How to Calibrate a Monitor
With an i1Display 2

Part 12 - Calibrating a CRT Monitor or a Laptop

Laptop Screens

Laptops in general don't calibrate as precisely as desktop LCD panels however calibrating them often improves their colour to useable levels. Since they are trickier to calibrate well, I suggest below 2 different approaches. Try them both and stick with the one that gives the best results.


Profile the laptop using ‘LCD’ as the type of screen, with a few differences.

Laptop screens vary greatly in brightness between make and model.  Some are very dim while others are insanely bright. The White Points are usually not hardware adjustable either.  Suggested below is a smarter way of optimizing the Calibration settings for your laptop.

Start the calibration with the following temporary settings
Start Eye One Match as normal and select ‘LCD’ as the screen type.  Now for the clever bit…  Miss out all the steps up to ‘Calibrate Luminance’.  You do this by pressing the right arrow 4 times, after you have input the calibration settings above.

Now click the ‘Start’ button. The software will take a moment to locate the colorimeter.  Then it will do the usual thing flashing up patches and give you the current measured luminance.  Now you can have  a play to work out what luminance your laptop can actually produce.  If it can only kick out 70cd/m^2 , that is what we will calibrate to.  If it can hit 80 or 90, that’s great.  My cheap Compaq can hit over 100 but the steps in brightness adjustment are quite large.  One push of the reduce brightness button drops the luminance from 103 to 83. I decided to go for the lower figure.  We have now established the Luminance to calibrating to.

Now press the left arrow once to get back to the Calibrate RGB screen.  Don’t attempt to adjust anything, just select ‘RGB presets’ and press the ‘start button’.  With a bit of luck the measured White Point will be within 300k of 6500k.  The fluorescent backlights in laptops tend to be quite similar in this regard.  The measured White Point is your laptops ‘Native White Point’. My Compaq has a native White Point of 6700k. We have now established the White Point to calibrate to.

We use our discoveries above to set more realistic calibration settings for the laptop. Press the left arrows until you are right back to the ‘Calibration Settings Page’.  Now update the Luminance figure from 80 to ‘No Change’ which means we will be calibrating at the monitors current Luminance (in my case 83cd/m^2).

Assuming your laptop’s Native White Point is within 300k of 6500 you can keep the setting at 6500k as the profile can usually correct for this. If the Native White Point is much further away you will be asking a lot more of your profile so you may get more satisfactory results if you set a target somewhere between your actual Native White Point and 6500k. For example, if my laptops native White Point was 5000k I would set a target White Point of between 5000k and 5500k. It is better to sacrifice some precision in the White Point if the resulting correction curves are smoother.

If you cannot get a good calibration using method 1 or you end up with noticeable colour casts move on to Method 2.

Method 2

Use the settings established in method 1 but select 'Laptop' as the monitor type.

With this method the Profile is built with a bias towards neutral grays, and can result in a successful calibration where method 1 has failed.

Calibrate a laptop weekly as it will likely drift more rapidly than a good LCD panel. The colour accurate viewing angle of Laptops tends to be much less than desktop LCD panels so make sure when you use it that you have the screen at right angles to your line of sight.  Since it is a mobile device the chances are that you will be using your laptop in multiple environments. Be aware of the effect that very bright or strongly coloured environments can have on colour accurate working.

Laptops often have power management features that effect the brightness of the screen depending on whether the device is charging or running from battery power. The display profile is only valid for the brightness state in which you calibrated the laptop.

CRT Monitors (Cathode Ray Tube)

The procedure for a CRT screen is so similar to an LCD flat panel that it is not worth a separate set of instructions. Refer to Part2 - Part 8 of this article. The minor differences are that you most likely do have a true contrast control so you can take the software's advice and set this to 100%. Also when calibrating the luminance it asks you to start from your minimum luminance setting and uses a slightly different but self explanatory process to get to the correct luminance.