The HP ZR30w is a 30-inch widescreen LCD dis play that's huge in screen space, but also has some really good performance, including great brightness. However, rather frustratingly, HP decided to leave out an onscreen display (OSD) menu with this monitor, which severely limits the adjustments that users can make.
In total, the HP ZR30w monitor measures 27.3 x 10.9 x 23.2-inches (wdh) and weighs just short of 30 pounds and has a rather sleek, yet gargantuan design that makes it actually look more like a TV rather than a computer monitor. The stand is 17 inches wide and almost 11 inches in depth, which makes it well supported, but quite large. There's height adjustment as well as some slight tilting too. The surrounding bezel is decently small at only about an inch.
At the lower right corner of the monitor are a few buttons that include a power button, source and brightness controls. The buttons are quite large and offer decent feedback when pressed. This, however, brings us to our major gripe about this monitor: the lack of an onscreen display (OSD). HP only allows you to control the brightness of the monitor by means of the controls on the front. Typical monitors (aka: 99% of all others) have an OSD menu that allows you to control the brightness, contrast, color temperatures and a whole slew of other settings, but not with this model. This severely handicaps the unit's potential as adjusting any of the settings, besides brightness, is impossible.
Connecting the HP ZR30w display to your computer can be done either via DVI or DisplayPort. There are no analog connections on this unit, including VGA. The lack of an HDMI port is also disappointing. There are four downstream USB ports and one upstream port, which makes for many peripheral connection opportunities. The ports on the back are rather difficult to get to from the front and require turning the monitor 90 degrees to access them, which is a bit of a design flaw.
The native display resolution of the HP ZR30w is 2560 x 1600-pixels, which is actually higher than 1080p full high-definition resolution, but you need to have a fairly powerful graphics card to take full advantage of it. The aspect ration is 16:10 and the display type is an H-IPS display with a 7 millisecond response time.
Performance with the HP ZR30w via the DVI input on a Windows 7 computer was quite good in subjective testing. The black-level performance was very good with test patterns and the ability to see every shade of gray on those patterns. Watching a DVD movie on this massive 30-inch screen resulted in quite impressive performance, but the inability to control image settings beyond brightness did limit its performance. The 7 millisecond response time is slightly slower than some other comparable monitors, which was obvious by some ghosting effects around very fast moving objects.
The H-IPS display lends itself to professional use due to the extremely accurate colors that are produced by IPS displays and this model continued that reputation. However, the average consumer will appreciate the huge 30-inch screen and more than 1080p HD resolution, but more professional users might gripe at the lack of customization.