Inexpensive; easy-to-use system for calibrating prints and screen colors
Can dramatically change screen tone from what you're used to; lag on color profile reload
You don’t need to be a graphics professional to care about the color of your prints—even casual digital photographers take pride in their work. But what’s a user to do when the image he sees on the screen bears little resemblance to the printer’s output? Many screens provide manual control over individual color channels, but tweaking them to match your printer’s color can be a tedious and time-consuming affair. An alternative is to color calibrate your monitor with a hardware/software package made for the task.
Pantone’s Huey line of consumer calibrators promises professional-grade results with a price and user-friendliness that will appeal to even hobbyists. Both the standard Huey and the HueyPro function similarly: You load the calibration software, connect the cigarillo-size calibrator to your USB port, and then follow the software’s simple steps, which take little more than a minute to complete.
For this review, we focused on the HueyPro because unlike the standard version, the Pro will calibrate more than one monitor on a single workstation. Per the software’s instructions, we stuck the suction-cupped calibrator to our screen and watched as the device measured the screen’s color temps with a show of LEDs. In the end, our screen took on a dramatically different appearance that was warmer and redder than its previous state—it’s fun to toggle between the before and after results. The newly calibrated screen looked very unnatural to our unaccustomed eyes, so we compared it with a multicolored print that we ran off on our company’s production-grade printer, which gets regularly serviced and calibrated. And sure enough, the calibrated screen was a much closer match to the print—nearly identical, in fact.
The HueyPro lets you select from a few different white-point and gamma settings to suit your personal preference without disrupting the color balance. And you can opt for the device to measure the room’s ambient light at all times (from its wee cradle) and make appropriate adjustments to your screen on the fly.
For folks who do a lot of color printing, this product is a real boon; the trade-offs are a screen that likely looks very different from what you’re used to and a lag time whenever you boot and the color profile is reloaded.