Computer Monitors

HP ZR2740w 27-inch Computer Monitor Review

The HP ZR2740w is an expensive display that's posh and attractive on the outside, but doesn't deliver the goods.

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Introduction

The HP ZR2740w is a high-end business monitor. It carries a steep MSRP of $729. With a price like that, we expect three key things: a highly flexible stand, a variety of port options, and above average color/contrast performance.

Unfortunately, we've found that this pricy product doesn't deliver in all three areas. While HP has designed a flexible, intuitive stand and given above average port options, the ZR2740w's color production is considerably worse than much cheaper monitors. For a monitor over $700, we were expecting much stronger results.

Front

Front Image

Back

Back Image

Side

Side Image

Stand

The HP ZR2740w makes use of a stand that is very similar to the stand for HP's ZR24w, except that it also allows the panel to swivel/rotate atop its pedestal.

Stand Photo

The HPZR2740w will raise, lower, swivel, and rotate to portrait. It is a very flexible display.

Controls

The on-set controls for the ZR2740w are very simple. There are only four buttons; one for power and one for source. The other two--decrease and increase--are hold-overs from versions of the monitor with built-in speakers, for volume control. The HP ZR2740w has no product menu, and thus its on-set controls are really only power and input (source). Despite their simple nature, the monitor's response time to being powered on/off or changing source is impressively fast.

Controls Photo

In the Box

In the box, you'll find the panel, stand component, power cable, software CD, warranty card, and cables for DVI and DisplayPort.

Contrast

The HP ZR2740w tested with the best contrast ratio out of the three products we pulled for comparison--it also has the best contrast ratio of any monitor we've yet tested. Just shy of 1000:1 is an outstanding result, as most general use monitors serve their intended use just fine with a ratio of 200:1. This is ample black and white differentiation, and a great result. More on how we test contrast.

Contrast Chart

Uniformity

The HP ZR2740w tested with terrific, unblemished uniformity. We test uniformity subjectively, affixing a fully black and a fully white screen on a monitor display to ensure that the screen is evenly lit. The HP ZR2740w tested with high marks, showing both screens with perfect uniformity. More on how we test uniformity.

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Color Temperature

This is a very good color temperature result. The X-axis below maps out the HP ZR2740w's color temperature across the light input spectrum. The Y-axis illustrates deviations from the initial temperature of the ZR2740w's light input (which we'll call 0° for clarity). Any deviation in light temperature that is greater than +/-200° will be visible to human beings, but none of the ZR2740w's color temperature swings extend beyond the limit of perceptibility.

In short, the lack of visible error is practically equivalent to no error whatsoever. A very good result. More on how we test color temperature.

Color Temperature Chart

Color Curves

While it tested with excellent form during our contrast and color temperature tests, the ZR2740w did not test so splendidly in the realm of color curves. These red, green, blue, and greyscale curves (below) are not terrible, but they are very bumpy. The curves represent the spectrum of hues/shades across the 256-step scale for RGB and greyscale, and their bumpiness illustrates a choppy transition between neighboring steps. This is going to result in banding between many colors and shades. More on how we test color curves.

Color Curves Chart

Color Gamut

The HP ZR2740w tested with a decent, but ultimately flawed, color gamut. The chart below illustrates how the ZR2740w's gamut (the white triangle) against the standard, ideal gamut for RGB display devices (the black triangle). Comparably, the HP's green, red, and white points are all but perfect. Its blue point is considerably undersaturated--meaning it is not full of enough "blue" to encompass the full spectrum of blue hues that it should. More on how we test color gamut.

Color Gamut Chart

The table below contains all the numeric details of the 's color gamut performance, compared to the sRGB standard.

Viewing Angle

When looking head-on (0°) at the HP ZR2740w, it has a massive contrast ratio resulting from deep blacks and very bright whites. That contrast ratio makes obtuse-angle viewing much easier, and at 45° the ZR2740w still sports a contrast ratio of 324:1, which is higher than the head-on contrast ratio of some budget monitors.

This widescreen HP offers plenty of leeway for group viewing.

Connectivity

The HP ZR2740w has two connectivity areas: along its left side, where there are two USB inputs, and on the lower back of the monitor, tucked into a recessed area that's somewhat hidden.

The easiest way to plug into this obscured back area is to raise the panel to full height, and then rotate it to portrait orientation.

In this area, you'll find inputs for DisplayPort and DVI, as well as USB standard B and two USB standard A ports.

While this isn't a staggering amount of connectivity options, it's a great deal more than you'd find on a low-end, budget monitor.

Connectivity Photo 1

Connectivity Photo 2

Controls & Menus

The HP ZR2740w's controls are located on the right-hand side of the monitor's bezel, below the screen. There are four buttons: one for power, one for source, and two that are hold-overs from an alternate version of the monitor with built-in speakers, meant to change speaker volume. The HP ZR2740w has no system menu, and thus can really only be altered through your PC's Display menu (pictured below).

Controls Photo
Menu Photo

The ZR2740w doesn't have its own menu, but its resolution can be adjusted through your computer's Display menu.

Conclusion

With an MSRP of $729, we were expecting physical and technological excellence from the HP ZR2740w. While it delivers on the physical side--its stand is a sturdy, flexible addition to the panel that gives it the versatility of a professional artist's monitor--the color accuracy of this HP left us feeling down and out. We think it would be a much more valuable product were it less expensive, but that price demands a perfect display, and the ZR2740w doesn't deliver.

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