HP breaks its monitors down into three different categories, including Essential, Advantage, and Performance. All of HP's Performance series displays come with a higher-end IPS/VA panel and four integrated USB ports. These are the highest end displays HP produces, and the ZR30w is the largest monitor in the Performance lineup (and out of all three categories).
HP includes a height adjustable stand, another staple of the company's Performance line (as well as the Advantage series). There aren't any complicated setup steps involved, you simply slide the back of the panel onto the stand and flip the lever to lock it in place, if it doesn't lock in automatically. To remove the panel, all you need to do is move the lever to either side to unlock the panel and lift. Slick.
Once the monitor is in place, it's incredibly easy to maneuver it however you see fit. You're able to tilt and swivel with just the right amount of resistance, and by pressing a button on the back of the base, you can adjust the height by up to four inches with surprisingly little effort.
On the bottom of the stand's cylinder sits a U-shaped plastic clip that pops out with a little force. The purpose of this is to help route the monitor's power and display cords, though you can also fish your keyboard and monitor cables through the opening to de-clutter your desktop. The entire assembly is well constructed, missing only a pivot function to flip the monitor from landscape to portrait mode.
Simple, serious, and really freakin' big. That's the ZR30w summed up in five words, though we'll expend a few more than that. HP was shooting for an "industrial design" to compliment the company's Z Workstations, which is helped in part by the inclusion of a brushed aluminum strip that runs throughout the outer bezel. Even the black plastic portion of the bezel looks metallic, sort of a welcome throwback to a time before glossy and reflective finishes moved to the forefront of modern design.
The bezel is thinner than some measuring around 7/8 of an inch, which isn't so thin that you wouldn't notice it if you were to cram multiple displays against each other. With 30 inches of screen real estate to play with, multiple displays might seem like a silly concept, but it's not as far fetched when you consider what ATI is doing with its Eyefinity technology and Nvidia with its 3D Surround. And at $1,300 MSRP, it's not inconceivable that someone would plunk down for two or three of these and laugh at those who spent the same amount on a just a single monitor earlier this decade. Decadent? Sure, and even a little obscene. But for graphics professionals who pull in paychecks based on their designs, it can also be practical.
Power Switch, DC Power, DisplayPort, DVI, USB
Flipping the ZR30w over on its belly reveals one of the ways HP was able to keep costs down. Connectivity options only consist of a DisplayPort and a DVI port, both of which are HDCP compliant, but nothing else. If either of these work for you, then the lack of more connectivity options will be a non-issue, but if you have any aspirations of hooking up your gaming system or cable box to this display to use a high-res television, prepare to be disappointed. There are no component or composite connections to be found, but probably most egregious is the lack of an HDMI port, the modern day wonder connector found all over the place in the electronics world.
In keeping with the no-nonsense approach, the ZR30w also omits a speaker bar or integrated speakers of any sort (not surprising or even missed). It's all work and no play with HP's monster sized panel, and towards that end you'll find four USB ports (two on the bottom, two on the left side).