Almost a year ago, we reviewed the HP Z27x monitor, which was a 27-inch display capable of covering a very wide gamut. It had a reasonable 2560x1440 resolution, which was pretty common for this size of display. But at CES 2015, HP announced the HP Z27q monitor, which takes a step back on gamut and manageability, but takes two steps forward with resolution. The HP Z27q is a '5K’ display, which means it has an impressive 5120x2880 resolution. This easily passes the UHD or '4K' levels which are becoming more popular. The HP Z27q is one of a handful of 5K displays on the market now, and HP came in with a pretty low launch price of $1300. When I say pretty low, it’s of course relative to the other 5K displays in the market, but it undercuts the Dell UP2715K by several hundred dollars, even today.

The Z27q lacks some of the management capabilities of it’s Z27x brethren, but it still packs in some powerful features. This is a full 10-bit panel, so it can display 1.07 billion colors. It features a 14-bit 3D Look-Up Table (LUT), and it has settings for both the standard sRGB color space and the wider AdobeRGB color space. It does drop the wide-gamut of the Z27x, which had support for Rec. 2020 (although it can’t reach the full gamut), and there is no option for DCI either. There is an option for BT.709 though, if you need it.

Due to the high resolution, there is no option for HDMI or DVI input. The only inputs are the two DisplayPort connectors required to drive this monitor. As a refresher, DisplayPort 1.2, which is the current standard, has enough bandwidth to run UHD, or 3840x2160 content at 60Hz. In order to drive 5K, or 5120x2800, which is 14.7 million pixels, two DisplayPort 1.2 outputs are tied together to form a single display. 4K and 5K sound awfully similar, but 5K has 78% more pixels than 4K. It takes a lot of bandwidth to drive this. HP does offer a USB hub built in, and it is USB 3.0. The hub has two USB ports on the back of the display, and another two on the left side.

HP 27-Inch 5K Display
Manufacturer Specifications Model Z27q
Video Inputs 2 x DisplayPort 1.2
Panel Type IPS
Pixel Pitch 0.116 mm
Colors 1.07 billion (10 bit panel)
Gamut sRGB
AdobeRGB
BT.709
Brightness 300 cd/m2
Contrast Ratio 1000:1
Response Time 14ms (on/off)
Viewable Size 27-inch
Resolution 5120x2880@60Hz
Viewing Angle 178°/178°
Backlight LED
Screen Treatment Anti-Glare
Height Adjustable 130 mm
Tilt -5° to +22°
Swivel +- 45°
VESA Wall Mounting Yes
Dimensions w/Stand
at maximum height
63.43 x 21.71 x 54.88 cm
24.97 x 8.55 x 21.61 inches
Weight 7.42 kg
16.36 lb
Additional Features 4 x USB 3.0 output
Accessories 2 x DisplayPort Cables
USB 3.0 Cable
All cables 1.8 m

HP uses a pretty decent on-screen display which can be set to either icons or text. I prefer the text mode, but regardless of how you use it, it offers an easy way to set up the color space, adjust the brightness, and set the individual color channels as needed. Since there are no extra inputs, the menu itself is pretty simple.

Pressing any of the buttons opens up the On-Screen Display, and once opened, the bottom of the OSD shows what each button will do. You can set the device to automatically power off and on at certain times of the day, as well as set the target color range. Brightness is of course one of the quick adjustments. You can also check out the input to ensure that you are running at the correct resolution. There are a lot less options here than some monitors, only because there is really only the one input, where as most lower resolution panels may offer selection of any of the inputs and adjustments for each.

All in all, the OSD design is good enough to get the job done. Once configured, you likely won't be in there much.

Design

The design of the HP Z27q is fairly pedestrian, with the monitor built out of flat black plastic. The HP logo is unobtrusive in the centre, and the on-screen menu options are on the right side. If you were wondering how HP was able to undercut the competition, this is one of the areas where they have saved some money. 

