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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  • IceDread - Tuesday, September 21, 2010 - link

    Good review, very good to keep at it with input lag, very important for me.

    This monitor would be the perfect one if it just would be 120Hz!

    I so would love an ips panel at 30" with 120Hz!!
  • FXi - Friday, September 24, 2010 - link

    Even if it had an HDMI connector it wouldn't go higher than 1920x1080. Check out other high res HP monitors that have HDMI. Dell is the same way. Despite HDMI "being able" to output higher resolutions, ALL PC monitor HDMI inputs only recognize as high as 1920x1200 and most only do 1920x1080. So don't wish for an HDMI port. It won't do you much good.
  • FXi - Friday, September 24, 2010 - link

    Since many folks debate the U2711 and the ZR30 and the U3008/3011, it would be interesting to see how things fall.

    As always, very disappointed the IPS hasn't YET managed after decades, to cure it's low contrast issues. Any TV owner will tell you that contrast and black level really make a display look fantastic and PC monitors are no different.
  • James5mith - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    Just wondering if anyone else has been able to get this monitor working on a Mac Pro with Dual-Link DVI.

    It would seem that DisplayPort bypasses the issue, but Dual-Link DVI fails to display. The monitor shows that it is getting a signal, the backlight is active, but the screen is blank. The Mac Pro thinks that the monitor is active, and has extended the display to it, but you cannot see anything.

    Odd, issue, and I've confirmed that the display and cable work on other systems. It is just the Mac Pro that is having the issue. Wanted to use this as a replacement for a 30" ACD, but it looks like I'll be returning it instead.
  • Matrices - Friday, November 19, 2010 - link

    It is so strange that you should mention this. I just received my monitor today and it has this exact same problem - except that it's defective across the board (on Windows 7 and Vista systems). Same symptoms, though: lights up, recognized by Windows, but displays absolutely nothing using the DVI. Nvidia cards don't have DP so I can't figure out if it's just the port that's defective or what. Anyway, I'm returning it, obviously.
  • momofone - Friday, January 7, 2011 - link

    I have a Dell workstation with nVidia Quadro FX 4500 with dvi-d connectors and I have exactly the same issue - blank screen. Acts like something should be displayed, i.e. the backlight is active, but nothing, nada, totally blank.

    Shame. Looks like this monitor is incompatible with the FX series workstation cards. I can connect the Apple 30" ACD and it work fine though. Looks like I will have to think about another ACD.
  • eajohnson - Tuesday, December 7, 2010 - link

    I just bought a ZR30W last week and while it is performing well with no functional problems that I can see, the construction seems a little odd in that the panel is loose at the top (if I push very gently anywhere along the top of the panel, it can be pushed inward but stops after a few mm i.e. is not secured. Is this normal? Anyone know why it would be part of the design for it to be loose like that? At any of the other edges the panel appears to not be loose.

    I tried HP forums and calling HP tech support but they didn't seem to know, what I need is to find other owners that can try theirs and let me know if mine is normal or is defective.
  • SanFranShootr - Monday, January 3, 2011 - link

    I've read on some other sites that Mac owners who have the ZR30W are having screen flicker problems when they updated from 10.6.4 to 10.6.5.

    Does anyone know whether this 10.6.5 problem has been resolved?
  • Rohirm - Saturday, January 8, 2011 - link

    I have ZR30W connected via DP to Mac Pro Mid 2010 (HD5870). No problems here. Using OS X version 10.6.6
  • NetJunky - Sunday, February 6, 2011 - link

    I'm new on this website, but I have a question too. Will there be review of cheeper displays? Which one is better and why. Since I think, that not everyone can afford ZR30w.

    By the way, review was great. Very initeresting.

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