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HP ZR30W review



HP’s gargantuan screen delivers luscious image quality, but it’s light on features compared to some

Review Date: 27 Sep 2010

Reviewed By: Sasha Muller

Price when reviewed: £912 (£1,072 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
5 stars out of 6

Features & Design
3 stars out of 6

Value for Money
5 stars out of 6

Image Quality
6 stars out of 6

PCPRO Recommended

HP’s new flagship monitor is a sight to behold, and beneath its sleek good-looks lies the kind of performance to make any PC owner go weak at the knees. Its 10-bit IPS panel is capable of displaying a staggering 1.07 billion colours – if you have a 10-bit workstation-class graphics card, that is – and is partnered with a 2,560 x 1,600 resolution. HP also claims the monitor covers 99% of the Adobe RGB colour space.

Delta E

Delta E is a figure that represents the difference between the desired colour and the colour displayed onscreen. Below 1.0 is indistinguishable to the human eye; an experienced viewer may notice differences around 3-4. We measure Delta E with a colorimeter before and after calibration.

Alas, it offers none of the high-end features of many of its professional competitors. There’s no onscreen display, nor programmable look-up tables to allow for hardware calibration. The front-mounted buttons do nothing more than flick between the DVI and DisplayPort inputs, adjust brightness, engage dynamic contrast and turn the monitor on and off.

Ridding the ZR30w of an OSD does have its benefits. Input lag is almost non-existent at 14ms – something gamers will particularly appreciate – and many users will have little desire to change the ZR30w’s out-of-the-box performance.

Even before calibration, the HP leaves most monitors looking drab. Brightness exceeds HP’s claimed 370cd/m2, measuring 385cd/m2, and colour accuracy is immediately impressive: our Lacie Blue Eye Pro colorimeter reported an average colour difference, measured in Delta E, of just 1.7. A measured contrast ratio of 875:1 was also impressive.


Calibration eked even more out of the ZR30w’s panel, and at our standard settings the Delta E dropped to 0.4. Our subjective testing bore out these results. The ZR30w laid bare every detail in our test photos, and our 1080p HD clips looked simply fantastic. As with all wide gamut displays, though, there is the thorny issue of oversaturated colours once you move outside colour-managed applications.

Few 30in monitors can lay claim to being particularly eco-friendly, but with the HP set to a sensible 120cd/m2 brightness, it drew just 67W from the mains. Evidently the H2-IPS panel at the heart of HP's ZR30W is a little more efficient than earlier panel technologies - we've seen other 30in monitors draw nearer 100W at similar brightness settings.

Those interested in print-accurate colours may bemoan the lack of hardware calibration, as well as the absence of an sRGB emulation mode, but the HP ZR30w still has the kind of image quality that will leave everyone else gasping. If you want a superb – and comparatively affordable – 30in monitor you can enjoy with minimum hassle, the ZR30w has no peer.

Author: Sasha Muller

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User comments

At £5 this is a bargain!!

By stephenl10 on 28 Sep 2010

Even at £5 it's too expensive

...... if HP provides its usual level of support

By petercobrin on 28 Sep 2010

HP's range-topping ZR30W is professional 30in monitor with a mouth-watering price tag

Even though the price seems to have gone up from a very fair £5 to £1,072, I would suggest that the cost is more eye-watering than mouth-watering. You can get a very good 24" screen for under £200.
Kudos for the usually-omitted hyphens, though!

By JohnGray7581 on 28 Sep 2010

mouth / eye

Yes, £5 would be mouth-watering, £1000+ is eye-watering!


By JohnHo1 on 28 Sep 2010

The Going Price

This seems about right on price.If you look at the few other top line 30" displays using IPS Panels at this resolution.(Dell & the Apple Cinema Display to name but 2) the price is in the right ball park.This like the others is a professional monitor in that price band.

By Jaberwocky on 29 Sep 2010

End of an era. Put a bullet in its head

Current IPS is dead. The recent releases of these "Profesional Price Tag Monitors" is imo clear evidence of that.
Charge a stupid price however, and Professional users will just buy it...they need it. Its a vital tool.

Its just a shame some may be unaware of the impeding new OLED tech etc

As a business standpoint, a very bad investment.

Go second hand, invest in a few years.

By joefx69 on 29 Sep 2010


Cripes! If you think the HP ZR30W is expensive, just wait until you see the prices of OLED monitors. You'll probably have to remortgage your house.

As far as I know, OLED PC monitors aren't due for some time yet. And if you're talking sensibly-priced models, well, I wouldn't hold your breath.

By SashaMuller on 29 Sep 2010

My point is this.
IPS mainstream models CAN be made. But for the return they're not worth the money.
Hence the gradual decline in 24" and 22" IPS models.
Cheaper panels have come along way(LED Backlighting etc). Mainstream users know this.
As a result, manufacturers seem to class IPS purely as Professional now, and as a result charge stupid money that Companies, Professionals and Businesses have to pay to "stay in the game."
Its unfair and backhanded imo.

Ofcourse OLED will be(is) expensive, so is all new tech. But not as expensive as refitting your suites with these type of monitors only for them to lose all value in a few years.

By joefx69 on 29 Sep 2010

Market Forces are Unfair and Backhanded?

@joefx69: Get a grip.

If people want to buy something, people will make it. But they'll sell it at a price that makes it worthwhile to do so.

If you want to live in a world where companies subsidie your personal choice, over the choice of everyone else, I can recommend several self administerable brain surgeries.

By matbailie on 15 Nov 2010

Best 30" LCD currently in the market!

I just bought this amazing monitor HP ZR30W. No other 27" and 30" can rival it performance, including Eizo, Nec and Dell. At this price is a steal!
Those who bitching about the price or support, they got to see this monitor in person before making any crap comment.

By V_FPolo on 5 Apr 2013

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