Pantone Huey Pro
Simon Baker, 24 Nov 2007





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We have discussed recently how important calibration can be when setting up your new monitor. For truly accurate colour rendering, a hardware colorimeter device is required and that is where the Pantone Huey Pro comes in. Pantone's information states that: "The new Pantone huey Pro is ready to bring your display to life with a new level of colour clarity and precision. Designed with the world’s first built-in ambient light sensor, Huey Pro provides increased colour accuracy combined with the ability to calibrate multiple monitors, delivering the solution you need to turn your computer into a digital darkroom. With its customizable White-point and Gamma combinations, enhanced LCD calibration and advanced help, the Huey Pro is the answer to your colour needs and the perfect addition to the Pantone Huey family."

Product Features:

  • World’s first built-in ambient light sensor enables consistency never seen before in any lighting condition.

  • TRUE COLOR. From monitor to print.

  • Multiple monitor calibration increases colour fidelity from monitor-to-monitor-to-print.

  • New colour patches added.

  • Advanced Help built in provides step-by-step instructions through calibration and beyond.

  • User-defined White-point and Gamma combinations provide substantial control over the calibration and output matching.

  • Zero in on shadow detail and highlights with the enhanced LCD calibration.

  • Professional-grade Optical Sensors

  • Easy-to-use & Affordable

  • Lightweight & Portable

  • Free Technical Support

Pantone is actually part of the X-rite brand, and this device comes in two versions. The Pro version, which was sent to me for review, includes some added features that the normal model does not. A quick look at the back of the packaging shows that the Pro version can be used to correct brightness and contrast on both CRT and TFT screens, whereas the normal version is limited to CRT only. The Pro edition can also be used to calibrate multiple screens, allows profile naming, offers a user defined reminder and advanced help; all of which the standard version lacks. The Huey Pro retails for £85 GBP or $129 USD, making it almost half the price of the X-rite i1 Display 2 device we tested recently ($249 USD). Let's see how it compares in practice.


Package Contents

The Huey Pro device comes packaged with a desktop cradle which is designed for you to sit the device in when not in use calibrating the screen. By positioning the cradle next to your screen and connecting via USB, you can tilt the device at the same angle as the monitor's stand. The built in ambient light sensor then detects variations in your working environment and automatically adjusts the screen brightness setting. There is a USB extension cable provided for those who need it, along with the usual software installation CD and quick-start guide. The device is also packaged with a colour matching stick, with 20 pages, and 100 chromatically arranged colours. Each of these includes a unique Pantone name, sRGB and HTML values allowing for consistent matching of colours across devices.

The device itself was quite small and sleek looking, and while it is pretty sturdy and solid, you probably want to be careful if you are carrying it around as it could potentially snap if you weren't careful. The back of the device has 8 mini suction cups to attach to your screen, and also provide some padding to your precious monitor coating.


Calibration Methods

The aim of this review is really to discover how effective the Pantone Huey device is in calibrating monitors. We shall use the LaCie Blue Eye Pro device and software package as a control in these tests, allowing us to verify and compare the results of the calibration process. I will use the reporting feature of LaCie's software, which will show us several things, including luminance, gamma and colour temperature values reached by calibration. It will also show us the DeltaE (dE94) values for 16 colour shades, helping to show us how accurate the colours shown on the screen are. The Pantone Huey software package does NOT come with this reporting feature which is part of the reason the cost is lower than for LaCie's package.


