Review: Datacolor Spyder X2 Ultra colour calibrator

Datacolor released the Spyder X2 colour calibrators in mid 2023 to replace their previous model, the Spyder X.

The two models released are Spyder X2 Elite and Spyder X2 Ultra, priced at USD 269 and USD 299 respectively.

The main difference is the Elite model can measure brightness up to 750 nits and the Ultra model can measure up to 2000 nits. In other words, the Ultra model can be used to calibrate HDR displays for HDR workflows. According to Datacolor, you can upgrade from the Elite to Ultra through software upgrade if you want to.

I had been using my Spyder5Pro since 2015 and decided it's time to upgrade. I upgraded so that I can use the colour calibrator with HDR and OLED displays. Minor reasons are the new colour calibration process is faster, and there was a SGD 100 off trade-in program with the retail price SGD 435 here in Singapore during the launch promotion period.

Do you need a colour calibrator?

The short answer is no but it's incredibly useful to have one.

The long answer is whether you need a colour calibrator will depend on the work you do, and the standards that you have for yourself.

I work in the visual industry. I do graphic design as a full-time job and on my free time I do urban sketching. For graphic design, I need the colours on screen and print to match. For my personal work, the scans of my watercolour sketches must look identical to what I see on screen.

For professional visual content creators, I won't say it's a must-have but it's really useful to have one. You shouldn't just rely on factory calibration for your laptop display or desktop monitor, especially when you have been using them for several years.

If you are a visual content creator and you use multiple displays, a colour calibrator can help you match the colours across multiple displays. If you have displays from different companies, how can you be sure that both companies use the same calibration standard? And if you want to colour calibrate your displays manually, how do you know your white is white enough unless you have a colour accurate reference to compare to?

Those who benefit most from having a colour calibrator are visual content creators, e.g. graphic designers, artists, photographers, video creators, and those who use a monitor that have good colour support.

So while a colour calibrator is expensive, it's really useful. And a colour calibrator can last for a long time, it's good value the money.

Things included

In the box you will get the colour calibrator, a USB-C to USB-A adapter and a piece of paper with the serial number.

Unlike the previous Spyder calibrators where the serial number can be detected by the driver by just connecting the calibrator to the computer, the new driver requires you to input the serial number manually during the initial setup.

Do not lose the serial number. I have the serial number pasted on the calibrator itself, and also saved online.


Design of the Spyder X2 Ultra (and Elite) looks alright, looks practical. Build quality feels good.

That's the lens that faces the display. There is a circular soft padding around the lens to prevent scratches on your display.

The tripod mount has 1/4 inch screw threading. The cable is 1.5m long.

Calibrator process

Installation of the Mac and Windows drivers is straightforward. Serial number is needed.

Calibration process is straightforward. Just open the driver and follow the instructions and select the appropriate settings.

Shown below are the steps to go through. You can click the images for a larger view.

You can choose to calibrate the display, match multiple displays, or test your calibration.

You can choose the type of display to calibrate, the display technology, and the colour controls available from your display (e.g. Kelvin, RGB, brightness).

These are the various calibration settings you can set.

Place the colour calibrator on the display and start the process.

Total calibration time is less than 1min 20s, much faster than my old Spyder5Pro.

You can choose how often to be reminded for display calibration.

Here's where you can compare the before and after.

The colour space measurements recorded are

  • sRGB/Rec709
  • NTSC
  • AdobeRGB
  • P3
  • Rec2020
  • ACES AP1
  • ACES AP0
  • Davinci

Other data recorded are brightness, white point, primaries RGB, DeltaE and Gamma.

After colour calibration, the display on my M2 Macbook Pro is said to support 99% sRGB, 80% NTSC, 81% Adobe RGB, 91% P3. As someone who works with print, the 81% AdobeRGB measurement means I will need a 100% AdobeRGB display if I am very particular about colour accuracy for print work.

If you have a previous calibration, you can also compare the new and old measurements.

Matching colours across displays

On the right is a display that has been made yellowish by me using the OS colour calibration settings.

If you use a yellow display long enough, you brain will tell you that yellow is white. And that's why it's good to calibrate your displays after certain periods of time because colours do shift as displays deteriorate.

After calibration, colours on both displays look almost similar.

It is possible to calibrate your display manually using OS settings, but how do you know the colours you see are actually accurate? How do you know what true white looks like?

To calibrate your display manually, you will still need a colour accurate reference, e.g. printout or another display, to compare with.

If you do want to colour calibrate your display manually, you can do so via OS settings.

For Windows, it's under Settings - Dispay - Advanced Display - Display Adapter - Color Management - Calibrate Display

For MacOS, it's under System Preferences - Display - Preset - Calibrate Display


The Spyder X2 Ultra works as advertised. This is an invaluable tool for visual content creators.

The price can be considered high for some when you consider nowadays it's possible to buy good monitors for less than USD 299.

I see this colour calibrator as good value for money since I'll probably use this for at least 10 years or more.

Where to buy

Here are links to the Spyder X2 Ultra (2000 nits) on Amazon
US | CA | UK | DE | FR | ES | IT | JP

Here are links to the Spyder X2 Elite (750 nits) on Amazon
US | CA | UK | DE | FR | ES | IT | JP

Do compare prices for the Utlra and Elite. If you see a good discount with the Elite, you can buy that and then upgrade to the Ultra. Also check the upgrade price on Datacolor's website first.



Hm....It is a bit futile....

Hm....It is a bit futile.....There is no universal standart between the different screen models calibration and printing methods calibration in order to know if your screen's colour calibration will give your results when you'll send your file for printing at the printer with his printing setup. Your's on screen absolute white for instance might not be that bright white simply because the printing paper is not that white after all or is not shown under the best lighting conditions.
Don' t forget that screens are lighted from the back while printed paper reflects the light.
And even if you go for a digital file the final result will depend on the recipient's screen setup which 99% of the time will not be not even close to yours.
There is no way to have acurate results between different viewing methods, different machines of different quality or characteristics setups etc.
Same applies on photographs too. Photographing f.e artworks for digital reproductions.
So don' t get obsessed on this matter as it doesn't depend on your setup only.

My point is that even if you

My point is that even if you set the standard is not certain that the whatever others will be able to see it, reproduce it, or even appreciate your effort.
It is the ( yours and mine ) ideal vs the industry's reality....And I' m talking from my 30 years experience in that matter.

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