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HP ZR2740W

By Matt Simpson - Friday, March 30, 2012

Many people have chosen to go with multiple monitors to try to achieve the kind of desktop real estate you need. Certainly buying a couple of inexpensive 20 or 24” monitors would be a inexpensive way to go, there is simply nothing like a single large, high resolution display when it comes to making your portal into the computer larger. A single screen will also use less power in most cases than two smaller ones, so over time, they could be considered more fiscally responsible.

The bulk of the large monitors that are available are used with the cheap and much lower performing TN panels. Our modern mobile devices that use LCD screens use IPS, a much better, but more expensive technology for displaying images. The main differences between them are in the color reproduction and viewing angle. TN panels typically have much poorer color reproduction and horrible off axis viewing angles. IPS screens maintain their picture even at extreme off axis angles and can reproduce 100% or better of the NTSC color palette.

High Resolution, High Price

HP’s new 27” monitor breaks the price/performance barrier in a big way. The new model is takes advantage of the recent trend towards higher resolutions in all devices. With IPhone’s exceeding 300 pixels per inch and the new Ipad reaching over 260, it is making computer monitors look bad by comparison. While the resolution necessary to get that kind of pixel density on a large screen would require a as yet unheard of resolution,  the resolution of the new HP monitor does come close to the pixel density of the last generation Ipad. Even with a lower pixel density, the HP monitor does have a higher horizontal resolution than the mighty Ipad 3.

The only problem with the high resolution, large size panels has been the huge price associated with them and in many cases the high power draw associated with them. The 30” dell monitors have been around for several years and have been good sellers, but at around 1500 dollars retail, they are not very price effective. The same panels that have powered the Dell 30” models have powered 30”monitors from other manufacturers such as HP, Samsung, and others. The problem is that the prices have all been around the same.

Bringing Down The Size

While the huge 30” monitors may seem like a great idea, the over 1000 dollar on sale price keeps them out of most people’s hands. Recently, Dell announced a super high resolution 27” monitor; it features the highly desirable 2560x1440 resolution and other modern features. It is the same size and resolution as the 27” IMAC along with the same pixel pitch. The biggest difference is the backlighting. The LED backlight used in the IMAC allowed for only 72% of the NTSC color gamut while the compact fluorescent of the Dell allowed for 102% even at higher power consumption. At around 1000 dollars this made for an attractive price to performance point for many professionals. However, with standard 1080P 27” monitors selling for half that it still wasn’t making the switch over to a higher than HD resolution painless.

The ZR2740W

Sure, it’s 27”diagonally and sure it’s got the same .23 pixel pitch of the other 2560x1440 monitors in its class. Its LED backlit like the IMAC, but it is able to generate nearly 100% of the NTSC color palette. That means that you get the best of both worlds when it comes to the backlight issue. You get the good looks of most other IPS monitors that use a compact fluorescent backlight and the power saving. This big monitor uses only 120 watts maximum and under normal usage will be drawing less than 100. It’s also somewhat brighter than the competition, with a rated 380 nits, vs. 350 nits for the Dell. Not a big difference, but worth noting if you work in a very bright environment. The biggest news about this monitor is not the specs, but the price. The HP retails for around 700 bucks.  That’s 30% less than the Dell 27” and a good reason to look into this HP.




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