Initial Control Tests


The calibration process and tests will be conducted on the Samsung XL20 display, and we will use the LaCie Blue Eye Pro software as a control. We won't go into too much detail regarding the screen itself, since this will appear in a review very soon. For the purposes of this test, we do not need to explore too many of the difference colour settings the screen offers. The 'Color Mode' setting was left on 'Custom' for now. First of all, I calibrated the screen with LaCie's software and device (actually a re-branded Gretag / X-rite Eye-One display 2 device), allowing us to get an idea of what was achievable with this screen and their software. The calibrated results are shown below:


Samsung XL20 - LaCie Calibrated Results



LaCie Blue Eye Pro Calibrated Settings

luminance (cd/m2)


Black Point (cd/m2)


Contrast Ratio


During the calibration process, the RGB settings in the OSD were altered to 48, 43 and 50 respectively, with contrast left at the default 80% and brightness set at 45%. The automatic calibration process alters values at a Look Up Table (LUT) level and produces the above report to validate the results. On the left hand side the CIE diagram shows a triangle representing the monitor colour space, its gamut. In the case of the Samsung XL20, it's LED backlighting unit offers an enhanced gamut covering 114% of the NTSC colour space. You can tell that the monitors gamut triangle stretches considerably outside the sRGB colour space, particularly in green hues.

Below the CIE diagram the gamma, colour temperature and luminance of the screen are shown in turn. We aim for a gamma value of 2.2 which is the default for computer monitors, and the standard for the Windows operating system and the Internet-standard sRGB colour space. After calibration, the screen matches this exactly. The colour temperature we aspire to is 6500k, the temperature of 'day light'. The screen is correctly calibrated to 6483k, hardly any variation from the desired value (<0.5%). Lastly we aim for a luminance of 120 cd/m2 which is the recommended luminance for an LCD display in normal lighting conditions. Again, the screen is corrected to this level, and is calibrated to 120 cd/m2. Black depth was also recorded at a fairly average level of 0.27 cd/m2 and this gave a usable static contrast ratio of 444:1, admittedly a little off the specified 700:1 of the screen by the manufacturer.

The graph on the right shows the DeltaE (dE94) values for colours tested by the LaCie Blue Eye Pro. This shows us how accurate the colour shown on the screen is, compared with the colour being requested. As a reminder, the lower these bars down the Y-axis, the better, in terms of colour accuracy. For reference, LaCie describe the DeltaE readings as:

  • If DeltaE >3, the color displayed is significantly different from the theoretical one, meaning that the difference will be perceptible to the viewer.

  • If DeltaE <2, LaCie considers the calibration a success; there remains a slight difference, but it is barely undetectable.

  • If DeltaE < 1, the color fidelity is excellent.

After calibration, the Samsung XL0 showed excellent colour accuracy with an average DeltaE of only 0.4, and a maximum of only 0.8. LaCie would consider the colour fidelity to be excellent, and this was obvious from the even and vibrant shades visible to the eye. An excellent result from this panel.


So the above shows what the screen is capable of with correct calibration. I then returned the screen and graphics card to their default settings and tested again. The RGB levels in the 'user' menu of the OSD colour control were now all set at 50, and the ICC profile created during our initial calibration was discarded. Brightness in the OSD was also now back at the default level of 70%.

Samsung XL20 -
Default Settings


Default Settings

luminance (cd/m2)


Black Point (cd/m2)


Contrast Ratio


At default settings, the performance of the screen was still good! Gamma was averagely set at 2.0, being a little way out from the desired level. Colour temperature was recorded as 6493k, which was pretty accurate to our requirement (<0.5% out still), but luminance was recorded too high at 186 cd/m2. With a black depth of 0.34 cd/m2, this gave a contrast ratio of 547:1. The DeltaE graph shows that colour rendering was now less accurate, with an average dE of 1.6 and a maximum of 3.2. Clearly the screen is capable of much more, but this goes to show you need correct calibration to achieve it. However, at default settings for the XL20, the colour accuracy was still pretty good, and certainly better than we have seen from other screens we have tested out of the box. As such, I wanted to give the Pantone Huey a bit more of a challenge!

