"Just" Picked Up: Datacolor Spyder4PRO

Subject: General Tech, Displays | May 4, 2012 - 05:18 PM |
Tagged: colorimeter, monitor

Just Delivered is a class of articles at PC Perspective where we share what crosses into our offices, labs, houses, or nearby unguarded front porches. Today we put up with none of that. Two days ago I got off my lazy butt long enough to drive to a store to purchase a Datacolor Spyder4PRO monitor calibration device. Sure, I could have walked but -- let’s not get crazy now.

Part of doing illustration work online involves knowing how it will be viewed by the masses. Everyone will view it somewhat differently due to more-than-slight variations in their displays.

Properly calibrating your monitor to what is considered convention is difficult and not something many users do. Hardware and software exist to measure your monitor and adjust your color profiles to match. Calibrated color profiles often lose brightness and vibrancy although they are not to look good -- they are designed to look consistent.

After a couple of years of off-and-on browsing web forums for opinions on which colorimeter is the best I realized that I would be just as far ahead with a random number generator. I eventually just went with the gut and chose the Datacolor Spyder4PRO.

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Of course on the way home an oncoming car entered my lane to pass a bus.

It almost served me right for not leaving the whole “going outside” thing to the mail people.

Out of the box, installation was quite simple. I did have one annoyance with inputting my serial number: apparently when you input your serial number and activate online they return to you your CD key. Correct me if I am wrong, but it seems like if I were to reinstall the application I could not use the serial number that is safe and sound with the unit but rather recall the key I was given just then. That seems like a very bad method to enforce DRM -- although let’s face it, I hate DRM regardless of its form -- but thankfully I have secure notes in LastPass for situations like these.

I calibrated the three monitors very easily. My primary monitor, the Samsung SyncMaster XL2370, required two calibrations to be properly set although I believe that was my fault. Now all three monitors quite closely align to one another and seem to work well for test images in color managed applications.

My one complaint about the product itself is that it has a suction cup mount, but no suction cup. Really -- your device is almost 200$ and you cheap out on a couple-cent suction cup? Where am I even supposed to find a suction cup that will fit it? I mean, it is possible that there was an error with my package although it was sealed. Maybe it was only for the Elite package?

Really a suction cup is not necessary anyway -- they provide a counterweight on the cable to have it hang from the top of your monitor… but it is not as stable as a suction cup.

Source: PCPer
May 4, 2012 | 10:27 PM - Posted by Tim Verry

heh, wow that is weird that they cheaped out on the suction cup :P

May 5, 2012 | 02:14 AM - Posted by bootdiscerror

Well, the suction cup is meant to be used on CRT's, and would not be kind to LCD monitors.

I've owned all of the versions released (original to my current Spyder 3), and remember reading this in the instructions. I believe CRT's are very few nowadays, so it makes sense NOT to bother including it. ¦-)

Anything on what has been upgraded from previous versions? I know the Spyder3 (or maybe it was the Spyder2?) was a big step up in the size of the sensor.

May 5, 2012 | 03:56 AM - Posted by Tim Verry

Ah, interesting. I was thinking more than the sucktion cup would hold it to the LCD frame but might not work that way :P

May 5, 2012 | 11:17 AM - Posted by GrizzledYoungMan (not verified)

I'm sorry to say that you made a poor choice. The Spyder calibrators are generally poorly regarded.

By comparison, the X-rite Display 3 PRO (which I use) is considered by most to be the absolute best option under $5000. Seriously. Even entry level spectrophotometers - that run around $1000 - aren't really better overall, just stronger in some areas and weaker in others.

This post has some good information. Hope you kept the receipt!

May 5, 2012 | 11:27 AM - Posted by bootdiscerror

LoL! I don't know anybody that has $5000 lying around to spend on something that elaborate. I'm just fine with my Spyder, thanks.

May 5, 2012 | 01:26 PM - Posted by GrizzledYoungMan (not verified)

Reading comprehension fail. The thing I'm recommending (also known as the i1Display Pro) is under $300. It is not $5000, or $1000.

Your Spyder still sucks.

May 5, 2012 | 03:03 PM - Posted by Scott Michaud

Yeah my choice was down to the i1Display Pro and the Spyder 4.

Reviews and benchmarks I've read were pretty mixed between the both of them.

Regardless of my choice I would have seen someone say the same about either.

People I've directly asked recommended the Pantone Huey.

May 8, 2012 | 03:20 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Got to say that the spyder 4 pro did a great job in getting a consistency between my 2 monitors.... not yet tested on a print out but non the less am happy

May 11, 2012 | 09:54 AM - Posted by jgstew

I have the Datacolor Spyder 3 PRO and I like the results, and it has worked well. I do have a problem however. The software is not the greatest and does not work very well when not running as an Admin. The software loads the color profile when it runs, but I have had issues getting this to work right for non-Admins. I have tried loading the color profile created by the Spyder 3 into Windows/Mac directly, and it never seems to work the way I expect. I'm not sure there is a good solution to this problem, but I hope to find it at some point. I first need to find the time to do so.

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