on 10 April 2016
Scores, based upon quad monitor version (read below if care how I came up with these numbers):
Seller Packaging: 5
Manufacturer Packaging: 1
Mechanical Sturdiness: 5
Implementation quality: 3
I generally don't type reviews. However, monitor stands manufactured by less known companies lack reviews, or even just vlogs, documenting how good or how bad a product is. Myself, I had to rely onto customer reviews for placing my "bet" on a monitor stand, hoping it would turn out to be a good one. At that time, I promised myself I will be giving best review my English would allow, for helping future customers deciding, so here it is.
If there is one thing you need to know out of this review, is this: you either need to have four exactly same monitors, or two pairs of exactly same monitors. Reason is there is no per-monitor height adjustment. Monitors mounted on same row, cannot have their height individually adjusted. Even monitors of the same brand have their VESA mounts on a different vertical position. Be aware - unless of course, you don't care your monitors not forming a "perfect square" at all.
Before going into details, I am spelling it out in advance: I will be definitely buying another one of these, regardless those points lost here and there. While reading my review, you might consider I am not happy enough. However, none of the issues I encountered is critical for my use-case, and those other monitor stands which have no signs of negative comments, might be just because I haven't reviewed them. I chose 4 stars, because this is how I rate those issues, but I do realize this is not the case for everyone. Out of all factors, I highly rate mechanical sturdiness and robustness the most, and on those fronts this is an excellent product. Monitors do not move, rattle or wobble. This is a solid beast.
At first, price had been descend; 56 GBP for a quad monitor stand. I need it to hold four monitors, so going with quad version had been a no brainer for me. However, as other reviewers have mentioned, prices fluctuate and it's sometimes cheaper to buy a version capable of holding more monitors, than you intend mounting. That being said, I find none of the options offered to actually being convenient for those intending to mount three monitors:
- Tri-monitor version does not provide "depth" adjustment for upper monitor. While you will be able to drag lower monitors closer/away, upper monitor will always be near the pole.
- Quad-monitor version can be "abused" for holding three monitors, but you will then have to deal with an extra arm, facing towards the wall (if any), forcing you to pull your desk further away from the wall since, even in its most detracted state, spare arm will still be long enough. If there is no opposing wall, or if you don't care moving your desk a bit, I would definitely recommend quad-monitor version, even if you need it to just hold three monitors.
Cheapest shipping method set me off by an additional ~20 GBP. However, this resulted onto DHL delivering item (in Greece) on my doorstep instead of receiving a notice to go pick it up myself from somewhere else. It's only then that I stopped feeling bad about shipping cost.
Item was delivered on the exact same day Amazon predicted it would be delivered, in its original, manufacturer sealed package, with no signs of damage, which is remarkable since there was no foam inside the box which would prevent compression, and given its weight, I can tell DHL handled it as if it had been "fragile", whereas no such "fragile" sign was present. Kudos to DHL for this.
So, I lift package for getting it from doorstep to my office and I immediately realize I could perfectly use it for "Jingle bells" purposes. There had been metal surfaces hitting each other within the box. On a side note, this might had been reason every DHL personnel ever lifted package on its way to my place, handled it with care; it sounded like something was broken already.
Within box, there are two boxes; one holding pole, and another one holding both arms. Pole travels safe, arms do not. Arms are both packaged within same box, without foam or bubble wrap separating them. It had been arms, hitting each other, which produced that sound, and plastic bags separating each from the other, could not prevent sound emitted when they hit each other.
Getting arms out of their box, revealed what looked like the aftermath of arms battling each other; each arm on its own bag, along with plastic pieces. Some of those plastic pieces were broken already, and their fragments were still contained within bags. Every single arm joint has a plastic cover on both sides (i.e. two plastic parts per joint, 3 joints/arm, blah... blah, totaling 24 plastic parts across all four arms). While most of them had still been attached onto arms, at least 2-3 of them, had been separated from each respective arm. And most of those separated, had been broken as well. Monitor stand is still perfectly functional, since plastic parts only serve as covers for hiding bolts used for adjusting stiffness each joint has.
