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notes by Adam Sullovey

web & mobile application developer
practicing in Toronto, ON

HumanScale M2 and Ergotron LX Monitor arms

I’ve been using a HumanScale M2 at home for 2 months now, and just purchased an Ergotron LX desk mount arm to hold up my laptops. Here’s my thoughts so far.

3 things I love about monitor arms

  1. Pulling the monitor closer to my face using my hands instead of pulling my face closer to the monitor using my neck and spine is a very good thing.

  2. Arms have smaller footprints than stock monitor stands, and are at the back of the desk leaving more room for tablets, paper, cats, and other stuff.

  3. With arms mounted at the back/sides of the desk, the rest of the desk has fewer wires getting tangled on top of it and is easier to keep clean.

HumanScale M2

Humanscale M2

I picked up an almost-new HumanScale M2 off of Kijiji for about $100. When purchased new it has a 15 year warranty, so I have faith it will last a while. Mine came with a bolt-through mount which was easy to install. My mostly-hollow Ikea Linnmon table-top has no problem supporting it so far.

The arm looks great, and is currently holding up a ~12 lb Dell 2208WFP monitor with no issues. It takes 2 hands and some force to adjust the position and angle. This could mean I haven’t set the tension settings properly, or a result of the monitor being on the light side of the suggested weight range. Being able to rotate the monitor 360 (limited only by the power and display cables) is great, but sometimes I can’t tell if the monitor is level or not which leads to fidgeting with it.

October 2014 update: The M2 is now holding up a ~14 lb 27″ BenQ BL2710PT with no problem. The range of motion allows me to lower the monitor almost to the surface of my desk, or raise the bottom of the frame 8.5″ up in the air. I move it a bit every day, depending on how I’m sitting.

Ergotron LX Desk Mount Arm

Ergotron LX arm

The Ergotron LX Desk Mount Arm should be a great value if it doesn’t break. It’s half the price of a new M2 with two mount types included (but only a 5 year warranty), has similar reach and supported weight range specs, and has greater angle adjustment range than the M2. I plan to use this arm to hold up a laptop. It is chunkier looking than the M2, but allows me to lock the rotation of the monitor at a level angle, and can also tilt back much farther.

October 2014 update: The LX and its notebook tray accessory have been holding up numerous 13″ – 15″ laptops reliably for a few months now. One of my favourite things to do is raise it up to about 14″, and then run another notebook or multiple touchscreen devices on my desk under the tray. It’s like having a shelf. I can test web apps on a lot of devices simultaneously right in front of me this way.

Things these arms have common

  • Spring based vertical tension (no gas cylinders)
  • Mostly made of aluminium
  • Similar reach distance
  • Similar minimum and maximum weights
  • Lots of good reviews on Amazon

Things that are different

  • M2 has a 3x longer warranty
  • M2 is usually 2x the price
  • M2 has a quick release VESA plate that makes it easier to swap monitors
  • LX has a wider ranger of monitor angle adjustments
  • LX can lock monitor rotation (using 1 screw) to keep the monitor level

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