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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  • 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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