Datacolor Spyder4PRO Review (Page 2 of 4)

Page 2 - Physical Look - Hardware

Where can you find a three-legged spider? Unless you are digging in the ruins of Chernobyl or Fukushima, I don't think such an organism exists naturally in the real world. On the other hand, I can totally see how Datacolor came up with the Spyder4PRO name. 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. But 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 Spyder4PRO is actually pretty good looking. Measuring in at 3.8cm depth, 8.9cm width, and 10.1cm length, it resides on an almost triangular footprint, and curves over the top to make a compact, sleek looking device. Its exterior is composed of a mix of glossy plastic finish and smooth rubbery finish. At the apex of the dome, we have a blue activity LED, as well as an ambient light sensor with a 5.08 cm ambient light shield. The ambient light sensor is used to adjust your display's brightness based on how well illuminated your room is.

Interface-wise, the Sypder4PRO comes with a permanently attached USB 2.0 cable that is about 170cm long. I have read quite a number of complaints about the cable being too short, and while this may be an issue, I personally did not find this to be a problem. With some force applied, the counterweight can slide along the length of the cable to accommodate the size of your display. Interestingly, nowhere on the colorimeter does it say "Spyder4PRO". To tell the difference between the Spyder4EXPRESS and Spyder4ELITE, it will have to be discerned by inspection. Identifying the Spyder4EXPRESS is easy -- it is white on black rather than black on black, and the "4" is printed in green rather than blue as on the Spyder4PRO. On the other hand, Datacolor's Spyder4ELITE is a little more subtle. Like the Spyder4PRO, it is also black on black; the only difference is the "4" is now labeled in red. In terms of hardware, the Spyder4ELITE is identical to the Spyder4PRO; the two devices only differ in software (And the color of the "4"), but carries an additional price tag of $80 MSRP. If you already own a Spyder4PRO, and want to convert to the Spyder4ELITE, Datacolor will happily sell you the software upgrade for $100.

So what is the difference 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 Spyder4EXPRESS, the Spyder4PRO can calibrate unlimited number of monitors, has an ambient light sensor, comes with a tripod mount, and much more options. Compared to the Spyder4ELITE, the Spyder4PRO has less calibration options. Both the Spyder4PRO and Sypder4ELITE can calibrate your TV, but requires a paid software update. In my opinion, the Spyder4PRO is well worth the money over its lesser counterpart; especially considering the Spyder4EXPRESS is limited to one monitor only. Generally speaking, the Spyder4PRO is the one to buy for most people.

Our photo above shows the Datacolor Spyder4PRO placed on the included tripod mount. Both the colorimeter itself and the counterweight is padded with foam feet to ensure the device does not scratch your monitor, or even make marks on it. The Spyder4PRO hardware features a 27mm seven color sensor, which the company claims as an improvement over traditional colorimeters with a three channel RGB sensor. The Spyder4PRO is individually tuned at the factory to handle both wide gamut and normal gamut displays. Furthermore, its double shielded color filters is said to allow an even closer match to CIE color standards and improved long term stability, with its average accuracy increased 26%, and consistency between Spyder units improved 19%. Obviously, I do not have any ways of proving any of these statements, but the end results do not lie!

Before we move on to the next page and start calibrating some monitors, you will be happy to know the Spyder4PRO works with pretty much everything you own, and will happily calibrate all of them. This includes CCFL LCD, LED LCD, OLED, and even CRT monitors. Furthermore, other than your desktop and laptop, it will even work with your iPad, iPhone, and Android devices. Personally, I do not see a need to calibrate my iPhone, but I am not complaining about extra features, haha.

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