Secret Lab Magnus Pro XL Review: Sitting, Standing, Thriving
What is a desk? A big slab of wood or metal that you put all your gamer junk on? A long table where you sit and toil away? Wrong, you fool. Admittedly, I was just as naive as you once. I considered my desk to be a utilitarian piece of furniture that you buy from Ikea, spend three hours assembling, and then cover with cables and takeout containers. The Secret Lab Magnus Pro XL changed my outlook – more than that, it changed me. This sit-to-stand desk looks simple, but it's filled with secrets, useful accessories, and thoughtful design choices that make using the desk easier, cleaner, and far more enjoyable. Secret Lab has elevated the traditional gaming desk – pun fully intended.
Some specs to start things off: The Magnus Pro XL has a massive 70” by 31.5” surface that offers plenty of space for multi-monitor setups. The powered desk can adjust from a height of 25.6” to 49.2” for either sitting or standing use, and the position can be adjusted using a simple control panel on the front right of the desk. There are three preset options so you can always set it to the perfect position, and the desk raises and lowers smoothly and silently. The entire system is powered through the left leg – an industry-first feature I’m told – so the only visible cable in the entire setup is the main power cable that runs from your outlet into the base of the leg. It’s impossibly clean looking, especially when you add the leatherette Magpad desk cover, which extends across the entire width of the desk and is secured in place magnetically. The quality and attention to details Secret Lab puts into its chairs is just as apparent in the Magnus Pro. If you’re looking for a clean, cable free sit-to-stand with plenty of work area, you’ve come to the right place.
As you might imagine, this sucker weighs a ton. The desk comes in two boxes – legs in one box top in the other – and once assembled it weighs 150lbs. I really struggled getting it up the stairs into my office, especially when the cardboard box ripped apart and all of the fixings started spilling out. The box recommends that you assemble it with two people and I have to urge you to take that recommendation seriously.
Once I got everything upstairs and unpacked, the assembly process was incredibly straightforward. It comes with all the tools you need and there’s only about five steps to put the whole thing together. You pop the legs and secure them with screws, attach the cable tray and hinged cover, flip it over, calibrate the motors, and voila, it’s ready to go. The whole thing takes about ten minutes to assemble.
Aside from the sit-to-stand action, the real value of the Magnus Pro XL becomes evident once you start routing your cables. The hidden tray at the back runs the entire length of the desk and has plenty of room for all of them, even the ones with big blocks attached. There is an outlet on the left side of the tray where you can plug in your power strip. This way, all of your cables are hidden and you can adjust the height of the desk without worrying that your cables are getting pulled. Everything is completely out of sight and out of mind.
There is an impressive suite of accessories that add a ton of utility to the desk, so you’ll need to factor that in when you’re considering the price. I added the monitor arm, which like the desk is easy to assemble, hides cables extremely well, and can be adjusted to the perfect height. I’ve used quite a few monitor mounts, and this is the most solid and reliable one I've seen. I recommend it even if you’re using a different kind of desk.
I also got the cable management bundle, which seems innocuous but actually makes a big difference. The set comes with a couple of cable covers that magnetically snap onto the legs so you can place your PC below the desk and hide the cables coming out of it. It also has these little red magnetic cable anchors you can use on the desktop to route your visible cables like charges, controllers, and mouse cords, to maintain clean lines and keep everything organized. It also has some velcro straps for maintaining the cables inside the hidden tray, but it's just regular velcro as far as I can tell. I would have liked more than three cable anchors in the bundle, but this is a must-have add-on.
There’s a couple more I’m definitely going to add. The PC Mount allows you to suspend your tower under the desk to avoid straining the cables and keep the floor clean. I’m also keen to try out the MAGRGB, a Nanoleaf-powered light strip that magnetically attaches to the cable tray and reflects off the hinged cover. I like that kind of customization, and I may eventually replace the desk cover with one of the branded ones Secret Lab offers. There’s a Batman one I’ve got my eye on.
I’ve been in the market for a standing desk for some time because I sit for over ten hours a day and they say that it's really bad for you. I immediately took to standing while I work – I’m doing it right now – but I quickly found I needed something to make me feel more comfortable. I have carpet, so I use a plastic runner under my desk so my chair can still move, but I need something soft to stand on too. I ended up ordering one of those squishy mats that cashiers stand on and I just shove it under the desk when I switch to my chair. I know some people even have a little treadmill under their standing desk, but that’s too next level for me.
The mat was fairly inexpensive – only $40 on Amazon, but when you add up all the different accessories you need to customize the Magnus Pro XL to fit your needs, it can get pretty pricey. The desk, Magpad, monitor arm, and cable management bundle costs just under $1,200. That’s significantly more than what my Ikea desk costs, but the quality difference is just as profound as the price difference. I love the look of a clean, cable free floor, and I can already tell that spending more time on my feet is giving me more energy. As a work-from-home gamer, it's a purchase I could easily justify. Okay, the Dark Knight Magpad may be a splurge, but I have a brand to maintain.
Both the Magnus Pro and Magnus Pro XL are available for pre-order on Secret Lab’s website, with an estimated ship date of late October. If you’ve been eyeing a sit-to-stand desk for a while like me, you’re not going to find one of better quality anywhere out there.
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