The Mobile Pro Desk Mount Combo (US$239.95) is part of a range of monitor mounts from Bretford, specifically designed to compliment the iMac (with built-in VESA adapter) and the Thunderbolt Display. The range comprises the Mobile Pro Wall Mount, the Mobile Pro Desk Mount and the top-tier Mobile Pro Desk Mount Combo, supporting dual displays or one display and a stand for a Macbook Air or MacBook Pro, or even an iPad.
The Mobile Pro Combo is designed to give you the ultimate in dual display flexibility, ergonimics and movement (an iMac and Thunderbolt Display or Thunderbolt Display attached to a MacBook Air or Pro). Both arms, attached to the central support pole, provide up to 12 inches of vertical and horizontal movement and depth. This means you can adjust your displays to the perfect height and angle as well as being able to pull and push the display to and away from you. Finally, the arm mounts allow you to rotate your display 360 degrees, so you can use your display in portrait positioning, too.
All this flexibility, whilst supporting the weight of your precious Apple gear, means the Mobile Pro Combo needs to be incredibly strong, durable and sturdy, not to mention being securely affixed to a solid surface.
I've not used a desk mount before, so this was new territory for me. When the Mount Pro Combo arrived I was relieved to find just how weighty and solid it is.
I'm the first to admit I'm not a DIY'er, so thankfully the installation was relatively straight forward. The Mobile Pro Combo comes with clear instructions (which are also digitally available on Bretford's website) and all the necessary tools for assembly. However, before purchasing the Mobile Pro Combo there are two important things you need to be aware of regarding installation.
Firstly, the Mobile Pro Combo will require you drill holes into your desk / work surface to securely attach the central support pole. If you're not prepared to do this (I don't even own a drill), there's a desk clamp that's sold separately from Bretford, which will support the central pole with up to 14 Kgs weight on each arm. Proper installation, whether you're drilling or using the clamp, requires your desk be 0.5 to 1.25 inches thick and, of course, secured to a sturdy base. Since I don't own a drill, I requested the desk clamp.
Secondly, if you're using an iMac model that predates 2012 (without the VESA Mount Adapter built-in) or a Thunderbolt Display, you'll need to purchase Apple's VESA Mount Adapter Kit ($39). This was something I hadn't realized, so I had to take a trip to the Apple Store to pick up the VESA kit for my Thunderbolt Display.
Bearing the above in mind, setting up the Mobile Pro Combo was really straight forward. The desk clamp attached to the central pole with nuts and bolts, which then securely attached to my desk. I then slid in the two arms, which features a no-tension adjustment system.
Attaching my Thunderbolt Display to one of the arms was where I hit a snitch however, and it had nothing to do with the Mobile Pro Combo. Rather, it was a problem with Apple's VESA Mount kit. Basically, I simply couldn't get the middle screw on the mount to completely screw into the display using the tools provided in Apple's kit. I ended up stripping the screw.
Not being able to remove or fully install the VESA adapte, I had to take the display to an Apple Store. Staff at the Apple Store removed, replaced and installed a new mount for me. The Apple staff member said a Torx screw driver was ideally required to screw in the central screw properly. Unfortunately, I don't have one of those, but I've added it to my shopping list for next time! Once Apple's VESA adapter was securely attached to my Thunderbolt Display, I attached the arm and got a friend to help me slide the arm and display into the central pole. I have a MacBook Pro with Retina display, so I attached the Mobile Pro Combo's stand to its second arm and put that into place easily.