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by evan-pak

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I have a rather cheap HP laptop. I use it for retouching my photos. I have experienced a huge difference in final colors between this laptop and a Samsung LCD monitor, which I think is better.

To be able to achieve the good results that can be easily seen on many 500px photos (I mean not top notch, but still correct and pleasant):

  1. Do I need to calibrate my current HP laptop monitor? The colors and brightness vary quite a bit with little angle variations, so the monitor is not so great ,I think.
  2. Can I use a non calibrated better monitor (in that case any price/model example would be great)?
  3. Do I need to buy a better monitor and calibrate it?
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possible duplicate of Do all monitors do (or need) calibration? – mattdm Mar 14 '12 at 23:29
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Laptop monitors are universally bad with a few exceptions. You likely have a normal low contrast, low gamut, poor viewing angle TN panel. You can calibrate these (I strongly recommend a color meter for this), but there is only so much you can do. At best it will be consistent in color temperature and feel to your desktop monitor.

Calibrating the desktop monitor would allow you a good editing platform. It's not a prograde monitor, but will be consistent in response. If you do corrections to color, contrast, saturation for viewing or printing, it will help prevent unpleasant surprises.

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Do I need to calibrate my current HP laptop monitor?

If you want consistent and accurate color, yes, to some degree. However, it's not strictly necessary for "pleasant", since the human eye adjusts to a wide range of colors as "correct".

Can I use a non-calibrated better monitor?

Sure, and your pictures will probably look nicer (as will other people's!) but unless you calibrate it, you won't have any greater guarantee of accuracy.

Do I need to buy a better monitor and calibrate it?.

Not necessarily. Buying a better monitor will get you better looking results; calibrating your monitor (either current or new) will get you results which you can be assured will look similar to those on other calibrated systems.

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A Pantone Huey is about $100. There are other brands at comparable prices. If you are serious, get one.

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