Monitor Calibration for the Masses
Eric ButterfieldPantone's Huey is a basic, easy-to-use tool.
Pantone's Huey calibrates your monitor as lighting conditions change.
If you've ever fought to get the photos you print at home to look like the images you've been adjusting on screen, an incorrectly calibrated monitor was likely at the heart of your problem. Enter the Pantone Huey, an inexpensive monitor calibration tool that works well so long as it plays nicely with your graphics board.
Setup is simple through the basic software, which offers few adjustable settings. You change color temperature and contrast by selecting one of nine presets, several of which are optimized for specific situations such as photo viewing and gaming. Just stick the Huey sensor on your screen, and help the software along with an occasional mouse click as it flashes a series of color and gray patches on screen for the sensor to read.
The Huey conveniently provides periodic recalibration--from every 10 seconds to every 4 hours--based on the room's changing lighting conditions. You place the sensor in its stand, facing you. As nighttime falls or as your overhead lights turn on, the software adjusts the monitor's color temperature and luminosity. When I covered up the sensor, the software dimmed my monitor; when I shone a light directly at it, the screen brightened.
Getting the Huey to function may require that you update your graphics board's drivers. I tried the shipping product on three PCs running Windows XP. The software worked as expected on the desktops with ATI Radeon X600 and nVidia GeForce2 MX boards installed, but the product was unable to calibrate an LCD hooked up to an ATI Radeon X300 card until I updated the X300's drivers from ATI's tech support site.
If basic monitor calibration is all you need, you'll likely find the Huey's color presets and minimal features adequate and easy to use.
The Huey monitor calibration tool is easy to use, though its controls are basic. Price when reviewed: $89 Current prices (if available)