Today’s market can be quite complicated – it’s so tough to find a good laptop or a proper PC that has it all. Whatever you end up buying, you have to make a compromise to suit one need or the other.
If you focus on the hardware, you’ll probably have to build the PC on your own. If you’re all about the user experience and the software, you’ll be paying too much for mediocre hardware.
However, there is one thing that most manufacturers overlook – Display Quality.
The resolution, the colour accuracy, the contrast, the saturation – there are so many things that can be off and create a devastating experience for gamers, designers, artists, and regular users as well.
Because most companies think you’re all average users and that average users aren’t picky, they don’t bother with creating a good screen on a budget.
Thankfully, you can calibrate your monitors and make the experience a little bit less washed out!
Here’s how to calibrate your monitor in Windows 10.
Why Should You Calibrate Your Monitor?
Your monitor is supposed to display things precisely as imagined by the manufacturer, but you often get a desaturated, altered experience because your screens are not expensive.
You don’t get to see the colour palette correctly, which turns out to be very problematic when you want to share your work or print it into physical goods.
Calibrating a monitor is very important, even if you are not a designer who will bring their art to life or a gamer that wants all of the detail they paid for when they bought their new game.
Why would anyone settle for a mediocre experience when you can get the one that you truly deserve?
To put it shortly, when you calibrate monitors, you’re experiencing the full potential of the PC or the laptop you’ve bought.
You will see the true colours and the proper amount of brightness and saturation, which makes every experience more exciting and intense. It’s something everyone should do every once in a while – especially those who create content.
If you’re a freelancer, designer, programmer, any type of digital creator, it’s crucial to have a realistic idea of what your work looks like.
When you design something and send it to your friend, it’s not encouraging to see that it looks very yellow and pale on their laptop, and it seemed alright to you on your device.
So, how do you know whose display is problematic in that case?
How Can You Tell If Your Monitor Is Accurate?
How do you check if your monitor is already calibrated? More importantly, how to check monitor colour accuracy?
Colour accuracy plays the most significant role in the display quality and the user experience, so keep that in mind for later. The RGB values you have set on your displays on default are usually average, and due to different hardware, they should be tweaked to work correctly.
There are a few tests you can do, and we’ll start with the cheapest one – comparing your device to another.
This is a problematic test because you need to have a very well-calibrated device to compare your device to, and you can often be very subjective.
There are also online tests that do an excellent job for those on a budget, and some of them are Photo Friday, Monitor Calibration and Gamma Assessment, and W4ZT.
You can find a lot of them online. They still depend on your perception, but it’s better than comparing two non-calibrated devices.
It’s also beneficial to search for videos of your monitor or laptop on the internet.
There are a lot of professional reviews, and you’ll be able to tell whether you’re missing out on something after they show a little bit of gaming or software use during some of their tests.
You’ll also get a general idea of the quality and accuracy of your screen, as most of these people use colourimeters.
The Pros and the Cons of Calibrating Monitors
Even if you learn how to colour calibrate monitor, should you do it? Should this be a priority for you? Let’s quickly go over the pros and cons so you can weight them out and decide.
- Phenomenal user experience
- Optional and reversible in most cases
- Very useful for creators and gamers
- Can be done on a budget
- Can be subjective and end up in an unsatisfactory experience
- Can be costly if done professionally
How to Calibrate Monitor in Windows 10?
Today we’ll be mostly focusing on Windows 10, as the title of the post suggests. If you don’t already know, the Windows 10 OS has its Colour Calibration Wizard, but it’s pretty tough to stumble upon – you have to search for it purposely.
First, open your PC settings through the Start button, and then click System, and after that Display. You’ll find an option called Advanced Display Settings, which is the one you need to go for.
There you’ll find a lot of information about your display, which is beneficial to know when working with not-OS-based calibrating software.
Now, click the Display Adapted Properties for Display 1 button. There you open the Colour Management tab and the button of the same description.
After that, you’re met with more tabs, and you need to go for the Advanced tab and then the Calibrated Display button.
This will open the Wizard and give you the option to learn a little bit about the process of calibrating your display.
The problem with this calibration process is that it depends on your subjective thought, which can also be a little bit distorted depending on your eyesight and your previous experiences.
If your laptop or PC isn’t well-calibrated now, you’re probably used to distorted colours.
The Wizard will instruct you with simple steps as you go through the process, and you will adjust the gamma, which controls colour accuracy, brightness, and contrast.
You will have to keep improving the settings while looking at several pictures, which can be a little problematic after the first five minutes since you start to overthink your choices.
In the end, you’ll be able to compare the previous calibration with the current one and decide which one you will go for.
What’s problematic about this wizard, besides the subjective aspect of testing, is that you’re testing your display in the OS environment.
And you don’t know what the calibration is going to look like when you’re gaming or designing. You can only hope that you have been precise.
What is the Best Monitor Calibration Software?
You can always use the native calibration systems made by macOS and Windows – they are free, they are pretty quick, and you don’t need any tools.
However, this should not be your go-to solution if you’re a designer, a hardcore gamer, or someone who wants top-notch accuracy. There are a lot of Online Calibrating Services as well, but they do a better job as tests for accuracy than they do to help with the issue.
