NextDesk Terra Electronic Adjustable Height Desk review: Nice desk, poor customer service

Last November, Nathan Stretch made the switch to a standing desk when he purchased a NextDesk Terra Electronic Adjustable Height Desk. Here’s what Nathan had to tell us about his experience:

Nathan-NextDesk-Terra-2Nathan-NextDesk-Terra

Here’s my setup. Couple monitors, couple computers, a standard (but very comfortable) “Staples Special” chair, and a NextDesk Terra. Not the best pictures, but hey — I work at night; I take pictures at night. All those cables under there… I had grand plans when I ordered my height-adjustable desk that I’d measure them all out, order longer ones where necessary, then run them through the cable-management sleeves that come with the Terra. (The same sleeves that you can see hanging from the bottom of the desk, still neatly bunched up in their original elastics.) Turns out all my existing cables reached standing height (at least, given my towering 5’8″ stature), and thus that project was shelved. But if cable management’s your thing, the Terra does that!

I’m extremely happy with my decision to move to a standing desk, although not necessarily with the NextDesk specifically. The ability to switch from sitting to standing and vice-versa in seconds is fantastic. I’ve found the standing option not only great from a health perspective, but also very convenient for many tasks that involve a lot of moving to and from the desk. Also, the height adjustability has turned out to be handy for other things besides just switching between sitting and standing. I’ll occasionally just lean back and watch TV or a movie on my monitor; with this desk I can lower the whole thing to a more convenient viewing height (and a more convenient footrest height!) with the touch of a button. I also tend to eat at my desk occasionally, and have found that it’s handy to have it slightly higher than normal for that. (If you’ve ever tried to type on a laptop at the kitchen table, you may have noticed it was a bit high. Turns out ideal table height > ideal desk height.) So, I love having an adjustable height desk. Next I’m planning to add a low-profile treadmill, so I can work sitting, standing, or walking!

Now, about the NextDesk Terra specifically: I chose the extended surface (79″ x 31.5″ for an extra $300), with black legs, and the “dark” bamboo option. (The dark option is more of a medium brown than truly dark. You can see the edge of my mahogany stain filing cabinet at the right of the second picture for comparison.)
The good: it rises and lowers very quickly; it has three customizable preset heights; it’s made with sustainable materials; and I can’t imagine any competitor being superior in looks. Also the extended surface is very generously sized, although with a price to match (much like the desk itself).
The not so good: while the bamboo surface is indeed hard, as advertised, it’s certainly far from indestructible. Mine has accumulated several nicks and scratches. That said, any desk made of wood will be prone to scratching when introduced to a harder material — the metal tip of a dropped pen for instance. While the desk rises very smoothly, it tends to shudder while being lowered. I’m not certain whether this is normal or just my model. Since it works well enough, I haven’t tried to contact the manufacturer regarding the shuddering, since my attempts to contact them on other issues in the past have been less than successful.
More on that in a moment.
I’ve heard some owners mention that the Terra can wobble at standing height during vigorous typing and such, due to its being supported on only two legs. I expect this would be common to most standing desks, which tend to share the same dual support structure. Personally, though, I haven’t been bothered by it. If you’re intentionally looking for it, you can see the desk wobbling a bit when you type at standing height, but you have to really pay attention to even notice. It certainly hasn’t been a problem for me.
What has been a problem, unfortunately, is basically every interaction I’ve had with NextDesk, the makers of the Terra. Here’s the basic summary:
1. Being in Canada, I wanted to check shipping and any applicable import costs with NextDesk prior to ordering. I was repeatedly promised that this information would be sent, but had to follow up many times by phone and email over a period of weeks to get an answer to this simple question. Every time someone promised to get back to me by a specific date, it came and went with no contact.
2. The other thing I wanted to check before buying was whether the height preset buttons needed to be held down while the desk was moving to the preset height.  I was clearly and explicitly assured by the NextDesk sales rep over the phone that the buttons did not need to be held down. In fact, he laughed at hearing that some competitors’ desks did require this, saying that it would kind of defeat the purpose of preset buttons! (A sentiment I shared to some extent.) The only problem is… the Terra’s preset buttons DO need to be held down. So best case, their salesperson was completely misinformed and didn’t bother to check his facts. Worst case, he blatantly lied to me to make a sale. Generally I would give the benefit of the doubt; however…
3. After setting up the desk, I sent an email to the salesperson who gave me this misinformation, pointing out his error and asking what sort of remedy he suggested, since hands-free height adjustment was one of the key selling features for me. (Ideally I was really hoping that I’d simply received an old firmware version, or something along those lines.) No response for several days. Emailed again. Again no response. Called and left him a message. No response. I’m sure I could have kept trying and eventually would have gotten through to someone, but at this point I decided it wasn’t worth the time. Apparently now that they’ve got my $2000, NextDesk no longer has any interest in communicating with me.  Until…
4. I wrote a review of the Terra and my experiences with NextDesk on my blog. That didn’t get an official response either, but a few months after it went up, it got an interesting comment. A glowing review of the NextDesk Terra, by “Natalie.” It mentioned things like their sustainable materials, optional keyboard tray, and wiring sleeves. In fact, it pretty much hit all the key points in their sales brochure. Also, it turned out Natalie’s IP address was located in Austin Texas, where NextDesk’s headquarters is located. What’s more, “Natalie” had posted the same comment, word for word, on several other NextDesk-related blog posts around the net.  I suppose she might just really, really like her desk…
5. That about covers it. Oh, also the documentation that came with the desk was atrocious, but looking at their website it appears it has been improved. Kudos for that.
So, all around, the Terra seems like a decent desk. Yes, the preset buttons have to be held down, but it moves between sitting and standing heights in approximately five seconds, so it really isn’t that much of an issue. The shuddering when it’s lowered is a bit strange, but doesn’t cause any problems. (I can have a full glass of water on the desk with no worries.) It’s nice and big and attractive. I’d say as long as you don’t really care about the kind of company you’re supporting, you’re not worried about product support, and you don’t mind spending twice as much as a GeekDesk Max for a comparable product, then I’d recommend the Terra. It’s a nice desk.

