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ColorMunki Display Monitor Projector Laptop Calibration Review

ColorMunki Display Monitor Projector Laptop Calibration Review - A calibration device that can calibrate your monitor, laptop, and projector all in one? We find out how it performs!

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Category : Display Devices
Product : X-Rite ColorMunki Display
Price : £115
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Features
Handling
Performance
Verdict
Specification

ColorMunki Display
The ColorMunki Display by X-Rite is an advanced display calibration device for photographers and creatives. It promises to calibrate all of your displays, LCDs, laptops, and projectors, designed for the latest display technologies including CCFL (LCD backlighting), LED and wide-gamut. It offers 3-in-1 functionality: monitor calibration, ambient light measurement, and projector calibration. In the box you'll find: the ColorMunki display colorimeter, ColorMunki software, and a quick start guide.

X-Rite ColorMunki Display Features

  • New state of the art instrument
  • Easy to use
  • Ambient light smart control
  • Automatic display control (ADC)
  • Display match (create your profile settings once and easily apply to any display for a "perfect match")
  • Before and after validation
  • Unique ergonomic design (easily switch between monitor profiling, ambient light caputure, or projector profiling).
  • Register to activate free technical support during warranty period

X-Rite ColorMunki Display Handling

The ColorMunki Display comes with a 35 page quick start guide with one page a picture to illustrate the step and the other page with all languages (7 languages). This makes it really easy to understand how to set up the device and use it in all the various methods, whether to calibrate your screen, laptop, or monitor, or to use it as ambient light meter.

Installation: You are advised to install the software on the CD before plugging it in. Installation of the software takes around 5-10 minutes, and then asks you to restart the PC (whether you're using Windows XP or Windows 7).

Placing the ColorMunki Display on the screen - the weight on the cable helps hold it in place. However the device is designed for monitors that are tilted backwards (and up, facing you) - if you have monitors that are vertical ie not tilted back then the device doesn't attach firmly, it just floats in front of the screen. Tilting the monitor back slightly can help massively.

X-Rite ColorMunki Display
X-Rite ColorMunki Display - Ambient Light Meter mode plus weight.

Each time you need to switch between the ambient light meter and screen calibration the software will show on screen how to adjust the device from one to the other making it very easy to do - you simply spin around the white cover.

A taskbar icon shows in green if you're correctly profiled, and turns red when calibration is due. When profiling is due to be done again a pop up message will also remind you that you should calibrate your screen(s) again - the period of time between calibrating can be chosen after you've successfully calibrated your screen from 1, 2, 3 or 4 weeks.

X-Rite ColorMunki Display Performance

With older monitors it's advisable to set the brightness / contrast / colour temperature to default settings, or your preferred brightness settings pre-calibration, the ColorMunki doesn't advise this before calibration, but I know other calibration tools often do. On more modern displays the ColorMunki can set the brightness / contrast / colour using ADC for you, so you don't have to. If you need to manually adjust the settings (on older monitors) and then re-calibrate it can be quite a time consuming process, especially if it takes you 5-10 minutes each calibration. Using ADC lengthens the time it takes to calibrate the screen, however it can be quite useful, especially if changing controls on your monitor is awkward.

X-Rite ColorMunki Display
X-Rite ColorMunki Display Ambient Light Meter mode.

Using the easy calibration method:
 You don't need to set brightness or contrast to match anything and the software will either calibrate your monitor "as is" or use ADC to set the brightness, colour temperature and luminance greatly increasing the ease of use. This does make the process longer but it seems easier to do it this way. Older monitors often don't support this.

Using the advanced calibration method: If you need to adjust the brightness and contrast to get the best results, then it will advise you to during the process (so that the white luminance matches the aimed target (120), after this it advises there is approximately 5 minutes remaining. After calibration you can save the profile with a specific name and then setup the device to be an ambient light meter.

Once the first monitor is calibrated, you can then calibrate your second screen and tell it to calibrate to match the first monitor if required.

X-Rite ColorMunki Display
X-Rite ColorMunki Display Monitor / Laptop Calibration Side with foam protection for your screen.

