HP ZR30w 30-Inch S-IPS LCD Monitor Review


Performance Summary: HP's new ZR30w offered exceptional performance in both our task-specific Everest image quality tests, as well as our subjective testing.  Color uniformity was spot on, along with brightness and contrast that we've come to expect from a high-end S-IPS panel. Suffice to say, the ZR30w runs laps around your typical TN panel, like the Asus VH242H that's so popular among home users, most of which have probably never laid eyes on an IPS screen. And thanks in part to the high color gamut, the ZR30w is able to hang with the best 30-inch models on the market, sometimes at a fraction of the price. Those who already own an HP 3065 -- an excellent monitor in its own right -- won't see much difference, but for those stepping up from a smaller display, it should be noted that the ZR30w boasts a few feel-good features compared to the 3065, including a lower power panel and PSU HP claims is 85 percent efficient, as well as a minimum of 25 percent post-consumer recycled resin. In other words. HP is pitching Green for not a whole lot of green, if you're into that sort of thing. 


One thing we haven't yet addressed in this review is given the cost of a 30-inch panel, why not pick up an HDTV instead? After all, $1,300 these days buys you 52 inches of 120Hz bliss, so it seems foolish to pay the same amount for substantially less screen estate. But here's the thing - HDTVs max out at 1920x1080 (or 1920x1200), so even though the physical panel is larger, you're actually losing quite bit of actual on-screen real estate. In contrast, a 30-inch panel like the ZR30w offers a native resolution of 2560x1600, and that makes all the difference in the world when trying to work with multiple windows or manipulate gargantuan images.

While on the topic of cost, the ZR30w is one of the least expensive 30-inch panels around. The comparative savings don't come without some drawbacks, however, and HP had to cut a few corners to keep the cost down. There isn't an OSD to fiddle with, nor are there any integrated speakers. Perhaps the biggest drawback is the lack of input connectors, primarily a second DVI port or even a single HDMI port. The only two connections are a DVI port and a DisplayPort.

Built for the graphics professional, we like the simplified aesthetics and brushed aluminum strip that runs on top of the bezel. We also dig the flexible stand, which makes easy work out of manipulating the ZR30w's position, but it's the S-IPS panel that we're most in love with. The high end panel didn't disappoint, boasting superb color reproduction, excellent uniformity, and even proved adept at playing games. If you can live with the few drawbacks, the ZR30w will serve as an all around workhorse built for business but equally suited for play.



  • Competitively priced for a 30-inch panel
  • Excellent S-IPS panel
  • Great viewing angle
  • Easy to rotate, pivot, and adjust the height
  • No OSD
  • Lacks Portrait mode
  • Only two conectors (DVI and DisplayPort)

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