no excessive caulk issues or poorly wrapped toroid cores.
Two perks with this control box were the integrated power supply. Featuring four additional grounded plugs and two powered USB plugs; users can plug in monitors, phones and charge devices through the USB plugs. If you are a power user with a lot of additional wires, you can still easily daisy chain an additional power strip/surge protector to the control box.
Unfortunately, the control box functionality isn’t perfect. For safety reasons, the Realspace product requires a five second press of the on button to begin operation of the desk. After this point the switch will light up green and you can operate the desk normally. The biggest issue being that it doesn’t require much time for the switch to go back into sleep mode. If you are planning on going between sitting and standing frequently, this could become an annoyance if you are expecting a quick transition.
Column, Foot and Upper Frame Build Quality
Having most recently just reviewed the VARIDESK ProDesk 60 Electric, the Realspace Magellan didn’t have quite the same heavy duty build feel to it. That doesn’t mean the product wasn’t built well, it just doesn’t fit in the “tank built” status that products like the ProDesk did. Overall, the Realspace’s frame was at least on par with the industry average as far as steel thickness goes.
Looking closer at the foot first, rectangular steel tubing was used to create the foot design. Because of this, there were not visible weld marks where a top and bottom plate came together. This created a nice clean look that was similar to what most upright columns look like. This design required a cap to finish the ends of the foot. This is the only portion of the foot that appeared to be somewhat cheap, with the removable plastic caps on the ends of the feet. My concern here is users will step on and kick the plastic caps. This poses the potential for the caps to crack and break out of the foot. A more permanent solution, like the vast majority of the other standing desks, would be a more durable option.
The upper frame was well built with consistent paint and welds throughout. The upper frame consisted of two long bars that ran the length of the desk, spanning between the two legs. While these frame pieces were solid, the upper frame was missing bars running the opposite direction. We have seen this same design with other brands and it can create wobble issues when the desk is raised into standing position. There should be a frame section that counteracts the left to right motion that transfers through the legs into the surface of the desk.
Lastly, looking at the actual upright columns, I was impressed with how nicely they were finished. The paint finish was consistent throughout and the seam in the tubes was not easily visible. The thickness of the steel columns was within the industry average.
Motor and Gear System
Much like the outside of the Realspace Magellan desk, the inside was clean and well put together. If you were to judge based on looks alone, the gears and motor would sit pretty high on my list. Unfortunately, looks can only go so far with a standing desk and at some point it will have to perform.
As I pulled out the motor from the column I was impressed with how clean the motor box was. We have seen products recently, like the VARIDESK ProDesk 60, that were really dirty here. The Realspace Magellan motor box was perfect, with a painted finish and no dirt/dust/rust to be found. The motor itself was well put together, with a fully enclosed system that protected the work drive and gear system. As I have mentioned in the past, fully enclosed systems help to prevent contaminants from entering into the gears or motor.
While the motor was well put together, it didn’t perform very well during our testing. Averaging .42” per second with only the weight of the surface, this was the slowest desk that has come through our lab. While the desk didn’t have overload protection included, the manufacturer still rated the desk with a max capacity of 200 lbs. When fully loaded the speed dropped down to .33” per second.
Getting a chance to pull out the gear from inside the columns, the adjustment speed and capacity started to make more sense. Electric standing desks will only be as efficient as the gear systems inside them. The Realspace Magellan gear might have looked nice from the outside, but it was cheaply put together. The upper portion of the gears support tube included a plastic threaded nut to allow the gear to adjust through the tube. There wasn’t anything helping to hold the spindle gear in place at the bottom of the support tube. This left the gear to bang around and actually rub against the support tube as it moved up and down.
This design for the Realspace Magellan’s gear system was poor to say the least. When I manually attempted to slide the gear in and out, you could see and hear the issues inside. With how rough the gear moved in and out manually, I would assume the slow adjustment speed was because of this issue. Pushing the gear too fast will create a bumpy adjustment and cause the gear to scrape the side of the housing. These issues would be obvious to the user of the desk and could potentially create a service nightmare for Office Depot and Office Max stores.
The glide systems inside an electric standing desk are one of the most important components of the desk. They are also one of the most unknown components to the general public. These small plastic parts are needed for two major reasons; creating a custom fit between two different sized tubes and as a natural lubricant between the metal parts. If you don’t get the fit right, desks will have play here and that can be a major issue for stability at standing height. Cheap glides also tend to break down faster which will only create more stability problems over time.
The glide system on the Realspace Magellan was one of the few areas on the desk that didn’t look great. Instead they looked and felt like cheap molded plastic parts that were a one size fit all approach. Most mid to high-end manufacturers use multiple sized glides to create a custom fit between columns. This in required to make adjustments for the natural variances that occur with steel tubing.
Out of the box, the Realspace Magellan had some serious fit issues between the columns. It was so bad that there were front to back stability issues at the absolute lowest position. As you can imagine, this only became worse as the desk was raised to taller heights. Because cheap plastic was used, these glides will continue to break down and the stability problem will become even worse over time.
