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Pantone huey™ review

Accurate colour is essential for anyone involved with digital imaging, and monitor calibration should be as essential as remembering to put your memory card in the camera. Pantone announced the availability of huey™ on January 16th. I was keen to get my hands on it and put it through a few tests. Rather than publish a review straight away, I decided to test the huey over a period of one month to see if this tiny monitor calibration tool could match the Spyder Pro 2 for quality.

The package includes an installation CD with drivers for both Windows XP and Mac OS, the huey™ colorimeter, desktop cradle, USB extension cable, Klear screen monitor cleaning wipes and a quick start guide. (please don’t email me saying I have spelt clear wrong)

Following the quick start guide to the letter, first clean your screen with the Klear screen wipes. Install the software, this took 19 seconds on my system and requires a system re-boot on completion. Once the computer has restarted then connect the huey to your computer via the USB cable extension cable. Place the Huey on your desk facing you and it reads the ambient room light, once completed you are prompted to attach the huey to your screen.

No its not a UFO - just the huey interface

Clear instructions at all stages

Testing 1-2-3, damn where did I put my microphone
It's a very small unit


The first thing that strikes me is its small size, its about the same size as a Wacom pen. The huey has eight tiny suckers which hold it in place on the screen and it can be used for both LCD and CRT screens (and laptops). I was reluctant to use this on the delicate surface of a LCD screen. The suckers need a slight amount of moistening, I resisted the temptation to lick the suckers and used a damp cloth. A small amount of pressure is required to make the huey stick to a LCD screen, but not enough to cause any damage. For CRT screens there isn’t a problem, just whack it on.

Eight small suckers are enough to hold the huey in place
Attach to a LCD or CRT monitor
The software rotates through a selection of colours
View the before and after views
Select the colouring you like to work with
Colour settings can also be selected via the preferences
User selectable timing for measuring ambient light

Once fitted in place the screen rotates through a series of colours, this process takes about 1 minute. Your monitor's profile is saved and automatically applied as the new default setting. You are prompted to remove the huey and place it back in the cradle in front of your monitor. The huey will continue to read the ambient light and adjust the brightness of the monitor all the time your computer is switched on. - very clever stuff. There is an adjustable slider in the preferences that gives you the choice of how frequently you want huey to measure the ambient light. You can also select the kind of work you do from; gaming, web browsing and photo editing, graphic design and video editing, to warm low - medium - high contrast and warm low - medium - high contrast. This changes the appearance of the image displayed on your screen, which in my opinion rather defeats the purpose of creating an accurate profile. The huey measured the monitor as is, and at no stage was I prompted to alter my monitor's brightness and contrast settings.

The huey is very easy to set up and use, it produced a pleasing (but not totally accurate) colouring on my LG LCD screen, you can see a difference in screen display colouring when the huey profile is compared to one created with a Spyder Pro 2. At £59 the huey represents good value for money, and it will appeal to the keen hobbyist who doesn't want to splash £140+ out on a Spyder. Bearing in mind that is aimed at the hobbyist market I would have liked a few more options, such as being able to calibrate a TV screen as well as a monitor.



January 5, 2008

© Vincent Oliver 2008
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