Pros: *Weighted* adjustable height, tilt, swivel; Very well built; Cable management
Cons: Wish it lifted higher...
Did you know they make these things? They're mostly geared towards medical environments and businesses, but they've been around for years. No one in these communities seems to talk about or own them, we all seem perfectly content staring at a monitor that is raised three inches off our desks and tilting it as far as back as it'll go or stacking up a pile of books for it to wobble on. I had looked into this sort of product a few years ago for a couple of minutes, but back then you couldn't find a stand for less than $150 and a desk-mount would run you ~$75. This thing was $43.86 + shipping and made by Ergotron, the same company that makes those fancy fully-adjustable standing computer stations in hospitals and stuff.
It was packaged in a generic brown box shipped inside of a much larger generic box from Buy.com (lowest price at time of review with shipping). Everything was well packed and easy to remove, pretty efficient generic packaging was a little surprising, but not as surprising as the weight of this thing. Despite it's looks it is built with steel housed by plastic and weighs more than my monitor. You can be confident that this thing will not break or tip over.
Assembly was super easy. Two screws in the back and you're done with the stand. For my ASUS VW246H monitor I just had to remove two screws to disassemble the base and remove four rubber place holders to reveal the 100X100 VESA mount. Lay the monitor flat on a soft surface (I used a blanket), four more screws and I was done.
Putting it on my desk I immediately noticed a huge difference. My monitor was 5.5" higher in the Ergotron's highest position than it was on the manufacturer's stand. Not the huge leap I was looking for but a dramatic improvement. This stand uses a weighted system instead of knobs to make adjustments and it is excellent - the monitor can be moved with very little force and holds its place nicely. The tension can also be adjusted simply by turning a screw in the desired movement's system. The stand swivels infinitely via a raised ring installed in the base of the stand, whose movement could be a little rough at times but is effective and provides a greater range of motion than a rotating arm solution. The rotation/landscape function is very nice as well - since the cables are routed through the hole in the neck near the base of the stand, a nice feature in and of itself (ran my keyboard and mouse through there as well), a landscape rotation can be achieved without worrying about creating a mess or tangling things. The space in rotation that allows the monitor to "lock" into a level view is a little loose but I didn't notice any issues achieving a level/centered view.
That said, it isn't perfect. The swivel is a little rough, and I was a little disappointed in the overall height - it'd be nice to be able to move the monitor up another 6-10" so taller folk can sit upright. At 6' I'm still leaning into my monitor a little and will probably end up propping it up on something so it will sit at eye-level. This could be a problem with smaller monitors especially, but it's still a significant upgrade. Although the cable management is nice it would be nicer if there were a hook or something at the back of the base so that the cables remained hidden behind the stand's neck rather than running down the front of the neck, but they're mostly concealed by the monitor anyway. It would also be nice if there were a guide for the monitor's cables at the top of the stand's neck as the cables hang independently from the monitor and meet at the routing hole in the base. I used a zip-tie to have my three cables hang down in a bundle instead, but this will make adding and removing cables more difficult than it could be.
All in all this is one of the best purchases I've ever made for a computer. This stand should last me ten years or so, even when I upgrade to a 30" IPS it should raise my monitor higher than any manufacturer's stand, and it's built like a tank. The action is smooth and satisfying, my $200 homely computer monitor looks like a fancy $600 business-class IPS, my desk looks a lot less cluttered, and I'll never hunch over my desk again. Actually, after this deliberation, my real gripe is that my monitor didn't come with one of these and that I've been using it for two years without it. EVERY ONE SHOULD OWN ONE OF THESE, IT WILL MAKE YOU VERY HAPPY. GO BUY IT NOW.