Normally there would be a binding issue that is created with lower quality glides. This binding can trigger false positives on collision avoidance systems. When this happens, you will find that desks catch at a certain height and will back down. This happens because the desk thinks it has hit something where the binding issue is the worst. The Realspace Magellan desk doesn’t come with this safety feature. There is a high likelihood that they eliminate this from the desk because of testing that was done.
The Realspace Magellan Performance electric desk comes with a five year limited warranty. This will cover all components of the desk.
Testing The Specs
Height Adjustment Range: 30” to 47”
True. I was able to adjust the desk within this range with the use of the adjustable leveling foot glides.
Adjustment Speed: n/a
This was not something available on the OfficeMax or Office Depot website. With only the weight of the surface we were able to average .42” per second.
Noise Level: n/a
This was not something available on the Office Max or Office Depot website. We were able to average between 58-60 dB moving the only the surface up and down. This is above average for the low to mid-range categories.
Weight Capacity: 200 lbs.
True. We were able to lift the 200 lbs. rated capacity. We found the desk slowed from .42” with only the weight of the surface, to .33” per second with a full 200 lbs load. Because there isn’t overload protection, we were able to lift 300 lbs. as well. We do not recommend exceeding the listed capacity per the brand.
What I like
It is hard to deny that the price point on the Realspace desk is one of the most attractive features. With a price point that will vary between $399 and $499, it is hard to beat considering a surface is included at this price. As the saying goes, you get what you pay for and that is true with this product.
Opportunity To Test Before Buying
There aren’t a lot of opportunities for customers to try out electric standing desks on a national level. The only other brand to have their standing desk in most major metropolitan areas is IKEA. While you can’t leave with a new Realspace Magellan desk from all of the stores, almost all of them have one on the show floor. Getting the opportunity to try before you buy can help you decide if this product is a good fit for your needs.
Consistent Paint Finish and Welds
At this price point, we haven’t found another product that is nearly as clean. With consistent paint and welds throughout, I was impressed with the look of the desk. Even inside the motor boxes the paint finish was nice and the motor box was clean.
Single Board Electronics (Integrated 4 Plug and 2 USB Power)
The Magellan desk was the first to come through the lab with a square control box. It was also the first to include an integrated power supply. With four grounded plugs and two powered USB plugs, the Magellan control box had some nice add on features. Inside the box, the circuit board was engineered specifically for use with this standing desk. Using a single board design, all of the components were clean. Unlike most of the Chinese made alternatives, the Realspace desk didn’t use excessive caulk. All of the toriod cores used were nicely wrapped and overall the circuit board was well put together.
What I don’t like
Stability at all Heights
With front to back stability issues, starting at the lowest position, the desk didn’t stand much of a chance with our stability testing. Once the desk was raised into heights above 36” there were issues with both rocking and wobble motions. If stability is important to you, this product is not a good option.
Slow Adjustment Speeds
Painfully slow with only the weight of the worksurface, the Realspace averaged only .42” per second adjustment speeds. When loaded with 200 lbs, the desk dropped even further to .33” per second. This slow adjustment speed is sure to be an annoyance for users trying to quick move from sitting to standing heights.
Cheap Glide Systems
With low quality plastic glide systems, the Realspace desk had stability issues right out of the box. As these glides begin to wear down, the stability issues will only increase over time. The good news; without a collision avoidance system you will not have to worry about binding issues that can occur with cheap glide systems.
Low Quality Gears
I was disappointed to find out how bad the gears really were in this desk. From the outside, they looked clean and had the opportunity to be good for the price point. Unfortunately, cheap plastic that was poorly fit, with a spindle gear that wobble inside the support tube created major issues. When the gear was manually moved in and out, you could feel it shake and hear it scratch the support tube. This created a less than ideal situation for such an important component inside the frame.
No Collision Avoidance or Overload Protection
While collision avoidance and overload protection aren’t required at this price point, they are nice features to have. Some desks under $500 will include them, while others pick one or the other. The Realspace desk comes without either so it will be on the user to prevent overloading the desk and crushing objects around the desk.
Cheap Laminate With Stickers on Surface
Again, you get what you pay for so the low quality laminate included wasn’t surprising. It would be nice if they offered a frame only option so that users could skip the cheap laminate and source their own surface. Unfortunately, you’ll have to buy it as a package and throw it out.
It would be nice if they used a better sticker to attach the operation and warning stickers to the surface. If you decide to keep this surface, you will likely need to use goo gone to completely remove the sticker.
The Realspace Magellan desk had a ton of a potential and from the outside looked like it could be a really good product. One of the things that really stood out to me was how clean the desk was throughout the internal components. With a consistent paint finish, low price point and straightforward assembly; this desk has the potential to work well for a lot of people. Unfortunately, extremely slow adjustment speeds and instability at all heights are sure to be a major deal breaker for some shoppers. If you are on the fence, one of the perks is the ability to test drive this product at your local Office Depot.