Just like you, I considered this to be expected, given how much care was given for arms not to touch each other during transport. Everything changed the next second. You see.... I carefully collected and tracked fragments contained within each one bag, just in case I would later be in need to use some glue for restoring them (since some of them were not really shuttered and had been just broken onto two or three large parts), only to discover that some fragments did not match pieces residing on same bag. Instead they matched broken pieces found on the other bag. This fact reveals something fishy takes place while manufacturer packages product; plastic parts are broken already, before even leaving manufacturer premises. There are also plastic parts for cable management purposes, out of which none was separated from the arms, or broken, at least in my case. Your mileage may vary though. In the event they are broken, you won't miss them though (read further below).
Pole and arms look like they are black powder coated. Paint looks solid and no missed or lightly sprayed spots were identified. However, my pair of arms had some spots where paint had been chipped away, I guess due to collisions they experienced while travelling. Minor spots, ~1-2mm in diameter, 8 such spots across all arms. Texture and colour of plastic parts covering joints perfectly matches effect of paint on metal, allowing a completely seamless blend; you're unable to tell if those parts are plastic or not. When in place, they allow for a completely black colour scheme. If you need it to look like this, and you happen to have broken parts like I do, it might turn useful removing some bottom facing covers, and place them where you miss upper facing covers.
Clamp mechanism consists of two L shaped parts you need to bolt together for it to resemble a clamp. Upper part is permanently connected with pole and carries plate that sits on top of the desk. This one plate, on side that sits on top of the desk has a black soft foamy thing glued on it, intended for protecting desk surface from scratches induced by overall load. Before proceeding with installation I went on to test fit clamp (I wanted to test how much solid pole is held, before messing with arms and monitors). The good news is that pole is immovable. Bad news is that soft foam dissolved out of pressure applied, even though I did not exceed half the pressure I've currently applied onto permanent installation. So, those of you attaching it onto an expensive piece of a furniture, better find something more reliable to place in-between any part of monitor stand that touches your furniture - especially on bottom side of your desk. Bottom side of desk will experience those two large silver bolts compressing it with their two round metal pads with their rather rough surface. I am sure I've permanently scratched my own. I knew it in advance but did not care, and I still don't. Mind that by using and intermediate thing on bottom side, will compromise resistance in pole rotating towards user, induced by friction imposed by the rough surface those pads have - on purpose.
While I had in mind to measure maximum thickness desk can have for being compatible with this monitor stand, I completely forgot to do so. However, those two L shaped plates can be bolted onto three different presets, with largest one allowing at least for 3 inches thick desks - it surely is more than that, but unfortunately I did not measure it - if yours is 3 inches thick, it will work for sure.
Last point I feel like mentioning about clamp, is that upper L shaped part, where it forms it's 90 degrees corner, has two indentation details for preventing it's angle being altered due to compression. Those indentation points, can be witnessed on inner side of corner as well, and caution should be taken, not to have them pressed against table corner, or you risk damaging desk corner. In other words, vertical plate of clamp cannot/should-not be firmly attached onto desk, or you risk damaging upper desk corner. Instead, vertical plate needs to be around 3mm away from desk, for clearing those indentation details. Nonetheless, stability is not compromised by this fact.
When it comes to assembly strategy, you most definitely need to choose the one that requires less effort possible. I am 5.9 feet male and on the 1-10 strength scale, I would rate me 5-to-6, still I struggled before seeking help from my skinny girlfriend. Problem is not how much strength is required, but the fact that it's required to apply pressure with your hands extended, if just one person - and you still miss a third hand for bolting arms onto pole, while you hold the arm with both monitors mounted. So, I can only suggest you have someone there to bolt some nuts - even an adequately tall child can be the help you need.
