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.
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.