By: Jonathan Kwan
February 7, 2014
Over the years, I have owned many Dell UltraSharp LCD monitors. The first one I have owned is a 2005FPW roughly nine years ago; an exceptional 20" 16:10 widescreen LCD featuring a brilliant 8-bit S-IPS panel. Since then, I have tried to own monitors of other brands, and even ventured into ones equipped TN panels -- but I have always come back to premium UltraSharp monitors for my main setup. Its picture quality, features, and price is simply unmatched by any other manufacturer in the market today. Besides picture quality, Dell UltraSharps also ellipses other brands in terms of features. This includes stuff like a bajillion inputs, built-in card reader on high end models, and of course, the all-important height adjustable stand. Why is the height adjustable stand so important? Well, if you have been tilting your monitor back all these years, try straightening it out and raise it to eye level with some textbooks -- it makes a world of difference. However, while having a height adjustable stand is awesome, it has one significant limitation: Placement. In the past, I could not establish a dual 24" screen configuration in my room, simply because my desk is too small. Furthermore, spanning two 24" monitors across would have been too wide; making the view a pain in the... neck. But when my 2408WFP decided to kick the bucket a few weeks ago, I decided it was time for a change. With the SilverStone ARM Two SST-ARM22SC articulating monitor arm, not only could I place two 24" monitors on my desk, but I could do so while placing them at eye level, and angle them in aggressively so I can view across 3840 pixels without hurting my neck -- all without taking up any room on my desk. For a competitive price of about $200 at press time, is this your Ergotron killer? We took one in along a pair of UltraSharps to find out.
Our review unit of the SilverStone ARM Two came in a uniquely shaped package from the company's American headquarters in California, USA. The brown corrugated cardboard box was a bit distorted at the top, but this is nothing to get alarmed about -- it is bent a bit to accommodate the content inside. You will see what I am talking about in the next picture. Using UPS Standard, everything arrived in excellent condition as it traveled across the border to us here in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. I have definitely been looking forward to getting my hands on the SST-ARM22SC, so I wasted no time to get started.
After removing the SilverStone ARM Two from the shipping box, I found its retail packaging design to be pretty down to earth. As you can see in our photo above, it yet another brown corrugated cardboard box with black printing on it. Was I expecting pretty pictures? Not quite; after all, if you are working at your company's IT department order ten or so of these for your coworkers, any fancy retail box will just end up in the recycle bin downstairs anyway. I think SilverStone has done a good job here in designing correctly for the target audience. As you can see in our photo above, SilverStone's logo can be found at the top left corner, while the specific mounting variant is marked on the right hand side. A drawing of the ARM Two is shown prominently across surface; just below the model name. One thing you cannot really miss is the big "MIT" badge near the left. In case you are wondering, this has nothing to do with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Instead, it simply stands for "Made in Taiwan", used to signify its quality manufacturing and assembly. We will see how true this holds as we progress through this review.
Before we move on, let's take a look at the specifications of the SilverStone ARM Two SST-ARM22SC, as obtained from the manufacturer's website:
Model No.: SST-ARM22SC
Material: Steel/Aluminum alloy/Plastic
Max. wall mount hole pitch: 100 x 100 mm/ 75 x 75 mm (MIS-D 100 / MIS-D 75)
Screw Type: M4
Tilt: Max. +90° / -20°
Support max. weight: 2 ~ 10Kg (4.4~22.1lbs) per arm
Support flat panel size: ≦24"
Min. Distance To The Wall: 97mm
Support desktop thickness: 8mm (0.32”)~ 50mm (1.96”)
Extended Arm Provided: 4
Net Weight: 5.7Kg (12.54Ibs)
Dimension: 1000mm (W) x 497mm (H) x 619mm (D)
The box opens via a flap at the top. Inside, all its contents are neatly laid out in the custom molded Styrofoam tray's compartments; ready for assembly by the end user. I am not a big fan of these Styrofoam trays, because I cringe every time I hear the squeaks -- not to mention the small white bits that end up everywhere when scraped. With out of the way, here, you will find the desk clamp, center rod, two components that make up the articulating arm, center ring, several sets of hex screws, and two hex screwdrivers. Personally, despite having used a monitor arms in the office, I have never assembled one at home before, so staring at all thirteen pounds of metal and plastic seemed a bit overwhelming at first. Logically, I turned to the included manual. However, if being Made in Taiwan is a selling point for the manufacturing quality, it is rather unfortunate the included manual comes as detrimental hint of its origin. After spending five minutes and still have no idea what it is talking about, I decided that I am better off just figuring out how everything goes together myself. As Jeremy Clarkson from Top Gear would have said, in his British accent and all, "How hard can it be?"
