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If you work with a multi-monitor setup then you might have noticed a slight variation in their colors. In some monitors, the colors may appear bright, dull or desaturated.
Well, it may not be a big deal if you use your monitor for casual gaming or for watching youtube videos. But if you do any kind of graphics work – calibrating your monitor is one of the first things you should do.
We are here with some of the very best monitor calibration devices. These calibrators will ensure that you get perfect colors out of your monitor every single time.
Recommended Monitor calibrators:
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Spyder 5 Elite
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Why monitors display colors differently?
For better understanding, we need to take a look at the color spaces.
The human eye can see a certain range of colors which is represented by a colored portion of the adjacent diagram.
Our screen is capable of showing only a certain portion of the full color space.
Almost all the content we watch over the internet uses sRGB. For more graphic intensive work like graphic designing, photo editing, video editing and so on a wider color range is required for such as Adobe RGB.
Why monitors show inaccurate colors
Many display monitors do not come pre-calibrated out of the box and that is why they show inaccurate colors. Even after you correct their colors, over time – they slowly get uncalibrated again.
How monitor calibrators work
Monitor calibrators have an optical sensor that measures the color on the screen. At first – the monitor calibrator finds the range of colors your monitor is currently showing. Then it makes a custom profile for your monitor with recommended settings.
Then it applies the settings trying to bring your monitor as close to standard color space as possible. It results in your monitor showing the perfect colors.
Best Monitor Calibration Devices
Here are some of the most popular monitor calibration devices in the market.
1. Spyder 5 Elite – Most Popular Monitor Calibrator
Spyder 5 Elite is one of the easiest and most reliable ways of calibrating your monitor.
It is available in three variants Datacolor Spyder 5 Express, Pro, and Elite. It is very simple to use and the whole process takes just a few minutes.
How does it work?
The device consists of a sensor and software. The device is placed on the screen and different colors are flashed on the screen.
The color is read by the sensor which sits on top of the display. It analyses the accuracy of the colors and recommends correct settings accordingly.
How accurate is it?
The Spyder 5 is a very accurate device, it sets your screen’s color to the official standard. For achieving this level of accuracy it first measures the ambient light in the room. It then makes recommendations for your background light before measuring the actual screen. Then it makes a custom profile for each of your monitors and finally implements the required settings.
How often do you need to calibrate the monitor
Now you may be asking is it worth to buy a device for a single-use. The answer is YES because you will need to use it more often than you think. Like a race car needs frequent fine-tuning to perform at the maximum capacity.
Similarly, you monitor gets out of tune after a few weeks of use. A constant weekly or fortnightly maintenance is recommended for the top-notch color quality.
2. X-Rite i1 Display Pro – Professional Monitor Calibrator
X-Rite makes devices for the full professional level devices. It can be often seen in production houses and VFX-studios.
It is priced slightly higher than the above mentioned Spyder model but it has greater customizations.
The device comes with a calibration sensor and supporting software. It works the same way as Spyder Elite.
First, you need to put your sensing device on your monitor. Then it flashes some lights and reads the output generated by your monitor. The software makes the required changes and that is how you get perfect colors.
What makes it the best monitor calibrator
The real power of X-Rite i1Display Pro lies in the software. It enables you to make custom profiles for different work environments and lighting conditions.
It can be very helpful with devices like laptops. Other than that it has two modes Basic and Advanced. The basic model requires no color knowledge and is ideal for quick calibration. The advance mode is for pro users and gives full control of your display.
It supports all the display technologies which include LED, Plasma, RG Phosphor, OLED and Wide Gamut, and Broadcast video standards support – NTSC, PAL SECAM, and ITU-R Rec.BT.709.
Unlike other Monitor Calibrators, it has full support for mobile and tablet devices, With support for Android, Windows, and Mac.
3. X-Rite ColorMunki Smile – Pocket-Friendly
Maybe you are a student or someone who doesn’t want to spend massive money on a screen calibration device.
In that case, the X-Rite ColorMunki Smile is the best way to get your screen to near perfection. It is the cheapest calibration device in the market and has got all the essential features you need.
In its description, it says ” It delivers simplified display calibration process for your laptop and desktop displays using the same color engine technology found in X-Rite’s industry-leading professional level color calibration solutions.”
It also works in the same way as other devices. ie. stick it to monitor, software flashes colors, device reads the color output from the screen, then it makes changes in the settings and your monitor is ready to use.
It is compatible with Mobile devices and Ipads with accompanying Android and IOS apps.
Why do you need to calibrate your screen?
- Better multimedia experience
Whether you are a casual movie watcher or a die-hard Gamer. Color correcting your screen will give you a better multimedia experience.
- Multiple screen synchronization
When you are working on multiple monitors, color calibration becomes an essential requirement to show correct colors across all the displays. Calibration also comes into play when you constantly go back and forth on multiple devices such as desktops and laptops to maintain consistency.
- Professional uses
Nothing hurts more – when you are designing a logo or color correcting your videos and they appear completely different when viewed on a different screen. When you are in a professional environment color correcting your devices is a must. It can save you a lot of time and effort.
It also helps you in print-related work where a slight color variation can cost you a lot of money.
How to calibrate your monitor?
- Free Tools
Both the Windows and Mac have their default color settings, which gives you control over your monitor. But we have to rely upon our own senses to get to the perfect settings. which is not the best way to color correct your screen. These tools are as accurate as checking the correct temperature by putting your hands in water.
There is other third-party software like calibrize which has the same inherent issues and relies on guesswork which can be highly inaccurate.
- Monitor Calibration Devices
A monitor calibration device is the best way to correct the color of your monitor. They have a physical device to measure the color produced by the screen and accompanying software to make changes in your monitor. This method removes the guesswork from the equation and gives an accurate and consistent performance every single time.
Which types of monitor can be corrected by monitor calibrators
Monitors calibrators can work with all types of monitor whether it is LCD, LED or OLED across all the platforms. Still, there are limitations.
Some of the cheap displays or old monitors are incapable of generating proper colors. No matter what settings you make you cannot calibrate them. That is why it is important to invest in a quality monitor with good display.