Datacolor has just announced a big software upgrade to their current line of monitor calibration tools – the Spyder5PRO+ and Spyder5ELITE+, which go with their Spyder5 product family. We reviewed those here.
Ahead of the public release, I had a chance to test out the new software and I think that Spyder5 users are going to be pretty excited about a some of the new features unlocked with the Spyder5 Elite+
Continue reading to find out what’s new and my thoughts on the upgrade…
The Datacolor Spyder is a line of monitor calibration tools used to make sure that the colors you see on an electronic display are as close as possible to their true color. If you’re new to monitor calibration or the Datacolor Spyder line of monitor calibration tools, you will want to take a moment to read our previous reviews:
Three models of the Spyder5 are currently available: Spyder5EXPRESS, Spyder5PRO, and Spyder5ELITE. Software upgrades are available for both the Spyder5PRO+ and Spyder5ELITE+
Here is a feature list that shows some of the new features available with this upgrade and the differences between the Spyder5PRO+ and Spyder5ELITE+
Device Color Calibration with the Spyder5 Elite+
The monitor calibration process with the Spyder5 Elite+ software upgrade is pretty much the same as it was before with the Spyder5 series, with one big update and two smaller updates.
The big update is called “Automatic Room Light Switching” which allows your monitor to automatically adjust it’s brightness levels relative to your room’s ambient light level. I really like this feature because during a bright sunny day my monitor will now automatically brighten up to display images properly with a brighter ambient light level – but when I am working with the normal ambient light level in my office (ie. at night with the lights dimmed), the monitor will dim to accordingly.
The only downside is that you have to keep the Spyder5 sensor connected to a USB port and sitting on your desktop – adding clutter and wires.
The other two new features are “Profile Management”, which allows you to easily turn on or off, switch, delete, and rename existing profiles and “One Click Calibration” which allows you to re-calibrate your monitor with a single click.
Soft Proofing & Device Simulation
The Spyder5ELITE+ update includes improved “Screen-to-Print” matching with new workflow and tools to simulate how images will look on any printer or device – including home printers, online or retail printers, and various mobile/tablet devices.
This isn’t a feature that I use very often – but it could certainly be invaluable to users who are outputting images that are going to be used on a specific device.
The process for soft proofing is simple enough, you select an image to soft proof and then select a device to simulate. However, I found the user interface to be a little clunky and only three mobile device profiles came pre-installed (“Lenovo”, iPad3 and “Google Nexus”).
The screen shot below shows an iPad3 simulation with the Gamut Warning enabled – showing that some of the red in the model’s shirt would be out-of-gamut for that particular screen.
The Spyder5ELITE+ update also includes an updated studio match feature with a visual verification step to ensure more precise monitor matching and take the guess work out of making all displays look alike.
This is another feature that I won’t use much personally, but could be very useful for larger studios working across many different displays.
The cost to upgrade from Elite to Spyder5ELITE+ is $29.99 (or more if you want to upgrade from the pro or express levels), so the real question is: are these upgrades worth thirty bucks?
Personally, I like the automatic room light switching feature along with one click calibration and color profile management, but I won’t use the soft proofing or studio matching capabilities very often (if ever).
If you already use a Spyder5PRO or Spyder5ELITE I really don’t see the value in spending $30 on this update.
If you specifically need soft proofing and/or studio matching, you might see more value in this update – but my gut feeling is that Datacolor should have really released this as a free upgrade to its loyal customers and not a standalone product.
If you use a Datacolor Spyder, please leave a comment below and let us know what you think!
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