Before you skip reading how I did it, you need to know some facts before you have your own strategy compiled:
- If you plan to bolt everything together - including monitors - and then just slide it onto the desk and clamp it, just forget it. The whole thing weights too much. You can only hold it from pole, and it's as huge as a 46 inches wide screen (if you're on 4x23 inch monitors like I am), whereas arms swing around while you hold it. It's like a huge and heavy flag waving randomly. Not to mention is impossible to hold pole on a vertical position, when loaded, with one hand, while simultaneously use the other to screw bolts of clamp.
- If you plan to bolt everything together, clamp it, and the bolt monitors while stand is in place, you really need a more dedicated third person. It is really hard to bolt the monitors without someone else holding them in place, while you do so. Still, I consider it hard given the fact that the other person needs not to even breath, at least till you bolt first screw.
I did it like this (twice, for each pair of monitors):
- Put them on the couch (bed works as well), with their panel facing the couch.
- Bolted each one of them on stand's VESA mounts,
- Tightened bolts on arm joints, to prevent monitors swinging around while I carry them,
- Slided pair onto pole, and while holding them onto desired height, had another one bolt them on pole.
- Repeat procedure for upper row of monitors.
After you've slided both arm pairs onto pole, you might discover you need to change height each monitor row sits on. If you need to get rows lower, things are easy... while slowly untightening screws holding arms onto pole, arms slide downwards in a controlled fashion (instead of rapidly bottoming out). However, if you need to raise them, things are harder. I could only lift them by 1mm or less on each attempt/breath.
Before you start messing with cabling and tilt/pitch/position each monitor needs to have, you got to decide on their height because:
- Cabling will make height adjustments harder, and
- Time invested onto "perfectly" tweaking monitor position and tilt is a waste, since every other operation - cabling included - messes with those settings.
- There is no such thing as "per monitor height adjustment". You therefore need to be wise in advance.
As other reviewers have already pointed out, integrated plastic clips for cable management are all of the same size; an inadequate size. They are of perfect size for a power cable and a single signal cable, however at least clips on pole should be larger. Especially lower pole clip, needs to accommodate at least 4 power cords and 4 signal cables - which is impossible. They can barely hold 3 HDMI cables alone. So, if you need things to be tight, I would suggest velcro ties, and only use existing clips for preventing velcro from sliding downwards.
Another one tip I feel like sharing: I initially spread my various input sources across all monitors - and even invested, in advance, for acquiring enough HDMI and DVI cables - so that I enjoy digital signal out of all sources. However, it quickly became apparent that upper row's monitor controls are not that easily reachable. I therefore reverted onto using as much as possible inputs on lower row's monitors, even at the expense on using VGA cables, since those monitors' controls are easier to reach. You now do what you gotta do.
So I got everything fitted. Pole is immovable. Even whenever I change a monitor's position. I positioned monitors where I wanted them to be (took some days for finding sweet spot and I was happy that I did not encounter issue others describe - even they have exact same monitors on a single row, those monitors have 1cm+ of height difference. And I had been wondering all these days how's that even possible, since arms of same row form what looks like a perfect straight, which should prevent it from happening.
Until one day I noticed something. Left side monitor, on its outer corner, levitates 9cm away from desk, while right side monitor, on it's outer corner levitates 7cm away from desk. It's therefore 2cm difference across ~40inches. Issue is there, on my case as well. It's only because I aligned monitors by making sure their common edges match, that I had unintentionally rotated each by a slight amount for it to become possible (if it was not for cables, monitors can rotate by 360, indefinitely, switching from landscape orientation to portrait) and I only had issue "hidden"/"masqueraded", but it's still there. Took me more than a week to notice it. However large the difference is, is impossible to tell if you're someone else. If you're me, sitting all day in front of them, I only get reminded during some days. I've never noticed it while working. I only see it when I am slacking.
Good news is that upper row of monitors seems affected the exact same way and amount. Bad news is this discrepancy seems like coming from pole not being perfectly perpendicular where it connects to base. Only a slight amount of tilt there, is enough to result onto this effect.
Mind that I soon get four monitors more. I will be buying this one once more. I can live with all of it's issues for the price it's offered.
Please excuse my English. I will try to respond onto comments/questions.