I've just purchased a ColorMunki, and thought I'd share my experience with it. I looked at the Spyder equivalents, but from everything I read it seemed that the ColorMunki would do a better job because of the technology it used - if it worked. I say "if it worked" because I read some reviews that were less than glowing about the device. What swung me in the end was the fact that quite a few posts said that the problems had been overcome, and that the ColorMunki support team was very helpful (in fact, that was one of the most consistent comments).
So, it was with some trepidation that I paid $645 for it from PRA Imaging in Perth. It was packaged very well, and everything was in the box - always a good start! The contents consisted of the unit itself, a pouch and weighted straps (used when doing the monitor profiling), a brief instruction manual, and a CD. I read the manual, but because of the way in which the software works I wouldn't have needed to. The first thing that happens when you run the CD is that it goes and downloads the latest software, so you'll need to be ready for a 300Mb+ download. Once that's all installed, you're ready to go.
I did the combined monitor and printer profiling, which is simply about creating separate profiles for your monitor and your printer. My comments here are based on my use of a digital monitor set-up, which I gather is much easier because the software can completely automate everything. If you use a standard monitor connection then you're using analogue settings. I believe that these require more intervention when doing the profiling.
The monitor profiling couldn't have been easier. The first step is to have the device measure the ambient lighting, which is done by holding it next to the monitor for a few seconds. After that, you put it into the pouch and adjust it so it's sitting over a yellow rectangle on the screen. After that it was completely automatic, and took around 5 minutes. Once it's all finished, you can do a Before/After comparison. In my case, while it wasn't dramatic I could certainly see a difference. I should probably say that I had manually calibrated the monitor as best I could, so I was secretly hoping I would be as good as a dedicated device. I wasn't!
I then profiled my printer. It's worth keeping in mind that this process should be performed for each type of paper you use, so this is potentially the most time consuming part. The first step is to have the software print a test page, which then is allowed to dry. The software includes a 10-minute countdown, but you can skip that time if you want to. You then 'scan' the strips on the test page, and the software then makes some adjustments and prints a second test page - which you should also allow to dry. Once the strips from the second page are scanned in, the software generates an ICM profile for the particular paper you're using. If you have compatible software (such as CS4 etc.) it will also transfer the printer ICM information to them. Again, there was a noticeable improvement in printed photographs.
So, this was a completely painless process that ran flawlessly from start to finish. I didn't encounter any of the problems mentioned in the reviews I read, so I can only presume that ColorMunki has been very responsive to them and fixed them all. I guess that's the advantage of forcing people to download the latest version of the software at installation. I haven't yet tried the colour matching (where you can capture the colour of an object and match it in your editing software), but I'll post a review on that aspect when I get around to it.
Would I recommend it? Well, I need to be careful because I really don't have any experience with something like the Spyder. However, because it ran flawlessly and apparently uses superior technology I would definitely recommend it if you're interested in what it has to offer. If you only want monitor profiling, then it's probably a bit of overkill - but I like to know that my monitor is calibrated AND matches my printer, and that if I need to capture a particular colour then I can. It will also calibrate projectors, but that was something I didn't try and probably won't.
Feel free to ask any questions you might have and I'll try to answer them.