Pitched at professional users, primarily photographers, the Spyder3Elite is a monitor calibration device that combines a range of pro features with the ease of use more associated with software aimed at enthusiasts.

A choice of suction cap, best suited to CRT monitors, or counterweight draped over the top of your screen, keeps the Spyder3Elite in place. The USB lead is lengthy but on the skinny side – we feared wear and tear might separate the colour sensor from its lead, especially with the weight attached.

The slim, silver-coated Spyder3Elite monitor calibrator wouldn't look out of place in an episode of Doctor Who. Designed to be stored in a supplied desktop cradle it should at the very least have friends and colleagues asking what it does.

Initial calibration took about four minutes and required little more than checking a few boxes, clicking continue and positioning the Spyder3Elite, supported by the counterweight, over the screen.

There's a help button at every stage and Datacolor offers an excellent FAQ on its website, although it's useful to know what monitor settings are available before you start calibration. The setup takes into account each display's white and black luminance and room light conditions and has the ability to ensure consistency across studio displays using the StudioMatch Assistant.

A range of advanced settings – including unlimited user-defined calibration targets for white point, gamma, white luminance and black luminance, built on the industry's first seven-detector colour engine– should cater for the most demanding of users. Once calibrated, your screen and settings are remembered so recalibrating your display regularly, as advised, should be a breeze. Under a late-night, low-light setting the Spyder3Elite excelled, bringing to life a display that was clearly in need of some attention, and adding a richness and precision to images.

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Spyder3Elite: Specs

  • Ambient Light Sensor (Built In)
  • 7 Filter/Detector Technology
  • Accuracy (x,y typical): 0.0025
  • 27mm Diameter Aperture
  • Initial Calibration Time: 5 Minutes
  • Recalibration Time: 2.5 Minutes
  • Ambient Light Shield: 2in
  • Mounting Methods: Universal Suction Cup, Universal
  • Counterweight and Tripod Mount
  • Desktop Docking Base w/Tripod Mount: Yes
  • 38.1x89x102mm
  • Computer Connection: USB
  • 2-year warranty
  • requires: Windows XP 32/64, Vista 32/64 or Mac OS X (10.3 or higher)
  • 16-bit video card (24-bit recommended)
  • 128MB of available RAM
  • 100MB of available hard disk space
  • Ambient Light Sensor (Built In)
  • 7 Filter/Detector Technology
  • Accuracy (x,y typical): 0.0025
  • 27mm Diameter Aperture
  • Initial Calibration Time: 5 Minutes
  • Recalibration Time: 2.5 Minutes
  • Ambient Light Shield: 2in
  • Mounting Methods: Universal Suction Cup, Universal
  • Counterweight and Tripod Mount
  • Desktop Docking Base w/Tripod Mount: Yes
  • 38.1x89x102mm
  • Computer Connection: USB
  • 2-year warranty
  • requires: Windows XP 32/64, Vista 32/64 or Mac OS X (10.3 or higher)
  • 16-bit video card (24-bit recommended)
  • 128MB of available RAM
  • 100MB of available hard disk space

OUR VERDICT

The user-friendly interface takes some of the hard work out of this important, but often overlooked, area. With a 400 per cent increase in light sensitivity and the largest screen sample area currently available, according to Datacolor, the Spyder3Elite is impressive, if expensive.

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