I'm minded to wonder if your question "do you really think that the vast majority of these users will produce what they consider an acceptable match?" makes a potentially unwarranted assumption, in that it is to 'match something' that people are doing the calibration for.
So they are calibrating towards what goal? You agree they are attempting to first alter the display conditions? For what propose? The settings one can select don't matter? Whatever hard wired settings this product provides are acceptable, correct, and if so, why would anyone else with any other product need to calibrate towards any other settings?
From talking to numerous keen photographers, asking about 'this colour management stuff', it seems to be a desire to get a screen to some 'known point' (whatever that actually means)
Exactly, that means what? And since they can't alter the settings, those hard wired settings produce what known point? Useful for what? For every display out there? I'm not sold by a long shot.
I get terms like 'proper colour' or 'accurate colour' and no real appreciation of why brightness or white point is of any relevance whatsoever.
You may be getting such replies but I suspect you know far more than they do and I again ask, what are they expecting?
And can this product produce it for all these customers?
Indeed I've been asked so many times 'Why don't my prints match my screen' that I wrote a short article that essentially says that 'you've got the screen too bright', since this is the simple answer to a complex question that works for a lot of people ;-)
So this product you reviewed will solve this? Considering there is no way the product has a clue about the print viewing conditions, just how will this help those users?
Having written quite a few short reviews of colour management kit, I'm very aware of the need to pitch them at a level that doesn't scare people off, but still offers people opportunities to find out more.
I don't think you have to pitch anything. But telling them the severe limitations of this product is a start and probably better for them no?
Much as I'd prefer that people learned to 'do things properly' I have to accept that those that do (or want to) are likely to be in a minority of potential users.
This product appears to offer no options for the user to do anything so this begs the question: how can you teach them to do anything differently than maybe not consider this product?
As it stands, if someone does want to set custom luminances and whitepoints, they need to spend rather a bit more than $90 for the Smile (well, perhaps until it's supported by Argyll CMS)
Do they need to set custom luminance and white point? My experience suggests they almost certainly do. If asking them to pick some value that makes no sense to them is an issue, don't ask them that way, find a better, simpler way for them to arrive at the goal of display calibration and profiling.
The fact that even using an i1Pro on i1 Profiler, there is little mention of 'non standard' luminances or whitepoints in the associated help/documentation, suggests to me that this is not something the manufacturers are keen to address ;-)
I agree that they don't want to address this. Their main goal is selling a product. A review can guide customers into an appropriate decision based on the product design. I don't know what a standard luminance or white point is in terms of a display. I guess because we've had D65/120cd/m2 shoved down our throats for so many years, despite the fact that this setting may or may not produce the correct results (and each product produces differing results with the same targets), some may feel such settings are some kind of standard. Just like SWOP is a CMYK standard (it isn't), or Adobe RGB (1998) is some standard working space (it isn't). At least I know of no standards body that has said such, with a straight face. We can offer starting points and let people season to taste, assuming the controls are provided. This product doesn't offer any options right?
Both you and I have written articles on prints that appear too dark compared to the display. IF the software manufacturers would actually create software to easily fix this (and we both know that a fix is possible), if they would stop dumbing down their products just to justify a lower price despite the results, we'd all be in a better place.