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HP DreamColor LP2480zx - 24in Professional LCD Monitor
It's not often you get to sit in front a PC display as complete as the HP DreamColor LP2480zx, but when you do you quickly gain an appreciation for what true quality looks like. Born through a partnership between HP and Dreamworks, the LP2480zx is billed as a true CRT replacement - a monitor that can finally replace the CRTs production studios like Dreamworks continue to rely upon. To attain this aim it contains within it a 30-bit (10 bits per colour channel) panel capable of producing a smidgen over one billion colours (yes, you did read that right), smashing any 24-bit based monitor whose maximum is a piffling 16.7 million colours.
Why does this matter? To some of you reading this not a great a deal probably, but for professional users this colour depth means support for a wide variety of colour spaces used in many industries. Covering a staggering 133 per cent of the NTSC colour space, the LP2480zx comes pre-programmed to support the sRGB, Adobe RGB, SMPTE-C and Rec.709/601 colour spaces in full, as well as DCI-P3 at 95 per cent, while you can also pre-configure one colour space yourself or use the 'Full' colour gamut mode.
It doesn't really matter if you don't understand what all these are - if you need to you'll know - but suffice to say this wide support is extremely impressive. More impressive, however, is the price, since at around £2,000 this is the first monitor of its kind to be anything like affordable. Now, £2,000 might sound like a lot of money (because it is), but 30-bit professional grade displays typically cost in the tens of the thousands, rather than just thousands, making this a display that could be used by a great number of people within a company at comparatively little cost. This was what Dreamworks was after and HP has duly delivered.
Now we've set the scene a little it's about time we get down to details. As the model number suggests this is a 24in display and it has the usual 1,920 x 1,200 native resolution, though it does support resolutions up to 2,048 x 1,200 at 60Hz. Based on an S-IPS (in-plane switching) panel, the LP2480zx utilises RGB LED backlighting to help produce its staggering colour depth. It has a 1,000:1 native contrast ratio, a 12ms rise+fall (black-to-white-to-black) response time and a 0.270mm pixel pitch - all of which sounds pretty unremarkable after the 30-bit panel revelations.
Continuing on this mundane path a little longer we have the USB hub. Housed on the right just behind the main panel it comprises four USB 2.0 ports. This should be more than enough for most, though the LP2480zx does eschew more consumerist touches such as a memory card reader.
As you might imagine, connectivity is pretty thorough. There are two DVI ports and these are joined by a version 1.1 DisplayPort, an HDMI 1.3 port, component, S-Video and the bastard child of the lot, composite. This should be ample for most needs, but another HDMI port would have been nice and there's no audio throughput, so if connecting a Blu-ray player audio will have to be output by other means. This is a trifle irritating given the cheaper HP LP2475w does have this, but it's probably of less concern on a monitor meant solely for professional use.