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Review: Pantone Eye One Display 2

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Pantone Eye One Display 2

A Colorimeter for profiling and calibrating monitors and displays

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The Pantone Eye One Display 2 is the ‘top-end’ of the 3 monitor calibration devices (HueyDisplay LT and Display 2) recently launched under the Pantone brand name.

We’ve reviewed the original GretagMacbeth Eye One Display 2 elsewhere (also sold as the X-rite i1Display 2)

Since the software supplied with the Pantone product is just a newer version, would suggest that you also have a look at that review for more detailed information about how the device functions.

pantone eye-one display 2

2012 Latest – X-Rite took over GMB a few years ago and you can still find the i1Display 2 on sale.
However, the software has not been updated for a while.
The current equivalent products are the i1Display Pro and the more basic ColorMunki Display, both of which are fully reviewed on this site.
See also: Info about i1Display 2/LT support under Mac OS 10.7

This articles covers some slight changes from the GretagMacbeth branded version and has details that might be of use if you are comparing the three different devices for monitor profiling.

In case you are wondering just what this ‘Colour management’ stuff is, and why you should be concerned we’ve a very short guide to colour management page that might be of help.

What do you get?

The Pantone Eye-One Display 2 is a small USB device which contains a colorimeter to measure the light coming from your screen.

You use the device with the supplied Eye-One match software to generate a monitor profile.

Monitor calibrator - rearThe Display 2 device looks identical to the Display LT device, with the exception of a different label underneath.

Both devices come in a plastic blister pack, with a software CD and printed ‘Quick-start’ guide.

There is a small weight to counterbalance the weight of the device when it is resting on an LCD screen.

The picture above is slightly larger (on my monitor) than the real thing (about 8 cm long).

The underside of the device has small suction caps for holding it to a CRT monitor.

The guidelines expressly warn you not to use the sticky pads to attach the device to an LCD screen (this is the opposite of what is suggested for using the Huey — see my review of the Pantone Huey for why I never stick things to my LCD screen)

There is also a white plastic base supplied for storage of the device and as a diffuser/filter for ambient light measurement.

Will the Display2 make my monitor match my prints? I’ve been asked this a couple of time and have written a short article on how it will help, but why you need to consider some other factors as well.

Profiling and Calibration?

Have a look at the original Display 2 review for more details on device operation.

I’ll just show this shot here, which if you’ve seen my Display LT review, you will notice that you get many more target options with the Display 2.

setting monitor calibration target settings

Conclusions [2006]

Pantone Eye-One Display 2The software works well and quickly and easily produces an accurate and effective monitor profile.

The Pantone Display 2 version of the software offers a much wider range of options in setting up your monitor.

A particularly welcome one (from my point of view) is the ‘Native’ colour temperature option where you can use your display’s natural backlight temperature – most useful for laptops

For my 23″ Apple LCD display the native temperature is a coolish 6800K. I sometimes use this for my black and white photography work since it gives a slightly smoother greyscale that I feel happier with – it also has a wider gamut for colour.

I do have profiles at 6500K and 5000K for certain colour work, or where I might need to check proofs under controlled lighting.

Note added in 2011 – I moved to 6500 when I got a newer display a few years ago.

When you pull the whitepoint of an LCD display away from its native temperature, you are losing some of the dynamic range.

The image below is taken from screen shots taken after calibrating with the Eye One Display 2 at 6500K and Native.

The image shows the graph, where deviations from a straight (45 degree) line show how much ‘work’ the profile is having to do to ‘pull’ the output of the monitor to the desired target temperature.

If you move your mouse over the image you can see the temperature values change.

native versus 6500K white points

Why use native colour temperature when profiling monitors?

Also of interest is the triangle showing the gamut of the display. Notice, how forcing the display to 6500 reduces the range of colours it can display. The maximum luminance is also reduced.

There were no alterations to monitor settings between the two measurements.

Other changes

i1 logoThe Pantone version of the Display 2 is packed in a plastic blister pack.

original Eye One Display 2The GMB version comes in a wonderful cardboard only box, that is a masterpiece of card cutting and folding.

The original Eye One Display 2 has a much better paint job – four colours

The Pantone version is a little less stylish :-)

Looking at the 3 new Pantone branded products shows an emphasis on cost reduction.

I hope this is not reflected in any change in GMB’s reputation for quality.

The table below shows how the capabilities of the various Pantone products differ.

It contains my own observations of what the software does and may differ from the version you see in promotional literature…

Huey Eye-one Display LT Eye-One Display 2
Gamma choices 1.8, 2.2, 2.5
Note that these choices are not available by name – the info is in the generated profile name(Mac version)
Fixed at 2.2 1.8, 1.9, 2.0, 2.1, 2.2
Colour Temp D50, D65, D75 5000K, 6500K, 7500K Native, 5000K, 5500K, 6000K, 6500K, 7000K, 7500K
RGB control calibration No Yes
(this is where you can make additional adjustments to your monitor before the calibration)
I’ve seen information that suggests that there is something better about the adjustments in the D2 version, but I have not found out what it is yet…
Multiple monitors No* No* Yes
Ambient lighting Only to change profile settings.
No quantitative output.
No Allows level of lighting and quality of lighting to be measured.

* Note that although multiple monitors are not directly supported, on a Mac you could alternatively designate each monitor the main monitor, profile it, rename the profiles, and allocate them in the Displays system preferences. I’ve been sent some info on doing this under Windows XP and have written a short note about Dual monitor profiling under Windows XP

Buying the i1 Display 2

We make a specific point of not selling hardware, but if you found the review of help, please consider buying the i1 Display 2, or any other items at all, via our links with Amazon or B&H
Amazon Fr / Amazon De
Amazon USA link / Amazon Canada link

It won’t cost any more (nor less we’re afraid) but will contribute towards the running costs of our site., 

June 2007 – We now have a Pantone huey PRO review – it supports multiple monitors and offers better control of settings and profiling

I did suspect that the LT might be the old Eye-One Display device, although comparing profiles made at identical settings revealed very little difference between the D2 and LT – perhaps it’s just different software capabilities.

If I get any more info on the differences between the two devices (and not just what the software allows you to do) I’ll post it here.


Monitor profiling with the Pantone Eye-One Display 2 is very easy to set up and use.

The help facilities in the software mean that you won’t need to get the manual out every few weeks when you need to profile your monitor – which is just as well, since there isn’t one :-)

Ambient light measurement allows you to get an idea of the quality of lighting in your working location.

Much better range of profiling options compared with the LT, including ‘Native’ settings for LCDs

A good solid bit of kit, with the measurement device coming from a well respected name in colour management.

March 2006 — GMB have updated the Eye-One Match software with some extra functionality – more details

Before calibrating your monitor on Windows PC systems, you should check to see that Adobe gamma is turned off if it was installed. We’ve got a short guide to removing Adobe Gamma that might be of help.

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More colour management and printing related information

For information about printers, paper reviews and profiling (colour management) see the Printing section of the main printers and printing page, or use the search box at the top of any page.
All colour management articles and reviews are indexed on the main Colour Management page - please do let Keith know if you've any questions, either via the comments or just email us?

Some specific articles that may be of interest:  

  • Why don't my prints match my screen? A short article showing why there is more to getting your prints to match your screen, than just calibrating your monitor. It's the vital first step, but you do need to consider some other factors for best results.
  • Why are my prints too dark - some basic suggestions to this common problem.

Articles below by Keith (Google's picks for matching this page)


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