Color management guide by Arnaud Frich

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Monitor calibration
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Generalities about color management Monitor calibration Printer calibration Manage colors with Photoshop Resources on Color Management

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Updated on October 01, 2017

Calibrate tablets and smartphones

Yes, it can be done! For that, you'll need a recent calibration colorimeter and you'll have to install an app on your device, still free. In 2016, there are two of them: one by X-Rite called ColorTrue and one by X-Rite's competitor Datacolor, SpyderGallery. Is the result worth it though? That's what we'll determine in these reviews...

iPad Air AppleIt is possible to calibrate external devices such as tablets and other smartphones! More and more photographers use them to show their work, as an introduction, as an additional tool to Photoshop... Since some tablets like iPads feature a very good screen with IPS technology (so the viewing angle almost doesn't influence the colors and luminosity of the photos), the only thing that was still missing was the possibility to calibrate them. It now is with recent Colorimeters on the market . In this page, we'll see how it works theoretically since one page will be dedicated to each solution: X-Rite's ColorTRUE and Datacolor's SpyderGallery. It is very easy anyway. You just need to download an app on your device, and possibly a piece of software on your computer that will control the calibration colorimeter. Moreover, the process is very quick and efficient. There's a slight problem though: these devices can only be calibrated through these apps. When you exit the app that is only used to view photos, you don't benefit from your calibration anymore!!! and what about the final result on your photos' look? Let's see all of this now...

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Which devices can be calibrated and using which colorimeters?

Smartphone asusNowadays (August 2016), you can calibrate numerous smartphones or tablets using iOS or Android. I recommend you to visit the app or software's website to perform the check described below.

What app for what device?

Note! Even if we'll discuss that again later in this page, it is important from that point to keep in mind that each app works with a given colorimeter.


Is your phone or tablet compatible?

ColorTRUE (X-Rite) - free app -
iOS: for iPhone and iPad.
Android (4.04 and more recent): Samsung Galaxy, Google Nexus, Asus Transformer, HTC One. Learn moreSuivre

SpyderGallery - free app -available for iOS or Android but only works with Spyder4 colorimeters. Learn more... Suivre


Which colorimeter for which app?

It is essential! These apps are free because they only work if you've already bought a calibration colorimeter for your screen. It is thus an additional "free" service. There are only two apps for now, created by the two main brands of screen calibration colorimeters: ColorTRUE by X-Rite and SpyderGallery by Datacolor.   

 

Which app, which OS and which colorimeter?

ColorTRUE (X-Rite) - free app - iOS: works with Colormunki Display, Smile, i1Display Pro and i1 Pro 2 colorimeters. Android: only with Colormunki Display and i1Display Pro colorimeters.

Learn more... Suivre

SpyderGallery (Datacolor) - free app - available on iOS or Android but only works with Spyder4 colorimeters.

Learn more...Suivre

 

Technical specifications of both apps

SpyderGallery's technical specifications

 
SpyderGallery
Average price: Free
Colorimeter
Spyder4Pro or Spyder4Elite
 
Software
SpyderGallery app and SpyderGallery Desktop
 
Adjustable color temperature
D65
 
Adjustable ambient light
No
 
Adjustable printing profile
No
Company

ColorTRUE's technical specifications

 
ColorTRUE
Average price: Free
Colorimeter
ColorMunki Display, i1Display Pro
 
Software
ColorTRUE app
 
Color Temperature
D65 - D55 - Native (quite similar to D65)
 
Adjustable ambient light
Yes (5 possibilities)
 
Adjustable printing profile
Yes
Company

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Calibrate your device

Each app has been reviewed on a dedicated page. It is just about reminding a few basic rules about smartphones and tablets calibration here because there are many common points.

There is calibration... and calibration.

Essential point! Speaking of calibrating a tablet is inappropriate according to me because it is in fact a calibration through an app. Let me explain: you'll only see the effect of your calibration when you're viewing your photos in the app's photo gallery. You'll also be able to visualize the effect of calibration on your images thanks to a button. But in no way will you see your iPad or Nexus load the profile at its start.

Install the program or the app

Datacolor's SpyderGallery app iconSo you just have to install the ColorTRUE app on your device if you own an X-rite colorimeter or the SpyderGallery app if you own a Spyder4 colorimeter. To benefit from the calibration of your tablet or smartphone, you won't use the iPhoto app on iOS anymore, for instance.

For X-Rite colorimeters:

Downlaod Download

For Datacolor colorimeters:

Download Download


Then, you need to plug your colorimeter on your computer, close to your tablet and it will automatically detect it, I was about to write supernaturally, as on the iPad:

 

Once my i1Display Pro is plugged on my Mac Pro, it is automatically detected by the iPad!

 

Then you only have to let it work and in less than a minute, your tablet will be calibrated and you'll be able to enjoy it...


ColorTRUE review Suivre   Soon...

SpyderGallery review Suivre    Soon...

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View your photos on a calibrated tablet
 

To show your photos on your calibrated tablet, you mustn't use an app like iPhoto on the iPad for instance but only the SpyderGallery or ColorTRUE app. It is thus used to calibrate your tablet or smartphone, but also to open the viewer or the image gallery depending on your app, hence depending on your calibration colorimeter. Once your device is calibrated, you have to open the app to benefit from a calibrated viewer. For that, open the SpyderGallery app and choose "View photos" or the ColorTRUE app and click "Image gallery": you then open a classic viewer, except for the additional button "Calibration" or "Calibrated/Not calibrated" to activate or deactivate the screen calibration on the iPad for instance.


Example with the app SpyderGallery

 

ColorTRUE app's image gallery

Example with the app ColorTrue

 

To activate or deactivate calibration, you just have to slide the button "Calibration" or "Calibrated/Not calibrated" at the bottom. There's no doubt about the fact that the iPad in our example is well calibrated!

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What for?!

I am purposedly asking this question because, if you've read a few pages of this site, you know how I love color management hence screen calibration. But whether be it with the app SpyderGallery or this brand new ColorTRUE, I am  dubious. And this for two reasons:

1 - Whether be it the iPhone or iPad, with the Spyder4Elite or i1Display Pro, I can see a calibration "effect" but I always like it better without it. Takes the cake! It changes a bit low lights, sometimes adds a touch of red, well, not great...

2 - Under no circumstances will you calibrate a tablet but only the viewing of the photos in an external app looking, it's true, like a better version of a viewer.


My opinion: the IPS screen on the iPad is very good by default (I never had the opportunity to calibrate other tablets on Android). To a point that I like it better not calibrated, whether be it with the old SpyderGallery app or the brand new ColorTRUE. In real life, the result will be a lot less dramatic than on videos and other "official" documentation! Marketing departments of these two companies have done a good job... I calibrated my TV screen, my monitors and even my cameras enthusiastically but I'm still disappointed by our tablets and smartphones calibrations which, I have to say, are rather very good by default, at least iPhones and iPads.


Calibrate an iPad or an iPhone Suivre

ColorTRUE review Suivre Soon...

SpyderGallery review Suivre Soon...

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Shim
Summary > Monitor calibration > Calibrate tablets and smartphones
shim

 

 
 
 

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