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on August 1, 2011
First, I'm an old Photoshop user with over 18 years of experience. For me accurate colors are not an option, I NEED accurate colors.

Second, I'm used to calibrating my displays by hand. I have set of calibration images I have used effectively across the years. Manual calibration has become difficult as the number of displays I use in a day has increased. One thing is to get decent colors and another to have multiple displays have the SAME colors.

Third, I have the Pantone Huey Pro and I was never totally happy with the results. I could always see some kind of color cast on the result so I ended having to tweak the resulting color profile by hand.

I got the ColorMunki because it seemed like an upgrade from the legendary X-Rite i1Display. I did find some reviews for the ColorMunki but they all used the more expensive model, the Xrite i1Display Pro for their reviews. Still, after careful study I determined that the added features of the i1Display Pro model were not relevant to my needs. The ColorMunki had all the features and parameters I was looking for.

The included software was easy to use. There was an update on the X-Rite site for the software but it looked like a small update.

I went through the menus, follow instructions. Calibration took like 5 minutes. It measures ambient light and has the option to compensate for changing lighting conditions. This is an option I don't care much for but is there is you want it. You need to leave the ColorMunki connected to your computer for this.

During calibration the ColorMunki actually took control of my monitor settings. Changing contrast, brightness, color balance and then adding a color profile to Windows. I was VERY impressed and the results were better than anything I have ever seen.

It even did a GREAT job with my two laptops. In those cases I had to manually increase or decrease the screen brightness but again a painless process.

In total I calibrated 5 computers and all look very close in brightness and colors. I never would have been able to do this with hand calibration.

Overall I'm very happy with the results from the ColorMunki. I can now move from computer to computer without having to worry about the colors been incorrect. My laptops (like most laptops these days) use TN displays that shift the colors as you change viewing angles (reason graphic artist are hesitant to use laptops for graphic work) but it was still a huge improvement from the default settings. Just getting the brightness of the laptops correct was a big win.

I recommend this product for any photographer and graphic artist that care about color accuracy.

-------UPDATE-------

First, there has been an update from X-Rite to the X-Rite XRD Manager. It seems to solve several problems with the program not responding. This component (the XRD Manager) gets installed by the X-Rite drivers but this component got a separate update.

Go to the X-Rite site and search for "X-Rite Device Services (XRD)", the latest version as of today is 2.2. Below are a list of issues (rare issues) I have encountered with ColorMunki but I don't know if this update would solve any, some or all of them. Will update in the future after this update.

I wanted to update my review with several issues I have encountered while calibrating some displays. Note, all my testing is with Windows 7 64bit and Vista 32bit computers, I don't know how the ColorMunkey would work on a Mac or older versions of Windows.

Problem 1: For some displays I've had to calibrate twice to get the right colors. Not common but it has happened to me. If the colors don't look right try again. I suspect this to be a Windows issue (I suspect the latest patch will fix this).

Problem 2: It works better when Windows has drivers for the monitor. Yes, for most monitors in Windows 7 and Vista Microsoft will send you drivers for your monitor through the Windows update feature (optional updates). ColorMunkey seems to use the information on the drivers to some extent.

Problem 3: I have found SOME monitors that REFUSE to calibrate NO MATTER what. ColorMunkei depends on being able to take control of the monitor settings. I found that one of my old Samsung 21" monitor (DVI Connection) would not calibrate no matter what. Then again this monitor has poor colors even if you manually calibrate it.

Problem 4: This is perhaps the biggest problem for many, ColorMunkei doesn't do miracles. A bad display is, well ... a bad display. To get acceptable results ColorMunkei needs all primary colors and most of the secondary colors to display within an acceptable range (usually no more than 3 deltas of difference from ideal color). Some displays will not give you good colors no matter how you calibrate. In those cases calibration becomes more of an art than a science and ColorMunkei is no good at that. Manual calibration is your only hope here as only you can know what color defects are acceptable to you.

Example: A particular monitor can't display blues right, after calibration all other colors look good but now you have a blue color cast because calibrating the other colors actually highlights the blue color issue even more.

