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HP DreamColor LP2480zx - 24in Professional LCD Monitor review

Andy Vandervell




  • Editors choice
HP DreamColor LP2480zx - 24in Professional LCD Monitor


Our Score:


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.


April 1, 2009, 6:59 am

"Now all HP need do is make a 30in version!"

No, now all they need to do is make one that's a tenth as expensive aimed at the general population.

However, hopefully all the technology in this HP will filter down to us consumers in a couple of years time. 10bit colour reproduction, and all the goodies on offer here, sound like something I'd like to upgrade to in a couple of years time, when the price is more sensible.


April 1, 2009, 7:38 am

I mean 30-bit panel (when are TR going to introduce an edit function?).


April 1, 2009, 3:11 pm

Impressive. Imagine if the cost of cars came down from tens of thousands to 2k, it would be world changing - admittedly an environmental disaster, but still a revolution.


April 1, 2009, 4:40 pm

@YG the cost has come down to that ;) http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/bus...

Klaus Nordby

April 1, 2009, 8:26 pm

Thanks, Andy for a fascinating review of a fascinating product! I'm a heavy-duty graphics user and own an excellent 24" Eizo ColorEdge CG241W, still less than a year old -- but of course I love to read about progress in this field.

But I'd like to point out that your article seems to confuse *bit-depth* and *color gamut*. However, there is ZERO connection between these two phenomena: the color space a monitor can display (sRGB, Adobe RGB, etc.) is not in any way controlled or limited by bit-depth.

Also, 10-bits/channel sounds nice, yes -- however, we'd need a graphics card capable of outputting this, instead of the usual 8-bit/channel. So which cards would you recommend for this purpose? Years ago, Matrox made one, but since then I've heard nothing about 10-bits/channel graphics cards. If you know things I don't know -- I'll be happy to know about it! :-)


April 1, 2009, 10:15 pm

Great review. If my design career takes off I might pick one up.

A little off topic, but: It really bugs me when I see the 'percent of NTSC colour gamut' specs... this is useful for US-based video editors, but NTSC is pants for colour, PAL has more depth. We used to call it 'Never The Same Colour twice' because NTSC sets use tint control in an attempt to display more colours. Rant over.



April 2, 2009, 12:34 am

@ Klaus

The ATI HD4800 series supports 30-bit depth over DVI and DisplayPort...not sure about NVIDIA cards, but the very common HD4850 is quite affordable at US$135 or less. Probably not what the owner of such a quality display has in mind (NV QuadroFXs and ATI FireGL/FirePros more likely, which also support 30-bit depth), but could most certainly afford.

I'm thinking a few of these would look great on my desktop, too bad one of them nearly costs more than my entire setup combined...


April 2, 2009, 4:28 am

Sounds really nice...but this is professional level, which I think is out of most readers budget, including mine. It's nice to read about the cream of the crop, but I think there are far more potential buyers around the 24-27" market of between 𧶲-𧺬 mark. I'm talking selfishly about my own needs here though. It'd be so great to buy a ٠k monitor and never look back!


April 5, 2009, 6:06 pm

Klaus: Are most sRGB images not designed with 8-bit in mind? If that is the case then to display any wider gamut as well you'll need a higher bit-depth so you don't lose any of the colours the original image was intended to have.

@Pbryanw: Given that 24" 8-bit monitors are still 𧹈 I'm rather doubtful we'll see 10-bit 24" monitors at 𧶀 any time soon.

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