Datacolor Spyder5PRO Review (Page 4 of 4)

Page 4 - Results Discussion and Conclusion

Going through the list of LCD monitors on Page 3, the hardware calibration system turned out mostly excellent results. As with the Spyder4PRO, the Spyder5PRO works best with monitors with a reasonably wide color gamut; displays with narrow color gamut like the ThinkPad TN LCDs I have tested with churned out poor color profiles. I will talk about those in just a moment. To start, I tried the calibration tool on my Samsung SyncMaster 2053BW. This is a budget CCFL TN 20" LCD I have purchased back in 2008, and it is always fun to test with. The reason is because, while it is still a TN panel, it has almost full sRGB coverage. The color saturation and white point was much better than it was before calibration. It passed my eye test for color accuracy after a Spyder5PRO run. Needless to say, I was impressed.

Of course, not many of us will buy a $189 device to calibrate a cheap monitor, so I put the Spyder5PRO on the midrange Dell UltraSharp U2412M, as well as the higher end Dell UltraSharp U2413. The U2412M, while a very good monitor from the factory, did not come calibrated out of the box. First, I tried a standard calibration, but I was not entirely happy with the results, since it made my monitor a little warmer than what I would have liked, even at the standard 6500K white point setting. Therefore, I set it to leave the white point alone, and the Spyder5PRO improved its color saturation by fixing the gamma. As far as the U2413 is concerned, it came factory calibrated. The Spyder5PRO cannot access the monitor's internal 14-bit LUT for calibration (You will need an X-Rite i1DisplayPro for that), which only does the calibration on the GPU level. You may run into some issues for this GB-LED backlit monitor. For me, contrary to the U2412M, the monitor calibration tool made the display a little cooler than what I would have liked. Therefore, as with the U2412M, I re-ran the wizard with the white point untouched. This time, it modified the U2413's output very slightly, but it managed perfected the color nonetheless.

I was actually quite excited to try the Spyder5PRO on my Apple MacBook Pro, since the laptop features one of the best displays on the market today. I left everything on default settings, and Datacolor's latest monitor calibration tool worked flawlessly. By saying it "worked flawlessly", I really meant it did very little, because similar my Dell UltraSharp U2413, the Retina display was already very well calibrated from the factory. The way I see it, being close was nice, but being exact is what you really want. The Spyder5PRO made it exact. On the other hand, the Spyder5PRO still had some trouble with my ThinkPad laptop displays, just like its predecessor. I tested it on my ThinkPad T520 and T540p. The T520 calibration results were not bad, and if I recall correctly, it was slightly better than its predecessor. However, for some reason, it modified the white point regardless of settings by giving it a slightly yellow tint. For my T540p, it produced a considerably more yellow tint than pre-calibration, so I decided to stick with whatever that came from the factory instead. Either ThinkPad LCDs does not want to be calibrated, or Datacolor just do not like them, haha.

At the end of the day, Datacolor's Spyder5PRO monitor calibration tool is a worthy successor to the Spyder4PRO. The fifth generation monitor calibration tool continues to be a great combination of both hardware and software. Starting with the packaging, I like the fact it is compact and reusable. The hardware has also been significantly improved; while I have no method of measuring the advantages of the encapsulated optical design and new honeycomb filter, I am a fan of its compact form factor. The integrated lens cap that doubles as a counterweight is also a welcomed addition. As far as the software is concerned, users coming from the Spyder4PRO will immediately find it familiar, except with a few modifications to make it even easier to use, such as adding the Interactive Help column on the right, and removing some technical options that were probably not necessary. Custom SpyderProof samples and full screen color test screens are also nice to have. What I do not understand is why they made the display gamut comparison exclusive to the Spyder5ELITE, as it was available on the Spyder4PRO. With all this in mind, I still had some navigation issues with the Datacolor software. They should make it easier to jump around to certain screens. For $189 at press time, the Spyder5PRO will run you some cash. From my tests, it worked well on most displays I have tried it on. If you are interested in getting the most out of your monitors, especially if you have a lot of them to calibrate, the Datacolor Spyder5PRO is an absolutely invaluable tool for graphics professionals and photography enthusiasts alike.

Datacolor provided this product to APH Networks for the purpose of evaluation.

APH Review Focus Summary:
8/10 means Definitely a very good product with drawbacks that are not likely going to matter to the end user.
7/10 means Great product with many advantages and certain insignificant drawbacks; but should be considered before purchasing.
-- Final APH Numeric Rating is 7.1/10
Please note that the APH Numeric Rating system is based off our proprietary guidelines in the Review Focus, and should not be compared to other sites.

Datacolor's Spyder5PRO is a worthy successor to the Spyder4PRO: A monitor calibration tool that perfects the colors of your display for professionals and enthusiasts alike.

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