Nathan Stretch is the founder of  SearchTempest.com, a site that lets users search multiple craigslist cities, eBay, Amazon, and others, all with one search, and AutoTempest.com, which lets you search all the top US car classifieds sites at once.  Nathan’s sites are all about making people’s lives slightly more efficient, so it’s not surprising that he’s interested in an efficient workspace as well.

 

7 comments

  • Wow…that’s for the review! I was considering the NextDesk but if you to hold the button down while it moves; it’s a no go for me. That was one of the features I wanted to pay extra money for.

    There are lots of height adjustable desk out there that you have to hold the button and they are much much cheaper.

  • Nathan, what where the import taxes to canada in additon of the shipping fees ?
    I am also in Canada. I got a quote for 300$ shipping fron Next Desk but that does not include taxes.

  • What a scam. I ordered a NextDesk. Next Desk promptly charged my credit card and no desk. It has been over 50 days and no desk to date. The order still says fulfillment status: new. So I’m assuming they haven’t even looked at my order. Also, I called customer support three times and someone answered asked a question that I couldn’t understand so I asked them what they said and they said “disconnecting you” and was promptly hung up on each time I called. I eventually got through to someone which said my desk should be shipped by the end of the month and now it is the end of the month and no shipment. Ridiculous company with over priced desks and the audacity to charge a credit card before they even have a product to ship which is in violation of the credit card’s policy.

  • Thanks for sharing your experience with us. I planning to switch for height adjustable standing desk. From this review some of my doubt cleared about adjustable standing desk. Again thanks for sharing this review with us.

  • I purchased a Nextdesk Terra and couldn’t be happier. I called, ordered and the process was seamless. I even called early to check on the status and they told me where in the process my desk was. I wasn’t happy about the 2-3 week wait but what do you expect for a custom unit. I called again close to the 14 day mark and was told it’d be another 2 weeks or so but a few days later I got an email saying my desk was on it’s way. Each time, the rep was enthusiastic, courteous and helpful. Took delivery of the desk, set it up and UH-OH! There was some sort of malfunction. I was pissed. All this money and it didn’t work? Got on line, saw all the negative remarks and I was ready for a battle on the phone the next morning. Called, got Priya on the line and she couldn’t have been more helpful. We walked through a couple of scenarios and determined the unit was bad. NO PROBLEM – SHE FED-EXED ME A NEW UNIT OVERNIGHT. The switch was easy, and BOOM! Desk works great. I wasn’t mad about the faulty head unit, anything mechanical or computer related can fail, but they more than made up for it with the no hassle customer service. I don’t usually write reviews but I saw how this company is getting slammed for their service, and they don’t deserve it. Whatever issues they had in the past they have definitely fixed! It’s a beautiful unit, well made and professional. Customer service was top notch. Don’t hesitate to order a desk from this company.

  • I recently purchased an adjustable height model for my office, and I have to say I’ve been disappointed. While the desk does perform its core functions well, these are the issues I’ve had: (1) The bracket for the keyboard tray did not arrive with the desk when it was delivered the last week of July (2014) because it was on back order. The supplier then supposedly shipped the wrong size to NextDesk, so more delay. Finally, it arrived Sept. 22 — almost two months later. Customer Service Manager had told me in July that once this assembly arrived, she would arrange to have professional installer return to install it. But when I called the Manager to make those arrangements this week, she initially started explaining that they don’t normally send an installer twice because they will be charged another $150, etc., and that it’s really not that difficult to install. She finally agreed to take care of the installation (as she had previously said she would do), but I didn’t appreciate the initial push-back when I called. (2) When it arrived, the desk (bamboo) had some significant chips knocked out of the edge on the user side. I informed CS Manager of this when I first discovered it. She said she would send me some fill material that they use at the factory that would make it look as though there had never been any damage. A week or two later I received in the mail a small plastic packet of brownish colored paste. No instructions for use, no tool for applying it. So I had to call CS Manager to find out how to use it. I filled the damaged areas as instructed. End result is that the blemishes are still there, just a different color. This isn’t a major issue, but for the cost of the desk I expected no blemishes. What am I going to do, go through the inconvenience of having them pick up the desk and send me another one? (3) The desk came with some plastic ties with adhesive pads which are to be used to bind your various power cords, etc. and stick to the underside of the desk, for a clean appearance. The adhesive pads held at first, but not for long. They aren’t strong enough to hold the cables (and I don’t have many). I think a better design would be to have some hardware secured to the underside (like small shackles screwed into the desk) through which you could install zip ties to hold up the cables. (4) Last but not least, the response time of Customer Service to my various emails has been unacceptable. On two separate occasions, I sent an email on a Monday and had not heard anything as of the following Friday, so I then called. Heard the usual excuses (been really busy, etc.). If they are too busy to respond to customer emails in a timely fashion, then maybe they are understaffed. I know my experience may be an anomaly, but thought I should share nonetheless. If you pay a premium price for what is marketed as a high quality product, I think you can expect more.

  • I expected so much more in regards to quality and customer service from NextDesk​. My warping top has turned into a time consuming, super infuriating joke. Not only is the desktop cracking, but warping as well. They’re response was to send a completely bare top that’s not even drilled correctly, so I can’t use that either. Were it drilled correctly, I’d have to spend at least a few hours transferring the new top over, as there are a lot of pieces to install underneath. Not acceptable, in my opinion. I spent nearly $2k for this desk.

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