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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  • 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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