Twelve hundred British pounds is a huge amount of money for a monitor. But the HP ZR30W is an awful lot of screen. In fact, it's impressive even before you flick the power switch. It's solidly hewn from quality plastics and sports a cool-feeling brushed alloy bezel surround. Admittedly, the styling is rather corporate, but there's no denying the engineering integrity.
As for image quality, the HP ZR30W absolutely blitzes the Lagom image fidelity test suite. Whether it's white saturation, black tones, colour scales or gradient rendering, the result is the same: excellence. In fact, in those objective tests of image quality, it's slightly more consistent than Dell's U2711.
It's no slouch in the subjective viewing stakes, either. The backlight will burn your retinas when set to full reheat. Despite the sheer power, however, there's absolutely no unwanted backlight bleed around the edges. The panel is extremely uniform.
Colour accuracy is another strong point. Flesh tones in HD video catch out most screens, but the ZR30W handles them with effortless realism. If you're looking for weaknesses, they're aren't many. However, like any IPS screen, absolute black levels aren't all that great. The panel also suffers, but only very slightly, from the characteristic IPS white glow from certain angles.
Those are minor issues that most will see past. However, it's the sheer size of the HP ZR30W that could prove a sticking point. This monitor is so big that at normal viewing distances you have to turn your head to see the extremities.
Spend £1,000 on a PC processor and your investment will probably be technologically outclassed inside six months. Unload a similar amount on the HP ZR30W and you have several years of stunning visuals ahead of you. This really is an excellent monitor that's very unlikely to be significantly bettered any time soon.
If you can't afford a monitor like this, it's best not to even look at one. The image quality is so impressive and the sense of space so luxurious, it will spoil you for normal screens. Should you actually buy one, the only issue that's likely to disappoint are black levels that fall short of the best.