Vroom! Satechi F1 Smart Monitor Stand revs up your desktop, but misses a turn
Ergonomic experts agree that your computer monitor shouldn't be too high or too low -- your line of sight should be parallel to a line about one-third of the way down the screen. Far too many of us have monitors that we're either staring up or down at, resulting in neck and back problems. For those who are looking, Satechi has come up with the F1 Smart Monitor Stand to give your standalone monitor or laptop a boost and help bring it up to a comfortable level.
- Price: US$39.99 regular price, now available for $29.99
- Dimensions: 21.7" x 9.1" x 1.0" (55.11 x 23.11 x 2.54 cm)
- Weight: 2.4 lbs (1.09 kg)
- Ports: 4 USB 2.0 ports, microphone, headphone
- Materials: Aluminum (legs), rubber (foot pads), plastic (body)
The F1 Smart Monitor Stand provides a lot of space to hold up either a monitor, a laptop, or whatever else you'd like to throw onto it up to 22 pounds (10 kilograms). Satechi suggests that you might want to put your all-in-one printer/scanner on top of this, which means that you could store paper and envelopes underneath.
The top of the F1's body is white plastic, with the bottom being a rather bilious looking green. Fortunately, the green is only there for a highlight and to focus on the ports. Ah, yes, the ports... Why in the name of all things wired did Satechi ship a USB-equipped accessory in 2014 with USB 2.0 ports? This should be a USB 3.0 accessory.
There's another problem with those ports -- they're unpowered. Yes, this is simply a passthrough hub, not providing power to charge anything. There are a growing number of USB accessories that just won't work on an unpowered hub.
Satechi does include a long USB extension cord for you to plug into your Mac mini or MacBook, as well as a pair of audio cables for connecting your device to the audio ports. This seems somewhat anachronistic as well, since many speakers are going Bluetooth these days and USB mics are all the rage.
The aluminum legs can be set up to lift the top of the Smart Monitor Stand to two different heights -- 4 inches and 2.75 inches. They're either plugged directly into slots in the bottom of the stand, or into slots in four fold-down plastic legs that rotate down. I suppose one could also just put the stand on the plastic legs, which raises the stand surface to just 2 inches.
The F1 Smart Monitor Stand is quite robust, and it didn't even flinch when I put my Epson WF-3540 All-In-One on top of it. That printer exceeds the alleged weight limit on the device by a couple of pounds, but it held up during testing. That tells me that it's going to hold up to most monitors without a problem.
I found the location of the extra USB ports to be handy -- right up front -- although it bugs me no end that Satechi didn't make this a USB 3.0 accessory. The USB extension to run to your Mac or other hub is well-placed underneath the stand, and there's even a little cutout to hold the cable in place; a nice touch.
Satechi's F1 Smart Monitor Stand is good at what it's basically designed to do -- hold up a monitor or laptop to a comfortable position. For anyone with an older Mac, it will even work well at being a USB hub. However, the lack of a powered USB 3.0 hub really made me question the company's design decisions on what could have been a real standout accessory. It's well-constructed and even somewhat attractive (although I wish it came in a color other than bile green), and the pricing is definitely a standout at the $30 introductory price. But no USB 3.0 makes it a no-go for this reviewer.
Rating: 2 stars out of 4 stars possible
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