Datacolor Spyder5PRO Review (Page 2 of 4)

Page 2 - Physical Look - Hardware

The Datacolor Spyder5PRO has been completely redesigned compared to the Spyder4PRO, and the difference starts from the obvious. The old colorimeter looked like a spider crawling on your monitor when in use; the new one looks like a spider with all its legs removed... if you look hard enough. If you skip ahead, and sneak a peek at the first image of the next page, the way the calibrating hardware resides over your display makes it quite easy to understand where it all came from. Before we even get to that, in a market where it is almost all about function and pretty much nothing about form -- considering the fact industrial design will make little difference in selling the product unlike consumer electronic devices -- the Spyder5PRO is reasonably good looking. Personally, I like the look of its predecessor more, but the fifth generation device is definitely more practical. Measuring in at 3.8cm depth, 6.5cm width, and 6.0cm length, it resides on an almost triangular footprint, and curves over the top to make a compact device. The smaller footprint allows for better portability and easier storage. Perhaps the most important of them all, the Spyder5PRO is now compatible with curved screens.

The rest of the exterior is a mix of matte black and shiny plastic. At the apex of the dome, we have an ambient light sensor. The ambient light sensor is used to adjust your display's brightness based on how well illuminated your room is. There is no more blue activity LED like the Spyder4PRO, but I can live without it. Inside, the entire colorimeter has been redesigned as a single optical module for better reliability. According to Datacolor, their latest product features a 55% improvement in low luminance accuracy. Obviously, I do not have any way of proving this statement, haha. Interestingly, nowhere on the colorimeter does it say "Spyder5PRO". It looks like they all use the same hardware; the difference only boils down to software differences.

So, what are the differences between all three versions? Rather than reading through a paragraph of text, your best bet is to look at the comparison table posted on Datacolor's website. To give you the gist of it, compared to the Spyder5EXPRESS, the Spyder5PRO has more calibration settings, room light monitoring, re-calibration wizard, and custom SpyderProof images. Compared to the Spyder5ELITE, the Spyder5PRO has less calibration options, no projector support, simple room light monitoring, and reduced amount of advanced features. In my opinion, the Spyder5PRO is well worth the $60 over its lesser counterpart; especially considering the Spyder5PRO has more calibration options most users will find useful. Generally speaking, the Spyder5PRO is the one to buy for most people at $189. The Spyder5ELITE will run you an extra $90 over the Spyder5PRO.

Our photo above shows the Datacolor Spyder5PRO with the lens cap detached. Both the colorimeter itself and the lens cap -- which doubles as the counterweight when detached -- is padded with a foam circle to ensure the device will not scratch your monitor, or even make marks on it. The Spyder5PRO hardware features a 27mm seven color sensor, which the company claims as an improvement over traditional colorimeters with a three channel RGB sensor. The latest generation also features redesigned baffle with a deep and narrow honeycomb filter to reduce stray light interference. Our photo above also shows the integrated tripod mount, but only the Spyder5ELITE supports projector calibration.

Interface-wise, the Sypder5PRO comes with a permanently attached USB 2.0 cable about 160cm long. This is a little shorter than the Spyder4PRO, and I have read complaints in the past about that being too short. While it may be an issue, I personally did not find this to be a problem. An integrated Velcro strap allows you to keep the cable neatly wrapped when tucked away. With some force applied, the counterweight can slide along the length of the cable to accommodate the size of your display.

Before we move on to the next page and start calibrating some monitors, you will be happy to know the Spyder5PRO works with all your laptop and desktop monitors, and will happily calibrate them to your satisfaction. For the Spyder5PRO, Datacolor has dropped support for iOS and Android mobile devices, but I do not see that as much of a loss. I have never bothered to calibrate my iPhone 6 or Nexus 9 anyway, even though I own the previous generation Spyder4PRO, which was capable of doing so.

Page Index
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Hardware
3. Software and Usage Experience
4. Results Discussion and Conclusion