I’m big on the proper placement of a monitor. Next to getting a decent chair, it’s the most important aspect to setting up my workstation; a couple of inches up or down can make a major difference in how long I can comfortably work (or play) on my iMac. As such, I’ve had many monitor stands in my day, and one of the most useful I’ve ever tried is the Satechi F1 Smart Monitor Stand.
We’ll get to what makes it smart in a minute. First, the basics. The F1 Smart Monitor Stand measures 21.7″ wide by 9.1″ deep, making it just about an inch wider than my 21.5″ iMac at the office. It comes with a set of aluminum legs that allow you to create 2″ of space between the stand and the desk. If you need more, you can flip out inserts on the bottom of the stand to create a 3″ space (as seen above). Either way, the gap allows you to store items under your monitor, so that 21.7″ footprint isn’t at all invasive.
Satechi states that the stand will support up to 22 pounds. And whereas I don’t debate that, my 21″ iMac caused the center of the stand to bow about 1/8″ under its weight. Put a 27″ iMac on there, and I imagine it’ll be more significant. It doesn’t hurt the functionality at all, but it’s still worth noting.
The main draw of the F1 Smart Monitor Stand, however, is the smart bit. The front right of the stand sports four USB 2.0 ports, as well as microphone input and audio out jacks. Cables under the back of the stand connect to your Mac’s jacks, allowing the stand to serve as USB hub and an audio pass-through.
Getting the USB hub is great, but considering all the room available on the front of the stand, I would’ve liked to see the four ports separated a bit more to accommodate fatter flash drives and such. Also, USB 3.0 would be the way to go at this point, I think. Thunderbolt would be welcome, too, but now I’m just getting greedy.
Regardless, I found myself using the headphone jack more frequently, anyway. Reaching behind the iMac to plug in and remove my headphones was never convenient, and now I’ve got a headphone jack in plain sight. It also moves it a few inches closer to me, making it less likely that I’ll pull my headphone cord to the limit. The drawback here is that removing the headphones from the F1′s audio port doesn’t return the audio to the iMac’s speakers, as the jack from the back of the stand is still plugged into your iMac.
For desktop and cable organization, you can’t do a whole lot better than the Satechi F1 Smart Monitor Stand; its flexible positioning and added functionality will help keep your desktop clutter-free. The plastic construction and odd coloring (of the white/green model, anyway) may not look the best sitting under your iMac, MacBook or Cinema Display, but it gets the job done at a very fair price.
Buy the Satechi F1 Smart Monitor Stand
Provides: Monitor elevation, 4-port USB hub and front audio/mic port access
Minimum Requirements: Monitor or computer up to 22lbs., USB 2.0 compatible devices
Price: $39.99 (on sale for $34.99 at press time)