|Introduction and Specifications|
For the average business-class user, extra RAM, a faster processor or a more powerful video card won't necessarily increase work efficiency or productivity. One of the best ways to boost your productivity is to add more inches, of screen real estate that is. If you simply add another monitor or get a bigger one, you can quickly realize the benefits of extra desktop space, like less Alt-Tabbing and more windows open at once.
Although the work efficiency / productivity argument is an important one in the business world, most of us enthusiasts find it somewhat unexciting to think about. We just love having bigger and bigger monitors, especially for PC gaming and watching movies on our computer. We've had the pleasure of reviewing a couple of large LCDs in the HotHardware labs, and today we're going to spend some time with HP's new flagship flat panel monitor, the LP3065.
The LP3065 sports an awe-inspiring display size of 30 inches. A big monitor means a high resolution, and in this case, that resolution is 2560x1600, which is a 16:10 ratio. This monitor is undoubtedly impressive at first glance, but how does it perform? Read through the following pages to find out.
Even if you take a look at the specifications in the table above, it may not be easy to grasp just how big a 30-inch LCD is if you have never seen one in person. At over 27 inches, the width is what can be initially shocking (in a good way of course). We are happy to see that HP went beyond just letting the LP3065's enormity impress its owner; the company also focused on the smaller things too. Specifically, we are happy to see that HP includes not just one but two DVI cables with this monitor. Considering that the LP3065 has three DVI ports, users will be happy that they don't have to go spend even more money on a second DVI cable if they need one.
|First Impressions and Construction|
The reality of how big the HP LP3065 really is starts to set in when you see how big the box is. In fact, the box weighs around 40 pounds. We can still remember how big our first 20-inch LCD seemed when we unboxed it and set it up on our desk. Setting up a 30-inch monitor gives us that feeling all over again.
When we first sat down in front of the LP3065, we were about three feet away and wondered if we were too close since it's so big. Fortunately, we got used to the size rather quickly. Most of your immediate field of vision in front of you will be absorbed by this monitor as long as you are not sitting too far away, and that's a good thing.
One of the most important aspects about a big, heavy monitor like this is its base. You obviously don't want a $1600+ LCD to feel unstable. In the case of the LP3065, the base is made from heavy-duty plastic and is quite sturdy. We weren't worried at all about the monitor tipping over or the base not being strong enough. The stand weighs roughly 9 pounds while the panel weighs almost 22 pounds, which combines for a weight of around 31 pounds (reminds us of our old 19-inch CRTs). For an LCD, that might sound chunky, but remember this is a 30-inch screen. It's really a very respectable weight.
We were a little surprised to eventually notice that this screen does not rotate to portrait mode like many other smaller LCDs on the market. Desktop publishing junkies might be a little disappointed in this fact. The range of height adjustment is pretty decent, though. HP lists the height adjustability at 5.1 inches, which should be more than adequate for most people in most situations.
To adjust the height, pull the panel up or push it down, and it glides slowly and easily until you stop. Once you push it all the way down, it will lock into place. In order to get it to go back up, you have to push in the button located at the bottom of the stand (see picture above).
Overall, the design and construction of the LP3065 left us rather impressed. The base of the stand definitely isn't a minimalist's design, but we can appreciate its sturdiness. We also appreciate the relatively thin bezel that surrounds the screen.
If you are considering purchasing the LP3065 (or any huge monitor), we highly recommend that you pay close attention to its dimensions and make sure it will fit well in your work environment. Just assuming or guessing and being wrong could leave you with an expensive shipping expense for a return.
|Inputs and Controls|
The connectivity options on the HP LP3065 are simple yet surprising. We'll show you what we mean below.
The connectivity options here are simple because they lack variety, like S-video, component video, VGA and DVI. Instead HP threw in not one but three DVI connectors. Depending on your perspective, this is pretty cool or maybe a little unappealing. We find it to be a good idea, considering the high-end market that this type of product is aimed at. Many buyers of a monitor in this class are going to be graphic artists, designers, engineers and the like, and they probably have more than one machine that they can hook into this beast. Some people may want to be able to hook up a DVD player or camera (which you could probably do with the right adapters), but those people just aren't the target audience in this case.
In addition to the three DVI connectors, the LP3065 also sports four USB 2.0 ports on the left side. Once you connect the included USB cable from your monitor to one of your PC's USB 2.0 ports, the LP3065 basically acts as a USB hub, which is quite handy when you want to plug in a flash drive or other USB peripheral. The inclusion of a flash card reader (like on some other high-end LCDs) would have been nice, but that's just a minor gripe.
Shown here with the monitor turned off, you can see the LP3065's user control buttons, which are located on the bottom right-hand corner of the panel. There are four buttons: input, - (brightness down), + (brightness up), and power. This might sound like an overly simple set of buttons, but the LP3065 does not feature an on-screen menu for making adjustments like some other monitors that you may be used to. The lack of an on-screen menu and more adjustment options is due to the fact that this is a DVI-only monitor. Nevertheless, it still seems odd that there aren't more options.
