gadg-et-oid [gaj-it-oid]


1. having the characteristics or form of a gadget;
resembling a mechanical contrivance or device.

Flo Dual Monitor Arm Reviewed

This time last year our home office was a pipe dream. Fast forward twelve months and it’s an expensive reality.

I’ll admit, if the office hadn’t been absolutely essential for working effectively 100+ miles from my employer I’d have abandoned it in the planning phase and tucked a desk into the living room. The costs mounted quickly, and things like roofing and electrics were substantial hits to the budget. The spiraling costs left us dry-lining, painting and flooring ourselves… an effort that I’m proud of, but would not hasten to repeat.

Does dry lining the office count?

— Phil Howard (@Gadgetoid) April 1, 2021

The sheer expense of making a room ready for habitation didn’t leave much budget for furnishings. We spent virtually nothing on cheap 100x60mm LINNMON Ikea table tops (on sale for £6 each!), re-used legs from our makeshift kitchen table, and did a lot of gluing and screwing to make a (surprisingly perfectly fit) continuous U-shaped desk to fit the room.

Going to make a 2m x 60cm desk from these £6 IKEA tops ?

— Phil Howard (@Gadgetoid) April 13, 2021

In the seating department I was blessed to have caught the attention of Herman Miller and get hold of a Cosm chair- a bastion of comfort and a godsend for my posture.

But a chair is only part of the equation for a comfortable, productive and healthy work setup. Perhaps the second biggest part is monitor placement.

Herman Miller came to the rescue – again – with sister brand Colebrook Bosson Saunders and perhaps the sassiest monitor arms in town. Armed with the intent of pairing the arm with a couple of (cheap and cheerful) 27″ 4K LG monitors I picked out the Flo Dual, a dual (as the name would suggest) monitor arm that fits each monitor on its own independent, poseable arm with a shared base.

This choice of “independent” monitor arm was a bold choice because – as any multi-monitor aficionado will attest – positioning two monitors such that they are perfectly vertically aligned can be an exercise in frustration.

The good and bad of the Flo is that – in my very, very close to the wall desk setup – the monitor arms simply would not allow the monitors to be positioned right next to each other. Where previously I had been anally retentive to the point of sealing the gap between monitors with black electrical tape, I now had no choice but to live with it. Or lean into it.

I leaned. It turns out that a big gap between your monitors is rather a good place to mount a camera and microphone. I have a tendency to look like I’m distracted and gazing off into the corner of the room; but it works.

With the gap embraced I could also exploit the Flo’s strength- adjustability. The very cheapest of monitor arms tend to comprise a metal tube that clamps to the desk, and a folding that clamps on. The folding arm provides horizontal and distance adjustment in a pinch, but adjusting these classic stands vertically requires undoing the clamp, gently shifting the whole clumsy thing up or down, and tightening again.

The Flo, by contrast, offer a full degree of motion including height adjustment, rotation and (vertical) tilt without any tool adjustment necessary. Like similar, poseable arms they used a tensioned spring mechanism and the weight of the monitor to achieve a balance and afford effortless posing. Unlike these cheaper adjustable arms, they don’t suck.

Hear me out. I paid £34.99 – not super cheap, but cheap – for a single Invision monitor arm. It’s bulky, ugly, and requires a screwdriver even to route cables through the cable management.

The Flo is sleek, includes an excellent rubber cable channel and cable hooks which I could route some cable tidy tube through, has a quick-release system for the monitor mounting plates and looks bloody wonderful. But… it costs roughly 10x as much!

Is it worth it? Well, in my humble opinion- yes, but I realise that’s very easy to say when you haven’t felt the sting of a £324 (more than the cost of one of my monitors, I might add) monitor arm. Most of the time my monitors might as well be fixed into position. Occasionally I feel like I need a good slouch or need to pull some reference material around to face the soldering/probing and tinkering-with-Pi’s side of my desk.

And I guess if – like me – you’ve spent roughly £50 on your entire, room-filling desk you might as well splurge on the fittings and fixtures that make it look professional. Ha!

My setup did include a gotcha- you probably know that the Ikea table-tops are made of cardboard and are roughly twice as thick as a regular solid-wood or wood-adjacent desk. The Flo Dual clamp has two mounting options- Split Desk Clamp and Top Mount Clamp. The latter – which I received – supports desks from 12mm to 25mm… the Ikea LINNMON is 34mm. Whoops.


— Phil Howard (@Gadgetoid) April 28, 2021

Fortunately I had a workaround: the clamp had holes that would take a big wood screw, so I just screwed a couple through my mouse-mat, through my desk and into a baton of scrap wood. Works a treat and there’s a plastic cover so you can’t (unless you look under the desk) see my sins!

Screwing it down… sorry @HermanMillerEur ? sorry @endgamegear this is all your fault @IKEAUK

— Phil Howard (@Gadgetoid) April 28, 2021

You know what… it’s got three holes through the top bracket and I have screws and/or a drill & bolts. I’ve got this.

— Phil Howard (@Gadgetoid) April 28, 2021

Without the monitor arms the LG monitors – on their very cheap, non-adjustable stands – were far too low although at least I didn’t have to worry about height adjustment.

Dual 4K @ 27” is truly fucking magnificent and the only improvement on this would be true 10-bit, mini-led, 144Hz displays on DisplayPort 1.4.

This was worth tweaking for and I don’t know how I lived without it.

— Phil Howard (@Gadgetoid) April 23, 2021

While installing the base was a bit… makeshift… fixing the mounts to the back of the LG monitors was easy- they’re a standard 100mm VESA mount with a spring-loaded quick release switch. I just had to screw them in place and slot them into the installed monitor arms. A much easier arrangement than having to secure two additional screws, or bolt an entire arm into place.

With the arms installed I have more desk space, monitors at the right height and the flexibility to quickly swing a monitor around if I need it.

My desk is the matrix

— Phil Howard (@Gadgetoid) April 28, 2021

Roughly 8 months later the chair and monitor arm combo has completely relieved me of the crippling neck ache dogging me at the start of last year. Though it quickly returns if I revert to slouching over a kitchen table. This isn’t medical advice- ha- but good posture and a comfortable working area really is a vitally important and wholly underrated cornerstone of being a code-monkey.

If a stylish, tidy setup is important to you, and… affordability less so… then I couldn’t recommend the CBS Ergonomics Flo Dual enough.

Monday, January 3rd, 2022, Monitors, Personal Computing.