HP DreamColor LP2480xz

08 January 2009

Unrivalled image quality, colour depth and accuracy, making it ideal for industrial design, but at just under £2,000 it’s still a niche technology. By Greg Corke.

HP calls the DreamColor LP2480xz the world’s first ‘affordable’ colour critical display. For a monitor that costs more than most workstations this is one hell of a claim, but what is beyond dispute is the quality of this 24-inch display which beats anything we’ve ever seen before, hands down.

So what makes it so special? In short, the displayed colours on the LP2480xz are unbelievably vivid. The results look like high-quality printed photos, rather than displayed images, and it makes virtually all LCD monitors look washed out in comparison.

One of the key reasons for this is that it supports over one billion colours (30-bit), 64 times that of most LCDs. This means incredibly smooth colour transitions – more colours, in fact, than your eyes can detect.

In addition, whereas most LCD monitors use white light to illuminate the display, the LP2480xz uses RGB LED, which helps make colours and blacks deeper and more accurate.

Colour accuracy is, of course, incredibly important for industrial design, one of the key target markets for the LP2480xz. HP says that images created on screen can be exactly matched to the final manufactured product, and it can also provide calibrated colour from monitor to monitor, meaning that the same colours can be used throughout the production cycle. We couldn’t test these claims though.

To get the most out of the LP2480xz in terms of colour depth, you’ll need a 30-bit graphics card with DisplayPort or HDMI 1.3. This includes any AMD ATI FirePro, certain FireGL, or the latest generation Nvidia Quadro cards, though we found it still works well on standard 24-bit graphics cards.

A few years back I was wowed with Apple’s Cinema Display, then HP’s LP3065. Now the DreamColor LP2480xz takes display technology for CAD to new levels. The only downside is the price, and we’d certainly like to see a 30-inch model make an appearance.


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