By Gordon Meyer
It’s a simple fact of life. You gotta have a desk to work from. And when so much of your work is on a computer, it’s always better to work on a desk designed for that computer use. My first computer desk was actually my dining room table. But over the years, I’ve worked on any number of inexpensive Staples or Ikea type assemble it yourself workstations. They were all designed for your simple, basic setup with CPU, keyboard and mouse and a monitor.
But there’s a growing trend, especially with systems intended for HD editing, to have multiple monitors in use. Having so much more screen real estate makes can be not just a luxury, but an actual requirement for editors, especially when juxtaposing multiple video and audio streams. Unfortunately, most conventional computer desks are designed to support only one monitor. That’s a problem.
When I upgraded my system last year to run dual displays (which spoiled me rotten fast), I looked for the perfect work desk. It had to be the right height to give me comfortable access to my keyboard, sturdy enough to handle a lot of abuse and with a wide enough “deck” area to support multiple monitors. Everything I saw at Staples and the lot would be a compromise. Then to my joy, I discovered the Anthro Console.
Anthro specializes in high end “technology furniture.” While it costs several times what I paid for my old metal and glass Staples desk, the Console, which is the model I’ve been living with for the past several months, is something that could easily provide a lifetime of reliable service.
If you click on the link (http://www.anthro.com/computer-furniture.aspx?desk=fit-console) you’ll see that the Console consists of two “C” shaped shelves, the smaller intended for your keyboard and mouse with adjustable height so you can work sitting or standing. I love that the keyboard shelf is so wide that I’ve got plenty of room for things like a notepad, my USB microphone or even the occasional dinner plate for my lunch. In fact, it’s rated to hold up to 40 pounds, which should be more than enough for anything you’d want on a keyboard shelf. The height of the upper shelf easily puts both monitors at a comfortable eye level and distance. I use dual 22” monitors, but the Console could easily accommodate a third if I really wanted it.
The whole shebang is on wheels, which makes it very easy to shift around in my environment, especially if I want to have my system turned around to accommodate visitors, or even to just make it easier to clean under. I like the fact that the Console was made to be flexible and expandable. Some of the options I took advantage of include a CPU side rack, clamp on document stand (kind of looks like a music stand with a flexible neck) and a flat panel monitor arm. Each of the six super strong aluminum legs has a series of holes so you can easily add things like additional shelves below the main surface. There’s even an option to add a second shelf 24” or 36” above the main shelf.
Like the other desks I’ve had, you have to assemble the Console yourself. Anthro provides all the tools you need, including a rubber mallet and a screwdriver with a hex head. I had to re-read the instructions and triple check the illustrations several times during the assembly process, because they weren’t always as clear as I would have liked. And although I managed to build the Console solo, it will make your life a lot easier if you’ve got some help, especially when it comes time to rotate and ultimately flip the desk over onto its legs. While I don’t have the exact weight of the Console, it’s probably close to 100 pounds fully assembled. So again, it will make your life much easier to have some help.
Once assembled, it’s a very impressive piece of furniture and works very well as an edit bay station. More importantly, it’s exceptionally functional, durable and expandable. In fact, I was told that Anthro fabricates all the components in-house at their Oregon factory.
Here’s the bottom line. Because the base Console desk is so sturdy and well designed and because of all the expansion options, this is a piece of workspace furniture that you’ll get productive use from for decades to come without going out of style.