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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  • mcklevin - Monday, June 28, 2010 - link

    I now have had this monitor for a week, and it has performed quite well, it is a very solid professional looking build. The anti-glare screen does not sparkle like the LG screen, and the black levels are better as well. Text looks much better than the LG too.

    Right now I do not have a calibrator. The color accuracy is pretty good, It does get hot it the high end like many of the wide gamut monitors. Dropping the digital vibrancy to 44 in the nvidia control panel has helped a lot with the saturation. The viewing angles are nice, horizontal I would give an 9, vertical 7. I didn't notice input lag in Mass Effect 2. I use this monitor for Cinema 4D and Aftereffects.
    Reply
  • AlphaJarmel - Wednesday, June 23, 2010 - link

    So this monitor is pretty much useless for gaming as Windows will ignore the calibration. Reply
  • SoCalRich - Thursday, July 1, 2010 - link

    Brian,

    Thanks for your review!!!

    I have a new 17" MacBook Pro i7. I was curios if you were able to hook up your MBP to this monitor using the displayport cable?

    I think this would be a great monitor for my Photoshop & Lightroom editing. I've been looking at the 30" ACD. This looks like a better monitor.

    I'm still a little confused about how you make any adjustments w/o OSD????
    Reply
  • SoCalRich - Thursday, July 1, 2010 - link

    My new 17" MacBook Pro i7 uses the Intel HD Graphics for regular web surfing etc. It then switches to the NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M when I open Photoshop and Lightroom.

    I'm hoping these cards will support this monitor using the displayport cable.
    Reply
  • tsittard - Saturday, July 3, 2010 - link

    I picked this monitor up for a 3rd editing monitor to be used with Final Cut Pro, AJA Kona 3 card, and a blackmagic conversion box that goes from HD-SDI to dual link dvi-d.

    Here's the link:
    http://www.blackmagic-design.com/products/hdlink/t...

    I'm not getting any picture....
    I'm currently using the zr30w as a second computer monitor, which is working fine at 2500x1600 coming off my Mac Pro, but this is not what I intended...

    Is it not possible to send this monitor a 1920x1080 signal via dvi-d and have it upscale to fill it?

    I'm also using 2 hp zr24w's for my computer monitors, and I've hooked up the blackmagic box to one of those and everything works great...

    My settings inside of FCP are for a 1080 23.98psf 10bit signal, again it seems to work fine going into the ZR24w

    I sense that there should be a simple answer here but I'm not finding it....

    the blackmagic converter box also comes in a display port version, will that allow me to send the HD resolution to the zr30w?

    Mr. Klug, any suggestions?
    Reply
  • B3an - Tuesday, August 10, 2010 - link

    Brian - you mentioned you used to i1 Display 2 to calibrate this monitor, i have both this monitor and the i1D2, can you tell me what settings you used?

    I find if a default white point is not selected then the colours and especially greys have a red tint to 'em. Did you try it with the Eye-One Match 3 software that comes with the i1D2? Thanks.
    Reply
  • humba - Sunday, August 15, 2010 - link

    Has anyone who actually got the monitor noticed a buzzing/humming noise coming from the screen as soon as there's a video input signal?
    The noise is similar to the feedback noise you get on an audio system if there's an issue with the grounding, and it only goes away if the brightness is increased to 80% or higher.

    I've already RMA'ed my device once (they sent out a replacement only hours after receiving the case which makes me thing it's a known defect), but the replacement exhibits the exact same behavior. I've gone through a bunch of different DP cables, tried with various DVI cables, too, on 4 different computers (HP EliteBook 8540p, Acer Timelize 3810TZ, Mac Mini 2009 and a self-assembled box) and went around the house trying different electrical phases but to no avail.

    And I seem not to be the only one since I found this test that mentions the same issue: http://www.productwiki.com/hp-zr30w/. And, strangely enough, the support documents at HP's site also has a support document (albeit a very old one ): http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bizsupport/TechSupport/D... which doesn't really have any relation to the display in question other than the 80% brightness mentioned which seems to be the fix from 2003 on.
    Reply
  • martinz - Tuesday, November 1, 2011 - link

    Yes. Mine did it, got it replaced, same issue.

    HP in the US confirmed they all do it below 80% brightness, but tried to claim all/most large panels do it.

    I think it is completely unacceptable for a monitor at this price - and I am shocked that HP don't agree. Otherwise, I like it a lot: great picture and build quality.

    In a busy office it would not be noticeable, and if you can live with the (for me) eyeball melting full brightness, or are not sensitive to ambient noise, it's not an issue either.

    For me it's a show stopper. Mine is going back, but not sure what to replace it with.
    Reply
  • BikeDude - Friday, August 27, 2010 - link

    Do all displays support HDCP these days, or will I still need AnyDVDHD in the future if I have to replace my current 30" Apple Cinema display? Reply
  • fontajos - Monday, September 13, 2010 - link

    Hi Brian,

    thanks for your extensive test on the HP Z30w. I just bought the z30w and was very disappointed by the strong blue at 9000 Kelvin. I installed the hp ICM profile but nothing changed. I want to have a 6500K screen (like all other monitors here). Is it possible to send me your ICM file or can you suggest me a way to get my white to real-white and not blueish-white? If the only solution is to use a hardware calibration, can you suggest me a product?
    Reply

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