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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  • B3an - Friday, June 4, 2010 - link

    Anyone? Reply
  • Brian Klug - Wednesday, June 9, 2010 - link

    It depends on what you mean by colors. For real world color gamut, just compare the gamut to the 3008. I don't think we've tested that one yet.

    Otherwise, this is a 10 bit per channel monitor, so if you have an aware application you can drive more colors.
    Reply
  • fenry - Friday, June 4, 2010 - link

    The HP LP3065 had lower power specs! These are the numbers from HP:

    LP3065 ZR30w
    176 185 Max Pwr (Watts)
    118 139 Typical Power (Watts)

    Maybe they mean it's more efficient when it's OFF (<2 Watts).

    How do they get away with this being part of their advertising???

    I've been paying careful attention to power draw of large monitors from some time, so I am extremely disappointed at HP for this misleading advertising. Check it out for yourself!
    Reply
  • xismo - Friday, June 4, 2010 - link

    I'm looking forward to the updated review. And honestly the workstation video cards are not that expensive. It's not like you need to get the Quadro FX 5800 to test 10-bit support in photoshop or maya. Like I mentioned earlier almost all of the workstation video cards have native 10-bit support so getting a Quadro FX1800 will actually cost you less or the same as 5870. Also ATI Firepro are generally cheaper and are just as good. NVIDIA hasn't updated their workstation cards for a while, while ATI released one just recently. But obviously if you'd like to get $3000+ high end card like the 5800 I can't stop you :) Reply
  • ProDigit - Saturday, June 5, 2010 - link

    I don't care if it's a big screen, I just don't find a lot of justifying a screen that consumes about as much as my common desktop (The EeeBox for instance consumes roughly 20-25W, this screen 150-180W).

    Personally they would have done better with a LED backlit screen!

    The price is also too much!
    The last monitor you reviewed was a $300 26" screen, this one is only 4" larger diagonally, and boosts the 1080p resolution to 1600p, but still no reason to be almost $1k more!

    Sorry to say, but this monitor is not a good buy; and unless you're busy professionally, you're better off buying 4x $300 26" monitors instead!
    Reply
  • jiulemoigt - Sunday, June 6, 2010 - link

    Considering even though they are only 10-12 bit displays I would have expected that any monitor claiming to have good color accuracy would be compared to the LCD3090W-BK-SV or LCD3090WQXi-BK. Reply
  • doclucas - Monday, June 7, 2010 - link

    HP claim that there is no IC available for 30" is plain bullshit! There are many 30" that come with excellent OSD, such as my Dell 3008WFP (I also own HP LP3065 which I don't like compared to the Dell). Dell still make the best quality (affordable/mainstream) monitors, period. Reply
  • Gilbo - Tuesday, June 8, 2010 - link

    Those monitors can implement OSD because they also have scalers.

    Scalers for 30" monitors have high input lag unfortunately, which makes them less desirable for some people.
    Reply
  • CannibalisticH0b0 - Monday, June 14, 2010 - link

    My main problem with this review is the inconsistent competitors used for comparison in the tests. The main thing I wanted to compare with other 30" monitors was input lag... yet no 30" monitors were compared with the new HP on that page. I agree that the figure looks low, but it would be nice to have that same exact test done (and shown) with the Dell 3007WFP, for example, which I believe is/was still the king of 30" monitors for gaming. Reply
  • mcklevin - Wednesday, June 16, 2010 - link

    I would like to see how this fares against the apple cinema display. I recently purchased and returned the LG 3000H-BN because of a signal defect. However when it did work, I did notice that the anti-glare screen coat was highly distracting at the corners and off angle on a dark screen, especially in a dark room. Is it the same way with this display? In a lit room is a black screen noticeably gray? Reply

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