I altered a couple of the OSD settings as follows: RGB values were set to 60/50/70 respectively, producing a noticeable pink tint to grey shades and an obvious colour discrepancy.  Brightness was also set to 100% making the screen very difficult to work with, and almost painful to view. Here are the results of LaCie's test and report once settings had been fiddled with:

Samsung XL20 -
Manually Worsened Settings


Manually Adjusted Settings

luminance (cd/m2)


Black Point (cd/m2)


Contrast Ratio


Now that's much more interesting! Something we can really work with! Gamma was now considerably out at 1.8, and luminance was far too high at 283 cd/m2. DeltaE was now an average of 9.3, and a maximum of 31.8!! Miles out from accurate colour rendering, which was obvious to the naked eye as well. Only colour temperature remained pretty good at 6557k. This gives us a good starting point to really see how good the Pantone Huey Pro is. Let's go through the calibration process and then look at the results.


The Calibration Process


The software is intuitive and easy to use. There is a tray icon which is placed in your system start-up folder for those who want to use it. This gives easy access to the software package features including the calibration process, ambient light sensor and user preferences.

Within the preferences section you can control whether you want to enable the ambient light sensor, designed to adjust the settings of the screen at set intervals while monitoring the lighting in your user environment. You can also control a couple of settings for colour temperature (D50, D65 and D75) along with gamma levels (1.8, 2.2 and 2.4). There is also an option to switch between your uncorrected (default system settings) and corrected (ICC profiled) settings, and a reminders function for tracking how often you calibrate your screen.

The first stage asks you to place the device in the supplied cradle in order to measure the ambient lighting conditions.

Once this is done, you are presented with probably the only point in the software where you are able to manually adjust screen OSD settings if you want to. If you choose "yes" to the above question then the software jumps straight into the automated calibration process. If you choose no (and we'll look at this shortly), you are asked to change brightness and contrast settings via the OSD to help set up the screen correctly.

You are asked to place the device on the screen. The Pantone Huey Pro is nice and light and the suction cups do a good job of sticking to the screen. It's easy to position properly and there's no need for a counter-weight behind the screen to keep it in place.

The calibration process is all automated and takes approximately a minute. The background is switched between the red, blue and green colours; before cycling through several shades of grey from a full black to a full white. After this process you get a message saying the calibration was successful and you are asked to put the device back in the cradle so it can continue with the ambient light checks.

You are presented with the option to switch between uncorrected and corrected states, so you can see yourself what difference the device has made. The whole process is easy to follow and quick, and I was pleased with the apparent correction the device had carried out. Already the screen looked better to the naked eye in terms of colour levels, but it still felt bright and over-bearing. You are presented with the option to name and save your new calibrated ICC profile.


Testing The Success Of The Calibration

Now we will test the screen with LaCie's device and software again to establish how successful the calibration was:

Samsung XL20 -
Pantone Huey Calibrated


Pantone Huey Calibrated

luminance (cd/m2)


Black Point (cd/m2)


Contrast Ratio


The above result is pretty impressive! We have gone from some quite shocking colour accuracy (thanks to my OSD fiddling) to some very good results. Gamma had been adjusted to 2.1 from 1.8 previously, and was close to the required 2.2 level. Colour temperature was fine before, and remained within 2% of the desired 6500k here. Only luminance remained far too high at 275 cd/m2, still way off the required 120 cd/m2. The ambient light check hasn't really done much to adjust the brightness of the screen and during calibration, nothing was altered at a LUT or profile level to correct this. Black depth was still pretty poor at 0.51 cd/m2, and contrast ratio was now 539:1.

While the Pantone Huey had not done much to correct the luminance of the screen, it had worked wonders with the colour accuracy. The average DeltaE was reduced from 9.3 to 1.0, which LaCie would consider to represent excellent colour fidelity. Maximum DeltaE was only 1.9, a vast improvement from 31.8 which we had recorded thanks to our messed up settings before. A very promising result here, with only the lack of luminance accuracy letting the package down.


The Calibration Process - Attempt 2

I wanted to see if it was possible to correct the luminance of the screen as well now, so I returned to the calibration process. This time when asked if the circles were well defined in the above image I chose "no", and entered the manual adjustments stage of the package.

