● Amaz­ing colour sen­sor ● Pro-level sleep tracker ● Space-sav­ing power cube

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$349 (about £227) Man­u­fac­turer Nix Sen­sor, Re­quires iPhone 4S or later, iPad third-gen­er­a­tion or later, iPad mini or later In­cludes Rib­bon USB ca­ble, mi­crofi­bre car­ry­ing pouch Weight 43g

If you wanted to fig­ure out what colour a pixel in an im­age is, you could use the eye­drop­per tool in Pho­to­shop to grab its recipe. But if you wanted to fig­ure out what pre­cise colour some­thing is in real life, you had no such lux­ury. Un­til now. Ish. In the­ory.

This pe­cu­liar, enig­matic, vaguely diamond-shaped de­vice, about the size of a dis­ap­point­ingly small cup­cake, con­nects wire­lessly to an iPhone and when you press it against a colour, it reads it and sends it to your de­vice – defin­ing its RGB, CMYK, hex and CIE Lab val­ues. You can save it, com­pare or share it by email or on so­cial media.

So far as it goes, it seems to work, even if the app feels a bit un­fin­ished. We agree with Nix that in part be­cause the sen­sor is en­closed you get far more ac­cu­rate re­sults than if you used a stand­alone smart­phone app which re­lies on its cam­era, even if the de­sign of the Nix means the colour you’re scan­ning has to be on a flat sur­face.

We worry about ac­cu­racy, though – not hav­ing any ob­jec­tive way to mea­sure or cal­i­brate its re­sults – and thus we have some con­cerns about who this is for. It’s easy to as­sume it’s for cre­ative pros, but it can’t be cal­i­brated into a colour work­flow and isn’t in­te­grated into a sys­tem such as Pan­tone. (Pan­tone makes its own cal­i­brated equiv­a­lent called the Cap­sure, which is £504.)

The con­cerns over pro-level ac­cu­racy might be fine in a prod­uct cost­ing £75, say – some­thing for hob­by­ists to have fun with – but this is three times that. A pre­vi­ous ver­sion con­verted sam­pled colours to paint swatches, which could be handy, but that’s miss­ing from the cur­rent ver­sion. Christo­pher Phin

Promis­ing, but ex­pen­sive – it’s not cal­i­brated to a trusted sys­tem, and we can’t easily test ac­cu­racy.

Easy and seems to work well…

…but we can’t test cal­i­bra­tion

No ex­port to Pho­to­shop et al

Ex­pen­sive, and who’s it for?

The hard­ware it­self is wellenough made, though a lit­tle awk­ward and sharpedged to slip in a bag.

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