I still would recommend Color Munkey without hesitation but problem number 3 is specially disturbing. This tells me that at least on Windows machines we can get some kind of hardware/software incompatibility that you can't overcome (I have not tested with the latest patch from X-Rite yet). Problem number 4 is more about expectations, know your hardware and understand what it can do. TN panels are cheap and color quality varies a LOT on them. You CAN make them look better after calibration but IPS are generally better if color is critical to you. It is better to begin with a good display and then calibrate to get the most from it. Don't get a bad display and expect calibration to fix every color issue.
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on June 25, 2012
I'm a Los Angeles based professional photographer working in entertainment related commercial photography. After disappointing results from the pantone huey pro I was debating between ColorMunki and Spyder express which are in similar price categories. The Spyder only allows you to profile one device per user license. With the ColorMunki I've profiled all the computers in my home and it works amazingly well. It takes control of most monitors brightness and contrast settings within the software so to know you're getting a very accurate profile. On devices like my flat screen TV it's on screen guide prompted me to raise and lower the contrast and brightness with the TV's remote which was super cool and produced incredible results. An added bonus is that it can also profile DLP or LCD Projectors. For the price I'm thrilled with the ColorMunki Display.
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on November 16, 2012
Bought this to replace an old huey pro monitor calibrator. The huey worked well, but it used suction cups to hold it to the screen and they were lousy suction cups, so I had to moisten them to get them to stick which left marks on the monitor that I had to clean up. No such problems with the ColorMunki Smile. The huey also was willing to adjust the monitor for ambient light (bad idea for photographers), which I didn't use. The ColorMunki Smile uses a lot more calibration points (haven't counted, but it's at least 3 times as many, maybe 4), but the results are pretty consistent with those obtained from the huey.

Using this product is dead easy. You just start the software, hang the device over the monitor, press go and wait a few minutes. You get to click a before/after button if you want to when it's done, but otherwise there is nothing for the end user to do. I'm pretty picky, but I can't think of a single thing to complain about with this product. It just does its thing and does it well. Doesn't have a lot of wizz bang features, but I bought it to calibrate my monitor and that's what it does, and it does it with no fuss whatsoever. It doesn't do anything else, but I don't want it to do anything else. Excellent product.
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on April 15, 2013
Smile installed easily on a Windows 7 64-bit PC. Just followed the very clear instructions to leave the hardware unit disconnected, first install the software, then connect the hardware unit / optical sensor. It provides onscreen directions that are pretty foolproof. It even gives an outline region in which to place the hardware sensor.

The hardware sensor drapes over the monitor. There is a counterweight on the cord that can be moved along the cord (I did not have to do so) to help hold the unit in place against the screen within the designated outline area (which is near the center of the screen).

The calibration process is automatic and takes several minutes. Once done it lets you compare pre- and post-calibration. For my Dell monitor there was a noticeable difference and the calibrated tones were clearly more natural looking.

They claim that even with new LCD monitors the calibration should be repeated monthly. For older monitors (e.g. several years old) it shold be repeated weekly for critical setups where color accuracy is really important.

It is important to keep the optical sensors on the bottom of the hardware module clean. One easy way to help is to KEEP the plastic piece in which the unit is packed. It is a handy storage case.

What more can I say? Reasonable cost, installed easily, easy to use, seems to do a very good job. Yes - I recommend it!

If this review was useful, please let me know with the voting button.
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Format: Electronics|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
When I first saw this product, my gut reaction was that someone had to be kidding. Was familiar with X-Rite's professional color matching products, but this one seemed to be too basic to do the job... or is it?

Tried this X-Rite ColorMunki Smile product on a few computers, and to get to the point, was surprised that it was so fast and simple to use. Was also surprised that is was so accurate, at least on the computers on which I tested it. So far I've used it on the following:

▪ MacBook Pro 13", 8MB RAM, running OS X 10.9 Mavericks
▪ HP Pavilion DV7 notebook, 8MB RAM, running Windows 8.1
▪ ASUS K50 notebook, 4MB RAM, running Windows 7 (64-bit)

In each case I had previously run various color profiles to accommodate Adobe imaging software and Nikon Capture NX2. Installing the X-Rite software was simple, and after each installation, the computers were rebooted. The calibration took less than fifteen minutes to run.

