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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  • Taft12 - Wednesday, June 2, 2010 - link

    $150 CAD - if that's a tough sell, how did you convince them to buy you a monitor that costs over $1000?!
  • theangryintern - Thursday, June 3, 2010 - link

    that's weird. We order docking stations with every single laptop we order. When people are in their office, they all want dual 22" displays.
  • DigitalFreak - Tuesday, June 1, 2010 - link

    I'm happy with my Dell U2410 and its HDMI, DVI x 2, Display Port, etc. inputs. :-)
  • ghitz - Wednesday, June 2, 2010 - link

    We're talking about 30" here!
  • thorr2 - Tuesday, June 1, 2010 - link

    I have the LG W3000H-Bn that I got from newegg. I am very happy with it although it is on the green side before calibration. It would be interesting to see a professional review of it to see how it compares to the others. It is definitely cheaper than a lot of the competition.
  • zsero - Tuesday, June 1, 2010 - link

    Sorry, but there is a big misunderstanding in this article:

    > I have no trouble believing that HP's claims about 1+ billion colors are totally accurate - you have to
    > see it in person to believe it. There are just some colors I'm used to not seeing represented very
    > well; reds and blues especially, and the photos that I have looked at are spectacular.

    Color gamut and the number of colors are totally different things!

    But what is _missing_ from the article is that:
    1. Using 24 bit color (8-bit per color) with a calibrated display profile you get visible banding.
    2. Using 30 bit color (10-bit per color) you can calibrate a monitor without visible banding.
    3. For 30 bit color you need DisplayPort and a professional graphics card + driver + OS + software support. For example newest professional Nvidia Quadro or Matrox cards, with a good combination of software and OS!
    4. What you have seen was less than 16 million colors, as you have used DVI and a calibrated output from a consumer graphics card.
    5. The billion color thing is nothing but the good sounding fact that 2^30 > billion (actually it's 1 billion, 73 million, 741 thousand and 824)
  • Brian Klug - Tuesday, June 1, 2010 - link

    I totally agree and I'm glad someone caught me ;) To be honest, I'm still a bit confused about the 32-bit color setting in windows in the display driver window and how that relates to the 30-bit claim. It would seem to me that 32-bit true color is indeed being driven, no? There's definitely no banding visible, at least from what I've scrutinized.

    I did space on trying DisplayPort though, I'm going to give that a shot in a second here and will probably update if I find something interesting! ;)

  • Brian Klug - Tuesday, June 1, 2010 - link

    I now follow completely what you mean. I tried using DisplayPort and DVI both to pass 10-bit Deep Color to the ZR30w, but apparently that feature isn't implemented on the ATI HD5870. I'm hoping to try it on a 2010 MBP, but it'll be some time before my miniDP to DP adapter arrives so I can test.

    Until then, I'm not entirely sure what the status is, but realize this is an important concern and chief feature of the ZR30w. I'm going to continue to investigate. Honestly, I don't expect the gamut to change that much, but it would indeed be interesting to see if 10-bit deep color does work as advertised. I might need a better workstation card. I'll update when I find out.

    Cheers and thanks!
  • prof.yustas - Tuesday, June 1, 2010 - link

    Excellent. Thank you. In addition, it would be very useful to hear your take on the best 24-inch 16:10 (not 16:9) display out there, which is another way of asking for the DELL U2410 vs. HP ZR24w comparison.
  • Mr Perfect - Wednesday, June 2, 2010 - link has reviewed both, if you're interested.

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