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Datacolor Spyder3 Express - Datacolor Spyder3 Express

Ardjuna Seghers

By Ardjuna Seghers

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

7

Once everything is installed you can hook up the colorimeter to a USB port and you’re ready to go. At 1.75m, its USB cable is long enough to cover most situations. You can place the device on the monitor’s surface using either the suction-cup (handiest when dealing with CRTs and glass-fronted LCDs) or use the moveable counterweight on the cable to balance the meter in front of your monitor (it helps to tilt the screen slightly backwards when doing this). It’s worth noting though that the counterweight grips the cable a little too tightly making it difficult to move, something Datacolor might wish to change on future iterations.

The calibration/profiling process really is as simple as it gets. You need to reset your monitor to factory defaults (which should include a colour temperature of 6,500K) and a “comfortable” brightness level. Once you start up Spyder3Express 4.0 it shows you the outline of where to place the colorimeter – don’t worry, felt pads protect against scratching the monitor’s surface - and then it’s simply a case of pressing “next”. The calibration itself is fully automatic and took just a few seconds over five minutes to complete (Datacolour claims five and 2.5 minutes for initial calibration and recalibration respectively). You’re then presented with SpyderProof, which shows you a selection of images and allows you to switch between calibrated and uncalibrated views of them.

Finally you’re given the location of the .icm profile Spyder3Express 4.0 has created after the whole process is finished, which allows you to rename or copy it. Overall, the system is almost as easy to use as the box suggests and shouldn’t pose a challenge for anyone who knows how to use a mouse.

But what about the results? First we tested it with a decent but old ViewSonic monitor based on a TN panel. After automatic calibration we could see more detail in our test image, tones were closer to what they were supposed to be (originally the image was created on a high-end monitor) and colour gradations were more obvious, while dark detailing also increased. This did come at the cost of white purity, but in this case was a more than worthwhile trade-off for colour-critical work - and those who want and can afford a colorimeter would probably buy a better monitor to begin with.

TheEvilGenius

January 7, 2010, 3:25 pm

Just a thought, but what would be very usfull would be to have a section at the end of your reviews with links to reviews of comparative items. For example, at the end of this review you could have a little table showing all the other monitor calibration tools you've reviewed, their scores and a link to the review. That way I wouldn't have to trawl through your database to see how this item stakes up against any others you may have reviewed, I'd be able to see at a glance how it compared.





You could obviously do this for anything else you review. It'd be very usfull. At the moment if I want to see how the Nikon D40X stakes up against other cameras, for example, I have to manually check through the reviews and compare all the scores.





Just a thought

Ed

January 7, 2010, 4:06 pm

Thanks for the feedback. It's certainly not something that can be implemented any time soon but we'll look into it for our redesign. The one thing I will say is it's probably a bit much to have the scores and everything but we could certainly have related articles like in news stories. http://www.trustedreviews.com/...

TheEvilGenius

January 7, 2010, 5:05 pm

Yeah, or just the Top 5 items in that category based on review score, or something.

PoisonJam

January 7, 2010, 8:12 pm

They usually do mention (and link to) similar or competing products they've reviewed in the first paragraph or two.





I had no idea these things just used colour profiles, I thought you'd need to tweak the monitors settings!

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