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


View All Comments

  • boe - Wednesday, June 2, 2010 - link

    I've been waiting to buy some monitors for years as the 3008WFP had it's share of issues and Apple hasn't released a new LED backlit 30" yet.

    I'm looking forward to getting a couple of new monitors but not until some higher end models come out with a clear improvement over my 3007wfp's.
  • xismo - Wednesday, June 2, 2010 - link

    I find it a bit dissapointing that you don't list the configuration this was tested on. For example I don't know the gpu the monitor was running on and therefore I wouldn't know whether the gpu had 10-bit support. It would be nice if you could try to add test of 10-bit support as well, how it performs with smooth gradients and so on. As you probably know not too many graphics cards support 10-bit, but all of the workstation class cards do, which I think is appropriate for testing with high end monitors. Reply
  • xismo - Wednesday, June 2, 2010 - link

    After reading the comments I see there was a discussion about 10-bit support, sorry for not seeing that earlier. At least I'm not the only one concerned about this :) BTW 5870 does not have 10-bit support as almost all of the other gaming video cards. And using a mini displayport on a macbook pro will not make the geforce 330m have 10-bit support either. Displayport as well as dual link dvi are the only types of connection that are able to process 10-bit color, but you still need a matching video card. Any workstation card like quadro or firepro should be just fine. But yeah including how each monitor displays gradients would be a huge advantage for me, as this is one of the things I'm looking for in a new monitor. Reply
  • Brian Klug - Wednesday, June 2, 2010 - link

    Hey there! Thanks for the comment, yeah I'm working on getting us either a workstation GPU or some other way (whole workstation) to really test the 10-bit aspect. It'll happen this week or next and then I'll update. I realized after posting that I forgot to make sure it was working over 10-bit. And you're right about the 5870-it doesn't have 10-bit support. Guess that's one of those arguments for a more expensive workstation version of the card!

    Brian Klug
  • awaken688 - Wednesday, June 2, 2010 - link

    I'm surprised no one has really complained about the brightness limitation. For professional photographers and graphic artists (the target audience), this would be rough to have no way to see below 150nits as a real means to check for print accuracy. For some of our print shops, 100 nits is accurate to print.


    Did you try adjusting the brightness via the video card as well? I have a monitor that on 0 brightness is still too bright, but I can then go into nVidia's control panel and lower the brightness using that to achieve the correct brightness or lower the RGB manually (which I understand isn't an option for this monitor). Just wondering. Nonetheless, this should at least be able to hit 120 nits for imaging professionals. Good article though. I like the monitor reviews for sure.
  • Soldier1969 - Wednesday, June 2, 2010 - link

    Thanks for the review, not a bad price for a new 30 incher compared to other brands. Those people here that want 24" reviews those are a dime a dozen and for the poor. I had a 24" 1920 x 1200 monitor long before most did since 2007 when they cost a fortune. So glad I jumped to 2560 x 1600, gaming on them owns everything else out there! Blu ray looks fantastic! If youve never experienced computing on a 30 incher your missing out! Reply
  • kasakka - Thursday, June 3, 2010 - link

    The lack of OSD is what kills this for me. I find that without it getting accurate colors is more difficult and if you want to also use the display for gaming, some games may totally ignore calibrated color profiles or software adjustments. The lack of a scaler is a bit annoying too, but since graphics cards can do that at least in Windows, it's not really a problem.

    Regarding inputs, I currently have a Dell 3008WFP and its gazillion inputs is a huge minus for me. I only need one DVI and one Displayport, so having to cycle thru all the useless inputs is annoying. More annoying is the 3008WFP's (and the 27" Dell U2711's) circa 5 second delay when swithing resolutions or inputs. But I guess I'll stick with the Dell until someone comes out with something better.
  • pmeinl - Thursday, June 3, 2010 - link

    Does the AG coating of the ZR30 have this annoying sparkle effect like other current IPS panels (ex: U2410).

    Working on my two U2410 (programming, text processing) causes me eye strain.
  • pmeinl - Friday, June 4, 2010 - link

    As some people do not see the sparkle problem, here is a thread with a picture of it:
  • B3an - Thursday, June 3, 2010 - link

    So just to be clear... does this display do more colors than the Dell 3008? Reply

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