Huey Monitor Colour Correction

November 1st, 2007 Desktop, Gadgets & Hardware, Tech

The Huey is a combination of software and an emission colorimeter that measures the light coming out of your monitor and adjusts it automatically for the lighting conditions in your work area.

Even if you don’t really know what you’re doing with the Huey monitor colour calibration device you’ll feel very cool unpacking and using the scientific-looking device. It’s the 21st century equivalent of the old software-based monitor colour test that used to be part of Apple OS 7 and 8, and coming from Pantone — whose business is colour — you know it’s serious.

It couldn’t be easier to use. You simply install the software and attach the Huey to your computer via the USB cable (it’s available for Windows Vista and Mac OSX). The software is as easy as clicking ‘Next’ a few times. You begin by making sure the Huey is facing out towards you so it can get an accurate reading of the surrounding light, then — at the software’s prompting — it takes a sample.

Next the program asks you to attach the Huey to your screen by the small bank of suction caps on the back, showing you which way up and where to attach it. Clicking ‘next’ again clears the screen to black and a series of coloured bars appear mid-screen underneath the Huey for it to take readings. There are around 20 colours and shades of grey that appear one after the other and the whole process takes no more than a minute.

When it’s finished, the screen returns to normal and you can view the uncorrected and corrected settings by toggling a radio button. Our first reaction was horror — the system had given us a screen setting with a ghastly blue wash that didn’t look nearly as clear as it had been before.

The next screen lets you select from a series of presets for warm or cool colour conditions of high or low contrast, including one for web browsing and photo editing (which is bizarre as they’re two activities you’d imagine need vastly different colour profiles). Selecting a warmer palette with low contrast did the trick and we were returned to a liveable calibration, mostly secure in the knowledge that the Huey had done its job.

There’s no reason to think it hadn’t, but some supporting documentation explaining what it had done (and whether we’d done the right thing in selecting the preset) wouldn’t go astray. The result after going through the process looked little different than it had before doing so, so presuming Pantone knows what it’s doing with the system, we can assume our monitor calibration is now healthy.

Of course, the lighting conditions in most of our work areas change with everything from the time of day to lamps and other equipment. You get the option to leave Huey running in the background to constantly update your calibration for changing conditions, and it appears as a toolbar dropdown menu where you can turn the auto-correct feature on or off or enact a correction straight away.

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