Secretlab Magnus Metal Desk review

Tough, strong and highly modular, the Secretlab Magnus Metal Desk is the ultimate gaming desk

Secretlab Magnus Metal Desk
(Image: © Future)

TechRadar Verdict

The Secretlab Magnus Metal Desk wins the prize of the ultimate gaming desk, thanks to its 220-pound load capacity, magnetic modular design, and robust construction. It isn’t cheap, but it isn’t overly expensive either. And, it’s certainly a great value considering what you’re getting. Just be aware that you’ll have to pay more for the accessories, even the covetable desk mat.

Pros

  • +

    220-pound load capacity with a slim profile

  • +

    Highly and effortlessly modular

Cons

  • -

    Heavy and not a one-person assembly

  • -

    Height adjustment is hardly effortless

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It isn’t easy writing the Secretlab Magnus Metal Desk review, not because there’s a lot to critique. On the contrary, when a product is as good as the manufacturer says it is, it is hard to reach that word count. It makes for a very short review when you can only really say positive things about a product. And, that’s exactly the case here.

Gaming desks are similar to the best gaming chairs in that most you’ll find out there, especially the “more affordable” ones, are really just mostly bells and whistles. Many manufacturers might dress up the chair with a bucket seat design to give it that competitive look, slap on some fancy trimmings, give it a couple of articulating armrests, and hype it up so they can charge a bit more. But, in reality, it’s no more comfortable than a regular office chair with a cheaper price tag. 

While that doesn’t mean that there aren’t excellent gaming chairs out there, it does mean that you can pay the same price for a more durable, ergonomic-focused desk chair and get a lot more out of it.

The best gaming desks are kind of in the same boat. There are a lot of them out there that are all show and no substance, which is why when something like the Secretlab Magnus Metal Desk comes along, and it delivers on both fronts, it’s hard not to sing its praises.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that it’s the absolute perfect gaming desk. The sub-$500/£400 price tag will give budget-minded gamers pause, even if it is not overly expensive either. And, those looking for something with automated height adjustments would be better off looking at our guide to find the best standing desk instead. Plus, setup and assembly is really more of a two-person job for safety.

However, that really is more of us nitpicking at this point. As it is, the Secretlab Magnus Metal Desk is the gaming desk to which all gaming desks must aspire.

Secretlab Magnus Metal Desk review: Price and availability

  • Not cheap but good value
  • Add-ons cost more money
Key specs

Weight: 92.6 pounds
Dimensions: 59.1 x 27.6 x 29 inches (L x W x H)
Height adjustment: 0.8 inches or 20mm
Max load capacity: 220.5 pounds
Price: $499 (£399, AU$679)

The Secretlab Magnus Metal Desk, readily available in the US, the UK and Australia, has an entry price of $499 (£399, AU$679). By entry price, we mean the base desk without all the accessories and other add-ons.

That puts it right in the mid-range market as I’ve seen (or tested) pricier options that will set you back over $1,000/£1,000 as well as cheaper options on Amazon that will set you back less than $200/£200. The Mojo Gamer Pro, which to its credit has a maximum load capacity of 330lbs and is a standing desk, is more than twice as expensive. 

Meanwhile, the less modular, less robust Cougar Mars Pro 150 sits at the same price range as the Secretlab Magnus. That means that by going with the Magnus, you’re essentially going for the better value choice.

There is a caveat, however. None of the add-ons and accessories available and designed especially for the Secretlab Magnus Metal Desk are included in that base price. Even the Secretlab MagPad Desk Mat, which in our opinion is an integral part of the desk, will cost you a bit more money.

So, if you don’t really see yourself needing those add-ons and that 220-lb load capacity, it might not be the right choice for you. No matter how good it is.

Secretlab Magnus Metal Desk review: Setup

Secretlab Magnus Metal Desk

(Image credit: Future)
  • Easy, albeit not a one-person, assembly
  • Effortless to assemble

The Secretlab Magnus Metal Desk comes in very neat packaging. The foam padding used isn’t styrofoam, which means no mess, and some of the bigger parts like the legs are wrapped in cardboard cases so you aren’t just pulling out all the individual parts all at once. These cardboard cases are open at both ends, however, which makes pulling out those parts easier.

