The new version of the software has been released, and it is EXCELLENT. It addressed all the concerns I outlined in this article. I have no more hesitation about recommending the i1 Display Pro. If you're in the market for a good calibrator, this is the one.
It is with great disappointment that I'm writing this post tonight. I've been tremendously excited about the arrival of my new i1Display Pro (who doesn't love a new gadget?), but I'm sorry to say it has fallen well short of my expectations.
I've been a happy i1Display2 user for a long time, but I jumped on the upgrade as soon as it was available, because it claims to be the "Next generation i1Profiler software for calibrating and profiling all modern display and projector technologies including LED & Wide Gamut LCDs".
It has been claimed for some time that the i1D2 wasn't well-suited to wide-gamut and/or LED screens. I can't say those factors were troubling me too much. I've calibrated plenty of both, with perfectly adequate results. Yes, it's a bit fiddly with wide-gamut screens if you are using RGB controls, but it's ok with Presets. And LED? No problems that I'd observed.
What I'm trying to say, in a clumsy way, is that I didn't really need to upgrade. But the nerd in me is insatiable, and I knew that before long, lots of people would be asking my opinion about buying the new device.
Here's my opinion - DON'T. Not yet, anyway.
I don't have any concerns with the device itself. It's quite different in shape and design from the i1D2, but it seems well-designed. I like it.
But the software is a dog. I wish we could just use the device with the previous i1Match software. That program has been around for a long while, and all the kinks have been ironed out. It's stable and reliable.
The new software is i1Profiler. Actually, it's not quite new - it was released a little while ago with the more expensive range of X-Rite spectrophotometers. But it's new to me, and to most average users, I guess.
The first thing that happened when I installed it (on several computers) is that my anti-virus program popped up with a warning about some kind of Trojan. Oh, great. I took the AV's advice and deleted the suspicious file, and continued, and everything seems to work just fine. Not a big problem, but very annoying nonetheless. Poor form, X-Rite.
When I launched the i1Profiler software, everything looked different. Well, of course it did - it's a new program! After poking around a bit, I figured it out - it's a good interface, I have no issues there.
What I noticed at first was that there are a lot more options than I was used to with the previous software. Options for different screen types, different sample sizes, different this, different that. The accompanying Help sidebar does a fairly good job of explaining it all. At this point, I was getting excited - more options must be better, right?
Sadly, I'm not here to write about the features that have been added - I'm writing about the features that are missing, and faulty. Numerous fundamental features that, to my mind, are paramount to the calibration process.
Here are some small issues:
- You can't set a custom luminance value lower than 80. No big deal for most people, but a real hassle for the newspaper where I used to work, where the screens are calibrated to 60 or lower.
- No "horseshoe" graph at the end to show your screen's gamut. I know that graph wasn't particularly reliable, but it gave a general indication, and it was nice to have. It's been replaced with a completely useless 3D thing.
- The fancy "ADC" (Automatic Display Control") function seems as buggy as hell. The purpose of ADC is to take full control of screens which allow it (not many, by the way), and save you from any manual intervention at all. It seems have no idea which screens are capable of this functionality.
- There is some speculation that its luminance reading is out by about 10cd/m2. I haven't tested this myself, but there certainly seemed to be some discrepancy between the initial brightness reading, and the eventual profile.
- It doesn't allow you to adjust Red, Green and Blue controls on your screen! What the hell?? It doesn't guide you to change anything about your screen's colour. It just forces your desired white temperature entirely via the profile itself, no matter how "off" your screen settings are. This is ridiculous.
- At the end of the process, it doesn't give you your results! As I said earlier, it gives a useless 3D gamut graph, as well as a slightly more useful 2D gray ramp graph (similar to the old software), and some silly photos to compare before-and-after; but it doesn't actually give you any numbers! If I aim for a target of 6500K, 2.2, 100, I want to know how close I got. This was fundamental functionality in the old software which we took for granted, and to leave it out of this software is utterly careless ... or foolish ... or both.
Presumably, X-Rite will eventually issue updates to the software which will address all these problems. I hope they don't take too long.
For now, if anyone asks me about the i1Display Pro, my advice will be "don't buy it".