Last updated April 20, 2017 by Ryan Fiorenzi
Don’t buy this product.
I’m a big fan or Varidesk, and I own several of their products and I love them, but I think the Soho isn’t good for anyone for one reason: ergonomics.
The Soho will lift up your laptop so that the screen is a little higher. If you were to stand up at your desk, but your laptop was on the desk, you’d be looking down. The more angled down your neck is, and the longer you look down, the more strain you put on the muscles of your neck and upper back. Think of someone looking down at their phone 100 times per day, it develops what’s sometimes referred to as “iposture.”
Now for typing with your laptop on the Soho, you have to reach up to your laptop. The further your elbows are away from your body, the more strain it puts on your shoulders and back.
There are several other options that would be a much better investment:
Based on 12 key areas of evaluation listed below.
Speed of switching from sitting to standing
The Soho is part of Varidesk’s Compact series. It’s designed to hold a laptop that is 10 lbs or less.
I’m not a huge fan of the design. There are handles on the sides that you press so that you can lift the tabletop up, and the legs stay on the desk. The first time I opened it, the legs dropped down and slammed into the desk. If I owned it I wouldn’t do that every time, but if the legs catch at all to the table top and you lift the tabletop up, I can see the legs slamming into the desk you’re putting it on.
Laptops in themselves are an ergonomic nightmare because you’re either keeping your elbows close to your body to type, so the keyboard is close to your hips, or your lifting up the laptop to eye level so your head is level. You can’t use a laptop the way it was designed and not have an ergonomics problem. And by that I mean that you increase your likelihood of developing cramp and posture issues, which lead to more serious neck, back, and joint problems.
I work on a laptop, and my chiropractor told me that I needed to find a way to get my laptop screen eye height and attach a keyboard so my elbows would be close to my sides. I listened to him and it was a huge step in reducing my back pain.
So how could the Soho help you? It raises your laptop up a bit, which is better than leaving it on the desk, but it’s still not good for you.
You could use the Soho to hold your laptop and attach a keyboard via usb and set it on the desk. As long as the desk is a good height for typing.
Or you could use the Soho to hold your keyboard, and find some other way to get your laptop to eye-level.
For the price, you could spend around a quarter of the cost of the Soho and get a laptop stand, pictured below.
This was how I first tried out standing while I worked. When I stood up, I’d lift my laptop onto the stand, and attach the keyboard and leave it on my desk. When I’d sit, I’d take the laptop off of the stand and set it back on the desk, and detach the keyboard. It didn’t look great, and it was a little inconvient, but it was a way to experience standing while working and not being sedentary for hours on end (which is horrible for your health).
When I first started standing with this setup, I started to get cramps in my wrists from typing on a bad angle (with my wrists bent back). So I bought a triangular foam wedge to place my keyboard on so my hands weren’t arching backward to type. It was an extra step in the whole switching from sitting to standing and vice versa, and I think it ended up encouraging me to stand less (sitting was my habit and default behavior).
Instead of the Soho
If you’re looking for something mobile so you can use your laptop standing, look into the you could consider the Avantree Laptop Table, pictured below. It has the same ergonomic issues as the Soho, but it’s less than a quarter of the price.
Varidesk has come out with another option with the Pro Laptop, previously known as the Laptop 30. I imagine that Varidesk got so many complaints about the Soho that they came up with a better option.
The Pro Laptop is very similar in design to the Pro Plus Series. The desk raises and lowers via two paddles on the underside of the tabletop. It’s 30″ wide by 24.75″ deep, holds a maximum of 35 lbs. It works great to hold a laptop or tablet. I recommend to connect a keyboard and keep it on the lower shelf. The Pro Laptop is shown below; click here to check that latest price on amazon.com.
If you don’t need something mobile, then there are other Varidesk products that will work with a laptop like the the Pro Plus Series, Cubicle Series, and the Pro Desk 60. Pictured below is my laptop with Varidesk dual monitor arms on the Pro Plus 30.