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Lifewire / Zach Sweat
USB-C connectivity (good for laptops)
Great color accuracy
Doesn’t include built-in speakers
Slow response time
The HP Z27 is a pretty solid 4K monitor for the price if you’re a professional or casual user, but gamers or those who require Adobe RGB need to look elsewhere.
Hewlett Packard (or HP Inc. as of 2015) is no stranger to the world of PC peripherals, including monitors. With their newer line of 10-Bit 4K monitors, they’ve definitely gotten it right when it comes to the perfect harmony between price, performance, and perks—with an excellent monitor series that features some nice implementations to set them apart from the competition. While this specific Z- series of monitors come in sizes of 27, 32 and 43 inches, we’ll be taking a closer look at the Z27—a 27-inch monitor aimed at pro users looking to jump up to UHD resolution.
As we mentioned before, this is a monitor designed mostly for professionals to use in an office setting, so you won’t find any RGB lights or flashy branding here. The Z27, however, is well-constructed and feels quite sturdy. The stand has a nice wide base for support with solid balance to keep it grounded. It also has some useful ergonomic features, allowing users to adjust the height, swivel, and tilt to suit their needs.
With their newer line of 10-Bit 4K monitors, they’ve definitely gotten it right when it comes to the perfect harmony between price, performance, and perks.
Moving up from the base, the monitor is made of basic (but not cheap-looking) black metallic plastic with a thin two-pronged stand to allow wires to pass through. At the front, the Z27 has perhaps the best-looking razor-thin bezels we’ve seen on a 4K monitor. The bottom bezel is a bit thicker in order to house the display controls near the bottom right. These are your typical multi-button controls, so no handy joystick for easier use. Though they aren’t too bad, it’s not as intuitive as LG’s multi-selection joystick for quick setting changes.
The rear of the monitor is where you’ll find the ports and inputs. First, there’s a USB hub located on the right with ports facing towards the side for easy access to hook up accessories. Under the large bump-out on this side, you’ll find the inputs for things like the HDMI, DisplayPort and USB-C connection. On the left side, there’s also a power switch next to the power input, so make sure you turn this on before driving yourself crazy trying to figure out why the monitor won’t work. Most monitors only have one power button, so it’s worth mentioning.
Start off by unboxing everything, removing the plastic film and other protective covers, and detach the quick-start instructions taped to the front. Hold onto these because they’re actually perfect to follow. This monitor supports HDMI, DisplayPort (and mini), but also USB-C if you want to use it with a newer laptop or Macbook. There is, however, no Thunderbolt connection.
After doing the basics here with your new monitor, it may benefit you to quickly search online for an ICC profile, which can give your specific monitor a little boost. These are easy to find online, so look one up if you feel the need to tweak it some more.
Starting off with brightness and contrast, the Z27 can hit a maximum of 350 cd/m², which is typical of this range. This means you won’t be getting any HDR capability, but it should do fine in a moderately bright environment. The contrast ratio is rated at 1300:1 / 5000000:1, so it falls in line with other similarly priced displays, also sporting a solid 2.2 gamma curve.
The Z27 focuses more on color accuracy, which is great for people who do professional work on their screen.
Because the panels used in the Z27 (and other models in the series) have 10-bit color outputs, they’re pretty much guaranteed to have quality gamut coverage and accuracy. This model has very accurate specs for sRGB accuracy, but only around 75 percent for AdobeRGB. This may limit the effectiveness for certain pro users in the photo or video field, but for most light or amateur users, it’ll definitely work.
As with most other IPS panels, viewing angles here are great for the majority of cases, and a massive step up if you’re coming from a cheaper TN panel. There will definitely be some backlight bleed on these (ours had some, but nothing insane), so be aware of that before you buy. Unfortunately, this issue seems to plague just about every LCD monitor around these days, so playing the “panel lottery” might be necessary if yours is exceptionally bad or distracting. Because of this, it’s wise to purchase from a seller with a good return policy.
Speaking of return policies, HP actually has one of the better guarantees with this monitor, and will replace it if there’s even one single dead pixel. Some manufacturers don’t support this if there’s maybe one or two dead pixels, so that’s a nice perk on HP’s part.
HP actually has one of the better guarantees with this monitor, and will replace it if there’s even one single dead pixel.
Lastly, seeing how there is no FreeSync or G-Sync available and that the response time is 8ms, we would not recommend this monitor for gaming. While it will connect to either a gaming PC or console, the slow response time will undoubtedly give you some blurring and ghosting in faster scenes.
Like most other monitors geared to the professional market, the Z27 does have a few additional features hidden in the OSD to choose from. These can be accessed with the controls at the bottom right. A few of the different modes here include the ability to switch from sRGB to BT.709 (also known by the abbreviation Rec. 709), a night mode, low blue light, HDEnhance, and dynamic contrast and black stretch.
We mostly didn’t use these modes, but they’re there if you want to fiddle with them. There’s also more customizations in here for adjusting things like brightness, backlight, saturation, and all your other typical settings.
If you’re a professional or semi-pro who relies on a quality monitor with solid color accuracy and want 4K resolution, the Z27 is an affordable, quality product perfect for you.
Depending on which size in the Z-series of monitors you get from HP, the price will obviously vary a bit, but they’re all aggressively priced no matter which you choose. The 27-inch model we tested here can be had for roughly $500 to $530 or so. Though the monitor may not have some of the fancy bells and whistles of other displays in the range, it does have USB-C connectivity (somewhat rare on lower-end models), and it’s very well priced.
The LG 27UD58-B is quite a bit cheaper, by roughly $200. Now, both of them will perform relatively the same for most real-world cases (in casual use), but while the Z27 is marketed towards pros, the 27UD58-B is tailored to gamers. This is because LG has lower latency, FreeSync, and various modes for enhancing gameplay. The Z27 focuses more on color accuracy, which is great for people who do professional work on their screen.
Between these two, both are good options in their own right, but that’ll depend on what you plan to use your monitor for. Gaming and watching entertainment? Go with the LG. Editing photos, videos or designs? Definitely the Z27.
Affordable and excellent for pros or light entertainment.
If you’re a professional or semi-pro who relies on a quality monitor with solid color accuracy and want 4K resolution, the Z27 is an affordable, quality product perfect for you. This monitor can be paired perfectly with a Macbook or smaller laptop that only has a USB-C connection. That said, if you want high Adobe RGB accuracy, you’ll need to cough up a bit more for that feature elsewhere.