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X-Rite ColorMunki Photo (CMUNPH)
Style: ColorMunki Photo|Change
Price:$391.02+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime


Enthusiast: Cyclingon October 31, 2016
I've been using the ColorMunki Smile for just about two years. Most of the stellar reviews are old. In short, with a fresh Windows 10 OS, the device is not easy to get running. Those that claims it works flawlessly with Windows 10 are probably existing users that upgraded from Windows 7 or 8 with the device drivers already installed. The Mac OS (OS X or even the new MacOS - 2016-10) works well and usually doesn't have a problem except in the USB department described below.

Using the calibration is a two step process. First you install the device drivers and software, reboot, then access the software, plug in the Smile, and basically let it read the colors as they cycle in a box on your screen. The screen needs to be titled back slightly so the Smile sits flat on the screen with no light gaps. If you allow light gaps, the calibration will be flawed and the resulting 'improved' image will not be good. This process takes between 3-6 minutes depending on the OS and PC performance. Once done, the colors are matched well across devices. If, like me, you are using multiple displays, it calibrates them so the image color and contrast is consistent across them. This is very beneficial with a laptop and external display, or multiple multi-vendor displays, when dealing with colors for video editing, photo editing, or graphic work in general.

That was the good news. The bad news is that it is sometimes very finicky getting it to work. The issues come in multiple forms. First, you need to connect the Smile to a USB 2.0 port that has sufficient power. Many un-powered hubs will not provide enough juice and the error will simply be "Device not found." This is especially confusing when plugging directly into your PC's USB port and getting this message. Only when I realized that it required a direct USB 2.0 connection on the PC, rather than through most hubs or built-in USB 3.0 ports, did it work. This was true on more than a few of my systems making each distinct system a new problem to solve. This is also true on Mac's and PC's alike. For example, it works fine on one MacBook Pro but not on another older or newer one depending on their USB configurations. Heaven only knows if this will work at all on systems with only USB-C ports with dongles...

In addition to the aforementioned USB issue, the driver software is horrible on Windows. They claim their software is Windows 10 compatible, however, the latest version is not. What is ironic, is that the older version is. A quick look at the INF file (used for loading the drivers) included with the latest 1.0.2 version of their software, shows no OS later than Windows 7 listed. Consequently, when you open the device manager, you will see that no driver is loaded for the Smile, and therefore the software can't find the device. If you had Windows 7 with X-Rites drivers already installed and you upgraded to Windows 10, the driver will continue to function. However, if you just received that shiny new laptop and are installing the software anew, it won't work. Even manually forcing the driver to load (by hunting it down and manually selecting it), will not work because it is not a signed driver and is listed as incompatible with Windows 10. The installer however, gleefully ignores these issues during install and reports no problems at all. Unless you know enough to drill into the device manager and INF files, you won't ever figure out what the problem is.

The solution I found, is to find and download the older version 1.0.1. When you install the older version the driver is picked up by Windows 10 as compliant, and you will see the device being installed and configured by the device manager. Reboot and launch the software and it will inform you there is an upgrade available. Just ignore that. The calibration should now work. You may also need to right-click the ColorMunki Smile shortcut icon created by the installer, and choose 'Run as Administrator' for it to work, again making this kind of trial and error effort.

While the ColorMunki Smile works, the support is basically non-existent and the software hasn't seen a meaningful update in two years. What's funny is they list the latest software as being released in late August, 2016 but this is the version (1.0.2) that won't work with a fresh Windows 10 install. Due to the flaky nature of their software, and the hit and miss nature of the USB compatibility, I have to dock a star for each issue.

Would I recommend this? For color calibration yes, but only if you want to mess with the aforementioned issues. Other options are more expensive so I guess you get what you pay for, and X-Rite is content with that.
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on February 10, 2014
in case you're wondering, this really is a i1Display Pro meter in disguise. lets lay all the cards out on the table. it's exactly the same hardware as i1Display Pro. only difference is the firmware that's inside has a slower measuring time (to match the lower pricing), and the profiling software that comes with, is watered down. but if you're intended to use this with a 3rd party Calibration software, there really is no reason NOT to get the colormunki instead of the i1Display Pro, since all you need is the hardware, which is exactly the same. the measuring time isn't that much slower than the i1Display Pro. in fact, i was shocked how fast the readings took. i came from Spyder 2, Spyder 3, which took 5 times longer than what this thing takes for each luminance reading.

