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I'm tired of my monitors and phones all looking different. I tried following instructions at Lagom LCD monitor test pages, but they still look different. So, I think I need to buy something to help make them look the same.

Reading on the DisplayCAL site, I see that there are over 20 colorimeters and spectrometers. I don't know the difference between them. How do I find the difference so I can choose the right one?

The cheapest device I see is Spyder2, but what makes it different from devices that cost more? How do I know if they're worth the higher price?

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    Interesting software but I'm not sure it does. It is very unclear what happens after measurements are taken to actually calibrate the display. Seems more like Profiling. For the calibrator, it needs to match your display as the gamut affects what is needed and and it must be able to set the resulting profile into the monitor.
    – Itai
    Nov 10 '20 at 19:18
  • It's not clear what is "different" in "but they still look different" Colorimeters and Spectrophotometers can certainly improve color consistency between different displays. At least when displays have similar tech and especially if the displays have internal LUT calibration. OTOH, depending on what you are seeing as different, it could just be a waste of money. Please describe what you mean by "different" in as much detail as possible.
    – doug
    Dec 11 '20 at 20:30
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Not sure if this is what you are looking for but... Firstly you need to decide if you are aiming for accuracy or matching.

Most phone screens are set to a more vivid/saturated colour profile to make things pop rather than aiming for accuracy so check if your phone supports an accurate colour profile if you want it to look closer to the monitor. Most people leave there devices on the default colour profile though so it's best to leave it so you can view your work as it would appear to most people even if it is not an exact match for your monitor.

For accuracy any of the external devices will help get you consistency accross your screens but some are better than others for various reasons which include:

  • Speed - the more expensive models tend to get you a result faster (not usually an issue unless you are working on many displays on a regular basis)
  • Better accuracy - improved colour accuracy through better lenses etc
  • Additional features - some provide ambient light monitoring that adjust the screen colours relative to the light in your room (I actually don't like this feature)
  • Ease of use - some of the cheaper models are a bit more fiddley to setup or have more chance of a bad result as they were not in the perfect position etc.
  • Supported monitors - some do not support super bright, HDR, or wide colour gamut screens and so you'd need to get one that meets the capability of your monitor.

Each manufacturer will tell you why one model is better than the other within their range claiming their newest/more expensive model improves on the previous/cheaper one but to be honest for most people the entry level models are ok.

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It's a question of price, as everything else. Is your monitor a laptop screen or a high-end 4k wide-gamut screen designed for photographers? For high end, mission critical use, you want a professional calibration device. For anything else, you can use a consumer-grade one. Look for recent reviews. There's some at https://www.creativebloq.com/features/best-monitor-calibrator, for example, but many more out there. Flickr has a very active photography community with groups that have discussed the topic repeatedly. There's lot of information out there if you search "monitor calibration reviews" in your web browser.

Good luck!

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  • Welcome to Photography Stackexchange. Product recommendation questions are not considered to be on topic here, due to their habit of becoming out of date as new technology becomes available. This question asks how we can find the difference between the various devices and make a decision. Aug 29 '19 at 4:06
  • Thanks for the tip. I've edited the answer to address that issue.
    – Philly
    Oct 5 '19 at 3:04
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I have a Datacolor Spyder5PRO that I am very happy with. I'm been using it for almost 2 years now with 4 of my screens, it's very accurate.

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    Hi, welcome to Photo-SE. Can you expand your answer a bit, to answer the question asked, "How do I find the difference so I can choose the right one?" Why did you choose the Spyder5? Did you consider other colorimeters before settling on that one?
    – scottbb
    Nov 10 '20 at 0:41

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