Almost 15 years ago I set up my first multiple monitor system, using a 17” and a 15” CRT. At that time it was a very uncommon setup, but now it seems that many people use multiple displays to manage their workspace. No matter how many displays you hook up, there are always some things that benefit from having a single, large, high resolution desktop, such as the spreadsheets that I use for doing display reviews.

27” and 30” displays with 2560 horizontal pixels have been available for a few years now, though the pricing on them has been very high that whole time. Sometimes you can find a display on sale and pick it up for a reasonable price, but typically the cost of entry seems to be right around $1,000 and up. Because of this people are still likely to buy two, or even three, 1920x1200 displays for the same price and run a multi-monitor desktop.

We finally have our first real affordable 27”, high resolution display on the market now, and it comes courtesy of HP. The HP ZR2740w is a 27” IPS panel with 2560x1440 resolution (16:9 aspect ratio) and an LED backlighting system. With a street price that comes in at $700 or below, what has HP done to be able to bring a high resolution display to the masses at a price well below other vendors? Thankfully, they provided me with a unit so I could evaluate it and see.

Design, OSD, and Viewing Angles

Since my usual desktop monitor is a lowly 20” Dell widescreen, unpacking and throwing the HP on my desk in its place was quite a difference. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the HP still has a stand with tilt, swivel, pivot, and height adjustments. When 24” monitors that are value priced, or even $300, are leaving these out it is quite nice to see on a value priced 27” display. The front of the display has four buttons: Power, Brightness +/-, and Source.

Once you look for the inputs to hook the display up you get your first clue as to how HP shaved the price on this display. The only inputs available are a Dual-Link DVI and a DisplayPort. For people that want to use their monitor for gaming or watching movies, there is no HDMI port available. With no HDMI port, there are also no speakers in the HP either. I was a little bit surprised that they still have the standard USB 2.0 hub with four ports available, as that seems like another item that could be cut to save a bit on costs, but I was happy to have it available.

Once you go to adjust the brightness, you’ll notice something about the OSD on the HP in that there isn’t one. There is no menu system either. The only adjustment available to the end user is a single brightness control that has no on screen setting. There is also no LUT inside of the monitor to help for correcting the color, but that wasn’t much of a surprise either. With no OSD, there are no color presets, no dynamic contrast or enhanced response modes, nothing beyond what you have as a standard. There is also no way to control the aspect ratio so if you feed the HP with a signal other than 2560x1440 you will have it scaled automatically and there is no way to adjust that. Because of this lack of an OSD, having the necessary hardware and software to perform your own calibration might be a little more important with the HP. In a sense, it's a bit of a throwback to the early 30" LCDs, except now there's a DisplayPort connection in addition to the DL-DVI.

Despite the loss of all these features, the HP does have the specs that many of us are looking for: 2560x1440 resolution and an IPS panel that is listed at supporting 10-bits per pixel with A-FRC (8-bit native), and has a native gamma of 2.2. It only has a standard gamut LED lighting system, so it is listed as being able to do 99.9% for the sRGB color gamut but only 77.2% of the Adobe RGB gamut. For many users, that's actually not a problem and could even be seen as a plus. (High gamut displays running sRGB content can sometimes look oversaturated if your applications aren't color space aware.) So now that we have an idea of what HP had to do in order to hit this price point, did the performance suffer from these choices? Here's a quick overview of the specs and then we'll get into the evaluation portion of the review.

HP ZR2740w
Video Inputs DisplayPort, DualLink DVI
Panel Type IPS (8-bit native, 10-bit A-FRC)
Pixel Pitch 0.233mm
Colors 1.07 Billion
Brightness 380 nits
Contrast Ratio 1000:1
Response Time 14ms typical, 12ms GTG
Viewable Size 27"
Resolution 2560x1440
Viewing Angle 178 degrees H/V
Backlight LED edgelit
Power Consumption (operation) 95W typical, 120W maximum
Power Consumption (standby) < 2W
Screen Treatment Anti-Glare
Height-Adjustable Yes
Tilt Yes
Pivot Yes
Swivel Yes
VESA Wall Mounting Yes, 100mm
Dimensions w/ Base (WxHxD) 25.4" x 9.3" x 21.26"
Weight 23.1 lbs.
Additional Features 4 port USB 2.0 hub
Limited Warranty Three Years
Accessories DualLink DVI Cable, DisplayPort cable, power cable, USB cable
Price $729 MSRP;
Starting at $633 online

Despite the large panel, viewing angles are very nice on the HP as you can see. To see much of a brightness shift you had to be very far off angle, and I had no issues at all with normal use.

