Right out of the box, HP’s newest 30” display is huge - but you expected that and prepared by already clearing off your desk, right? ;)

Getting the beast of a monitor out of the packaging was actually exceedingly easy; remove one piece of styrofoam, and out comes the stand. One more large piece and the panel is right there for your picking.

The ZR30w display stand packs virtually all the bells and whistles a 30” stand should. There’s 4” of vertical travel, and movement in every axis except pivot (meaning you can’t rotate and use the monitor in portrait mode unless you roll your own VESA stand). HP’s quick release lock system is actually surprisingly useful. The monitor has a slide-in rack which mates up to the display stand; you can slide the monitor in, move a lever into the locked position, and you’re done. This is again the same mechanism used in the LP3065. I was very impressed with how solid and simple this configuration was - there’s no flexing or creaking, and no screws or assembly. It’s always a nice touch when out of box setup is painless - it’s downright critical when you’re juggling a 30” display. In addition, at the base of the monitor is a snap-on cable management cover for routing cables.  

 
The aesthetics are serious and businesslike. There’s a small HP logo up top and center, the model number sits meekly in the bottom left, and in the bottom right are the display controls. There’s a classy aluminum strip which runs along the entire outside of the bezel - a nice industrial design motif for a 30 incher. HP advertises that the chassis uses at least 25% post-consumer recycled plastic resin.
 
That classy aluminum strip runs all the way around

Around back is a much larger HP logo, cooling vents, and the display inputs. There’s also a semi hand hold which is great for guiding the monitor into the latch mechanism. Other than that, there’s not much else to speak of except the two USB 2.0 ports on the left of the display. What’s good about the ZR30w’s aesthetics is that they aren’t loud, garish, or overwhelmed with branding.

Two USB 2.0 side ports

I noted in previous display reviews that sometimes at the lowest height setting the display connectors can hit the stand or otherwise be obstructed. Note that HP gives almost two entire inches of clearance for cables. This is the way it should be done - no problems connecting DVI cables, especially since dual-link cables are notably beefier.  

We always like to use the monitor out of box without calibration for some time and just get a feel for it. While it’s easy to make a case that if you’re shopping for a 30” LCD, you’ve probably got the means to calibrate, it’s a harder case to make on the smaller displays. That said, I was immediately impressed with the ZR30w. Right away, the greens and reds were notably richer than on my two BenQ FP241W displays I use daily.  

HP ships its manual on an enclosed CD-ROM, and also part of that installer is a color calibration .icm profile. As a rule, I’m going to start using manufacturer-supplied color profiles for my subjective uncalibrated testing and “uncalibrated” results, since they’re closest to what average users without colorimeters are going to do. Even with this ICM profile however, the panel seemed a bit cool in temperature to me (I later measured and found the same), but everything else seemed quite good.

Meet the ZR30w: 1.07 Billion Colors Too big for an OSD and More Impressions
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  • MamiyaOtaru - Wednesday, June 2, 2010 - link

    are they always s-ips? I love my lp2065, but I had to find one that was advertised specifically as s-ips since not all of them were D: Reply
  • Teemax - Wednesday, June 2, 2010 - link

    Excellent review! I appreciate the efforts in measuring the input lag!

    Looks like my Dell 3007WFP finally has a worthy replacement.
    Reply
  • Mr Perfect - Wednesday, June 2, 2010 - link

    Yes, I'm glad to see it compared to a CRT rather then a "good enough" LCD with unknown input lag. Reply
  • Earballs - Wednesday, June 2, 2010 - link

    I guess I have to assume it's 60Hz? Reply
  • Earballs - Wednesday, June 2, 2010 - link

    redacted. Reply
  • melgross - Wednesday, June 2, 2010 - link

    I've given up on the idea of moving to 30" from 24". I use my monitors mostly for Photoshop, video editing, publishing, etc. I've found that even IPS displays of various types show a change in brightness and contrast in the sides from sitting at the distance required for this work. Because of the large size, you're always looking at the edges at an angle that will make the difference noticeable.

    I've been looking at the new 27" displays for that reason. Apple's new 27" iMac doesn't have as much of a problem because of the slightly smaller size, but with the LED backlighting, they only claim an sRGB gamut. It's pretty good, but not for what I need.

    Is the NEC on your to do list? I hope so. The Dell 2711 hasn't proven to be all that great.
    Reply
  • omf - Wednesday, June 2, 2010 - link

    Thanks for the detailed review! It seems rare to get good, technical data in reviews these days...

    I'm surprised you haven't included tests for the Dell 3008 display, though. I've heard mixed things about it and would love to see some test results.

    Thanks again!
    Reply
  • R4F43LZiN - Wednesday, June 2, 2010 - link

    I would like to see a full "how to calibrate your display" one of those days here on AT. I mean, there are a few of those on the internet, but none with the kind of detail and technical aspects that we've come to expect from a AT article. Reply
  • MauveCloud - Wednesday, June 2, 2010 - link

    "Considering other 30” displays include a plethora of input options"

    From my research of 2560x1600 monitors, only the Gateway XHD3000 (which I use now, though I had to get it repaired a couple of weeks ago - I did the research on possible replacements) and the Dell 3008WFP have component inputs, or are you referring to 30 inch televisions, with native resolution 1920x1080, rather than 2560x1600?.

    "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."

    My Gateway XHD3000 has an OSD at 2560x1600 (albeit not fullscreen), and so does the Dell UltraSharp 3008WFP.
    Reply
  • phoible_123 - Wednesday, June 2, 2010 - link

    I've used this cable to connect a macbook pro to my 23" NEC monitor with Displayport:

    http://www.buy.com/prod/mini-displayport-to-displa...

    It actually transmits sound as well if the monitor has an integrated speaker.
    Reply

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