1/ i1 Display Pro II
Price: £158, $249
Externally, the i1 Display Pro looks similar to X-Rite’s cheaper ColorMunki Display, but this is a far more
serious piece of kit.
For starters, this baby is fast. Forget the usual four to five minutes the other devices needed to perform a full
monitor calibration, as the i1 Display Pro was all done in just over one minute.
You’ll need this saved time to navigate the initial options, though, as even setting the software to its basic
mode can’t hide the professional orientation of the device, which means that using it can be daunting at first.
Delve into advanced mode to find plenty of hardcore profiling controls that’ll ensure your monitor is calibrated to match various industry-standard colour spaces.
Calibration time: 1 minute 18 seconds
Colour accuracy after calibration (Delta-E, lower scores better): 0.70
PROs… Crammed with features and blazingly fast.
Cons… Can go beyond many people’s needs and expertise.
WE say… Gives total control over your monitor calibration.
2/ Xrite ColorMunki Display
Price: £108, $169
Impressive though the i1 Display Pro is, many of its advanced options aren’t necessary for home studio use.
The ColorMunki Display, on the other hand, gives you all the control you could want, plus a simplified basic
mode that’s a doddle to navigate.
What’s more, it produced an almost identical colour profile to the pricier i1 Display Pro, albeit at a more
Like its bigger brother you get X-Rite’s Ambient Light Smart Control feature to adjust your monitor’s brightness
to match the lighting conditions you’ll be working in when inspecting prints.
There’s also a dedicated flare correction feature to help compensate for any direct glare hitting your screen.
5 minutes 5 seconds
Colour accuracy after calibration (Delta-E, lower scores better): 0.69
Pros… Combines extensive features with simple control.
Cons… Speed and colour accuracy no better than the ColorMunki Smile.
WE say… A decent all-rounder.
3/ Data Color Spyder 4 Elite
Price: £165, $249
Datacolor offers three versions of the Spyder4: Express, Pro, and this range-topping Elite model.
Not content with simply calibrating your monitor, this gadget will calibrate projectors as well as iOS and Android
Wide-gamut, LED-backlit and CRT monitors are supported, plus the device measures ambient light levels.
Despite the advanced tech, this is still a doddle to use with well designed software, and those spidery legs
keep the hardware resting nicely on your screen.
Our initial calibration was plagued by a blue colour cast, and though a software update cured the problem, the
Spyder4Elite couldn’t quite match the colour accuracy of the competing X-Rite colorimeters.
Calibration time: 5 minutes 15 seconds
Colour accuracy after calibration (Delta-E, lower scores better): 0.77
Pros… Versatile, packed with features, yet easy to use.
Cons… No more accurate or fast than cheaper rivals.
WE say… A good performer if you need plenty of versatility.
4/ Xrite ColorMunki Smile
Price: £67, $90
It may be named like a toy for a pre-school child, but the ColorMunki Smile is also child’s play to use thanks to
software that trades advanced options for excellent clarity.
A couple of oversized buttons stand between you and the calibration process, then kick back as the gizmo does
In a shade over four minutes you’ll have a fully-calibrated monitor without needing to know your white point from
There’s no scope to measure ambient light, but the ColorMunki Smile does nail the basics as it performed well
beyond its budget price tag and generated the most accurate colour profile of all the colorimeters on test.
Calibration time: 4 minutes 15 seconds
Colour accuracy after calibration (Delta-E, lower scores better): 0.58
Pros… Simple, amazingly effective and well-priced.
Cons… Doesn’t measure ambient light, limited customisation.
WE say… Great performance at a reasonable price.
5/ Kodak Color Management
Price: £48, $78
This colour reference kit is cheaper than a colorimeter and includes a selection of photos printed on a
pre-calibrated printer, plus a CD containing their digital counterparts.
There’s a grey card to ensure your camera’s White Balance is spot-on as well.
The theory is that you display the digital images on your monitor and use the print versions as a reference.
A special sticker detects the colour temperature of your ambient lighting to ensure optimal viewing conditions.
However it’s then down to you to faff about with your computer’s colour settings until your monitor output
resembles the printed colours, and don’t expect to achieve anything better than an approximate match.
2 minutes – 2 hours
Colour accuracy after calibration: how good is your eyesight?
Pros… Useful for correcting monitors with bad colour casts.
Cons… Tedious, nowhere near as accurate as a colorimeter.
WE say… Spend a fraction more on the ColorMunki Smile.
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