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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  • SolMiester - Tuesday, December 22, 2015 - link

    +1.
    I struggle with my 28"4K, IMO 5K @ 27" is a waste of time and money!
    Reply
  • jbrizz - Tuesday, December 22, 2015 - link

    I totally agree. There is no point in pushing technology any further beyond this point. In fact, I might take away all but 640k of your RAM, why would anyone need more than that? Reply
  • npz - Tuesday, December 22, 2015 - link

    Because in this case the objective value in the tech is based on human perception. So we can say that the subjective value for this then, is based on the placebo effect. This much is provable given the fact that everyone would have to use a very large amount of scaling. Reply
  • superjaw - Tuesday, December 22, 2015 - link

    NPZ, I don't think your getting what scaling is... First what it is not, is running a lower "non-native" resolution on a high res panel (I think we can all agree that it looks like garbage).

    Modern hi-dpi scaling is running native res but adjusting the size of the on screen elements back to their natural size. (Basically so you fonts, icons, buttons etc are the right size). Things like images render out at the very high native resolution.

    The percentages that are being thrown around basically assume 100% scaling to be somewhere between 70-100 pixels per inch. Double the PPI and you double the scaling to keep everything the same size but rendered with four times the total pixels. It looks amazing when done right and your are utilizing all the pixels. The only reason not to embrace it is if you're stuck using software that is hi-dpi aware yet (cough, AutoDesk Inventor).

    After using a hi dpi Dell XPS 15 for a year for work and a MacBook Pro Retina (15) at home, honestly every other laptop screen just seemed to be broken. 1366x768 should be illegal on laptops bigger than 12".
    Reply
  • inighthawki - Wednesday, December 23, 2015 - link

    I think he's well aware of how DPI scaling works. There just seem to be two camps here: One set of people who think using over 100% is just a waste because it already looks plenty good and you're just paying extra cost for rendering the screen, and another set of people who find the benefit of extra clarity on their text.

    Which camp you're in depends a lot on what you do with your computer, how big the screen is, how far away you sit, etc. As someone who owns a 32" 4K monitor, I set it to 150% and typically find it a complete waste of pixels. I would honestly prefer if the display was just 1440p.

    DPI scaling has some drawbacks too. Ignoring just the drawbacks of old windows software and how the compositor works, there are a number of optimizations in Windows for games when presenting at the native resolution of the panel in fullscreen windowed mode. As a result, gaming at 1080p on a 4K panel may yield you no noticeable artifacts from scaling, but you lose performance due to extra fill rate and the fact that the OS can no longer flip directly to the game's back buffer.
    Reply
  • bhtooefr - Saturday, December 26, 2015 - link

    That depends on where you're doing your scaling - if you're doing it in the panel, the system actually changes the native display mode it's currently running at when you change modes. If you're doing it in the video drivers, then who knows where the scaling's happening. Reply
  • npz - Thursday, December 24, 2015 - link

    As inighthawki mentioned, I'm very well aware of how dpi scaling works.

    My point is that if you can actually, objectively detect the ZOMG extra pixels, you would not *REQUIRE* that much scaling (200% for most people, maybe 300% for this small 5k monitor) just to read text.

    I would understand 125% scaling, but the fact that people require much more scaling than that is objective proof the extra pixels is wasted on peoples' eyes. If your eyes were actually that good, you could make real, efficient use of the pixel real estate by displaying more content. Again, the fact that you cannot perceive the visual information at small sizes is the irony in very high DPI displays.

    I say this as someone whose eyes (without glasses or contacts) are far better than anyone I know. All my colleagues use twice the size of text and sit twice as close to the screen as I do, never mind my older relatives. And half of my colleagues are younger than me. Dunno if it's sitting really close to the TV growing up, dim lighting, too much UV or lack of vitamin-a or beta carotene or other nutrients, but I find a lot of people nowadays have terrible eyesight.
    Reply
  • Drasca - Monday, December 28, 2015 - link

    More likely you just got lucky with genes and no factors of nurture affected eyesight barring blindness from explicit eye damage Reply
  • Spunjji - Tuesday, December 22, 2015 - link

    I don't know if you're using Windows 10 or not, but the DPI scaling is getting very good now. Reply
  • hammer256 - Tuesday, December 22, 2015 - link

    Frankly, at ~24" viewing distance, 2560x1440 on 27" works pretty excellently for 1:1. I don't want to sit any closer to my monitors, not comfortable for the eyes. If I was going for 4K, I would want something like a 37". Which is huge. And 3 of them? I'll need a bigger desk. I guess with 4K I can make do with just 2 monitors, but once you go triple monitors, you don't go back ;) Reply

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