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HP Z27u G3 review

A connectivity masterclass with a significant caveat

HP Z27u G3 2
(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

HP’s latest 27-inch monitor is a connectivity masterclass, but it comes with a significant image-quality caveat.

For

  • Gorgeous build quality
  • Excellent productivity feature set
  • USB-C with 100W charging

Against

  • Fairly pricey for this class of panel
  • Not 4K or wide gamut
  • Problematic image processing

Optimal productivity doesn’t automatically mean maximum spec, not when it comes to business monitors. Take the new HP Z27u G3, HP’s latest 27-inch model for its premium ‘Z’ line of productivity panels. It’s a quad-HD or 1440p rather than full 4K monitor. But it does have USB Type-C connectivity with charging support, plus DisplayPort daisy chaining.

Star ratings

Overall: 3

Design: 5

Features: 4.5 

Performance: 2.5

Usability: 5

Value: 3.5

Similarly, there’s no HDR support or wide gamut color coverage. So, this is not a monitor aimed at serious content creation pros. But it is a bright IPS display at 350 nits and it’s built into a compact, high quality aluminum chassis with VESA mount support, a quad-port USB-A hub and ethernet support. In other words, it’s designed for maximum connectivity and minimum cable clutter.

Price and availability

At $439 in the USA and £466 in the UK, the HP Z27u G3 is very much at the upper end of the price scale for a conventional 27-inch 1440p (as opposed to 4K) productivity panel without HDR or wide gamut color coverage. The UK price is especially painful. However, the inclusion of USB-C connectivity complete with fully 100W of charging, plus daisy chaining, ethernet and a high quality chassis go a long way to justifying the price. There are cheaper 1440p options with USB-C. There are even 4K 27-inch panels with USB-C for similar money. But you’ll miss out on some of the Z27u G3’s broader feature set. 

It’s also worth noting that HP offers largely the same monitor minus USB-C and ethernet. It’s known as the HP Z27q G3 and sells for around £150 / $100 less.

HP Z27u G3 1

(Image credit: Future)

Design and features

Like most of HP’s ‘Z’ brand kit, the HP Z27u G3 looks and feels like a very high quality piece of equipment. The aluminum chassis is a nice touch and unusual even among the most expensive monitors. In fact, the overall impression is very much in line with premium portable devices like tablets and smartphones. That’s impressive and not something you can say about many PC monitors. 

The slim-bezel design, meanwhile, ensures both compact proportions and a contemporary vibe. The HP Z27u G3’s stand also allows for a full range of adjustment, including tilt, swivel, height and rotate into portrait. So the ergonomics are as good as the design and build.

Specifications

Panel size 27-inch

Panel type IPS

Resolution 2,560 x 1,440

Brightness 350cd/m2

Contrast 1000:1

Pixel response 5ms

Color coverage 99% sRGB, DCI-P3 85%

Refresh rate 60Hz

Vesa  100mm x 100mm

Inputs DisplayPort 1.4, HDMI 2.0, USB-C with 100W charging

Features wise, the 27-inch 2,560 by 1,440 panel uses IPS technology, but it’s a conventional SDR model with a single backlight, no local dimming and no HDR support. Rated at 99% or the sRGB color space and 85% of DCI-P3, it’s not a wide-gamut panel, either. 

Instead, it majors on productivity features starting with USB Type-C connectivity. That includes 100W of charging power, enabling full support for all but the most power-hungry laptops. There’s also a four-port USB 3.2 Type-A hub, so a wide range of peripherals can be connected to the display while maintaining the slick, simple single-cable connection to a laptop. 

The HP Z27u G3’s real party trick, however, is the DisplayPort 1.4 output, enabling monitor daisy chaining. All of which means you can connect a laptop via a single cable and drive multiple displays, plus all your peripherals. That’s very neat. More conventionally, DisplayPort 1.4 and HDMI 2.0 inputs are also included.

HP Z27u G3 4

(Image credit: Future)

Performance

HP rates the HP Z27u G3 at 350cd/m2 and the subjective experience is pretty punchy. Strictly speaking, white tones could be a little crisper and brighter. But the color balance is excellent and there’s little to no evidence of compression in our test images. 

Indeed, HP provides a full factory calibration print out for the Z27u G3. That’s unusual for a display that isn’t aimed at content professionals but nevertheless shows Delta Es below 1 across the board for the sRGB gamut. 

It’s also worth noting that the 2,560 by 1,440 pixel native resolution will make more sense for many users than full 4K or UHD. For most users, 4K on this panel size will require increasing the scaling setting in Windows for ergonomic viewing, thereby cancelling out any advantage over 1440p in terms of desktop space. Of course, a 1440p panel like this isn’t as crisp, detailed and sharp as a 4K monitor.

HP Z27u G3 5

(Image credit: Future)

As an IPS panel, it’s no surprise to find the HP Z27u G3 offers excellent viewing angles and decent pixel response. The latter is rated at 5ms and HP includes four levels of overdrive in the OSD for those who like a little hand tuning. For the record, the two fastest settings introduce visible overshoot and therefore ghosting, but a decent compromise can be achieved. 

Speaking of the OSD, HP has provided presets for the sRGB, DCI-P3 and BT.709 gamuts, which is once again unusual given the remit. How much use some of those presets will realistically be given the moderate color coverage is a little but of a conundrum, of course. 

HP Z27u G3 6

(Image credit: Future)

If that all sounds like most good news there is, however, a catch. The HP Z27u G3 runs a pixel sharpening algorithm that can’t be switched off. Within the OSD menu there are numerous levels the user can choose from, which either soften or sharpen the image.

However, there’s no native unprocessed option. So, should you prefer to minimize the image processing in this regard, which we think most users would, you have to choose between either a slightly softened or slightly sharpened image. You can’t have native, unprocessed pixel definition. This is a surprising choice by HP and not terribly welcome.

HP Z27u G3 7

(Image credit: Future)

Verdict

The HP Z27u G3 has a great deal going for it. The design and build quality is outstanding, easily the best we’ve seen for this class of display. The feature set is likewise super strong given the productivity remit. Yes, the Z27u G3 lacks HDR and wide gamut support. It’s also quite expensive given it offers 1440p rather than full 4K resolution. 

But the extensive connectivity options, including USB Type-C with charging, display daisy chaining, ethernet and a quad-port USB 3.2 hub make for ergonomic bliss. More’s the pity, therefore, about that image-processing problem. It may not be a deal breaker for some users. And it would be trivially easy for HP to fix on a technical level. But as things stand, the HP Z27u G3 comes with a significant caveat regarding image quality.

Contributor

Technology and cars. Increasingly the twain shall meet. Which is handy, because Jeremy (Twitter) is addicted to both. Long-time tech journalist, former editor of iCar magazine and incumbent car guru for T3 magazine, Jeremy reckons in-car technology is about to go thermonuclear. No, not exploding cars. That would be silly. And dangerous. But rather an explosive period of unprecedented innovation. Enjoy the ride.