Here I was asked what colour temperature and gamma I was aiming for, and if I wanted to enable the ambient light sensor. I now chose to disable this function as I wanted to adjust the settings myself to see if I could improve things.

I was guided through a couple of stages which asked me to adjust the brightness and contrast settings. Contrast was set to 100% and brightness 50% in the first instance, before I was then asked to lower contrast until two circles matched. This was a calibration process by eye, so took a little bit of fiddling with the OSD settings. When I got to the next stage, with contrast now set at 90%, I was asked to adjust the brightness (as above shows) until the top and bottom half matched. This was not actually possible, so I resorted to the recommended 75% as an alternative. Contrast was now 90% and brightness 75%. I then proceeded through the rest of the automated calibration process as before.


Testing The Success Of The Calibration - Attempt 2

Now we will test the screen with LaCie's device and software again to establish how successful the calibration was with some manual configuration of the brightness and contrast settings:

Samsung XL20 -
Pantone Huey Calibrated with Manual OSD Adjustments for Brightness and Contrast


Pantone Huey Calibrated

luminance (cd/m2)


Black Point (cd/m2)


Contrast Ratio


With my new manually configured brightness and contrast settings, gamma was now corrected to 2.2 perfectly, and colour temperature was adjusted a little and was now only 1% out from the required setting (6587k). Luminance still remained a problem, but was improved a little to 192 cd/m2, mostly because the OSD brightness was set now at 75% instead of 100%. Black depth was improved from 0.51 cd/m2 to 0.35 cd/m2. Colour accuracy was improved slightly on average from 1.0 to 0.9 (dE 94).

The manual adjustments stage helped a little, and should be used if you find the brightness of your screen to be too high. I decided to adjust the brightness further and went  through a further calibration with the Pantone Huey device. I set it down to a much more comfortable 45% (which I also knew to produce a luminance of ~120 cd/m2) and tested the screen again with LaCie's software:

Samsung XL20 -
Pantone Huey Calibrated with Brightness @ 45%


Pantone Huey Calibrated

luminance (cd/m2)


Black Point (cd/m2)


Contrast Ratio


With a simple manual adjustment of the OSD brightness setting to 45%, the luminance was corrected to a much more comfortable 144 cd/m2 with colour accuracy remaining very good at dE of 0.8.  Gamma and colour temperature remained at a good setting as well.

Samsung XL20 - LaCie Calibrated Results


LaCie Blue Eye Pro Calibrated Settings

luminance (cd/m2)


Black Point (cd/m2)


Contrast Ratio


As a reminder of the results achievable with the LaCie device and software I have copied the results from earlier on in this review above. While the Pantone Huey did a good job of correcting the colours from a frankly appalling starting point (deliberately), the LaCie device is capable of taking it just one step further. dE can be adjusted from an average 0.8 to 0.4 with a higher end device and more importantly, luminance, colour temperature and gamma can be easily and accurately corrected.



I was impressed with the device itself as it was small and compact and easy to use. The Hujey Pro did a very admirable job of correcting the colours from our deliberately appalling starting point, something which I was impressed by. We had carried out similar tests with the DataColor Spyder2Express before and found the results to be less favourable than with Pantone's colorimeter. The one problem with the device seemed to be the difficulty it had in adjusting the luminance of the screen properly. However, it's easy enough to get round this with some manual adjustments of the OSD settings before you carry out the calibration process. I would recommend setting the screen to a comfortable level for your eyes and then carrying out the Pantone process from there.

Overall, it has been shown above that this is a quick, easy and successful process and the device is capable of some decent results. Obviously the software package lacks any reporting feature to allow you to verify this more clearly, but you can be fairly confident that the calibrated settings are a nice improvement to your screen, and colour accuracy is very good afterwards. For a retail price of £85 GBP / $129 USD, the Pantone Huey Pro is well worth a look.



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