The stand easily blends into the background - it is made out of the same plastic material, but it is a fully featured stand. There is tilt, swivel, and height adjustments available. Cable management is a bit sparse, with just a single rectangular slot at the bottom of the stand to route the cables through. If you use the display at maximum height, all of the cables are going to be exposed here, so some more cable management options would be nice, but in the end it’s functional.

The bottom of the display houses the two DisplayPort inputs, as well as a USB 3.0 input, which then branches off to two USB 3.0 ports on the bottom, and two on the left side.

Although the Z27q is just a plain black monitor, the design is very functional, with plenty of adjustments available to suit pretty much any workspace. If the stand is not of your liking, you can of course mount it using a standard VESA mount as well.

Contrast, Brightness and Gamut
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  • ImSpartacus - Tuesday, December 22, 2015 - link

    And all those people look at their shiny 4k monitors and go, "well shit."

    It's good to see some 5k monitors hitting the market, even if there are some nagging issues like in this case.
    Reply
  • xenol - Tuesday, December 22, 2015 - link

    Not really. The PPI is too small to use at 1:1 at typical monitor viewing distances, leaving the effective resolution somewhere between 2560x1440 and 4K. 4K is barely on the edge where 27" is just too small to comfortably read at typical monitor viewing distances.

    It'd be going Nelson Muntz over someone who got a 1080p 5" smartphone and a 1440p 5" one came out.
    Reply
  • ImSpartacus - Tuesday, December 22, 2015 - link

    No one in their right mind would use such a monitor in default scaling. I thought it was commonly understood that you're supposed to set dpi scaling at about 200%. That's why the dimensions are literally doubled as compared to the classic 1440p for this 27" size. Reply
  • npz - Tuesday, December 22, 2015 - link

    If you aren't using it at close to 1:1 scaling then that means the extra resolution is wasted on your eyes. Reply
  • Spunjji - Tuesday, December 22, 2015 - link

    Nonsense. I'm using a 24" 4k screen at 175% scaling. It means I get more desktop real-estate than a 1080p monitor, text rendering is extremely good and in Lightroom I can check an image for focus without having to zoom in to 100%. It gives me a much, much better idea of whether or not a photo is suitable for printing. Reply
  • npz - Tuesday, December 22, 2015 - link

    I never mentioned comparing to 1080p. I'm comparing to native res. If your eyes were good enough to use it at 125% scaling or 100% scaling you would get even more real estate, nor have to zoom as much! Basically 75% of the resolution is being wasted on your eyes and probably more for other people. Reply
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, December 22, 2015 - link

    That's only true for the shrinking subset of software that's not DPI aware (or games where you lack the GPU power to run native). For anything that does work, you don't get the 100% version scaled up and full of artifacts; you get things drawn with more pixels so they look much sharper. The 3200x1800 screen on my XPS13 (275DPI - 250% scaling) looks beautiful in every day use because it uses more than 6 times (2.5^2 - 6.25) as many pixels to draw characters; making them much sharper. My next major tech purchase is probably going to be a 5k monitor and 2 of next years flagship GPUs (so I can game at native resolution) and have the same viewing quality on my desktop. Reply
  • blzd - Thursday, December 24, 2015 - link

    Gaming at native 5k? That's a lot of money to play at 30 FPS. Reply
  • ethanolson - Tuesday, January 19, 2016 - link

    It's simple.

    a) set the desktop scaling to match a piece of paper at full zoom in Acrobat and Word so document viewing is correct, and icon size and placement is completely functional.

    b) enjoy the added resolution (and, in this case, color accuracy) for media work, smooth renderings of text in documents and the web.

    c) enjoy the 27" for overall desktop real estate even with the desktop scaled.
    Reply
  • javishd - Tuesday, December 22, 2015 - link

    No no no. You goofball, the point of high dpi isn't to make everything tiny, it's to make everything sharp. You want 2x scaling on this screen. Text would be readable by normal person, same size as the 27 1440p display. The text, along with everything else would appear much sharper due to high dpi. The same thing that's happening on your phone or rMBP if you have one. Reply

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