The viewing area is six inches smaller than my television. The front of it is sitting six inches from my face… give or take a few inches. It’s an HP ZR30w 30″ Monitor and, well, it’s massive. I had the opportunity to receive one from HP and the subsequent joy of basking in 1.07 billion colors of warm LCD power over the past month. This is HP’s largest LCD monitor, beaming 2560 x 1600 high contrast pixels into your eye and borders the line where people freak out about the size of an object on your desk. It has replaced one of my 24″ monitors, has changed my screen usage and has proven new ways to heat small office spaces. Here’s the rundown.

HP ZR30 Features

First, a quick overview of the specs that matter most when poking at this type of harware. (Full specs)

Display Size (Diagonal) 30″
Resolution 2560 x 1600
Brightness (typical) 370 cd/m²
Contrast ratio (typical) 1000:1
Viewing angle 178° horizontal; 178° vertical
Response time (typical) 7 ms
Input signal DisplayPort; DVI-D
Tilt and swivel angle Tilt: -5° to + 35°; Swivel: -45º to + 45º
I/O Ports 5 USB 2.0
Weight 28.6 lb (13 kg)
Dimensions (W x D x H) 27.3 x 3.4 x 17.9 in (69.4 x 8.7 x 45.4 cm)
Operating temperature 41 to 95º F (5 to 35º C)
Price $1,228.00 (Amazon $1,183.70)
Connections: DisplayPort, DVI-D, USB-B, 2x USB-A; 2x USB-A (on side of monitor)
Connections: DisplayPort, DVI-D, USB-B, 2x USB-A; 2x USB-A (on side of monitor)

If you’ve bought a smaller monitor or heck, even an 54″ HD TV, the price seems high, but is comparable to other 30″ monitors and more bang for the buck compared to an Apple 27″ Thunderbolt Display. You don’t get the resolution on an HD TV that you do with this monitor, at least not at this price. Shouldn’t be long though before these monitors drop under the $1000 price point.

The screen resolution and brightness is magnificent. In fact, it’s too magnificent. You’ll lower the brightness when first using it. That’s done directly on the front, but it’s the only screen adjustment you have since there are no on-screen calibration settings. Not so bad since they’re usually cumbersome anyway and if color calibration is really important, you’ll adjust that in Photoshop or other graphics software.

Definitely, top off that resolution if you can stand it. Using the Miniport cord that came with the HP monitor didn’t allow max resolution possible for some reason, but switching to a Miniport cable bought off of Amazon for $10 did the trick. Always hang onto those spare cords. The monitor could use more connectors, some miniport or HDMI, but it will support what older monitors are connected with.

How an HP 30″ Monitor Improves File Viewing (and heating small rooms)

My thought about what a larger monitor would improve over my itty-bitty HP 24″ monitors was completely off. I originally thought, big screen, awesome for 3D rendering/graphics. It is… very nice in fact, but it is incredible to view PDF’s of drawing prints and text documents. The different between what it looks like on my HP 24″ monitor and the HP 30″ was a huge contrast. Much clearer, much brighter and I don’t have to zoom and pan around. Perfect.

I should also note that I’m using a NVIDIA Quadro FX 3800 and have also use a Quadro 2000 with this monitor. Both perform alongside great with smooth graphics across the full resolution, no clipping and no messing around with drivers or screen calibration that I’ve had to mess with on other monitors.

I’ve also found that this 30″ monitor is great for heating small room. Now, it has the same operating temperature spec as the 24″ monitor, but I’ll tell you this, you can feel the heat coming off face of the monitor, onto your face, the difference when you move away from the screen and the difference when you go into another room that’s 10-15 degrees cooler.

Two screens… Please.

It’s hilarious. As much as I’m able to view on this monitor, I still LOVE having two monitors. With two 24″ monitors, I would always work with windows maximized, so two screens made it convenient to have a couple windows opened up. On the 30″, I don’t work with the windows maximized as much. I’m in between programs and the larger real estate helps manage that, but I still have two monitors glaring at me, comforting me… yes. With the heat output from the 30, there’s no way I could use two comfortably, but the 24″ works great as a place to have Skype or browser open. I think I’m at the limit where 30″ is big enough… ya know, until a high res 32″ monitor comes out.

HP ZR30w Pros

Viewing area
USB Ports
PDF Viewing
Video playback

HP ZR30w Cons

Heat dissipation
No on-screen calibration
Type/Amount of Connections

Other Resources:

HP ZR30w 30-inch S-IPS LCD Monitor

Intro Image via Maximum PC


Josh is founder and editor at, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.