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Monitors

HP's professional colour monitor arrives

HP is dropping in on the pro-colour market with its LP2480zx "DreamColor" monitor, a product designed as a result of its collaboration with DreamWorks.

Coming in at a mammoth AU$4,299, the 24-inch, 1920x1200 LP2480zx is nicknamed the "DreamColor", being born out of HP's collaboration with DreamWorks and subsequent feedback from its employees about what a professional, colour-critical artist requires.

A two-year venture, the DreamColor initiative was an attempt to once again ease the pain of transitioning between colour spaces regardless of application, device or medium, and to date has seen printers using HP's "DreamColor Engine" hit the market.

The next part of the puzzle has now arrived in the form of HP's latest monitor. NEC and Eizo have typically held the reigns on the professional LCD market in Australia, and at least on paper, the new contender from HP stacks up well against the competing LCD2490WUXi and ColorEdge CG241W. While HP wouldn't be drawn on whether it would release larger panels in the 26- and 30-inch spaces, the company has indicated that should the market show interest it would certainly investigate it.

The LP2480zx is an LED backlit, 30-bit S-IPS panel, which means it can display 1.07 billion colours, and supports Wide gamut, sRGB, AdobeRGB, Rec. 709, Rec. 601, DCI-P3 emulation (97 per cent) and user colour profiles. Rather than a brief moment where all colours seem to spasmodically shift, the DreamColor smoothly fades in and out when switching between colour profiles. Blacks were reasonably impressive when compared to a consumer grade HP LP2465 monitor during the demonstration we attended, and brightness seemed quite flexible, being able to be set between 40cd/m2 and 250cd/m2 — while we didn't get our hands on either demonstration unit to play with, an LP2480zx should be landing in CNET.com.au's labs shortly.

HP claims 100 per cent AdobeRGB gamut capability, which apparently stacks up to 133 per cent NTSC, depending on which measuring stick you're using. Nonetheless, from our short exposure, it presented a significantly more realistic interpretation of images; the usual red and green blow-outs were absent and skin tones appeared more natural.

Inputs are quite varied for the market too, featuring HDMI 1.3, DisplayPort 1.1, two DVI-I ports, S-Video, composite, component, and four USB ports.

HP's menu structure is a context sensitive one, similar in concept to what is found on the Dell 2709w, with options being assigned to buttons depending on what menu you are in, rather than each button having a fixed function. It looks nice, but our first impressions were that Dell has the lead on its consumer level monitors.

While it will still select colours from the 30-bit palette even if you have a 24-bit input, those who will use this monitor to its best capability are definitely in the professional market, where the costly FireGLs, Quadros, applications and operating systems will support it.