How Accurate is the i1 Display Pro colorimeter, Anyway?
The X-Rite i1 Display Pro occupies a unique place in the color measurement world. It is by far the most popular colorimeter for display calibration. The reasons for this are clear. It costs only about $250. It is reasonably fast, it reads quite low (about 0.003 nits), has filters isolated from changes in heat and humidity, and its design includes a built-in tripod mount and color-neutral diffuser. There is nothing on the market as good as the i1 Display Pro for any where near the price. Arguably, its only shortcoming is shared by virtually all filter-based color analyzers. It lacks reference quality accuracy. Fortunately, this problem is easily addressed by using a software correction against a much more expensive and accurate spectroradiometer.
So, the question is how much correction is required? In other words, how accurate is the i1 Display Pro?
Since we have offered a version of the i1 Display Pro for several years that includes built-in corrections from a reference spectroradiometer, which we call the Display 3 PRO, we have been able to amass a large database of information (literally hundreds) about those corrections that allows us to accurately characterize the meter's accuracy. Let's start with a correction that we created just today.
In many ways this i1d3 is typical. The largest dE values are for white, which average in the 2-3 range. The displays that the meter has the most difficulty measuring accurately are refresh displays, such as CRTs and plasmas and newer display technologies, such as Quantum Dot and LED from Samsung. For whatever reason, LG LEDs pose a smaller challenge to the i1d3, and Sonys fall somewhere in between. Interestingly, the i1d3 tends to measure OLEDs quite well. See below for detailed information about 14 additional i1 Display Pros for which I tabulated error data. The highest dE value for each meter is highlighted in yellow.
There are a few takeaways in this data.