Secretlab Magnus Metal Desk

(Image credit: Future)

Before you commit to setting this up on your own, know that the tabletop is considerably heavy. It’s not too heavy that a petite 4’11” person, aka this author, wouldn’t be able to lift it on their own. However, it would be backbreaking for one person to flip over once the metal frame and metal legs are attached. 

This author did manage to set it up and flip it over on her own, but that was only by setting it up on their bed and using the edge of that bed as leverage. We wouldn’t recommend this process to anyone. Attaching the frame and the legs is effortless and a one-person job, but enlist another person’s help when flipping it right side up. 

If you get the Secretlab MagPad Desk Mat, which we definitely recommend, be sure to follow the instructions carefully for a more seamless assembly. Not that it’s hard – the hardest part of installing the mat is when you have to insert its edges into the included sleeves – but it’s a magnetic mat, and following the instructions just saves you time.

Secretlab Magnus Metal Desk review: Design

Secretlab Magnus Metal Desk

(Image credit: Future)
  • Made of steel and medium-density fibreboard
  • Highly modular gaming desk with a magnetic ecosystem

The Secretlab Magnus Metal Desk might not be the biggest desk out there, but at 59.1 x 27.6 mm, there’s more than enough desk space for a two- or even three-monitor setup with a laptop and several accessories in it. That’s while keeping an impressively slim profile.

The tabletop is under an inch in thickness while each leg is only about 1 x 2.3 inches, which means there’s a lot of space underneath and, therefore, great potential for gaming peripheral storage. It’s only too bad that Secretlab doesn’t have under-desk storage solutions on hand. However, if you do want to utilize all that space for storage, there are many third-party options that should do the trick.

Secretlab Magnus Metal Desk

(Image credit: Future)

If you’re worried about that slim profile not being able to handle all that weight, don’t. The tabletop is made of MDF or medium-density fibreboard, which is dense, designed for stability, and resistant to termites, wrapped on the top side with steel. It’s that steel top that allows the Secretlab MagPad Desk Mat, Secretlab Magnetic Cable Anchors, and other magnetic add-ons to stick and secure to the tabletop. Meanwhile, the frame and legs are made of the same steel. All those together give you a 220.5-pound maximum load capacity.

Secretlab Magnus Metal Desk

(Image credit: Future)

There’s a cable management tray that spans the length of the table and attaches to the rear. It’s also made of metal, which means that any of the cable management add-ons – the cable anchors and the cable sheaths – will stick to it neatly and effortlessly. The Secretlab Cable Management Bundle, which includes these anchors and sheaths as well as 10 cable fastening straps, is not a cheap add-on. However, they’re certainly worth it, especially if you want to really show off your organizing skills, and keep all those cables perfectly arranged and out of sight.

Secretlab Magnus Metal Desk

(Image credit: Future)

Not that you’ll need any of those add-ons as the tray ensures everything is tucked away and out of sight. That’s while also keeping them within reach, thanks to its rear cover accessible from the top and the magnetic front cover accessible from underneath. The front cover is a nice detail, but it’s the rear cover that’s brilliantly-designed. 

Secretlab Magnus Metal Desk

(Image credit: Future)

Instead of using hinges that snap it back in place, it minimizes finger injuries by using hinges you have complete control of. You can open this rear cover/door as wide or as little as you want, and it stays in place. Although just in case you are the clumsy kind, Secretlab has also attached warning stickers on the cover.

Just above the tray on the underside of the tabletop, there’s a tab of metal to which you can secure the Secretlab MAGRGB, an RGB lightstrip co-designed by Nanoleaf and one of the latest additions to Secretlab’s growing family of magnetic expansions. It’s so perfectly made for this metal desk that even its controller has magnets so you can secure it to one of the legs, out of the way yet still accessible.

The desk doesn’t come with RGB lighting on its own; however, this dynamic lightstrip is a terrific lighting solution, especially for folks who want to really light up their gaming rig. It’s customizable via the Nanoleaf app, and should be able to expand its functionality over time – like perhaps the ability to sync or integrate with other RGB ecosystems like Razer’s Chroma or Corsair’s iCue.

Secretlab Magnus Metal Desk review: Performance

Secretlab Magnus Metal Desk

(Image credit: Future)
  • 220.5-pound maximum load capacity
  • No wobble or warping

While we’ve only used the Secretlab Magnus Metal Desk for a couple of weeks, we’re happy to report that it performs as promised. The whole thing is so well-crafted that the individual parts fit together perfectly, which helps minimize any issues that gaming desks face like uneven legs or wobble. 