Pro:
it's fast, and "supposedly" accurate in measuring low luminance. Since i have no way of comparing it with a $28,000 CS-2000 Spectro meter; again, i did my research before purchase. and most tend to agree in its dark accuracy. in fact, i was able to get a reading of 0.013 cd/m2 (that's 0.0037 fL) out of my Samsung 60ES8000 in micro dimming mode in 0% IRE gray scale full field test, which dims the backlight to the minimum in dark areas. i don't know if it can read any lower than that. if i turn the backlight completely off, it wasn't able to take the reading. so i am not sure if it has any room between completely off vs what i got. maybe someone with a high end plasma can chime in and comment.

the meter is pretty consistent across the board. the resulting delta E is very consistent. you might get a bigger variation due to screen uniformity rather than meter reading. i used it on one high end Samsung HDTV 60ES8000 (the highest consumer model in 2012), one 27" Apple Cinema Display monitor, and a macbook pro. for both the 27" monitor, and the laptop i used the included Xrite profiling software, which is easy to use and quick. the whole process took 5 mins.

Speed. the measuring speed is fast. i believe the 0% IRE black took about 6 seconds max, while the rest of the 10~100% IRE gray scale took anywhere between less than 1 second to 2 second each. so it's surprisingly fast. due to this, i was able to do real-time calibration with ease by taking real-time readings in HCFR and adjust the white balance and CMS accordingly to get to the reference target point on the CIE chart for my Samsung HDTV.

the meter is supported by quite a few 3rd party calibration softwares such as HCFR, and it needs no additional HCFR meter driver. it works right out of the box with HCFR with the provided Xrite driver. make sure you disable Xrite system tray icon, otherwise HCFR won't recognize the meter.

Display type supported. the Colormunki Display supports most of the display technology out there, CRT, CCFL LCD, White LED, RGB LED, wide gamma, and projectors. this is very important. i came from Spyder 3, which supposedly supports White LED, but the result was poor.

Con:
the supplied Xrite profiling software does not include a ICC profile manager that allows you to instantly load, and change different profiles like Datacolor does. so you'll have to go into windows "color management" yourself and do it from there. make sure that you go into Advanced panel, and "change system default", load up the profile of your choice, "set to default" AND click on "advance", and MAKE SURE you enable "Use Windows Display Calibration". this last step will tell windows to use your choice of profile and load it up in the LUT everytime you enter windows. without this last step, your profile won't load.

Additional Comment:
i see some negative reviews on this product from users who got very brown/yellow looking results. let me just say this. if your equipment (monitor/TV) is already subpar. a colormeter won't be able to change that. as most laptops come in cheap TN panels with very poor color representation, my Macbook Pro (cheap TN panel) also came out brown and yellow, and there's nothing you can do. a colormeter is suppose to improve your panel to get it to near perfect, but if the panel is already bad to begin with, which most laptop panels are. you're not going to get the result of a perfect color by using a cheap subpar panel. my HDTV (S-PVA panel) came out great after the calibration, and so did my 27" Cinema Display (S-IPS, which was already quite accurate right out of the factory, that produced a pre-calibrated reading of less than 3 delta E already. after the calibration, i was able to get the delta E down to 0.38. so bare this in mind when shopping. my advice is, if you're going to be using this on a cheap TN panel, don't get your hopes up too high, you might be better off saving the money for a better panel instead of putting your money in a Colormeter.

Closing Comments:
if budget is of concern, get the Xrite Colormunki Display. if not, get the i1Display Pro, which has a even wider range of 3rd party software support, and a more advanced factory profiling software. but i would definitely NOT go any lower than this Colormunki Display, and stay away from most of the Spyder from DataColor. you'll save a few bucks, but the result will be lesser than what the colormunki/i1Display Pro can produce.
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Enthusiast: Photographyon February 14, 2017
I bought this for the same reason most probably do: to get my monitors to not only have good color but so that they were at least close in having the same color. While this item may work for some, it didn't for me and yes, I followed the directions and I tried it 3 times on 3 monitors; 9 tries total.

