Tuesday, December 13, 2011

First Impressions: HP Promo ZR 2740w Monitor

XiaoQin recently decided that she wanted to try a faster machine, so I set her up with my old Dell 2407 monitor along with my X201, which is one heck of a rocking setup. One thing I didn't realize was that VGA happily drives a 24" monitor at the native resolution of 1920x1200 with no problems whatsoever, and I was very pleased to see the Lenovo automatically detect that and realize what's going on.

I thought about replacing it with another 24" monitor, but my brother found the HP Promo 27" monitor for about $682 shipped from Amazon. It's about $200 or so less than the competing Dell 2711. Reviews are pretty scarce on this monitor, but my brother found one written by TFT Central which indicated that it was ok as long as you didn't care about not having HDMI, VGA, S-Video, and making do with just the display port or the dual-link DVI cable.

Note that there are $300 27" monitors, but most of them are just 1080p TVs, not really monitors capable of 2560x1440, which is the resolution both the Dell and the HP are capable of driving at. Along with the monitor, you have to have a video card capable of driving that resolution, but fortunately my M9600t already sports not one but two dual-link DVI ports in addition to the (probably never to be used) HDMI port.

Unboxing the monitor, it wasn't immediately how much bigger the 27" monitor was until you hooked it up and put it next to the 24". Then I powered it on and saw how much brighter the HP Promo monitor was compared to the old Dell 24". After calibrating both monitors with the Eye One Display 2, I went ahead and compared them and indeed, the 24" monitor looks really drab. The extra screen real estate is really nice as well, and colors really popped. At first, I was really concerned when my video card fritzed and I had to reboot my machine, but after a while I realized that I had over-clocked my Radeon 4850, and after backing off the over-clocking the machine is now nice and stable.

All in all, I'm very pleased by the monitor and will most likely be keeping it. The old monitor (as seen in the image above) is now turned to portrait mode to serve as a lightbox for Lightroom. Obviously, we'll see how it goes living with the monitor day to day, but for now, I'll give it the recommended rating. (Note that unlike 24" and below monitors, the 27" and 30" monitors haven't really drop in price for the last few years, probably because of the lack of demand, but then when I first bought the 24" monitor way back in 2004, they were also around $666 a piece --- hopefully eventually I will get to make use of that second dual-linked DVI port on the 4850)
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