If we did a top ten 'Most Disappointing Products Once You Get Them Out Of The Box', there’s a good chance it’d be a list of LCD monitors. Even with all the advances in display technology of late, it's still a general rule that fast screens have poor image quality, while colour accuracy comes at the cost of turning your favourite films into the kind of stop frame animations last seen in Ray Harryhausen movies.
To put the monitors most of us have into perspective, it's not uncommon for professional studios to spend over £10,000 on an LCD monitor that can render images quickly and accurately. Which makes splashing out the best part of two grand on a superlative screen like the HP DreamColor LP2480zx seem like a bargain.
Designed with a lot of help from animation experts at DreamWorks, the DreamColor is pitched at the very serious amateur photographer or video artist. Aside from being a tad bulky for a 24inch panel and looking fairly plain, it's almost faultless.
For a start there's the sheer number of inputs which include everything from DisplayPort to composite connections – although running S-Video into a monitor capable of displaying 30bit colour is a bit like ordering cod and chips at the Fat Duck.
By combining the cleverness of the DreamColor engine with an RGB LED backlight, the LP2480zx is capable of displaying over a billion colours with incredible accuracy, as well 'CRT class' blacks. Put it side by side with any ordinary monitor, and the image clarity and colour separation gives new meaning to the phrase 'lifelike'.
The 6ms grey-to-grey response time isn't the quickest around, but is more than enough for smear free gaming and video.
It's true that most of us would probably be better off spending the extra cash on a 30in screen that's almost – but not quite – as good. But if you're prepared to spend a similar amount of money on a camera like, say, the Nikon D700, then there's no excuse for not investing in a screen like this to fully complement it.
HP DreamColor LP2480zx
A breakthrough for almost affordable LCDs that should filter down to cheaper panels soon