I’ve looked far and wide for the ultimate desk for my home office. I think I’ve found it. It’s just about perfect — though it will put a serious dent in my checking account. Since most Mac users are concerned with aesthetics as well as performance, Bretford’s Digital Hub Workspace fits the bill admirably.
The workspace boasts an ergonomic height adjustment system that sets the work surface to your height preference — from 24.5 inches to 43 inches. You adjust the height via a chain and sprocket design that uses the same principal as a bicycle. It’s effective and quiet in operation. Rotating the aluminum handle raises and lowers the hub’s three legs simultaneously, and each of the legs sports a high tension spring to offset the weight of the equipment during adjustment. A tubular steel base features a radius design for maximum legroom. The base has a titanium coat and chrome adjustment pipes.
The wrap-around desktop is both attractive and functional. It increases usable space and keeps items within easy reach. I’ve got mine loaded down with a display, EyeTV device, speakers, iPod, telephone, stapler, coffee mug warmer, DV tapes, and assorted notes and files — and it’s still not cramped. The work surface is available with a maple, cherry, white, or blue finish.
Setting up the desk is simple if you follow the instructions: Do not snip the holding bands before the instructions tell you to do so. I did, and it complicated the assembly.
Bretford’s workstation isn’t for those on a tight budget: It costs US$1,199, though you can get a fixed-height version for $624. You may want to spring for some useful peripherals, like a $279 power hopper an monitor screen that contains power cables rather than letting them drag on the floor. It slides out for easy access to the cables, and features a vertically mounted 10-outlet surge protector with a 12-foot cord and phone splitter. Four outlets are positioned for larger AC plugs.
A Digital Gear Locker, priced at $79, offers storage for digital media equipment, such as an iPod, camcorders, digital cameras, CD/DVDs, and extra cables. It has four large compartments with grommet holes in back to route FireWire and power cables. It attaches to the left or right side of the Digital Hub Workspace without tools.
A $394 Media Shelf provides a convenient spot for PDA’s, coffee mugs, phones, and speakers — with usable shelf space that measures 28.5 by 11 inches and supports up to 75 pounds. It offers stainless steel bookends for binder and reference manuals storage. Its screen has a pinnable surface to which you can attach photos, cards, and notes. Like the Digital Gear Locker, the Media Shelf can be connected to either side of the Digital Hub Workspace.
A $99 G4 Mount lets you remove your Power Mac from the work surface without placing it on the floor. I’ll look at this more when I compare Bretford’s G4 Mount and Marathon Computer’s G4 Deskmount.
A $229 Articulating Task Light offers adjustable height, depth, and angle. Bretford also offers a $39 micro slot security cable and $19 set of cable management tools. There are also chairs and filing options available from the company.
All of these extra goodies are, like the workspace itself, well crafted, tough, and pleasing to the eye. Bretford offers a pre-loaded Digital Hub Workspace for US$1,995. It comes with the hub itself, Power Hopper, Media Shelf, and Articulating Task Light.