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


View All Comments

  • 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. Reply
  • DigitalFreak - Tuesday, June 1, 2010 - link

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

    We're talking about 30" here! Reply
  • 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. Reply
  • 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. Reply
  • Mr Perfect - Wednesday, June 2, 2010 - link has reviewed both, if you're interested. Reply

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