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Father's Day gift idea: The Nix Mini 2 paint-color sensor for $75 (save $24)

If Dad needs help matching or capturing colors, this cool gizmo can really help.


The Nix Mini 2 can instantly give you CMYK and other digital color codes. It matches paint colors as well.


Nowadays, paint cans come with stickers indicating color information -- but that wasn't always the case. Indeed, I've got some walls here that were painted 20 years ago, and absolutely no idea what the color was. If only some magical gizmo could scan the wall so I could buy matching touch-up paint.

Presto! The Nix Mini 2 is that gizmo. It's the successor to the popular Nix Mini released a couple years back -- a product CNET found to be the best performer in a roundup of color sensors.

At $99 it's still on the pricey side, but for a limited time, CNET readers can get the Nix Mini 2 Color Sensor for $74 with promo code COLOR4DAD. That's the lowest price on record.

The Mini 2 really does feel magical. It arrives already calibrated; you just charge it (via Micro-USB, sadly, not USB-C) and pair it to either the Nix Digital or Nix Paints app. (Seems kind of silly that they're separate, but oh well.) Nix Paints is the one you'll probably end up using; after scanning a color, it attempts to find you a match from one or more paint brands. The library includes several dozen of them.

Yes, there are lots of variables, including the age of the paint, the sheen, the lighting and so on. You'll definitely want to read Molly Price's report in the above roundup.

The Mini 2 improves on its predecessor in several ways, however, including an updated color-matching algorithm and a higher color-rendering index, meaning it can work better with extremely bright colors.

This isn't just for paint, either; you can use the Mini 2 to scan any color anywhere, which could prove helpful for, say, artists looking to pull a palette from real-world objects. The Nix Digital app provides all manner of digital color codes: sRGB, CMYK, CIELAB and so on. It also instantly generates complementary, analogous and other color "harmonies."

I did a bit of quick, informal testing with the sensor and found it admirably easy to use. I can't say for sure (yet -- haven't made it to the paint store) how well it matched the long-lost color in my foyer, but in the app, at least, it looks mighty close. I just wish Nix would bundle a little carrying case to help protect the lens.

That aside, I think this would make an invaluable addition to any DIY-er's toolbox, but it's also useful for artists, interior designers and so on. Great Father's Day gift, too.

Your thoughts?

Originally published earlier this year. Updated to reflect new sale price. Removed expired bonus deal.

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