Please note that this basic color matching. If you want or need to take it to a higher level, then you may wish to look at the advanced level X-Rite CMUNDIS ColorMunki Display or pro level X-Rite EODIS3 i1Display Pro products.

◆ Summary:

The X-Rite ColorMunki Smile product proved to be a pleasant surprise, and the before/after differences were clearly seen on the screen. For basics, this one is good.

11/27/2013
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on August 7, 2013
I have both a Datacolor Spyder4Elite and an X-Rite i1Display Pro. Both give good results on my Dell U3011 30" Wide-Gamut monitor. The X-Rite unit is much faster, allowing it to create a more complete color correction table in a shorter time. I've found the color correction with the X-Rite to be somewhat better that the Datacolor, but not by so much that it is significant in most cases. I actually use 3 monitors (mostly because I had them). One is the Dell, one is an old Samsung CCFL LCD panel and one is a 2008 (or 2009?) Samsung LED LCD panel. Interestingly, the older CCFL panel has better color than the LED panel, but the LED panel is brighter. The Dell is the monitor I use for all critical work. No color calibration will make these three monitors match, because they are simply to different in technology and their weak colors are different. The best you can do is get the narrow gamut colors the same.

Comparing the color correction with both units, they give very similar optimized results when the software is setup similarly.

I like the Spyder software better that the X-Rite software, but both work well. The Spyder software is more intuitive and steps you through the calibration process better. It allows easy options for calibrating multiple monitors, although even with the best possible calibration, you'll see differences between different monitor types.

The Spyder software provides for an iterative (but slow) grey balance at different luminosities. The X-Rite software does not do this, but allows you to set up your own color patches for correction points, and gives some more options on the type of color profiling to be done. You can make a very complete table of color corrections, which with the speed of the X-Rite unit is practical whereas it would be painfully slow to do fine gradations of correction points with the Spyder unit. With the X-Rite unit, you can also choose several custom color patches to set up calibration points based on Pantone colors or based on colors from your own photographs.

Both software packages install a timer that monitors when you last calibrated your display and reminds you to redo the calibration at an interval you set. The both write a color profile that works in the windows color system, and automatically loads that profile as your default. The Spyder version allows you to turn that profile on and off easily, but I'm not sure why you would want to.

I feel the X-Rite unit and software has the advantage in measuring and writing the profile, but the Spyder software is better at analyzing the performance of the monitor.

I use the X-Rite pretty much exclusively now because of speed.
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on November 13, 2012
[Update 2-1-15] X-Rite has extensively updated their software in the past few years, and I've gone over the features at the bottom of this review.
I've had the Colormunki display for a little over a year now, and figured I should say something about it. It's one of those things that you hesitate to purchase, and once you do becomes one of those invaluable things that works so well you forget about it. I received this as a gift shortly before I purchased the ASUS PA246Q Monitor, using it on a Samsung 910T PVA panel. I had just purchased the Epson Expression 10000XL Wide-Format Graphic Arts Scanner and Epson Stylus Photo R3000 Wireless Wide-Format Color Inkjet Printer (C11CA86201) to reproduce my Wife's artwork. It was time to get serious about color matching.

Coming from a design background, I'm used to using calibrated monitors and viewing stations with temperature controlled lighting for offset printing such as packaging. I'm also a cheapskate and for home use have always calibrated my monitors by eye. For most purposes this can work quite well depending on whether or not you have a target to work with. Most people don't need a calibration device, or can't take advantage of one because they're using an inferior monitor. When it comes to spot colors, artwork and photography, it gets a little more critical as far as final output. It's dicey enough to get something to print exactly (or even close to) the way you see it on your monitor. It's even trickier to color match a piece of artwork that you've scanned. Needless to say, the Colormunki worked quite well with the Samsung, but I could also instantly see the monitor wasn't capable of reproducing colors (sometimes near fluorescent) that oil pastels are capable of. Once matched with a fantastic IPS panel, I was set!

