In the test: xade nano iPhone colorimeter and microscope

Test of the xade nano colorimeter

The company eveloar GmbH offered me a report about their product xade nano to write. I gladly accepted the offer because I am always extremely curious about tech gadgets and how well the products work.

With the xade nano, however, I have to say right away that I don't have enough technical background knowledge to evaluate all the functions.

Why? Because the xade nano is not just an iPhone microscope, but with the apps "xade finder" and "xade roast“ is also an accurate colorimeter and a device for determining the degree of roasting of coffee beans. Yes, you heard me right. All this is in the small device in connection with the right apps from eveloar GmbH.

Here you can see me measuring the hue of the orange part of my power bank.
Here you can see me measuring the hue of the orange part of my power bank.

I usually mention the technical data at the top of the article, but since these are probably only understandable for experts on the xade nano, I have moved them further down.

The most common area of ​​application for the xade nano is the determination of color values, which is why I deal with this function in detail in the test.

Why accurate color measurements are difficult with iPhone

There are some apps in the App Store that allow you to measure the color of objects using the iPhone's camera. However, this "measurement" is far from accurate, since the app has no influence whatsoever on the lighting that comes from outside. Depending on whether the apps measure in artificial light, in daylight, in the morning or in the evening - you always get different results.

To eliminate these inaccuracies, the xade nano was developed, which is a combination of app and lighting attachment for the iPhone. Because the area to be measured is only illuminated with a certain light, xade nano can precisely assess the lighting and carry out a very precise color analysis.

This is what it looks like when the xade nano is attached to the iPhone 14 Pro Max. The wiring is necessary so that the LEDs in the device are supplied with power from the iPhone.
This is what it looks like when the xade nano is attached to the iPhone 14 Pro Max. The wiring is necessary so that the LEDs in the device are supplied with power from the iPhone.

This is how the color measuring device xade nano is structured

The xade nano is basically a small cylinder that has an opening on one side to put it over the iPhone camera. On the other side is a much smaller opening, which is basically the "measuring opening".

LED lighting is installed inside the xade nano, which illuminates the color surface to be measured. A small plate with a hole in the middle is attached to the underside of the device, which contains various colored dots on the edge. As far as I understand it, these color points are recorded with every shot and used as a sort of color map for the calibration.

A color card is installed in the xade nano, which is automatically evaluated for the calibration of the color measurement. The actual color is measured through the hole in the middle (photos: Sir Apfelot).
A color card is installed in the xade nano, which is automatically evaluated for the calibration of the color measurement. The actual color is measured through the hole in the middle (photos: Sir Apfelot).

If you want to use the xade nano as a microscope, you can remove this color card by sticking your little finger through the top hole and pushing the card down.

The iPhone is connected to the xade nano via a USB-C to Lightning cable to power the light source.

The xade finder app is the right software that records the data from the iPhone camera and then evaluates it to carry out the color analysis.

With the xade nano you can also use the iPhone as a microscope. Here is a Lightning connector that I photographed.
With the xade nano you can also use the iPhone as a microscope. Here is a Lightning connector that I photographed.

My test: color measurement with the iPhone

If you now want to perform color recognition with the xade nano, start the xade finder app and plug the device into the iPhone camera lens.

In the app you can then choose between the following modes:

  • nano - if you want to perform a measurement with the "hardware" xade nano
  • picker – if you just want to pick a color with the iPhone camera (less accurate)
  • micro – if you want to use the iPhone as a microscope (works with or without xade nano)

Of course I chose "nano" because in this mode I can use the hardware xade nano and the color measurement has the maximum accuracy.

This is the main part of the xade nano: The "measuring chamber" with the built-in LEDs and the color chart (both not visible here).
This is the main part of the xade nano: The "measuring chamber" with the built-in LEDs and the color chart (both not visible here).

In the following, the iPhone shows a measuring point in the middle, which you have to align so that it is completely covered with the color area you want to measure. To prevent stray light from entering the measuring chamber, the xade nano and the iPhone must also be placed flush on this surface.

When you're done, you press the button in the app that starts the measurement. It now takes about 4 to 5 seconds for the measurement to be completed and the result to be available.

Here you can see the lighting and some of the color chart at the bottom of the case.
Here you can see the lighting and some of the color chart at the bottom of the case.

The analysis of the measurement seems to take place in the cloud (internet connection required!), because during the analysis the app connects to an external service (probably the manufacturer's server) and then gets the corresponding color data back.

When the measurement is finished, the app gives you two color tones, which are marked with "#1 match" and "#2 match" - i.e. the best match and the second best match.

In addition to the second hit, you will also find an icon with three dots in the app, which you can use to call up other matching colors - similar to a digital color fan.

Here you can see the white circle with the three dots, which you can use to call up all the results of the measurement.
Here you can see the white circle with the three dots, which you can use to call up all the results of the measurement.

Available color spaces: Lab, sRGB and HEX

The Lab color space is the default choice when displayed in the app, as this color space is the largest and can reproduce the most tones. The Lab color space also covers all the colors that the human eye can perceive. In addition, the Lab color space is device-independent.

However, the color values ​​can also be displayed in other color spaces such as sRGB and HEX. Web designers will surely appreciate the HEX value as it contains the "web colors" that can be used by HTML codes.

You won't find an output in CMYK in the app, but since this color space is always dependent on the output device, it makes more sense to use Lab.

With the HEX code you can choose your colors for buttons or background on the website.
With the HEX code you can choose your colors for buttons or background on the website.

How good is the color measurement?