Color Quality
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  • cheinonen - Friday, March 16, 2012 - link

    The last time I find the U2711 (non-refurbished) for sale was early December, and that was for $849 without a coupon. It used to be on sale more often, but not much recently, and so most people are going to be paying $1,000 or so for it. Comparing an occasional sale price to a list price of $729 is apples to oranges.
  • Lemure - Saturday, March 17, 2012 - link

    Those claims are wrong, any LCD with input lag of around 10 and under are all extremely quick. The HP zr series ips panels along with the dell 23" e-ips and NEC e-ips all have low input lag and are great for gaming. And if input lag was such a huge issue you would not bother to buy an LCD in the first place, you would be buying the Sony fw900. So unless you are competing at the highest levels of CS or Quake, such a difference is unnoticeable.
  • IlllI - Friday, March 16, 2012 - link

    "If you can provide links to any other 2560x1440 27" displays with IPS panels that cost less than $700, let's see them."

    i kindly direct you to this topic

    supposedly have same ips panel that apple display has.

    maybe you guys can do a professional review of one, since the other reviews are in a different language.
  • Roland00Address - Friday, March 16, 2012 - link

    I am waiting eagerly with glee
  • seanleeforever - Friday, March 16, 2012 - link

    i was actually going to make a reference to the catleap.
    the sales price (at korea) is 250 dollars for 27 inch and i think all catleap monitor *could* be set to 90+ Hz which is actually bounded by the graphic card.

    i cancelled my U2711 shipment few days ago decide to give this monitor a try. with Dell i am paying about 900 dollars (tax + env fee) which would bought me 2 of those 27 inch monitor.

    and yes, i fully agree with Snowshredder102. we are not talking about black friday price. and paying MSRT is probably not a smart thing to do to purchase anything. ESPECIALLY with DELL. their stuff goes on sale every other week. the U2711 has been around 700 since last year, if not the year before.
  • seanleeforever - Friday, March 16, 2012 - link

    for some reason, i highly doubt anandtech site will review a non-US market display. actually this webiste once made a statement that they only review what vender provides to them (with VERY few exceptions, the thinkpad review was one of them, and PSU comparison was another)
    anandtech is great source to learn new technology and hardware performance. However, i wouldn't use it for any serious system comparison due to conflict of interest (or i think). i doubt they will put any unfavorable words for vender provided machines and i am pretty positive there is some financial reasons.

    with that said, i will do my own review on OC once i receive the monitor.
  • Crazyeyeskillah - Friday, March 16, 2012 - link

    Jared is right on all accounts. I bought the zr30w because there is absolutely no noticeable input lag. It performs about on par with my sony fw-900 crt. The lack of included scaler makes this possible.

    As for pricing, the only monitors in this price range come from korea named shimian and catleap. You have to buy them from one of two ebay sellers and there are no returns or warrantees. you have about a 1/4 chance of getting a defective product for about 4-500$ so it's a crapshoot.

    I'd really like to see how this compares with my zr30w with the addition of the LED lighting. I think the zr30w is the best gaming monitor on the market with nothing even remotely close. The lack of lag, an ips panel, size, gamut, resolution and brightness are astounding even when compared to the 2200$ paw.
  • seanleeforever - Friday, March 16, 2012 - link

    those monitor technically can be exchanged for free except shipping back to korea will set you 100 dollar easy.

    i am scheduled to go to Korea for a month long business trip, so i am actually thinking about checking it out there and ship it to U.S. the price as far as i know is 250~550 depend on the version you get (8 bit vs 10 bit).

    apparently all catleap panel can handle up to 100 Hz

    the 250 dollar version doesn't have any OSD, but a bit more expensive versions do.
  • Roland00Address - Friday, March 16, 2012 - link

    Key word some.

    The catleap panels are not designed to do any refresh rate besides 60 hertz. Some catleap panels can be overclocked and a good amount of people were getting 85 to 97 hertz.

    That said it appears the day of overclocking catleap panels are over since they newer manufactured ones (but still same model number) is using a new revision for a part and this part can only do about 60 to 67 hertz.
    Click on "OC vs. Non-OC Monitor Internals (Click to hide)"
  • Roland00Address - Friday, March 16, 2012 - link

    While I agree it is a crapshoot and there is a chance you may get a product that breaks soon after the first few weeks you are vastly overrating the chance of a dead of arrival.

    This thread had 2 out of 96 people have a DOA or item was not shipped. Of those 2 they actually did not post in the thread detailing their experience, instead just answering the poll. (It is completely possible these items took forever to ship and thus they answered the poll the item did not shipped.)

    Furthermore if the item is DOA you can use Ebays or Paypal buyer protection program to get a refund.

    Now if the item has 5 or less dead pixels you are out of luck them unless you pay return shipping, since all the vendors advertise the 5 dead pixel policy and they advertise the item is new in a box. Furthermore if the item dies in 3 months you are out of luck, you may be able to get the original manufacture to cover it but you would be responsible to ship it back to South Korea. If the item breaks in 18 months you will be out of luck...etc

    So in sum a crapshoot, but a crapshoot with good odds. I would not recommend this deal to everyone, but if you know what it is going in then it is a good deal.

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