Overall, we were pleased with the feel and response of the buttons. They are easy to use and respond almost immediately, just like you'd expect them to.
|Image Quality Testing|
We put the HP LP3065 through its paces with Everest Ultimate Edition 2006 from Lavalys. This diagnostic and benchmark tool suite allows you to test many aspects of system features and performance. Everest's Monitor Diagnostics provide a few key test patterns that allow us to evaluate various aspects, such as color accuracy, uniformity and convergence.
Thanks to its 92% color gamut capable panel, the LP3065 displays colors more accurately and vividly then most other monitors we've ever used. The only other one that really matches it is the Dell 3007WFP-HC that we reviewed back in December of last year.
In the Everest testing, the LP3065 produced perfectly straight lines for the convergence and focus tests. There wasn't any distortion anywhere on the screen, which is expected with an LCF. Some LCDs have problems with uneven color and uneven brightness, however, but the LP3065 managed to display uniform color over every inch of the panel during the solid-fill color tests. We also noticed no dead or incorrectly lit pixels during our testing. After this testing, we're happy to say that this monitor not only looks impressive due to its size, but it also is an impressive performer as well.
No one watches or plays test patterns for hours on end, so we had to move on to some real-world, multimedia performance testing. We downloaded a few 1080p Windows Media clips from Microsoft's WMV HD Content Showcase site. Scaled to full screen, these clips really showcase the hardware that is processing and displaying the output. Additionally, we played some games and performed some everyday tasks on the LP3065 to gain a complete picture of this monster's potential.
HD Video Playback:
Since this is a review, we have to settle with showing you a couple pictures and describing how good the HD WMV clips looked on the monitor, but you should realize that this combination isn't really adequate. All of the 720p and 1080p clips looked great on the LP3065, but you can't really appreciate that statement unless you see them in person. Take our word for it, though; this monitor could easily function as a high-quality HD panel if you have an HD TV tuner in your PC.
Producing a great image isn't enough with a monitor if you want to watch movies, though. You also need fast pixel response time to prevent ghosting and other undesirable effects. The LP3065's pixel response time proved to be more than adequate. We didn't spot any ghosting problems while watching a handful of clips several times. Even the clips with frantic action in them looked great.
Gaming on such a big LCD is an experience that is hard to convey without using too much hyperbole, but suffice it to say gaming at 2560x1600 is truly incredible. With the highest of high-end cards, like the MSI GeForce 8800 GTX, you can even crank up the anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering in many games. This is "gaming bliss" defined.
Even games that don't offer a resolution of 2560x1600 still look great on this monitor. While playing Quake 4, the guns almost seem life-sized. In some fast-paced Quake 4 and F.E.A.R. action, we didn't notice any ghosting and were quite impressed by the contrast and vivid color of the LP3065.
Big screens aren't only useful for watching movies and playing games, of course. They are also great for helping you get a lot of work done at least little more quickly. When we first set up the LP3065, we couldn't resist our urge to start opening random applications to see how diminutive they would look on the massive panel. In the picture above, you can see that we have 8 applications/windows open, including Solitaire, 3D Pinball, Windows Media Player, Windows Explorer, 3DMark06, the NVIDIA display panel, the HP LP3065 software and documentation applet, and Opera. We kept them all at the size they opened up at, and we were left with an even better idea of just how much screen real estate this bad boy offers. It's time to convince your boss that you could become a spreadsheet king with an LP3065 on your desk! Seriously though, all this extra desktop real estate is what can help people become more productive and efficient in their daily work.
All the screen real estate in the world doesn't matter, though, if the picture isn't very clear and crisp. During our daily use, the LP3065 continued to impress us. Text was crisp and easy to read, whether it was in productivity applications, like Microsoft Word, or in our web browsers. The color representation and contrast proved to be excellent throughout our testing period.
|Our Summary and Conclusion|
Performance Summary: In terms of performance, the HP LP3065 met our expectations and then some. In both the objective, technical tests and the subjective, real-world tests, this LCD proves over and over again that bigger is better. Not all big things are created equally, though. This is one of only a few panels on the market with a 92% color gamut, and brightness, contrast, and pixel response are all very good. We are convinced that the LP3065 is one of the best monitors available on the market, especially in its price range.
You may be wondering how the HP LP3065 compares to the Dell 3007WFP-HC, which also features 92% color gamut capability and is based on the exact same LG Philips LCD panel. In terms of performance, the two monitors perform identically. We found the HP LP3065's base to be less sleek than the Dell 3007WFP-HC's base, but the HP's controls provide a much better (more tactile) response. Additionally, we found the HP's input options (three DVI ports versus the Dell's single input) to be more desirable. Both feature USB 2.0 ports, but only the Dell includes a card reader.
If you can afford the $1600-1800 price tag and have the room on your desk, then we seriously doubt you would ever be disappointed with the HP LP3065. It is a superb monitor that tackled every task and test we threw at it, and it looked stunning while doing it. The color reproduction, excellent contrast, uniformity and fast pixel response combined with its enormous screen real-estate, make for a truly outstanding Computer and Multimedia LCD display. We're awarding this product a HotHardware.com Editors Choice.