• Price: 1810

  • Company: HP

  • Pros: Outstanding output quality. Relatively low cost. Choice of inputs.

  • Cons: Few graphics cards offer 10-bit output, including no Mac boards.

  • Our Rating: We rate this 8 out of 10 We rate this 8 out of 10

Developed with Dreamworks Animation, the DreamColor LP2480ZX is the first monitor to offer a 10-bit-per-colour output at a price that’s affordable to many creatives.

The monitor’s colour range has increased from the 16 million colours of normal monitors to over a billion, due to the use of 10-bit-per-colour (or 30-bit colour, as HP calls it), which increases the available shades of red, green and blue each four-fold. This lets you see finer gradation between shades and more detail in highlights and shadows.

To get the most from a 10-bit monitor, you need a 10-bit graphics card and a 10-bit connection. Currently, most monitors and graphics cards are connected via DVI, which is limited to 8-bit. As well as DVI, the LP2480ZX has 10-bit DisplayPort and HDMI connectors.

However, few graphics cards currently support 10-bit output over DisplayPort or HDMI for Windows PCs – and none for the Mac. Many Mac-based designers and illustrators could benefit greatly from seeing their work in 10-bit, as well as Final Cut Pro-based video editors (who could also use a second LP2480ZX as a 10-bit video monitor).

We tested the LP2480ZX by attaching it using a DisplayPort cable to a PC with AMD’s £299 plus VAT ATI FirePro V5700 graphics card – and were amazed by the quality of the monitor’s output. The level of colour detail is exceptional.

The DreamColor LP2480ZX is a significant development in monitor technology – but we’ve got to wait for graphics cards to catch up.