GadgetsReview

Get true colours with Datacolor’s monitor calibrator

The Spyder4ELITE monitor calibrator promises to save you a packet and take the pain out of adjusting colours - but does it work?

As a designer or digital artist, a properly calibrated monitor is as essential as a copy of Photoshop, and getting the right hues on the screen is especially important for work that’s going to be printed. Windows PCs and Macs come with calibration software, but the human eye is notoriously unreliable when it comes to getting those all-important RGBs just right. Monitor calibrators - such as the Spyder4ELITE - have been invented for just this purpose. Rather than relying on the human eye, they use a light sensor in conjunction with software to mechanically calibrate the monitor.

At a snitch over £80 this model doesn’t break the bank, and if you’ve got a number of PCs or Macs then it makes sense to invest in one. Business-minded designers could even charge their mates £10 for colour calibration and let the device pay for itself.

Turn the screen on, wait half an hour for it to warm up then let the Spyder4ELITE do its work

Setting it up is nice and easy, and simply a question of installing the supplied software and dangling the device precariously over the centre of the screen. From here you have to reset your monitor to its defaults and make a few adjustments to its brightness as the software runs. Once the process is complete you’re given the option to switch between the previous default settings and the new ones, so you can be sure that the calibration process has worked.

Colours immediately looked more vivid and it definitely improved the look of photos and art on our monitor, but somehow it’s also produced a slightly green tint when looking at the monitor from different angles. We’d say it’s just about worth the investment, though, and the software’s regular updates will (hopefully) remove our green wash.

Key info

  • Price: £82
  • Manufacturer: Datacolor
  • System requirements:
    PC: Windows 7, Vista, XP, colour monitor with at least 1024x768 resolution, 24-bit video card; powered USB port.
    Mac: OS OSX Panther, Leopard, Snow Leopard, and Lion; colour monitor with at least 1024x768 resolution; 24-bit video card; powered USB port

This review first appeared in ImagineFX, the world's leading magazine for fantasy and sci-fi digital artists. Get a free sample issue!

Our Verdict 7/10

Just about worth the investment and hopefully a software updates will remove our green wash.
  • Improves colours
  • Better printing performance
  • Easy setup
  • Slight green tint?

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