Now, I've used and seen used many brands of calibration devices, and I believe that both the X-Rite and Spider units are excellent. However, I've had more experience and luck with X-Rite's software, a version of which also happens to come bundled with the Epson Scanner and works quite well. One physical feature I prefer is the form factor compared to the Spyders. The Spyders are like Mice with 3 legs, and in turn sit in little cradles when on the desktop. To me, it's a rather ungainly solution. The Colormunki is quite small, self-contained and sits upright on its own. Nothing to knock over really, and a very small footprint. The diffuser flips over when reading the monitor, and flips back when sitting on the desktop. The Spyder also seems to me to be "directional" when it sits on its cradle, the Colormunki seems to be more omnidirectional as it points straight up.

Be aware though that the Colormunki Display is what I would consider the rock-bottom of calibration devices. There are a few things it doesn't do, and for professional use I would definitely spring for one of the better models. For instance, there is no way to read the actual luminance of the monitor, only to set it. For most photographers and designers, this sort of thing is not an issue. Especially if you're in control of the print process. However, if money was on the line, then it would pay to get the higher end device.

Another thing that you should look for in a calibration device is the ability to read ambient light and correct for it at intervals. My home office has 2 windows on 2 walls, and the light changes drastically throughout the day. This adjusts for it quite well (set for every 10 minutes) as well as when the sun goes down. I could not recommend a device that cannot compensate in this way. Color correction should always be done in a lit room - ideally in an environment that is close to how the final product will be viewed. This can't always happen, and the colormunki compensates. If you're the type who likes to color correct in a darkened room, then good luck to you is all I can say - because what I'd like to say isn't G rated!

I've also been using this on Windows 7 for a year, and recently Windows 8 Pro. When I installed Windows 8, it had no issues actually finding the Colormunki drivers and installing them without assistance. Of course, I still needed to install the calibration software and recalibrate to my new graphics card. My old ATI card was causing issues with Adobe CS6. The software itself comes in easy and expert modes, unless you wish to pick a particular color temperature for your lighting situation, I recommend keeping it on easy mode. It does a great job and is fairly quick - the whole process takes about 3-4 minutes. That could be slow if you calibrate often, but I've found once the monitor stabilizes (age-wise) it's not really that necessary to do frequently.

Just so you know the calibration software is working, there's a before and after image to compare the difference. I find with my Asus monitor it warms whites up ever so slightly from before. More importantly, I can scan images in (Adobe RGB) and have very little color correction to do. Any color corrections that I do based on the artwork are accurately reflected in the printed material.

If you're printing at home and are the sort who likes to experiment and use materials other than papers with ICC profiles, I would recommend looking at the ColorMunki Photo - Monitor, Printer & Projector Profiler which allows you to calibrate your printer on specific media as well.

Pros:
- Easy to setup and use
- Calibrates for ambient light
- Good software
- Windows 8 64 bit compatible
- Small footprint
- Simple design
- Decent price

Cons:
- Still expensive
- Software could be better still (get better model)
- Software is slow if you need to calibrate often
- Dull looking

Bottom line, it's one of those things you'll always wonder how you got along without. It's perfect for those who control the creative process in house. Professional photographers and designers will certainly have something to gain from it. It will also get immediately ignored, other than the fact you need to have it in a spot close to your monitor to read the light correctly. It's a conversation starter for people who wonder what the weird little glowing device is sitting on your desk. I give it 5 stars for a good intro price-point and doing what it's supposed to do. It's not fun or romantic, but it gets the job done, and quite well.

*** Update 9/21/13 ***
Important Notice!
I did run into a problem with the device when installing onto a new computer.
No, it wasn't windows 8 (already running on old computer).
No, it wasn't the drivers (I did try them all at first as I was pulling out my hair).
It was the new energy saving PC!
Apparently (and this may be common with the new Haswell chip) the USB ports don't have enough "oomph" to power the device.
Once I got a powered USB hub the problem was solved.