I have a good computer and a couple of monitors that run off my docking station that runs off my laptop. So, 3 screens. On the newest monitor, it made no perceptible changes. Ok. It's a pretty new and good quality monitor. On the second, which is older and had some color issues, this device made no changes either. Big disappointment. So, I thought, "maybe this monitor is just too old to correct." but still disappointed. Finally, on the pretty new (less than a year) higher end gaming laptop, again, (virtually at least) no perceptible changes. So, out of 3 monitors, and resetting each 3 times and trying to calibrate again, I had the same results: this thing didn't help. Hours of work and I still have 3 monitors that don't match up and none were seriously, if at all, corrected.

I've heard a lot of good things about this device but, in my experience, it just didn't work. Now I have to decide if trying the "other" major brand of these types of devices is worth the effort.
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on July 4, 2016
It worked awesomely! I used DisplayCal to calibrate my monitor on both Linux and Windows (89% RGB color gamut) using different white points (3500K, 4500K, 6500K) which by the way is the most important attribute for anyone that wants to use this. The white point will define if your monitor will look yellowish, blue or neutral white. Also tested it on my android phone.

Most software like DisplayCal uses sun light white point as default so the colors looks more realistic to what it would look in real word under sun light being really useful when you work at daylight and want to match color with the stuff you are holding with yourself or to edit daylight photos, or you can use the light sensor to measure your current working environment (you may want to control your workplace environment light instead of adapting to day/night light during the day tho).

If you are going to do digital only work like instagram photos or digital art to be displayed on computer monitor, then I would recommend to use a 65000K white point since it is the common monitor white point. 65000K it's a bit blueish but it is the usual white point so most users will look those colors.

Another recommendation is that the more color samples you use when calibrating, the most accurate your colors will be.

Hope this help someone :)
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on March 10, 2016
I purchased this to uniformly calibrate several monitors that are used for photo editing. The product software installed without a problem, the unit read ambient light without a problem. In profile view it correctly identified a monitor, switched the monitor to bright white and then put the monitor to sleep and forced a system reboot. Three more tries and a trip to the manufacturer's web site and I gave up.

All of our systems are on Windows 10. The manufacturer's support site only extended to Windows 7. In looking at Windows 7 for a possible solution, I found lots of documentation that required, literally, pages of control panel and firewall setting changes to make the software compatible. I bought this to make my job easier, not to take on the burden for an outdated product.
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on December 15, 2016
CON:
The box says 2010. That probably the year it was designed. I didn't use the included CD. Instead, I downloaded the current version of software (V1.1.3 for mac) from X-Rite website. I am using three mac computers. (1) Late-2013 21.5-inch iMac; (2) Late-2015 21.5-inch iMac (non 4K retina); and (3) 2015 model of 13" Macbook Pro (retina display). All are running with mac OS Sierra. The colormunki only works on the Late-2013 model. On the other two computers, it seems to be normal in the beginning. When it is the step to save the profile, an error message says there is something wrong with the measurement. Then I had to repeat the 5-minute calibration process again, but it never got through. I have tried to play with the preference a lot and tried both Easy and Advanced calibration. Nothing would help. By the way, the colormunki can't be recognized by unpowered USB hubs. Even it seems to be connected first, it will dropped very soon. So if you have to use it, plug it directly to the computer's USB port.

PRO:
When it works, it works great. I always printed dull photos from my Canon Pro-100 printers. After calibrating my iMac, I found that the picture itself was dull. The uncalibrated monitor had falsely displayed vivid color. I haven't tested printing yet, but I expect to get improved prints.
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on January 2, 2016
I've had problems with this product since I received it. It did not work with my Windows 10 computer and monitors. I emailed support, the product worked once, but never worked again. I've tried over and over to try and get this to work.

