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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  • IceDread - Tuesday, September 21, 2010 - link

    Good review, very good to keep at it with input lag, very important for me.

    This monitor would be the perfect one if it just would be 120Hz!

    I so would love an ips panel at 30" with 120Hz!!
    Reply
  • FXi - Friday, September 24, 2010 - link

    Even if it had an HDMI connector it wouldn't go higher than 1920x1080. Check out other high res HP monitors that have HDMI. Dell is the same way. Despite HDMI "being able" to output higher resolutions, ALL PC monitor HDMI inputs only recognize as high as 1920x1200 and most only do 1920x1080. So don't wish for an HDMI port. It won't do you much good. Reply
  • FXi - Friday, September 24, 2010 - link

    Since many folks debate the U2711 and the ZR30 and the U3008/3011, it would be interesting to see how things fall.

    As always, very disappointed the IPS hasn't YET managed after decades, to cure it's low contrast issues. Any TV owner will tell you that contrast and black level really make a display look fantastic and PC monitors are no different.
    Reply
  • James5mith - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    Just wondering if anyone else has been able to get this monitor working on a Mac Pro with Dual-Link DVI.

    It would seem that DisplayPort bypasses the issue, but Dual-Link DVI fails to display. The monitor shows that it is getting a signal, the backlight is active, but the screen is blank. The Mac Pro thinks that the monitor is active, and has extended the display to it, but you cannot see anything.

    Odd, issue, and I've confirmed that the display and cable work on other systems. It is just the Mac Pro that is having the issue. Wanted to use this as a replacement for a 30" ACD, but it looks like I'll be returning it instead.
    Reply
  • Matrices - Friday, November 19, 2010 - link

    It is so strange that you should mention this. I just received my monitor today and it has this exact same problem - except that it's defective across the board (on Windows 7 and Vista systems). Same symptoms, though: lights up, recognized by Windows, but displays absolutely nothing using the DVI. Nvidia cards don't have DP so I can't figure out if it's just the port that's defective or what. Anyway, I'm returning it, obviously. Reply
  • momofone - Friday, January 7, 2011 - link

    I have a Dell workstation with nVidia Quadro FX 4500 with dvi-d connectors and I have exactly the same issue - blank screen. Acts like something should be displayed, i.e. the backlight is active, but nothing, nada, totally blank.

    Shame. Looks like this monitor is incompatible with the FX series workstation cards. I can connect the Apple 30" ACD and it work fine though. Looks like I will have to think about another ACD.
    Reply
  • eajohnson - Tuesday, December 7, 2010 - link

    I just bought a ZR30W last week and while it is performing well with no functional problems that I can see, the construction seems a little odd in that the panel is loose at the top (if I push very gently anywhere along the top of the panel, it can be pushed inward but stops after a few mm i.e. is not secured. Is this normal? Anyone know why it would be part of the design for it to be loose like that? At any of the other edges the panel appears to not be loose.

    I tried HP forums and calling HP tech support but they didn't seem to know, what I need is to find other owners that can try theirs and let me know if mine is normal or is defective.
    Reply
  • SanFranShootr - Monday, January 3, 2011 - link

    I've read on some other sites that Mac owners who have the ZR30W are having screen flicker problems when they updated from 10.6.4 to 10.6.5.

    Does anyone know whether this 10.6.5 problem has been resolved?
    Reply
  • Rohirm - Saturday, January 8, 2011 - link

    I have ZR30W connected via DP to Mac Pro Mid 2010 (HD5870). No problems here. Using OS X version 10.6.6 Reply
  • NetJunky - Sunday, February 6, 2011 - link

    I'm new on this website, but I have a question too. Will there be review of cheeper displays? Which one is better and why. Since I think, that not everyone can afford ZR30w.

    By the way, review was great. Very initeresting.
    Reply

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