***Update 2/1/15***
The software has been updated in the more recent versions. I wasn't using it for a while as it wasn't particularly compatible with System 8, but now it is working fine on 8.1. This review is based on Version 1.1.1.

Advanced User Mode: The advanced mode now has several new and extremely useful features that improve the functionality of the device. The features are especially useful if you're trying to match prints in a given environment.

Advanced Settings Based on:
- Photo
- ITV-R Rec BT.709 (Video)
- NTSC
- PAL SECAM

White Point Setting:
- D50, 55, 65 (recommended) and Native

Display White Luminance Settings:
- Optimize display based on ambient light conditions that you'll view printed pieces
- Or set at 80 cd/m² thru 140, or Native

Optional Settings:
- Ambient Light Smart Control: Measures and corrects adjustments based on current light conditions when calibrating (this measures current brightness and contrast and asks you to set it as close as possible on a scale read in real-time)
- Flare Correction: Corrects calibration based on monitor flare (you point the device at the monitor from 12" away so it can see how much reflection is given off)

These additional settings or changes to the settings have improved the software greatly. The difference on the monitor calibration was subtle, but noticeable. This brings the device a notch closer to the best software available. There are still some missing elements, but for most users (myself included) this isn't really necessary.

*** Update 1/16 ***
While the software has continued to improve, and the comparisons still show the color accuracy is better than the new Spyder 5, I can report one issue that suddenly developed. The soft-touch u-shaped surround with the diffusion lens on it has turned into a sticky, gooey mess. I can certainly say the disintegration of the product took place over a matter of weeks, as it was not this way when I recalibrated my monitor back in November. My office had no fluorescent lights, direct UV exposure or other possible reasons for this breakdown. So I can simply assume the materials will give you about 4 years of life give or take. Of course I'm now concerned about the possible discoloration of the diffuser.

I will simply wait until this or the i1Display go on sale, and get another. I'm still convinced of the superiority of the X-Rite system. I've loved this calibration device, and the X-Rite color passport for photography. It's just a shame that the materials seem to be iffy. I will contact X-Rite and post any response I get from them.
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on December 7, 2011
I have owned this product for about 2 weeks now and here are my experiences with it. This monitor calibrator is truly fantastic when it comes to its manin purpose - calibrating colors on your monitor - it is extremely accurate and the process is much faster than any other calibrator I've seen out there. I really enjoy the automatic profile adjustment feature based on the current ambient light conditions, kudos to that.

However, my review is 3 star only because the software is really, really buggy on OS X Lion. In order for the ambient light adjustment to work, there is a small utility called iProfiler that runs in the background. This utility (I've downloaded the latest version from X-Rite web site which is v1.2.0) has a memory leak problem - the memory consumption grows from 20 Mb to 800 Mb in less than 24 hrs (monitoring utilizing iStats). I have contacted X-Rite technical support and they are aware of this issue and have recommended turning off this feature. As such I cannot utilize this unit to its full capacity, and I am somewhat disappointed - for the premium price I've paid for this product, I would expect a premium quality software.
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VINE VOICEon August 24, 2011
Format: Electronics|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
List of relevant hardware:
Apple 15.4-inch MacBook Pro MC723LL/A (hi-res antiglare)
Dell 24-inch UltraSharp U2410
Apple LED Cinema Display 27-Inch MC007LL/A
- 2007 Apple MacBook

I am a software engineer by trade, a photography enthusiast (Canon DSLR with Aperture) and a home video editor (Canon AVCHD with Final Cut Pro) at nights and weekends. I have been using a borrowed Spyder3Pro (S3P for short), which is a reference for this review.

