What's a good value in a basic display calibrator?
August 15, 2017 9:11 PM   Subscribe

So I just ordered a new laptop, and I know I'm going to want to calibrate the display right off the bat. However, I know absolutely nothing about display calibration tools in 2017. What should I get?

I want one of those doodads that connects to your computer and uses a colorimeter that sticks onto your screen to work out a calibrated color profile for your monitor. I want to use it for one brand new laptop, plus eventually (someday) up to two other outboard monitors. I'm going to be running Windows. I can't think of anything fancy it might need to be able to do, as long as it definitely gets the monitor's ICC profile bang-on correct in the adobe RGB colorspace. I want to spend as little as possible, naturally.

What is the specific doodad that I want, where can I buy it, and what is it going to cost me?
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The to Technology (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
The ColorHug used to be the cheapest one out there, but you had to futz with a Linux boot disk/USB stick as its software is Linux-only. The ColorHug2, while a much nicer device, is much more expensive.

Unless you're wanting to calibrate weekly, ask around if you can borrow a calibrator.
posted by scruss at 5:30 AM on August 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

If you were doing a TV, I'd tell you to buy the cheapest thing supported by Color-HCFR. Since it's a Windows PC, just get a used X-Rite i1Display 2 for $99ish on Amazon or wherever else you can find one for cheap.

Unless you're spending big bucks, they all work about the same, though the X-Rite is a little better than the Spyder2. I don't know anything about the new stuff since the two I have (the Display 2 and the Spyder2) are both good enough and were picked up on sale. ;)
posted by wierdo at 7:22 AM on August 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

I should mention that I haven't had reason to use either of them (and more importantly, their software) on Windows 10, but both work fine up to Win7 if you can find the necessary software updates still. The software included in the box is old enough it may have trouble on anything newer than XP.
posted by wierdo at 7:26 AM on August 16, 2017

Is your laptop screen IPS, VA, or TN? If TN, I might not bother. I've used a X-Rite i1Display Pro, for $250 with good results.
posted by at at 10:00 AM on August 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

It's IPS. And thanks for the advice so far, I appreciate it!
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 11:33 AM on August 16, 2017

So hey, if anybody stumbles on this and is wondering what I ended up doing, what I did is I bought a Spyder5 Express (the cheapest new one, at $115) and then rather than using the stock software (which is apparently garbage and may not even work on Windows 10, period) I downloaded Argyll and DisplayCAL, which are free open source programs that work with lots of different types of hardware. It worked great.

If you buy the more expensive Spyders, you get exactly the same hardware but with a different serial number that unlocks more features in the probably-doesn't-actually-work-anyway stock software. So, don't do that. Get the cheapest one, don't bother with the stock software, and use Argyll for the drivers, DisplayCAL for the calibration.

I wasn't seeing any other hardware options that looked like they were definitely available, except for a few older, used models that cost almost as much as a brand new Spyder5. It seems that the market for this stuff is pretty impoverished, at least at the consumer level. I assume if you want to spend thousands rather than hundreds of dollars, there are specialty vendors who will be more than happy to help you with that.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 6:14 PM on August 28, 2017

« Older Online resources for gender-questioning person   |   Protesting McConnell fundraiser this week. What... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.