It’s also so incredibly robust and tough that it won’t suffer from warping – at least not anytime soon. Years of carrying all that weight might cause it to warp a bit around the middle, but you can minimize that and extend its life by evenly distributing the weight. What we can say for sure is that, thanks to its 220.5-pound capacity, we’ve seen it bear the weight of one 32-inch monitor, one 34-inch monitor, a 15-inch gaming laptop, two gaming headsets, and other peripherals, plus this reviewer’s 120-pound frame. 

The magnets Secretlab uses for its accessories are incredibly powerful as well, allowing them to stay in place. That includes the desk mat, which should be welcome news for folks who are so sick of having to readjust their desk mats on a daily basis. 

Secretlab Magnus Metal Desk

(Image credit: Future)

Speaking of which, this mat is made of durable yet soft-to-touch leatherette that not only feels nice against your skin, but also works beautifully with any gaming mouse. If you’ve been having trouble finding a mouse or desk pad on which your mouse can glide without issues, getting this mat as an add-on is your best move.

There aren’t many flaws we can really talk about in this Secretlab Magnus Metal Desk review. But, if there’s one, it would be its height adjustment. The height adjustment of this desk is only 0.8 inches or 20mm, and it has to be done manually, which means that if you do need to raise or lower it at any time during use, you’ll have to remove everything from the desk. That’s a bit inconvenient. 

It’s not, however, a deal-breaker. It’s designed to have what Secretlab claims to be a carefully-calibrated height of 29 inches, which apparently is the ideal desk height for an ergonomic position for most people. That’s around the same height to which this reviewer has their standing desks set.

Should I buy the Secretlab Magnus Metal Desk?

Buy it if…

You have a lot of gear
With a 220.5-pound load capacity and plenty of desk space, the Secretlab Magnus Metal Desk should be able to handle all your gaming gear, even if you’ve got a healthy helping of gaming peripherals.

You want a modular desk
If you anticipate an expansion later on, Secretlab has a growing family of magnetic add-ons, the newest of which are the Secretlab Magnetic Headphone Hanger and Nanoleaf-powered Secretlab MAGRGB lighting strip.

You need a simple yet brilliant cable management solution
Not only is the included cable management tray incredibly spacious and designed brilliantly to really keep those cables out of sight, but you can also expand the system with magnetic anchors, magnetic sheaths, magnetic accent slips, and fastening straps.

Don’t buy it if…

You’re looking for something cheap
The Secretlab Magnus Metal Desk might not be the priciest gaming desk we’ve seen or tested, but it’s also not exactly budget-friendly.

You don’t need anything that robust
If you’ve got a simple setup – just a gaming PC or laptop and a monitor, as well as the basic peripherals – you can find alternatives that have a lower load capacity and are just a bit more affordable.

Also consider

Image

FlexiSpot EG8 Comhar
One of the most stylish standing desks on the market, FlexiSpot’s EG8 Comhar is a brilliant option if you need that standing desk functionality. Besides its height present and height adjustment buttons, it comes with an integrated drawer and charging ports.
Check out our FlexiSpot EG8 Comhar review

Image

Uplift V2 Standing Desk
Meanwhile, the Uplift V2 wins as the most customizable option, with Uplift offering multiple color, frame type and keypad options. There are also accessories to add, albeit for additional charge. In fact, it has 48 mounting points for attaching accessories.
Check out our Uplift V2 Standing Desk review

Image

Friska Stockholm standing desk
Another standing desk option, the Stockholm desk from Friska takes a more back-to-basics approach in order to keep the price down. It does have its share of configuration options as well. Unfortunately for US and Australia customers, there is a steep price for shipping outside of Europe.
Check out our Friska Stockholm standing desk review

Michelle Rae Uy
Computing Reviews and Buying Guides Editor

Michelle Rae Uy is the Computing Reviews and Buying Guides Editor here at TechRadar. She's a Los Angeles-based tech, travel and lifestyle writer covering a wide range of topics, from computing to the latest in green commutes to the best hiking trails. She's an ambivert who enjoys communing with nature and traveling for months at a time just as much as watching movies and playing sim games at home. That also means that she has a lot more avenues to explore in terms of understanding how tech can improve the different aspects of our lives.