X-Rite is perhaps the largest name in color matching products. It owns PANTONE and makes some of the most respected products. i1 Display Pro (i1D Pro for short) is its latest offering. The hardware is about the size of a memory card reader and smaller than S3P. Unlike S3P, i1D Pro has only the counterweight, lacking suction cups. The counterweight can be moved along the entire cable run. Counterweight is fine for most computer displays, but unusable when calibrating very large HDTV that some people use as a monitor or for HTPC (you will need to hold i1D Pro with your hand over 2 minute calibration run).

All in all, i1D Pro feels substantial and more high-end than S3P. It has a built-in diffuser to measure ambient light and it is capable of calibrating CRT, LCD (CCFL, variations of LED), and even projectors. It has a flare correction feature to compensate for glossy flat screen displays, such as 27" LED Cinema Display.

iD Pro includes i1Profiler software that runs on both Windows (untested) and Mac (tested on 10.7 Lion). Installation was mostly uneventful (and no reboot required), although it did prompt to me update to 1.1.1 (from 1.1.0) and register and activate the product (it otherwise becomes a 30-day trial demo app). The app resembles Apple's Aperture. Coming from S3P and television calibration experiences, I am pretty familiar with the art of display calibration and profiling. So I found the app to be fairly straightforward. Unlike S3P software, i1Profiler can calibrate luminance level as well.

I used advanced mode to calibrate all 4 displays. First, using the app's white patch measurement feature, I set luminance on my displays to as close to 100 cd/m2 as possible (by tinkering with brightness and/or contrast). 100 cd/m2 is below industry's recommended 120-140 range, but I find 120 to be just too darn bright.

The manual and online help are on the inadequate side, so if you are not familiar with profiling, you may want to visit the support section on X-Rite's website to get additional clarification. On the positive side, aside from selecting backlighting type (CCFL and white LED in my case) and luminance level, default recommended values are all good and should be ideal for all but advanced users with discriminating needs.

2 minutes later, I got ICC profiles with better color saturation, more accurate color, more natural whites, and/or deeper black level than S3P (when looking at before and after for various RAW files). The differences are sometimes subtle, but never worse and generally better. Comparing results to Mac OS X's default ICC profiles is much more dramatic, which tends to be very blue with limited color saturation and contrast level. Mac OS X's calibration mode can yield better results than the default, but still dramatically worse than i1D Pro's profiles.

On multi-monitor setup, dragging i1Profiler app from one display to another will let you calibrate other displays. The app can also measure your monitor for uniformity and color accuracy.

That said, the application did crash few times and UI is a bit unrefined here and there. For instance, all important measure button is often hidden, requiring a scroll down. Help icon next to some controls do not reveal any hints of any kind.

A companion piece is i1Profiler Tray, which can run continuously to remind you to recalibrate and uses i1D Pro to adjust for change in ambient light as needed. I am not a fan of ambience compensation, but it does work much better than Apple's built-in feature.

Also included is PANTONE Color Manager software.
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on June 15, 2015
Okay so either I am doing something wrong, or X-Rite i1 Display Pro has done nothing to help me calibrate my screen!
Here is my dilema. I have been printing my photos for quite some time now, and now that my photography has gotten more serious I decided to take the next step in printing my own photos. After some research I decided that Canon PIXMA Pro-100 was the appropriate product for me.
After initially printing the first round of photos I was heavily disappointed with the quality of my printed photos. I realized that perhaps it is my screen calibration! So I got this product X-Rire i1 Display Pro, and calibrated by screen. I noticed right off the bat that the "after" calibration comparison actually looked horrible (much, much darker) than compared to the before. I must have watched the instruction videos off of X-Rite's own website about 10 times, meiculously following the same steps over and over trying to get the desired results and nothing! My printed photos look like crap. Am I doing something wrong?? Please, I want to love this product. I am running on CALIBRATED Surface Pro 3, and printing through the Canon PIXMA Pro-100. I don't understand, if I calibrated the screen why do my printed photos still look off from my screen?? Any help , suggestions, hints, tips would greatly help and I would increase my rating.. as of NOW I GIVE 2 STARS, only because I want to love this product. (Also, when I finish calibrating and save profile I cant seem to load earlier profiles??)
review image review image
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