Pantone Color Cue 2 Review
Since its acquisition by X-Rite last year, Pantone now offers a dazzling and occasionally perplexing array of colour measurement and management tools. Everyone from serious enthusiast to dedicated pro is catered for. The Pantone Color Cue 2 is aimed at a broad range of professional users, and attempts to take the guesswork out of colour matching and identification.
About the size of a chunky mobile phone and pocket friendly in its supplied case, the device lets you reproduce colours from the world around you, by allowing you to sample colours and recreate the Pantone. Hold the device up to any object and it will read the colour and automatically locate the closest Pantone match. Powered by a single 9V battery, it requires no software or computer hook up except for the supplied PDF user manual, which comes on a disc.
A colour LCD gives you access to a rather basic interface. The menu system is intuitive and shouldn’t tax anyone used to using a mobile phone – it’s little more complex than sending a text message. You can access settings such as library, display, select colour, preferences, utilities and saved colours via the main menu. Simple effective buttons for power, menu, and scrolling up and down the menus sit around the display. A quick shut down option is placed in the middle of left and right hand buttons – which can annoyingly lead to you accidentally turning off the unit.
The sample window and measure button allows you to simply point and click at your chosen colour. The manual offers guidance on ensuring accurate colour readings, ideally by keeping the aperture port flat against the sample during readings, but the naked eye and a colour swatch book should give you an idea if you are doing something wrong. Preset to the solid coated library and the daylight D50 light source, you can adjust settings to suit your individual needs.
Four Pantone libraries, suited to different professions, or around 9,000 colours, are preinstalled. Readings can be saved and converted to different colour spaces, including CMYK, sRGB, HTML, Lab, and XYZ, while you can record a two second sound byte reminder for each colour being saved.
The Pantone Color Cue 2 is clearly an excellent tool under ideal conditions to help colour match the rich array of colours around you to the nearest Pantone shade. With lighting variables and a host of other factors effecting results, however, a definitive colour match can’t be guaranteed.