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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  • 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.
  • 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


    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????
  • 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.
  • 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:

    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?
  • 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.
  • 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: And, strangely enough, the support documents at HP's site also has a support document (albeit a very old one ): 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.
  • 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.
  • 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?

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