HP Z27q 27-inch 5K Professional Monitor Review


HP's Z27q exhibits a couple of small anomalies in the areas of gamma and Adobe RGB color gamut, but in comparing it to the earliest Ultra HD displays, it's already a step ahead. If you recall the first generation of 3840x2160 screens, they required an unusual dual-HDMI hookup to feed their video processor architecture. DisplayPort came along to provide a one-cable solution in version 1.2. Even though the first-generation 5K displays require two DisplayPort cables to function at their native pixel count they seem to do so more reliably. Once the MST feature is enabled in the Z27q, it will work without issue.

There's no doubt you'll need a substantial system to drive the Z27q. HP has certified it for use with a fairly long list of AMD FirePro and Nvidia Quadro workstation graphics cards. And as it turns out, a single Nvidia Titan X is up to the task as well. The bottom line is when moving 14.7 million pixels at 60Hz, the need for processing power cannot be overstated. Before you pull the trigger on a 5K monitor, be sure you have the necessary support hardware.

Regarding the color and gamma errors we measured, they are minor but we think there is room for improvement considering the use cases this display is intended for. sRGB and Rec.709 modes measured perfectly on our sample and matched the factory-supplied data sheet. But the Adobe RGB preset exhibited issues that should be addressed with a firmware update. For business use this isn't a problem but if you perform color-critical tasks that require a wide gamut, there are more accurate high-res products available.

The final factor to consider, of course, is price. It wasn't all that long ago that an Ultra HD display would set you back $3,000. The Z27q comes in at an MSRP of $2,000 and is selling on the street, as of this writing, for around $1,200. Considering many monitors of lower resolution cost more than that, this new 5K screen is a pretty good value.

Even though it didn't quite measure up to every aspect of its factory calibration, the Z27q does most things very well and has a stunning image. It was fairly easy to get it up and running and its price-tag is surprisingly low. As a solid example of bleeding-edge technology that is also practical and has a tangible benefit, we're giving it our Tom's Editor Approved Award.

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Christian Eberle is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware, covering Monitors.

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