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Do It Like Tom's: Calibrating Your Monitor With CalMAN RGB

CalMAN RGB, Value, Accuracy, And Ease Of Use

We realize that the vast number of packages and options available from Spectracal can be pretty confusing. And only a pro is likely to make the investment in a product like CalMAN Ultimate. Fortunately, there are solutions for the value-conscious in the form of CalMAN RGB and CalMAN Basic. For $249, you can calibrate your monitor or HDTV to a higher level of precision than you could achieve with only a pattern disc.

The CalMAN RGB package is especially impressive with its integrated pattern generator, profile manager, and display control features. It walks you through each step with clear, concise instructions, and then it explains exactly what’s happening and how your changes affect the image. With the power to create multiple picture modes, you can set up your display for any and all conceivable environments. And don’t forget multi-display support. One of the most important things in a multi-screen setup is matching them to one another, especially if they’re not the same model. With CalMAN, any monitor can be adjusted to display an accurate image.

The biggest advantage of CalMAN over the Spyder products is how SpectraCal manages to support both OSD calibration and look-up tables. You don’t have to choose a single path; CalMAN combines the best aspects of both techniques to create its display profiles. Even though our test monitor has an extensive OSD, CalMAN goes further by adding in multi-point gamma and grayscale control. Instead of the OSD’s gamma presets and two-point grayscale sliders, we get a 17-point adjustment for both parameters.

We noted in our review of Dell's UP3214Q that its CMS lacked a luminance control. While this didn’t impact the results, CalMAN RGB does manage to make up for that deficiency. The Color Checker error dropped from .85 to .35 Delta E. That is an invisible amount, we know, but it still indicates an improvement.

You’ve seen in our more recent monitor reviews that displays at all price points are improving in their out-of-box accuracy. It is now possible to buy a screen that looks pretty good without calibration. But we have not yet failed to improve upon stock accuracy with an instrumented calibration. And for those professionals who depend on accurate color, tools like CalMAN are indispensable. At $249, CalMAN RGB represents a terrific value to anyone wanting to get their feet wet with calibration and improve the image accuracy of their monitor or HDTV. We liked the Datacolor Spyder4Elite solution, but Spectracal definitely offers more power for the money. And if you need a state-of-the-art solution, the company has you covered not only with software, but hardware as well.

We use CalMAN every day for testing all display types: monitors, projectors, and HDTVs. And we recommend it above all other currently-available products. For that reason, and the fact that you can get started for only $249, we’re recognizing it with the Tom's Hardware Smart Buy award. Happy calibrating!