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HP DreamColor LP2480zx review: HP DreamColor LP2480zx

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MSRP: $2,899.00

The Good The HP DreamColor LP2480zx has impeccable color reproduction and includes direct black level control.

The Bad The HP DreamColor LP2480zx forgoes direct color and contrast controls and can't compare, featurewise, to its competitors. Its price is a pill that's hard to swallow.

The Bottom Line The HP DreamColor LP2480zx is a performance monster that costs too much for the features it offers.

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8.2 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 5
  • Performance 10
  • Support 8

It's difficult to justify buying an electronic device that costs $2,500 or more. The HP DreamColor LP2480zx costs $2,500 if you buy it directly from HP, but you can find it for $2,900-to-$3,000 from other online retailers. At those prices, only graphics professionals should consider this monitor, and it won't disappoint them.

The DreamColor LP2480zx's color reproduction and black levels are easily in the same league as that of the NEC MultiSync PA271W, and it even surpasses the NEC in color saturation and screen uniformity. Unfortunately, where the LP2480zx falters is its lack of calibration options when compared with the PA271W. Thanks to its vast array of intricately detailed calibration options and lower price, the NEC MultiSync PA271W is the clear value winner from the two. However, if price is no object and performance is paramount, the LP2480zx's performance is second to none of the monitors we've reviewed.

Design and features
The 24-inch HP DreamColor LP2480zx has a thick 2.25-inch deep, dark gray panel that extends back an additional 1.4 inches to house its connection options and ventilation system, bringing the monitor's full depth to 3.65 inches. To help prevent the substantial-looking monitor from overheating, the panel has multiple vent holes on its sides, top, and bottom in addition to a vent system in the back. In total, the panel measures 22.2-inches wide.

The monitor's rectangular footstand is 12 inches wide by 8.1 inches deep . Embedded in the top portion of the stand is a circular section that extends the depth of the monitor to 10 inches from its original 8.1 inches.

The monitor's ergonomic options include a 35-degree back tilt, a 45-degree left and right swivel, a 90-degree pivot, and a 4-inch screen height adjustment. At its shortest, the screen is 1.7 inches from the desktop; it's 5.7 inches from the desktop at its tallest. The stand has an embedded hole in its neck that acts as a cable router.

Smacking the monitor from the sides, as we are known to do when we misbehave, is like hitting a brick wall. The 25.72-pound monitor hardly budges even when it is hit with a particularly strong blow.

The monitor's connection options include two DVI ports, an HDMI port, a DisplayPort, a Component connection, an S-Video port, a Composite video connection, and a USB upstream port. All of the display connections are located under the monitor's back panel; on the right side are four USB downstream ports aligned vertically.

The monitor's onscreen display button array is on the lower right-hand corner of the bezel. It consists of five buttons, aligned vertically. Navigating the OSD took some getting used to; its "Enter" button was not always responsive and, frustratingly, needed to be pushed up to three times before it would register the action.

The onscreen display lets you adjust the brightness, color temperature, and black level of the screen; however, it doesn't have adjustment options for contrast or individual color. Unfortunately for HP, considering the graphic design market at which the LP2480zx is clearly targeted, the NEC MultiSync PA271W's vast array of OSD options was much more impressive.

The LP2480zx's OSD presets include Full, AdobeRGB, Rec.6.01 (a video-encoding standard), sRGB, Rec.709 (a high-definition standard), SCI-P3 Emulation, and User-7. Each preset adjusts the colors and brightness to be appropriate to the task. Also, the OSD includes several customization options and a Picture in Picture (PIP) option.

Design highlights:
Connectivity: DVI(2), HDMI, DisplayPort, Composite, Component, S-Video
Ergonomic options: 35 degree back tilt, 45 degrees swivel, 90 degree pivot, four-inch screen height adjustment range
Resolution: 1,920x1,200 pixels
Aspect ratio: 16:10
Audio: None
VESA support: Yes

Feature highlights:
Included video cables? DVI(2), HDMI, DisplayPort, DVI to VGA
Backlight: LED
Panel Type: IPS
Screen film: Matte
Pixel-response rate: 6ms
Number of presets: 7
Overdrive: Yes
Picture options: Brightness and Black Level
Color controls: Direct color temperature control
Gamma control: No
Additional features: Black Level control

We tested the HP DreamColor LP2480zx through its DVI input, connected to a Windows Vista PC, using the included DVI cable. The display posted a composite score of 98 on CNET Labs' DisplayMate-based performance tests--the same score as both the Dell UltraSharp U2711 and NEC Multisync PA271W. Throughout our DisplayMate tests, the LP2480zx delivered nearly flawless color reproduction. In our Black Level test, the LP2480zx crushed only very dark grays and was able to display down to a level-two gray--which is two levels above true black. This indicates an optimal black level for the display. We were particularly impressed with the display's capability to present nearly 100 percent uniform backlighting and the lowest amount of backlight bleed through we've yet seen.

We saw no color problems with black text on a white background and fonts were clearly visible down to a 6.8 size.

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