One thing is absolutely for sure. The time it takes to make this work is NOT WORTH IT! If you have a lot of time to sit at your computer and try to make the product function go ahead and purchase. If your time is valuable and would like something to function as advertised AVOID THIS PRODUCT,

I have purchased any other items from this company so I can say that others would suffer such poor results. I can say that because of my experience, I will avoid X-Rite in the future.
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on December 18, 2015
I would have added 2 stars if it was not for the software coming with the color munki. The software is coming on a CD; no luck if you have a new macbook without a CD driver. Hello what about a link to download the software ??? Spyder is coming without a CD but with a quick install link that get you all you need in minutes. They are not keeping up with Mac os and once installed I got error messages. The web site trying to get support is horrendous. Once calibrated, my displays all showed a yellow cast; got more or less the same result calibrating with a spyder 5 pro. The colors printed however were quite accurate; so it does the job. X-Rite needs to come up with an update of their software for mac; when it tries to update, you get an error message.(see the screen captures). I am running OS X El Capitan.
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on December 22, 2015
I bought this on Amazon to replace my X-Rite Huey Pro. At first I wondered if it was working properly, but when I calibrated my monitor & started re-editing my photos, they came alive & looked better than ever! It was hard to intially set up, but after going to their support site & following instructions so that Windows wouldn't mess up what ColorMunki Display had accomlished, I was very pleased. I would have given it 5 stars if their software would have taken care of that Windows problem. I didn't like the auto adjustment of ambient light compensation, so I turned that feature off.

Pros: Works great! I checked my re-edited pictures on a different computer & they looked pretty close to the colors I saw on my computer. The ones edited using Huey Pro looked terrible to me.

Cons: It would be nice if their software was more extensive to take care of operating system problems. Now I have a big task ahead of me re-editing my 1000's of photos edited using Huey Pro.
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on January 24, 2016
I can't say I'm really a professional - I do think however I have a clue how these work. That said, my review will not at all answer questions on the i1/X-Rite software. I didn't use it - I instead used DispcalGui paired with ArgyllCMS. This combo eliminates ANY of the restrictions X-Rite may try to impose - you can set whatever gamma you want, any color temperature, brightness and so on. You can then verify the calibration and recalibrate it easily to another color temperature, brightness, ambient lighting and so forth. If you've ever used DispcalGUI in past and found it overwhelming - the UI has been redone. It's QUITE a lot simpler to use.

On to the ColorMunki: It's great. I got it to replace my Spyder 4 Express I'd been using. The Spyder is downright awful by comparison - it'd calibrate and then I'd verify the calibration and...well, my average delta error would be >5...not even approaching the nominal value dispcalgui wants, which is 2 iirc. Also, the Spyder 4 was slow. Very slow. Every slide verification took 10 seconds or more. The slow calibration took in excess of 5 hours.

With the ColorMunki, it's a lot faster - each slide takes 2-3 seconds to calibrate, leading to MUCH faster calibration times overall. It also is much more accurate, I've found. It's consistent and works great - I can calibrate and verify and be within margin of error. Calibrating two monitors using the Spyder (a U2312hm and U2715h) which looked very different without calibration now look very similar, beyond the 2312's AG coating being overly aggressive.

Tips:
- Use dispcalgui. I can type up a few hints if anyone is interested. It's really better than any basic software that you'll get with these cheaper colorimeters.
- Lean the monitor screen back 30-40 degrees so the Colormunki rests solidly on the screen.
- Let your monitor warm up for a few minutes. Make sure your ambient lighting is consistent during calibration - don't turn a desk lamp on and off. It WILL make a difference.
- Similarly, calibrate with the lighting you use most. If you always work with sunlight, calibrate with sunlight. If you work with a desk lamp, have it on.
- Experiment with color temperatures - I like 6500k. Some like 5000k - depends on your use - photographers will have strong opinions here, obviously.
- If using Dispcal, it will start you off trying to calibrate using the custom color settings on the monitor (RGB channels) - be as accurate as you can here. Don't get impatient, it's a balance of brightness and colors. It'll pay off in your color temp later.
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