Controls, but no On Screen Display

I’ve been putting off talking about those buttons at the bottom right of the display. Note that this far, I haven’t called them OSD buttons, because that’s just it - they’re not.

Your four control buttons

The ZR30w has no OSD. If you recall, neither did its predecessor, the HP LP3065. At that time, HP claimed there were no ICs that could drive an OSD at native 2560x1600 resolution. Apparently this is still the case.

I was a bit confused at first, so I checked the manual. It explicitly notes inside that the ZR30w has no OSD. This is still an interesting and radical choice. The four buttons allow you to change the source input from DVI-D to DisplayPort, control backlight brightness using + and -, and holding both + and - down simultaneously toggles dynamic contrast. Thankfully, HP ships with dynamic contrast turned off by default. Control feedback is communicated entirely through the blue LED at the right of the buttons. It’s intuitive and makes sense, but be aware that if you’re expecting RGB controls, color temperature, or other options you won’t find ‘em.

That brings me to the scaler IC, which I believe is related to the lack of traditional OSD. I noticed while looking through the manual that HP notes a “safe mode” resolution of 1280x800 next to the recommended native resolution of 2560x1600. Notice anything interesting about those numbers?

Sure enough, using 1280x800 results in a pixel-doubled but full screen image. Other resolutions are scaled as well, but I get the impression HP wants you to use the ZR30w at either native, or this "safe," aspect-ratio correct resolution exactly half of native. It’s an interesting and bold move to still not have an OSD, but in some ways it actually discourages the kind of wrong user control that can lead to insanity when trying to calibrate. But it’s still a bit of a surprise to see no OSD a generation later.

Viewing angles are superb as expected. HP advertises 178 degrees horizontal and vertical with a 10:1 contrast ratio. In practice, you shouldn’t ever really look at the monitor from those extreme angles, but there’s no reversal in contrast or vastly odd saturation at any extreme angle. In our subjective +/- 30 degree tests in vertical and horizontal directions, it looks equally good. 

First Impressions and Subjective Analysis Analysis: Color Quality
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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!
    Reply
  • 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. Reply
  • 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!
    Reply
  • 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: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004I6IYSM ( 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. Reply
  • jonsinache - Tuesday, January 22, 2019 - link

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

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