The Secretlab Magnus metal desk enters the battle for the best gaming desks, and it's just the latest move in Secretlab's plan to dominate the gaming gear scene; it arrives alongside the brand's excellent Secretlab Titan Evo 2022, which is the best gaming chair in the business right now.
However, because it's priced at $499/£399 for the base model desk, the Secretlab Magnus is going to have to seriously impress in order to justify such a high cost. It does have an advantage, though. Secretlab chairs certainly aren't priced low enough to give them regular slots on our cheap gaming chair deals guide, but the years have taught us that the brand can be relied upon for excellent build quality and eye-pleasing designs.
The price may raise eyebrows, but now that your gaming setup might also be where you're spending a lot of time working from home, maybe it's time to add a stylish flourish to the room rather than that rickety thing you picked up at Ikea. The Magnus' all-metal design weighs in at 92lbs/42Kg, and with thick steel inside the legs, you won't find a more solid-feeling gaming desk capable of supporting a lot of weight - up to 100Kg to be precise.
While having two people to build the Secretlab Magnus is recommended, it's doable solo if needs be. Getting the box up any stairs on your own is going to be tough though. The large metal desk surface piece is cumbersome and very heavy, but can be slid out of the box onto a carpet, or one side of the open box to keep it scuff-free during assembly. Plus, gently flipping the table over once done is simple enough.
The desk is built upside down by adding the legs to the table first and then the cable management tray. Instructions are illustrated rather than photographed (a change from the brand's chairs) and this did initially make adding the cable tray a tiny bit unclear as to what attached where, but nothing too frustrating. The use of magnets on the tray made it very easy to get the screws in solo though to be fair. In addition, all the tools required for assembly are included in the box and are of a nice enough quality that you'll want to keep them afterwards.
Size: 59.1" (L) x 27.6" (W) x 29" (H)
Max weight supported: 220.5lb (55.1lb on hinged cover)
Desk price: $499/£399
Paid extras: Magnetic mat, RGB light strip, cable management accessories, magnetic bumpers
You're looking at around 30 minutes to put it all together. Unfortunately, what I wasn't expecting was how awkward the magnetic mat (an optional purchase) was to fit. It comes rolled up in its own box and you need to attach the metal strips at the ends yourself by sliding them on at an angle while being very wary of scratching the leatherette material.
The whole mat is magnetic, so it's difficult to line up correctly on the desk and it's certainly not something I got right the first time. I kept ending up with a gap at the end, or the mat wasn't straight, leaving a bit of overhang and a clear sloping gap up top. To get around this I had to adjust the metal end pieces at an angle in order to get them flush with the sides of the desk. Grab a second person to help you avoid the mat sticking while trying to line it up and you'll have a much better chance of getting it on straight.
The cable-management tray on the Secretlab Magnus is second to none and ideal for those with a more complicated setup for a gaming PC, with cables for extra monitors, accessories, and the like.
What I really like about it is that a rear portion of the desk covering the cable tray underneath flips up on a hinge, giving you full access. If you have a surge protector power strip that usually sits underneath your desk, you'll easily fit it in the expansive tray and you have nice easy access if you want to swap anything in/out. If you've ever banged your head reemerging from under a desk, you're going to love it even more.
Style and Design
The desk is 27.6"/70cm deep, but you do lose a few inches to that flip-up tray. So if you're going to be diving in there often, you won't want to have your monitor's stand resting on it. This is something to consider if your monitor(s) has a large base and you're wary of how much room you'll have left to play with it in front (as shown in some of our images). If you're not using a laptop right in front of the monitor for a second screen experience (especially for work) then this won't be an issue. If you just have a rig to one side on the desk (or underneath) and are using a keyboard and mouse, then you should have plenty of space too.
At 59-inches in length, you have more space to play with sideways than a lot of other gaming desks. As with buying any furniture though, you should measure your space to see if it'll be a good fit for the room.
Before we get into the many optional paid extras, let's take a look at how the desk is on its own. As things stand, the Secretlab Magnus only comes in black, but there are subtle red accents near the top of the legs, which feels in line with the brand's Stealth line of gaming chairs. There are some discrete Secretlab logos on the legs too and a Magnus brand is cut out of the metal on one corner of the flip-up tray.
The surface of the desk itself has something of a floating design too as the connections to the legs are set back further, leaving a nice stylish gap when viewed from the front angles. That rear tray has an angled finish on one side that looks great on its own, but really comes into its own if you add the RGB strip. Speaking of which...
Secretlab Magnus accessories
Despite a frankly enormous $499/£399 asking price, you will need to fork out even more cash in order to get the stylish desk you see on Secretlab's site (opens in new tab).
Of particular annoyance is the Magpad Desk Mat not coming as standard. The full price of the cheapest version, the black Signature Stealth one with red stitching, is $79/£69 (but they're on offer at the time of writing at $39/£34 if you bundle them with the desk). Not a huge cost, but considering the high price of the desk itself, it's disappointing to see it come bare.
The plain metal surface is fine, but lacks any sort of excitement and will easily get scratched compared to a wooden surface, so you're going to need the mat, or perhaps a third-party oversized mouse mat. On the plus side, the mat feels great to work on and we had no problem running various models from our best gaming mouse on it.
Another key accessory you might be disappointed to see come as a paid extra is the RGB lighting strip which will run you another $59/£55. Our review package did include one of these and we were pleased with how easy it was to fit to the Magnus. Pop open the tray at the back and slide the strip onto the underside via the handy magnets. The strip is powered by USB, so we'd stick it in a spare slot on your rig or laptop, or maybe even one on your powerstrip if it has a slot. Happily, no software is required as you get a handy remote to change colors, or set up a rotation cycle.
Your desk will need to be against a wall to get the most benefit from the RGB as it can bounce off the surface for added effect. The light also shines out on the angled surface of the tray.
That's just the start of it. You can really dive down the paid accessory rabbit hole with the Secretlab Magnus, as there are also magnetic cable sheaths for the legs which can help hide your rig's cables if it's on the floor. You do get a couple of ties with the base desk, so you could always use them to hide them around the back instead, but you can also grab some cool magnetic cable anchors available in a metallic red that you can use anywhere you like on the desk in order to keep accessory cables in their place. The usefulness of these will of course vary, though; if you've picked up something from our best wireless gaming mouse or a wireless item from our best gaming keyboard guides, then you might not have much use for these.
Finally, Secretlab is releasing a magnetic headphone hanger soon for the underside of the desk, which might be worth a look if you like keeping your desk's surface clutter-free when not in use.
That's a lot of extras to consider, but at the time of writing, you only get a discount on the mat if buying at the same time as the desk, so all the others can wait. That RGB strip is super cool when you kill the other lights in the room though, and it's hard to resist if you're an RGB fan.
Should you buy the Secretlab Magnus gaming desk?
The Secretlab Magnus is a fantastic gaming desk with a cool design and a cable management system that will clear up the most cluttered of setups for PC gaming and working from home thanks to the extra weight it supports. It's very expensive though, costing more than some multi-function standing desks, and having to pay extra for the magnetic mat is an odd decision given how integral it is to the desk's design and experience.