Understanding differences between screen calibration devices

I have had a Monaco Optix XR Pro device for a number of years for screen calibration & profiling. I’ve just bought an X-Rite i1 Photo, or is that Eye-One Photo? Having bought it from CHROMiX, I also got an Eye-One Display 2. So I now have three screen calibrators. I’d like to understand which one to use when, and which one(s) to keep. (The i1 Photo was bought primarily as a print profiler, so it’s definitely staying, but the question is, are either of the other two devices still worth using / keeping?)

Qu 1. Which is better for screen calibration/profiling - the i1 Photo or the Eye-One Display 2 - and why? You’d think that the i1 was a more precise device, but how would you know? I gather than the Eye-One Display 2 does ambient light measurement, whereas the i1 Photo does not. (At least I can’t see anything in the case that you’d use with the i1 Photo for ambient light), so that’s a reason for keeping the Eye-One Display 2?

Qu 2. Is there an opinion about whether the Monaco Optix XR Pro or the Eye-One Display 2 is better? In calibrating the screen, with the i1 Photo, it gave a quite different reading for white balance than I had been using with my latest profile with the XR. Can I assume that the i1/Eye-One family is more accurate? Or perhaps it’s just that the i1 Photo is more accurate that the less expensive devices?

Qu 3. With the Monaco profile loader at Windows XP startup, I am used to seeing the screen display visibly change when the calibration kicked in. I don’t see any such reaction with the i1’s CalibrationLoader 5.0 Application. Is this normal? How can one be sure that the loader worked? Is there a way to tell the loader which profile to load, other than creating a new one using i1 Match?

Qu 4. When I bought the Pro version of the XR, it was only supposed to be installed on 5 machines, whereas the non-Pro was not so restricted. (This always seemed strange to me as the Pro version was a fair bit more expensive, and didn’t do that much more, so I couldn’t see the basis for this restriction.) I recall reading that X-Rite also realised that this was not realistic, and relaxed this restriction. Is this correct? It could affect my ability to sell the XR.

Thank you for any insights.


Hi Ferdinand,

You bring up some popular questions, and people have differing opinions in this area, so I’ll try to answer them as diplomatically as possible!

Qu1: I would prefer the i1 Pro (spectrophotometer) to the i1 Display 2 for screen calibrations. The later is a “colorimeter” rather than a spectrophotometer. A colorimeter reads in only 3 spectral bands, while a spectrophotometer can read upward of 36 bands. Colorimeters tend to be “tuned” to read certain light sources, and so they can sometimes not work well for high-gamut displays. That being said, the i1 Pro device, because it reads in so many bands, can be prone to collecting too much noise when reading shadow areas. So it might not do so well for shadow calibration. The i1 Pro can take an ambient head attachment, although it sounds like that did not come with your Photo package.

Qu2: The Monaco Optix colorimeter is sometimes preferred over the i1 Pro for display calibrations because among other things, it has noise reduction circuitry which makes it better for reading shadows accurately. I’m not going to speculate on which of these three is most accurate. There are people who swear by all three of them. At a certain point in practical usage, dependability and consistency is more important than accuracy.

Qu3: The i1 might be loading the LUT sooner than you’re used to with the Monaco LUT loader. If you want to swap out profiles and see their differences on screen, you should download the Microsoft Color Control Applet. This is a free program that allows you to do several functions with profiles. You would need this if you want to swap out a profile for your monitor and instantly see the results.


Concerning licensing relaxations - you should probably contact X-rite on that one.