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Datacolor Spyder3 Express - Datacolor Spyder3 Express

Ardjuna Seghers

By Ardjuna Seghers

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

7

Next we switched to a Dell UltraSharp 2408WFP, which uses a high-quality S-PVA panel. Here the changes were less dramatic and subjectively, we actually preferred the uncalibrated settings as white was again given a slightly ‘warmer’ tone without obviously noticeable benefits compared to a manual calibration.

Surprisingly, the uncalibrated settings also came closer to our printer’s default result, which is where the Express’ lack of additional printer calibration as found in the higher-end Spyder3 models really starts to show. Of course colour accuracy is not subjective though, so the post-calibration results are almost guaranteed to be better than what you started off with. Other monitors tested also showed obvious improvements regardless of panel type.

Overall then, it can’t be denied that for the majority of users who don’t know enough to manually calibrate their screens with a colorimeter yet want the accuracy that using one gives, the Spyder3 Express does an excellent job. It’s easy as pie to set up and use and will benefit anyone, not just image enthusiasts or photographers. Depending on how well your display was set up to begin with, you’ll notice a marked difference in games and films as well.

At £73 the Spyder3 Express also offers decent value. However, we can’t help but feel that unless you’re on an incredibly strict budget, the extra £30 for the next step up Spyder3 Pro makes its little cousin utterly redundant. Not only does the Pro offer a wealth of extra software options, profiles and settings, but you also get more advanced hardware, including the desktop mount and ambient light sensor (which can intelligently differentiate between actual consistent light changes compared to flash or shadow effects). If you use more than one monitor or a laptop/monitor combo, you’ll also need the Pro or Elite as the Express can’t handle multiple monitors.

Extra flexibility extends beyond the included feature set too: as they share identical hardware, the Pro can be turned into an Elite with a simple software upgrade, and either model can be used for calibrating your TV by purchasing the Spyder3TV software. If you went for the Express, however, you’re stuck with what you’ve got. To top it all the higher-end models come with a two-year warranty compared to one year for the Express. Enough said.

Verdict

If you want one of the easiest colorimeters on the market and are on a strict budget Datacolor’s Spyder3 Express delivers, but anyone who can afford the extra £30 should definitely plump for the Spyder3 Pro as it offers more advanced hardware and a ridiculous amount of genuinely useful extra features for this relatively minor additional cost.

Overall Score

7

Scores In Detail

  • Value 7

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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