Now for those who realize the implications of "How hard can it be?" every time Jeremy Clarkson says it, rest be assured us here at APH Networks does not have a budget for blowing up any LCD monitors, nor were we planning on sending my desk crashing down in a spectacular manner. In other words, I will actually assemble it correctly for our review today. To start, you will need to put the clamp together. The clamp consists of two strong metal parts; simply align the upper and lower piece, and attach four screws from the inside. Next, install it to the side of your desk by securing the pair of feet below. The SilverStone ARM Two can accommodate desks as thin as 8mm all the way to surfaces as thick as 50mm, so you are pretty well covered for anything ranging from glass to thick wooden tables. I found the metal clamp to be very well made, and once installed, it is very secure. I am also pleased with the fact its wall clearance along the edge is minimal, so if your table is placed against the wall like me, you will need to increase the gap marginally, if none at all.
After installing the clamp, the center pole can be inserted into base. According to SilverStone, the entire setup measures in at 1000mm width, 497mm height, and 619mm depth, but this will obviously change depending on what your adjustment is. According to the photos, the included metal ring is to be inserted before the arms, but there is nothing stopping you from reversing the order like I did.
Each arm consists of two parts. At the center pole, the first section of each arm that rotates about the Y-axis -- assuming X is left and right, Y is up and down, and Z is front and back -- stacks on top of each other. It provides the user with distance adjustment on the X-Z plane, creating the first element of an articulating arm. To install, simply slide it in place, and tighten the pre-installed hex screw. Again, according to SilverStone's photos, the left arm stacks on top of the right arm, but the supposed symmetry of the ARM Two SST-ARM22SC makes this a moot point. The reason I decided to stack the right side on the left is to give my monitors a minute bit of right bias; this is based on the fact I have measured out my desk to align the base in dead center.
The second part of the arm is considerably more complex than the first. To install it, simply slide it to the end of the preceding section, as shown in the photo above. This allows rotation about the Y axis and distance adjustment on the X-Z plane like the first segment, but the spring loaded arm provides height adjustment as well. The VESA mount in the end adjusts to your monitor, and allows your screen to swivel ninety degrees in either direction, tilt up to ninety degrees back or twenty degrees forward, and rotate a full three hundred and sixty degrees. I think this is as flexible as articulating monitor arms can go, and what can I say -- I cannot ask for anything else.
Overall, the SilverStone ARM Two SST-ARM22SC's build quality is top notch. Its liberal use of aluminum and steel makes it extremely strong and lightweight. Although the Made in Taiwan manual is everything you stereotype it to be, its manufacturing and construction is definitely among the best I have seen. The fit and finish is excellent, with well designed mechanics for a simple, straightforward, and secure installation. There was not a single area where I found the ARM Two lacking in this regard.
Here is a shot at the back of the SilverStone ARM Two SST-ARM22SC with a monitor installed. Each arm has SilverStone's logo displayed proudly in the middle. If you are putting the whole thing together yourself, I would highly recommend you to attach the second segment of the arm to the monitor on the ground first, and then pop it in place afterwards. My Dell UltraSharp monitor already has VESA mount screws pre-installed from the factory, so I used those instead -- but SilverStone provides them in case your monitor does not come with any. The ARM Two supports VESA MIS-D 100 and MIS-D 75 specification; in layman terms, this simply means hole pitch of 100mm by 100 mm and 75mm by 75 mm, respectively.
