Review – Pantone Huey.
I don’t think I’ve posted a hardware review on the blog before so this is first.
I attended the Focus on Imaging show at the N.E.C. in Birmingham (UK) on Monday. This is a pretty bi event aimed at graphic designers and photographers, mostly photographers. Quite a few big names attend and companies like Adobe, Apple, Nikon , Epson et al are all there giving talks and demos of their latest products. Apple even had a stand dedicated to training this year, I don’t think I’ve seen so many powerbooks in one place before.
I had a few ideas of lenses and filters that I wanted to buy but couldn’t settle my mind on anything particular and there didn’t seem to be any major offers available this year.
On walking by the Pantone stall though I noticed that they were demonstrating their latest colour calibration tools and the Huey was among them.
The Huey is their entry level calibration tool and it can be purchased after a cursory search on the web for around £60.
The device itself attaches to the computer (PC or Mac) via USB, and an extension cable is supplied in case your monitor is, like mine, quite far from the monitor you are calibrating. The Huey is slightly slimmer that a USB stick and about as long as 1.5 USB sticks. there is a handy stand supplied as well and I’ll reveal what that if for in a moment.
installation is a breeze, install the supplied software, plug in the Huey and follow the on screen instructions. the calibration software tells you where to place the Huey and it’s all automatic once you set it off. At the end of the calibration you are given the option to enable a very nice feature of the Huey that monitors the ambient light of the room you are in and will automatically adjust the colour profile as lighting conditions change. If you enable this and sit the Huey in the stand I mentioned above and place the stand in a decent position near the monitor you’ll be sure to have accurate colour representation despite changes in light levels in the room.
Being unable to calibrate my main computer thanks to the issues I’m having plugging in USB devices, I decided to try the Huey out on my laptop. An very good wizard walks you through the steps starting with the placement of the Huey on the screen, click go and the Screen flickers with different colour’s and the huey does the checking. At the end of the process you get to see the before and after calibration effect. you also get to choose different profiles depending on your current usage from a list that includes Gaming, Web browsing & photo editing, and different contrast levels as well as many others. If you want to you can enable automatic room light monitoring and through the preferences panel you can adjust the frequency of the monitoring from 10 seconds up to 4 hours. if you choose not to monitor the room light you can complete the process and unplug the huey. Calibration remains and you will be reminded when it’s time to re-calibrate.
I’m really impressed with the Huey, it’s a fantastic option for amateur photographers and graphic designers like me and at £60 you can’t go wrong.