Last updated on January 2nd, 2020 at 09:53 pm
The most important phase of any color-managed workflow has to be the calibration of a user’s monitor. Any photographer, graphic designer, or creative will tell you that failing to calibrate your screen/ monitor changes how your images, videos, and everything else viewed from the monitor look. A monitor calibrator refers to a software program and hardware device that can be used to adjust the color that a user’s screen is presenting. This color correction gives a more precise depiction of any image being displayed on a user’s monitor and thus aiding them to create their best possible work. When choosing a monitor calibrator, there are a lot of factors that one has to give thought to in order to pick the perfect calibrator. Equipped with the correct information about monitor calibrators, it would be almost impossible to choose the wrong calibrator for your screen. Below are some of the best monitor calibrators available in the market today that you can consider as your next purchase.
The Spyder5ELITE is one of the best monitor calibrators in the market today. It takes monitor calibration to the next level with its advanced grey balancing and unlimited calibration settings, thus ensuring users receive expert color accuracy solution. This particular monitor calibrator is loaded with lots of useful additional features such as the capability to calibrate your screen to conform to color space ideals such as Rec709, NTSC, sRGB and Adobe RGB and not just the usual 6500 K white point and 2.2 gamma.
- The calibrator has two different modes, i.e. the simple wizard-based mode for beginners and the expert mode for professionals.
- The color accuracy of monitors using the Datacolor Spyder5Elite is extremely accurate and ideal for professionals.
- Users receive a 90-day trial of Adobe Creative Photography upon activation of the Spyder5Elite.
- The initial calibration takes a short amount of time a maximum of 5 mins and even less for subsequent calibrations.
- The calibrator is not only compact, but it is also extremely portable. Users can use it effortlessly between several different machines.
- The software’s interface is not particularly user-friendly.
X-Rite i1Studio (EOSTUDIO)
Unlike before, when users would require two different devices to calibrate their printer and monitor, the i1Studio by X-Rite has taken this away, and now one tool can perform both functions. The i1Studio is much larger than the typical monitor calibrators, and as such, users must hold it onto their screens using the provided case. The calibrator does its job extremely rapidly without compromising on the results. Its Delta-E score usually averages at 0.89, which gives us a pretty good idea of how accurate the device is.
- It is one of the most accurate monitor calibrators available in the market.
- The ease of use of the calibrator is equally one of the best we have seen, and even beginners can manipulate the i1Studio.
- It is extremely versatile as it can be used on both the monitor and the printer.
- Users can save their preferred setting for both the printer and monitor and select the said settings when they require them.
It is expensive.
- Because the hardware is combined and designed to calibrate both the printer and the monitor, using this calibrator can be a bit tricky and requires some bit of learning.
X-Rite i1 Display Pro and ColorChecker Passport Bundle
If there is a monitor calibrator that may have just blown our socks off, it would be the X-Rite i1 Display Pro. This calibrator was able to complete its job at a devilish speed of 1 minute and 36 seconds, something that anyone who frequently calibrates their monitor would appreciate. But what really fascinated us is that despite the quick speeds, the calibrator didn’t in any way compromise the accuracy of the job. This calibrator brags a set of features, incorporating three functions including monitor profiling, projector profiling, and ambient light measurement in its functionality. Users can manipulate various settings such as white point, brightness, and gamma using this device.
- One of the fastest monitor calibrators we have tried and tested in the market.
- The accuracy of the calibration is extremely spot on with a Delta-E score of 1.11
- Its customization options are endless, and users can have multiple profile settings that they can use.
- The basic mode is just that basic, with nothing much to offer. It’s recommended that users switch to the more advanced mode in order to enjoy the endless possibilities of the i1 display pro.
- The software is somewhat intimidating, even for the more experienced individuals.
Datacolor S5SSR100 Spyder5STUDIO Color Calibration Kit
The Datacolor S5SSR100 Spyder5STUDIO is not just as a single device but an entire collection of components. The collection consists of SpyderPrint spectrocolorimeter for evaluating printed output, a monitor colorimeter, and a Spydercube that aids with brightness, exposure, white balance and blackness levels of raw images. The monitor colorimeter has similar software and hardware as the Spyder5 Elite delivering the same color accuracy from preview through to the final presentation.
- It does not compromise on the color accuracy, and it performed relatively well when put to the test.
- Given that it is an entire kit rather than just a monitor calibrator, we think that the Spyder5STUDIO Color Calibration Kit is priced within reason.
- The kit is extremely bulky, which makes it difficult to move around with.
- The scanning of prints on the device is not as smooth and effortless as expected because of the plastic used on the device’s guide.
- Several users complained that they had a difficult time trying to create their ICC profiles using this kit.
- The software occasionally loses track of its registration code, meaning that users have to constantly input it, which is rather annoying.
X-Rite ColorMunki Smile (CMUNSML)
If ease of usage is what you’re looking for in a monitor calibrator, then the ColorMunki Smile by X-Rite should be your go-to tool of trade. This monitor is equipped with several buttons and a full-screen interface designed to help you with any calibration issues that you may have. The options provided for by this calibrator allows users to alter the frequency of the calibration reminder to suit normal or LED-backlight monitor calibration. Nevertheless, everything else is static and unchangeable with our tests suggesting that the ColorMunki Smile applies the typical color temperature target of 6500 K. With a decent Delta-E average of between 1.9 and 2.1 (we tested it a couple of times) the ColorMunki Smile is still capable of correcting the color accuracy as it is supposed to.
- It is one of the simplest monitor calibrators we have come across.
- It is supported by X-Rite’s ColorTRUE mobile app which facilitates color calibration on mobile devices.
- It is affordable
- It takes well over five minutes to complete the calibration; the ColorMunki Smile is a rather slow calibrator.
- While it gets the job done, there are more accurate monitor calibrators available in the market.
Professionals will find this calibrator to be insufficient.
- It provides its users with restricted calibration options.
Pantone ColorMunki Design
The Pantone ColorMunki Design calibrator is a calibrator ideal for professionals as they can use it to calibrate not only their display screens but also their digital projectors and CMYK and RGB printers. This software allows users to automatically harmonize their color palettes to InDesign CC, Adobe Photoshop CC as well as QuarkXpress after they have created and named their custom color palette. With the ColorMunki Design, users can choose their colors straight from Pantone as well as other inbuilt libraries.
- Users can enjoy creating multiple color settings that suit them and their work.
- It’s versatile and can be used to calibrator projectors, printers, and monitors.
- It is equipped with verification tools that facilitate the preview of the different colors on a project before the project is sent to production.
- It is expensive and falls on the higher end of the price spectrum
As noted earlier, there are a few factors that one has to consider when choosing a monitor calibrator. Some of these factors include your budget, your frequency of printing, the number of monitors used, and whether you work from the road, at home, or both. These factors have to be considered because not every monitor is the same, and as such, each monitor will require different settings to meet its color correction needs. Once you have chosen your monitor calibrator, you should then proceed to ensure that you accurately calibrate the screen by looking out for setting such as color gamma correction, color temperature, white point, ambient lighting, brightness, and contrast. To ensure that you accurately calibrate your monitor, you should power it up for at least thirty minutes for it to warm up before use and give the best possible results to be calibrated. The monitor calibrators listed above are some of the best in the market, and we would highly recommend that you start your journey with any, one of them.