We don’t recommend them as a solution. Some services are the FlatPanelsDK Test and the W4zt Test, but you can find others as well.
The best software to use is undoubtedly the one that comes along with colourimeter hardware. This gadget doesn’t rely on your individual preferences and perception, which makes it accurate.
There are both Premium Choices and affordable options, so don’t worry about the price tags. If your career is built on content creation, look at it as an investment.
Some of the most popular software would be the one that comes with the Spyder series or the X-Rite series colourimeters.
That is the level of accuracy professionals, and very invested enthusiasts should go for. You get a colourimeter, a device you put on the surface of your screen, and it syncs with the software during the process to carefully manipulate the display settings.
Can You Calibrate Two Monitors So They Look The Same?
Even if you have two monitors of the same brand and model, that doesn’t mean they will look the same. Every device is a story of its own.
Online calibration and OS calibration cannot do a great job when it comes to matching two monitors – the chance that you are going to be equally precise at assessing both monitors is low.
You may get closer, which is beneficial as well, but you’ll not get the same experience.
If you decide to go for this method, open a white, clear picture and calibrate while comparing the two. You can either go for online calibration or adjusting the settings on your own in the wizard.
Keep in mind that different monitors may need different settings to reach the same result. The best way to achieve seriously accurate displays is to go for a colourimeter.
These can adjust, compare, duplicate, and much more.
We advise you to dive into video reviews if you want to find the one that fits you best. It’s pricey, but it is a one-time investment.
How Often Do You Need To Calibrate Your Monitor?
The answer to this question heavily depends on who you ask. Regular users may want to do it every three months, while gamers do it monthly. Designers prefer weekly check-ins, but most people don’t need this type of accuracy.
Your choice depends on your needs, but more than once a week is not required for anyone.
How Do You Know If Your Monitor Is Calibrated Correctly?
Testing your monitor with a professional colourimeter or comparing your screen to an adequately calibrated one are good ways to approach this issue. However, this question relies on other information as well.
First, did you prepare the device? Did you connect your monitor with your video card through a Display Port? Was it on for half an hour, and did you switch it back to its native resolution – the one that is maximum for the device?
Secondly, did you analyze the colours and the saturation correctly? That can barely be controlled, which is why we recommend software. You don’t get to make your eyes any more precise than they already are.
Lastly, did your software lag or crash during the process? You can always repeat it or make a test to see whether something is off, but most people just need a little bit of time to adjust to the new look of their screen.
Can You Calibrate a Laptop Screen?
Of course, you can. A laptop screen is still a screen, and it doesn’t matter whether it’s connected to the rest of the hardware through wires or plastic.
You can treat it like a regular monitor, really, and if you don’t know how to calibrate laptop screen, don’t worry – that’s pretty normal. Just follow the instructions we previously discussed.
Should You Calibrate Your Monitor in the Dark?
This is an idea many people have, but it’s not recommended to do this. If you’re calibrating the monitor on your own, that means your eyes need to be the way they are most of the time, in a semi-lighted environment.
No matter what type of calibration you’re doing, a good rule of thumb is to do the calibration after at least half an hour of usage, in moderate lighting, no direct sunlight or reflections on your screen.
How Do You Calibrate Your Monitor With The NVIDIA Control Panel?
If you have a graphic card made by NVIDIA, that means you already have their software on your laptop or PC, to begin with. If you don’t, make sure to get it.
First, you have to back-up your old settings in the app called NVIDIA Control Panel, which you can usually access by right-clicking your Desktop.
After that, you can select a Task from the Control Panel, which allows you to change the resolution and the colour settings both for images and video.
That is still subjective, and although it’s a professional piece of software, it won’t provide you with the results you’re looking for. It is the best when it comes to colour calibration for monitors on a budget.
You already know how to calibrate monitor without hardware and how to calibrate without colourimeter. In other words, the next best solution after professional monitor calibration software.
How Do You Calibrate Your Monitor For A Particular Purpose?
How to calibrate monitor for digital art? How to calibrate gaming monitor? How to calibrate your monitor for printing?
A lot of people wonder whether there are any specific settings or guidelines that they should follow depending on what they’re going to use their PC or laptop for.
A common idea many have is that you should enhance colors for gaming or increase saturation for photography, but the solution is very simple – just make the calibration as precise as possible.
You should always aim for a realistic calibration, which means the colors on your display should match the real-life experience of those same colors.
A photo on your laptop should look the same on your display and on paper, when printed out.
There are no specific adjustments you need to make just because you game or design, but some people still have personal preferences.
Keep in mind that adjusting colors, saturation or brightness according to your own liking gives you a less “realistic” result.
Calibrating your Mac screen or your Windows display is a must. Whether you are an average user or a designer/gamer, you should aspire to experience the best quality you can.
Online tests and subjective calibration is suitable for those on the budget, but colourimeters are the right solution for professionals.
Make sure to do your research if you buy a colourimeter, though, as these can be tricky as well. Good luck with your calibration, and make sure that you’re following the advice we gave you!