How Well Does Pantone's Huey Pro Work With LCD Flat-Panel Displays and Laptops?

Answered by Jay Nelson, Editor and Publisher, Design Tools Monthly

In my last Q&A about using a Tintbook to get accurate color, I mentioned Pantone's Huey Pro for calibrating your display. We received several inquiries about this device, such as: You recommended using the Huey Pro for calibrating displays. How well does it work with LCD flat-panel displays and laptops? How does it handle multiple displays? And is it complicated to use?

As they say, "it's all good." I tested Pantone's Huey Pro on my system, which is an Apple MacBook Pro with an external Samsung SyncMaster 910. (They are both LCD displays, but the Huey works on CRTs as well.) It was less than 15 minutes from the time I began opening the package to the time I was done.

All I had to do was pop in their software CD, launch their calibration application, and follow its instructions. First, it asked me to plug the Huey Pro's USB cable into my Mac. Then it asked me to place the pen-sized Huey Pro into its desktop cradle so that it could measure the ambient room light. Then an image of the device appeared onscreen, and it told me to stick the Huey Pro onto that image. (The Huey Pro has eight tiny suction cups on its backside.)

The software displayed some colors, the device measured them, and it asked me to name the new profile. The process was then complete for that display. Since I also have another display, it asked me to drag the application window to that display. I stuck the Huey on the indicated spot on that display and it measured the output there as well. I named the profile and the process was complete.

At that point, I had the option of putting the Huey away, or leaving it in the cradle on my desk. The benefit of keeping it in the cradle and plugged into the USB port is that it would regularly measure the ambient light in the room and adjust both displays to compensate for the new ambient light. In my case this is important because my desk is near a window and not only does the room light change during the day, it changes across the seasons.

You can use the Huey Pro to calibrate as many displays as you like, but only one workstation can benefit from its real-time ambient room sensing.

I can't recommend Pantone's Huey Pro highly enough. For as little as $100 from several online retailers, you can calibrate all displays and be sure that you're seeing the colors and levels of gray that your applications want you to see. Without a calibrated display, you're totally guessing.

This question was answered by Jay Nelson, Publisher & Editor, Design Tools Monthly. We love DTM's tips and advice and think you will, too. For a free sample PRINTED issue, contact Design Tools Monthly at 303-543-8400, e-mail, or go to their website:

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