AmazonBasics – The Underappreciated Utility of a Great Monitor Arm

  • Cost – $189.99 USD + Free Shipping
  • Item Weight – 11.6 pounds
  • Shipping Weight – 23.6 pounds
  • Source – Amazon.com
  • Table used – Ikea Bekant

In my overview of the Crossover Freesync Zero I discussed problems with the limited view distance due to the shallow desk it was being used on. The most obvious fix was to invest in a monitor arm but the process of doing all that research was rather time consuming. There were plenty of sites and videos arbitrarily ranking arms from authors who had never even used the products they were recommending. What’s more, not everyone has the physical space or the budget to invest in a proper high end arm, so it always ends up being a toss up.

Having already gone the cheap route with the Mount-It! dual monitor stand I decided to go for the other end of the spectrum this time around. Offerings from companies like SimplyHuman look absolutely fantastic but $500 USD for two monitor arms is a bit too much for me. Traveling further down the budget tree a bit I eventually settled on the Amazonbasics dual monitor arms, widely regarded as an option that provides unrivaled value for money. As the arms are built by Ergotron the Amazon offering packs the same high quality assembly and ease of use while sitting at a much more palatable price point. I’ve only used the arms for a week or so at the time this post is going up but I genuinely think it is worth every last cent.

The arm comes in two varieties that support either single or dual monitor configurations. If space and budget aren’t a concern then going with two separate single monitor arms will provide the greatest amount of flexibility for display placement. I’ve opted for the dual monitor variant as I simply do not have the free space to mount two separate bases for the stands.

The box that contains the arms is much smaller and lighter than you’d imagine for something that’s supposed to be so sturdy. The contents of the box are securely but tightly spaced out through two layers of styrofoam and everything from the various components of the arm to the multi-language instructions manual arrives completely blemish free.

On the top we have the instruction manual and accessories, two sets of screws, as well as some zip ties. Right below are the base, two arms that mount to your monitor, and two extension arms.

As is the case with my usual luck I find that both the provided sets of screws are not the correct length for my Korean monitor duo. Additional washers are needed, so those of you who don’t have spare screws on hand may want to order a good half dozen or so just to keep on hand for scenarios like this.

I tried using the set of screws from the Mount-It! monitor arm but they were the wrong length as well even when trying to mix and match various washers and rubber spacers. What ended up working was a set of screws I had saved from an old NZXT Switch 810 case that I have upgraded from several years ago.

After attaching the arm to the monitor base it’s simply a matter of attaching it to the stand that clamps to your desk. This is such seemingly insignificant but life changing quality of life improvement that will be mandatory with my own purchases going forward. The feature is hardly unique to the Amazon offering but It’s so nice to be able to make modifications and adjustments alone rather than needing a second person to hold the monitor in place while I struggle with the screws. It is so liberating!

arm-angle.jpg

While the arms do have a good amount of flexibility there are some limitations to their range of movement. The plate that attaches to the back of the monitor can be rotated 360 degrees but the ligament it is attached to can only rotate 180 degrees along the horizontal plane. The ligament is attached to a long arm piece that controls the overall height of the display, and each piece has its own respective screw for tension adjustment. As the above picture shows, it’s impossible to pull the monitor further back without causing the display to be locked facing away from me without the addition of the extension bar.

Each segment of the arm has its own tension screw that can be adjusted on the fly with the provided screwdrivers. These tension screws are positioned in very convenient locations such that you will simply need to tilt the monitor downwards to make any desired adjustments. It took very little effort for me to find the desired tension such that I could still make minor tweaks without having the monitor sag or pop up too high. The ease of use is helped by the fact that the two monitors I am mounting are lightweights. Both the Qnix QX2710 and the Crossover Zero 27 Fast weigh in under 12 pounds which is well under the 20 pounds a pop that each arm is rated for.

Overall

Rear view monitors.jpg

It goes without saying that I am incredibly satisfied with the purchase at this point in time as I’ve managed to tick multiple boxes by installing this arm. I’ve increased view distance, elevated the monitors up to a comfortable viewing level, moved them to be side by side for easy viewing, and regained a lot of usable desk space below them. I’ve also been able to appreciate just how much smaller the Crossover monitor is when seeing it side by side with the Qnix. Both pack 27″ panels but the bezels are much thicker on the Qnix with its older design philosophy.

To be honest I’ve been set on the Amazon arm for a while already but I was holding out for a discount of some sort to offset the hefty $90 USD I’d have to pay to ship the product out here to me in Hong Kong. I was very close to pulling the trigger back in June as a similar product from 3M costs roughly $3,300 HKD (~$420 USD), and single monitor units retail in the $1,400 HKD (~$180 USD) range anyways. Thankfully Amazon started offering free international shipping on select products recently and when I saw that the monitor arms qualified I knew I had to pull the trigger.

At the end of the day the $190 USD asking price is still a good chunk of money for a lot of people and it isn’t something that everyone needs to have at their disposal. There’s probably a generic China offering out there somewhere that can get the job done just as well at a much lower cost. Offerings like the North Bayou come in at $20 USD a pop and come with lots of positive reviews that don’t seem to fit the profile for botted responses. I just haven’t had great experiences going the cheap route and the last time I did I ended up spending multiple times that to replace the desk and other damaged goods.

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