Page 4 - Results Discussion and Conclusion
With the array of monitors and HDTVs I have tested the Datacolor Spyder4PRO with, the hardware calibration system turned out excellent results. For my Samsung SyncMaster 2053BW, a budget CCFL TN 20" LCD I have purchased back in 2008, the color saturation was much better than it was before calibration. My Dell UltraSharp 2007FP, a performance CCFL S-PVA 20" LCD monitor that has been sitting on my desk since late 2007, has a yellow tint from the factory. In the past, I have "eye calibrated" it to get rid of it, but I could never get it to work perfectly. The Spyder4PRO fixed it all up in a matter of minutes. Needless to say, I am impressed.
For the rest of the desktop displays on the list in Page 3, the Spyder4PRO optimized the colors a bit, but it was not as drastic as the two examples I have mentioned. Some monitors are pretty well calibrated out of the box, such as my Dell UltraSharp U2412M and my colleague Preston's pair of ASUS ProArt PA238QR, but this does not mean calibration was not necessary. The before and after difference is certainly noticeable, and this is important. The way I see it, being close is nice, but being exact is what you really want. The Spyder4PRO made it exact. This is not to mention you can get different displays to match. This is really a big deal if you have a multi-monitor configuration.
On the other hand, the Spyder4PRO had some serious trouble calibrating my ThinkPad laptop displays. Despite the fact that my T420 and T520 has two totally different panels (The T420 has a 14" AU Optronics B140RW02 panel, while the T520 has a 15.4" LG LP156WD1-TLB2 panel) and runs two different operating systems, the calibration results were significantly worse than it was before calibration. It made my T420's display extremely yellow, and introduced a yellowish tint to my T520 that was clearly off as well. No matter what settings I have tried -- laptop, LCD, leave white point alone, and so forth, the end result is still the same. I think this is a software issue that needs to be addressed.
At the end of the day, Datacolor's Spyder4PRO monitor calibration is a great combination of both hardware and software. For the most part, it is straightforward, intuitive, and easy to use. It also works extremely well for the majority of displays I have tried it on. That said, the software navigation menus could use some improvement, along with better compatibility with certain displays. For about $170 at press time, the Spyder4PRO does not come cheap. But if you are interested in getting the most out of your monitors, especially if you have a lot of screens to calibrate, the Datacolor Spyder4PRO is an absolutely invaluable tool for professionals and enthusiasts alike.
Datacolor provided this product to APH Networks for the purpose of evaluation.
APH Review Focus Summary:
7/10 means Great product with many advantages and certain insignificant drawbacks; but should be considered before purchasing.
-- Final APH Numeric Rating is 7.0/10
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 Spyder4PRO monitor calibration tool is absolutely invaluable for professionals and enthusiasts who are looking to get the most out of their monitors.
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1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Hardware
3. Software and Usage Experience
4. Results Discussion and Conclusion