The LCD market continues to be one of the frequently updated segments in the consumer electronics segment, as OEMs and vendors alike are eager to bundle their high-end, high performance displays with professional workstations. The ZR30w belongs to that same pro market, offering a 10-bit panel with 1.07 billion colors - for an advertised 99 percent coverage of the AdobeRGB 1998 gamut and 30-bit per pixel color. HP claims that the ZR30w is the first 30" display to break 1 billion colors. When you’re selling a 30” LCD to enthusiasts, every bit of performance matters, and as we’ll show in a bit, the ZR30w doesn’t fail to impress.

As already noted, the ZR30w is targeted primarily at enthusiasts and professionals who demand accurate color tracking and equally large gamut. As with all 30” displays, every detail counts, as this segment represents generally the best of the best for manufacturers. It makes sense, too, since enthusiasts and professionals alike who are serious about getting the absolute largest in display real-estate also care about color tracking and gamut. They expect top performance, and are willing to pay for it. Though similar real-estate can almost be captured with arrays of smaller panels, for most, the 30” segment remains the most lust-worthy among displays thanks to the truly uninterrupted space.

The last 30” HP LCD we touched was the venerable HP LP3065 back in 2007. The LP3065 is still available today as well at $1,349 on HP’s website. The ZR30w is being introduced at a price point of $1,299 - some $300 below Dell’s UltraSharp 3008WFP display. Interestingly enough, the ZR30w does away with the plethora of DVI-D ports we praised the LP3065 for having (almost doubling as a KVM switch). It trims down the 3 DVI-D ports in the LP3065 to 1 DVI-D port and a DisplayPort for the ZR30w. That’s not a deal breaker, but you’re still one input shorter a generation later, which is a bit puzzling. Considering other 30” displays include a plethora of input options, we find the ZR30’s a bit spartan - an HDMI port or component would be welcome additions.

DisplayPort, DVI-D, USB-B, 2x USB-A

Before we go any further though, let’s dive into the specifications:

HP ZR30w - Specifications
Property Quoted Specification
Video Inputs DVI-D, DisplayPort (both with HDCP)
Panel Type S-IPS/H2-IPS (CN401808T6 unknown manufacturer)
Pixel Pitch 0.250 mm
Colors 1.07 billion colors (30 bits)
Brightness 370 nits typical
Contrast Ratio 1000:1 normal, 3000:1 (dynamic)
Response Time 7ms (g2g), 12ms (on to off)
Viewable Size 29.7" Diagonal
Resolution 2560x1600 (WQXGA)
Viewing Angle 178 degrees horizontal and vertical
Power Consumption (operation) <130 watts typical, <185 watts maximum
Power Consumption (standby) <2 watts sleep
Screen Treatment Matte (anti-glare)
Height-Adjustable Yes: 4" of travel
Tilt Yes: -5 degrees to 35 degrees
Pivot No
Swivel Yes: -45 degrees to 45 degrees
VESA Wall Mounting Yes - 100x100mm
Dimensions w/ Base (WxHxD) 27.3" x 19.3" - 23.3" x 10.8"
Weight w/o Stand 28.6 lbs
Additional Features Integrated 4-port USB hub, HP Quick Release, optional speaker bar
Limited Warranty 3 years parts, labor, and onsite service
Accessories DVI-D, DisplayPort, USB, and Power Cables
Price $1,299.00

We’ve already talked about the ports, but in case you haven’t used a 30” or equally high resolution panel before, note that dual link DVI is an absolute must. Luckily, HP ships a dual link DVI cable (I’ve seen a few monitors that require dual link DVI actually ship without dual link cables, which always results in a few nightmares) and makes note of it in the instruction manual.

Just don’t expect passive DisplayPort to DVI adapters or other single link DVI interfaces to drive the ZR30w; it won’t work. I experimented with a single link connection just for fun, and the ZR30w refused to show an image. There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s entirely expected. Just be sure you check your cables if things aren’t making sense.

There’s also an internal 4-port USB 2.0 hub. Two ports on the left side of the monitor, two on the bottom near the display inputs. Alongside the standard power connector is a power switch - been a long time since I’ve seen one of those on a monitor.

First Impressions and Subjective Analysis
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  • ranplett - Saturday, July 16, 2011 - link

    I've purchased this monitor, and returned it thinking it was defective. The second one I received was exactly the same. The monitor was calibrated several times with both the Spyder 3 Pro and i1 Display LT, and it exhibits banding in bright colored gradients, and a VERY obvious difference in tone from the top left to the bottom right. The top left has a blue/green color cast, while the bottom right is far more pinkish. I'm comparing it to a HP LP2475w (also calibrated). The HP 24" is very uniform and has no banding issues.

    I was really hoping this is a good montior considering the price, but it really isn't good for critical color work (photogrpahy/video). The review on this site claims that it is very accurate but I disagree.

    At this point it looks like I'm going to ask to return it in exchange for a NEC 27". The NEC 30" is $1000 more!
  • deon - Thursday, September 1, 2011 - link

    thanks for your comment mate! i was looking to buy it for color work, but after reading your review, i will probably go with NEC. It bums me out that NEC does not have a zero dead pixel return policy on their 2 grand monitors.
  • deon - Wednesday, August 31, 2011 - link

    The price difference between HP 30 and NEC 30 is over 1200$!
    HP is around 1300$ and NEC 30 is over 2500$, but when i looked at the stats and numbers provided here, it seems like NEC is not worth of spending extra 1200$ and HP can be very good enough for doing professional color work (vfx compositing, color grading, photography).
    Is that so, or am i delusional? Can you please comment/clarify why i should or should not spend extra 1200$ on NEC, when this HP performs almost as good. Looking forward for any replies and suggestions!
  • walkswithmighty - Tuesday, September 20, 2011 - link

    I just thought I would chime in, and let you know that I just got this adapter today and was excited to try it on my ZR30W: ( startech hdmi to dp powered adapter )does not work with this monitor and the xbox 360 hdmi output. I hope that this helps anyone that wants to try this adapter out, in order to try and get a hdmi source to work on the display port of this monitor.
  • jonsinache - Tuesday, January 22, 2019 - link

    I just bought this monitor used last month and it still works great.

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