The Next Level Racing 'GT Ultimate' simulator comes in a number of seperate components, allowing for a simulator to be
built up over time. I initially purchased the Next Level Racing Wheel Stand in December 2012 and reviewed it a week later. A solid product, I've been wanting to get the triple monitor stand that attaches to it ever since it was first made available.
The full rig is comprises the following components
- Next Level Racing Wheel Stand
- Next Level Racing Monitor Stand
- Next Level Racing Keyboard + Mouse Tray
- Next Level Racing GT Ultimate Seat
- Next Level Racing Floor Mat
I recently purchased the Monitor Stand, Keyboard + Mouse Tray, and the Floor Mat. My original generation Next Level Wheel stand does not come with the six pre-drilled holes on the second generation stand that allow a monitor stand to be attached. That's no problem for anyone with a drill and a first gen. stand. 10 minutes of marking and checking and drilling and my stand was securely attached to my V1 wheel stand.
The monitor stand can be configured to suit up to a single 55" TV or up to three 27" monitors. I'm running the triple 27" option (a significant upgrade from my desk "mounted" 19" + 24" + 19" previous setup).
In triple monitor configuration two arms attach to the middle monitor mount at the point where the mount bolts to the uprights and a hinge is provided half way along each arm. This allows the side monitors to be angled inward toward the driver. When running 27" monitors the arms touch the back of the middle monitor fairly early, allowing an angle of about 20 to 30 degrees to be reached. I found this adequate. Large angles can be achieved with smaller monitors.
Assembly the stand was not completely trivial. The provided instructions were suitable and I was easily able to attach the mount arms, even though I needed to drill 8mm holes on my first generation wheel stand. The difficulty arose when attaching the monitor mounts to the upright arms. No matter what I tried I could not get the bolt holes to perfectly align, meaning I could not correctly fasten the arms. There was just no way they would align, even when the hieght adjustable arms were removed from their mounts. This was clearly a manufacturing problem.
Resorting to more drilling, I used my drill bit to extend the hole down to where I could corrently fit the fastening bolt. Once that was done, attaching all arms was simple.
The monitors attach to the stand by using the supplied mounts (just make sure you have VESA monitors). Each side of the monitor mount is seperate, allowing for any VESA size to be used. My monitors are 100 x 100 and that worked fine. The mounts basically clip on to the monitor rail and can be fasten with a screw in the base of each mount.
The monitor arms came with rivets in the ends, I assume to stop the monitors from sliding off. The rivets from one of the arms fell out while I was removing the arm from it's packaging!
Disappointingly, no screws are supplied for fixing the mounts to the rail, even though the instructions indicate where to place the screws! They weren't missing either, as the instructions had a list of all included items and screws were not on that list. I had to source my own from the hardware store.
Once the monitors were attached I found the were as a small gap between the monitors. This is because no matter how hard I fastened the arms, there was still some play in the them and with the weight of the monitors (my monitors are ultra thin LG models and very light), the arms still angled down, creating a gap at the tops between the monitors. Each side monitor also angled slightly forward at it's bottom. The effect of this on my racing are minimal, its just the aesthetic of the monitors that is bothersome. I feel the angle problem can be resolved by packing the joints that connect the arms to the middle rail with a washer.
Another problem I encountered was with the small plastic things (not sure what to call them) that are placed on the height adjustable arms. It seems the "plastic things" are there to secure the arms inside the black upright. The problem being, I inserted the arms into the uprights and adjusted the hieght to the desired position and the plastic things fell off and fell to the bottom of the uprights. The result being the arms moved around inside the uprights, making the monitors not so sturdy. The solution was to get some coathanger wire and pull the plastic things out and then superglue them to the arms and re-insert. This worked well and once complete, the arms and whole setup was sturdy.
Assembly took about 45 minutes and another 15 minutes to tidy up the cables.
Overall I'm happy with the Next Level Monitor Stand, although it's a long way from being a polished solution and it doesn't perfectly work out of the box.