The SST-ARM22SC can accommodate LCD monitors between 4.4 pounds to 22.1 pounds each, and recommends a maximum screen size of 24". The spring torque can be adjusted depending on your monitor weight, but I found this to be unnecessary for the screens I am using.
The SilverStone ARM Two provides an integrated cable management system that allows you to run everything along its arm segments. Each segment is enclosed by a plastic piece to make sure everything is secure within. For the first part of the arm closer to the rod, the plastic cover is attached by a set of screws, which is extremely secure, but it is really a pain in the butt to remove if you need to add or subtract cables sometime down the road. The location of the arm segment makes it worse. A clip-on cover is probably more desirable in my opinion. The second part of the arm that attaches to your monitor uses a clip on cover, but it does not provide a whole lot of routing space inside. If you have anything more than a DVI, power, and USB cable, you will find yourself looking for more. Personally, I have a cable box connected via HDMI to one of my monitors, and unfortunately, the HDMI cable will need to run outside, making the setup not as clean as it should.
The finished product is shown in my photo above. Overall, despite the poor manual, I found the assembly process to be very straightforward. Actually, after writing this review, I found out SilverStone actually has a YouTube video on how to put their arms together. Anywho, if you are paying close attention to the details, I flipped the order of the silver ring on the center rod. It is supposed to be at the bottom of the arms, rather than at the top. Personally, I found it looks better this way, and there is no mechanical cons of doing so. After tightening the screws, carefully routing the cables, and sliding my desk in place, I am very pleased with the end results. The black and silver SilverStone ARM Two SST-ARM22SC fits into any home or office space aesthetically. It is subtle, yet elegant. Functionally, my monitors can be placed at eye level, angled in aggressively for a easier view, and leaves a lot of room on my desk for an extremely clean setup. My Logitech G51 speakers and control module finds a good home on my desk along with the SteelSeries H Wireless transceiver. Other peripherals shown include a Func KB-460, Logitech G500, and XTracPads Ripper XXL.
For about $200 at press time, the SilverStone ARM Two SST-ARM22SC is a competitively priced product for what you get. Okay, the instruction manual may be terrible, but the assembly process is so straightforward, you probably have figured out how this articulating monitor arm goes together after reading this review already. If you still do not get it, search it up on YouTube -- there is a video on how to assemble the arm. With that in mind, I have to say the whole Made in Taiwan thing really has its benefits. It is very refined, and has everything you should and could expect from a company like SilverStone. The ARM Two is extremely well put together; our particular unit's fit and finish is absolutely top notch. The company's excellent use of aluminum and steel ensures the arm screams quality no matter where you look and touch. The way SilverStone designed the SST-ARM22SC as an articulating arm also allows tons of flexibility in adjustment; whether you are looking to raise, swivel, rotate, and tilt your screens -- this has everything under the belt. As the icing on the cake, its silver-black color scheme is subtle yet elegant to fit in regardless of it being located in your office or your room. For something as perfect as this, one may ask the question: Is there anything wrong with it? Well, I do have one minor complaint, and that is its cable management design. If the upper arm can accommodate more cables, and the lower arm has a better implemented cover, then we will have a real winner in our hands. But for now, compare it to everything else it its class, and you will find that while $200 is no pocket change, it would be quite a challenge to beat the SilverStone in both quality and features.
SilverStone provided this product to APH Networks for the purpose of evaluation.
APH Review Focus Summary:
7/10 means Great product with many advantages and certain insignificant drawbacks; but should be considered before purchasing.
8/10 means Definitely a very good product with drawbacks that aren't likely going to matter to the end user.
-- Final APH Numeric Rating is 7.4/10
Please note that the APH Numeric Rating system is based off our proprietary guidelines in the Review Focus, and should not be compared to other sites.
SilverStone ARM Two SST-ARM22SC is an extremely well built articulating monitor arm that is hard to beat in both quality and features for $200 at press time.
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