With modern monitors, such as the Samsung 226BW the before and after made a little bit of difference (from slightly cool, to more nuetral) as Samsung and other new monitors seem to be better calibrated or setup straight out of the box.

With poor performing monitors or older monitors it can be difficult to get a good result, as the calibration will not fix totally poor monitors and when you get to a point where you find you can't get the monitor right at all, it may be time to give up and start thinking about a new monitor. Likewise it won't be able match two monitors if one is significantly under performing.

Better results were achieved when matching a second monitor to a newer monitor using ADC, then it was possible to get the two monitors to match quite well.

Laptops: Using two different monitors such as a laptop screen and an external monitor it's difficult to get the displays to match and any difference in finish of the monitors can play a huge part in how the colour appears - for example my laptop screen has a reflective gloss finish, whereas the external screen has a matt finish. The images look much more striking on the bright gloss laptop screen and it has much stronger blacks generally, but the calibration of the laptop screen has left some of the colours looking quite muted.

If you are ever concerned whether your white balance is correct, or trying to correct images so that your greys are neutral, then you may be wasting your time if your monitor is not correctly calibrated, as it could be showing you a pink or yellow tinted image (when there may in fact be nothing wrong with the image in the first place). Calibrating you monitor with some kind of screen calibration device is highly recommended.

Value For Money

The ColorMunki Display is available for £120 - this is good value for money considering it will calibrate multiple monitors and supports projectors, however, the results available tend to depend heavily on the quality of your screens in the first place and with some monitors I have calibrated (such as a new Samsung monitor), very little calibration was required. Alternatives £69 Spyder 3 Express (1 monitor per pc) Spyder 3 Pro £110 (multiple monitors) Spyder 3 Elite (£149, unlimited monitors, and projector support) - these don't do projectors though. Free alternatives include Calibrize 2.0, or you can have a look at our white to black chart at the bottom of every page and set your brightness / contrast so you can see all shades of white to grey.

X-Rite ColorMunki Display Verdict

The X-Rite ColorMunki Display supports projectors, laptops and monitors and provides an easy to use monitor calibration device that works well. There are a few niggles regarding calibrating more than one monitor and it's not entirely suitable for vertical monitors or old monitors. Using newer monitors or displays that support ADC, the product improves the display of photographs noticeably and the versatility of being able to calibrate all your display devices whether it's a TFT screen, laptop or projector is great.
The ColorMunki Display improves the display of photographs and noticeably improve monitors where there is very little control, even on laptops and projectors.

X-Rite ColorMunki Display Pros

Supports multiple monitors
Support projectors
ADC (Auto Display Control) works well
Improves the display of photos
Easy to use

X-Rite ColorMunki Display Cons

Does not work well with vertical monitors
USB cable could be short depending on your setup
LED light flashes / breathes on both sides (annoying in dark environment)

FEATURES
HANDLING
PERFORMANCE
VALUE FOR MONEY
OVERALL

X-Rite ColorMunki Display Specifications

TFT Monitor
Screen Size (Diagonal)No Data
Device TypeNo Data
TFT TechnologyNo Data
ResolutionNo Data
Aspect RatioNo Data
Dot Pitch / Pixel PitchNo Data
Colour SupportNo Data
BrightnessNo Data
Image Contrast Ratio (Max)No Data
Viewing AnglesNo Data
Input Type
    Built in SpeakersNo Data
    USB Hub Built In
      Power Source
      Power Consumption (W)No Data
      Box Contents
      Box ContentsColorMunki Display colorimeter, ColorMunki profiling software for displays and projectors, and Quick Start Guide.
      Dimensions
      WeightNo Data

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      Comments


      25 Aug 2011 6:27AM
      I have an original ColorMunki that I have used for some years now. I have found it far superior to previous devices by other manufacturers, that I have used. I process images at least 5 days a week, so consistency is very important.
      I notice from the article however, that there is no mention of printer calibration with the new model. The original model does both, with almost perfect results. Is this an omission?

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      Javan 9
      26 Aug 2011 9:33AM
      SmartAS,

      The ColorMunki Display is not an updated Printer profiler, but rather an extension to the brand of ColorMunki. This is just a standalone monitor calibrator. The review is correct.

      Javan Bramhall
      Color Confidence

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