Unfortunately I don't have a measuring device to check the results, but I can see the colors detected on my iPhone and see the color on the items I used for the tests.

The color values ​​that came out in my tests are convincing so far. If the displayed color does not match the real color, it is because the RAL colors do not contain all shades and some nuances simply do not appear in the RAL spectrum.

You can also use the xade finder app to take less accurate color measurements without the xade nano by selecting the “picker” mode in the app.

In "picker" mode, you can also measure a color range using the iPhone camera.
In the “picker” mode you can also measure a color range using the iPhone camera.
In the app you will then find the usual display of the determined color (photos: Sir Apfelot).
In the app you will then find the usual display of the determined color tone. The color here in the screenshot differs from the one in the image above because I took the actual measurement further to the right in the lighter blue (photos: Sir Apfelot).

NCS, RAL and Colors of Nature

In the app you can switch between different color spectrums and thus get the app to find the best matching color from these specifications.

The following color collections are represented in the app and some of them can be unlocked with an in-app purchase:

  • RAL Classic (216 shades)
  • RAL DESIGN SYSTEM plus (1.825 colors)
  • NCS 2050 Colors (2.050 shades)
  • colors of nature

Quote from the manufacturer eveloar GmbH:

The Colors of Nature palette is our own and growing list of colors found in nature. They are color measurements of leaves, flowers, etc. to illustrate the principle of operation.

As a special feature, you can also create your own color palettes and save color tones in them. If you now measure a color and choose your own color palette, the app shows two colors that best match the measured color.

The "Powerbank" palette is a palette I created in which I saved the different colors of a powerbank as a test.
The "Powerbank" palette is a palette I created in which I saved the different colors of a powerbank as a test.

For iPhone 14 Pro/Pro Max users only

One thing to keep in mind when purchasing the xade nano is the fact that the device can only plug into the iPhone 14 Pro or Pro Max camera. The reason for this is that the xade nano is placed around the protruding lens.

Since the lens on the older iPhone models and also on the iPhone 14 (without Pro) does not have the same diameter, the xade nano does not hold on to these models.

It's hard to say how things will fare with the upcoming iPhone 15, as there's still no information on the diameter of the lenses. It would be perfect if the manufacturer of the xade nano could find a way to adapt the device to different lens diameters with a small adapter.

The xade nano is placed on the right lens of the iPhone 14 Pro or Pro Max. This makes it clear why it only works on these two iPhone models (photos: Sir Apfelot).
The xade nano is placed on the right lens of the iPhone 14 Pro or Pro Max. This makes it clear why it only works on these two iPhone models (photos: Sir Apfelot).

My conclusion on the xade nano

As far as I can judge as a layman, the combination of the hardware - i.e. the attachment for the iPhone camera - and the xade finder app is an effective solution for taking binding measurements in a defined lighting situation.

The results I got back from my test measurements all looked very good and - depending on the color collection selected - were very close to the shade I saw.

Bottom line: If you want to measure colors with your iPhone, you should definitely take a look at the xade nano. As long as you have an internet connection, you can measure any color anywhere with the xade nano and the iPhone 14 Pro or Pro Max and have the best approximation in various color collections determined.

If you are interested in the xade nano, please take a look via this link on Amazon or directly from the manufacturer.

Here in the appendix I have compiled the technical data of the device.

Technical data

  • Brand: xade
  • Manufacturer: eveloar GmbH
  • Compatible Devices: iPhone 14 Pro Max, iPhone 14 Pro
  • System Requirements: iOS 16.0 or newer.
  • Magnification levels: 5x/10x/15x magnification of the magnifying glass or microscope simply set the app and take a photo.
  • Repeatability: dE00 ~ 0,01 mean deviation from mean of 10 measurements on white BCRAII tile with app xade finder.
  • Device agreement: dE00 ~0,4/1,0 mean/maximum deviation on 12 BCRAII tiles using xade finder.
  • Illumination geometry: 45°/0°
  • Light source: CRI > 97
  • Measuring range: diameter flexible between ~ 0.2-4 mm (xade roast and xade finder).
  • Coffee repeatability: ~ 0,1 mean deviation from the mean of 10 measurements, with an xade degree of roasting of 45, on a comparison scale with 100 units.
  • Sharp Image: Fixed distance and focus gives a sharp image directly when xade nano is held on the surface.
  • Standard Geometry: 45/0 geometry ensures standardized physical properties of light. This makes it ideal for color measurement and color determination.
  • Determine RAL color: 1 year Classic & Design System plus color tones. A digital fan deck.
  • Precise color representations: measurement results are displayed in an extended color space. See what you measured: The measured color is highlighted in a photo.
  • Pro features: 1 year of custom color lists and spectral graph (beta), for xade finder & roast.
  • Premium library NCS 2050 optional: Determine the NCS2050 shade with the optional NCS 2050 subscription.
  • Made in Germany: Developed and manufactured in Germany.
Here you can see the scope of delivery of the xade nano colorimeter for the iPhone.
Here you can see the scope of delivery of the xade nano colorimeter for the iPhone.

What's in the box

  • xade nano (measuring device and light source)
  • xade nano card (color chart; is already inserted in the nano)
  • Connection cable (USB-C)
  • Sample holder for coffee powder
  • German instructions

Also included: 1 year free subscriptions for these apps

  • RAL Classic & Design System plus for xade finder
  • Pro features for xade finder & roast

Additional subscriptions in the apps allow matching colors to be found in the premium databases of NCS 2050 and RAL (Classic and RAL DESIGN SYSTEM plus).

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