Pantone Huey Monitor Calibrator Review

I listen to a lot of photography podcasts every week (and I suggest you do too) and the issue of color management comes up on a pretty regular basis. The whole color management process is getting pretty solid as printers are more accurate than ever and if you are using a known paper, you will get great prints. However, the weak link is the monitor, if you monitor isn’t displaying accurate color, if you tweak and adjust your image to match what you saw, when you print it, the colors will be off. While this is a simple concept, I never really put much thought into it. Sure I have had monitors fade over time, and it drives me nuts when I see a monitor that is seriously out of whack, but I have good equipment, I tune it to the best of my ability, how bad can it be?

In doing some research, it appears that the color temperature of a typical LCD display favors the blue side of the spectrum, and in some cases, quite a bit. But my whites look white, my colors look good, so again, I never thought much of it. A friend of mine convinces me to try the Pantone Huey, for $99, it is one of the most cost effective monitor calibrators available. However, I had heard good things about it so I decided that if I was going to try this whole calibration nonsense, I didn’t want to spend a lot of money.

My main system is a Dell E1305 laptop so I installed the Huey software, rebooted, and when the system came back, I plugged in the Huey and when the detection was finished, I ran the calibration software. You pull the device out of the cradle and line it up to the picture displayed on the screen, it should hang there as it had a series of suction cups on the bottom. The software runs through a series of colors that the Huey processes and then adjusts the screen accordingly. You can then toggle between the calibrated and uncalibrated modes to see the difference.

Let me tell you, I didn’t need to toggle back and forth to see that my screen had changed dramatically. The end result was that it seemed to really tone down the blues but my first reaction was that the green had been turned off all this time. I opened up some nature shots I had taken recently and had to actually turn down the vibrance because the green was so overwhelming now. Ok, I was impressed, time to try on my desktop machine.

My desktop machine is a Sony desktop with a Viewsonic 19” LCD. While the green wasn’t off nearly as bad as my laptop, the brightness and contrast were adjusted quite a bit.

One feature that is very cool about the Huey is that you keep it plugged in all the time and it will constantly adjust the screen based on ambient light conditions.

I am absolutely sold now on getting your monitor calibrated, if you are at all serious about photography and printing, be it professional, as a hobbyist, or as a scrapbooker, you owe it to yourself to get the best output you can get and $99 for the Huey is a cheap price to pay for this level of accuracy.

Pantone Huey at Amazon.com

Pantone Huey Pro at Amazon.com

KerryG

Kerry Garrison lives in Castle Rock, Colorado with his wife and two dogs. With 10 years of experience shooting products and 5 years of experience in the wedding industry, Kerry brings a good deal of technical know-how and can explain topics in easy-to-understand terms.

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