HP Z27q 27-inch 5K Professional Monitor Review

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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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Christian Eberle
Contributing Editor

Christian Eberle is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He's a veteran reviewer of A/V equipment, specializing in monitors. Christian began his obsession with tech when he built his first PC in 1991, a 286 running DOS 3.0 at a blazing 12MHz. In 2006, he undertook training from the Imaging Science Foundation in video calibration and testing and thus started a passion for precise imaging that persists to this day. He is also a professional musician with a degree from the New England Conservatory as a classical bassoonist which he used to good effect as a performer with the West Point Army Band from 1987 to 2013. He enjoys watching movies and listening to high-end audio in his custom-built home theater and can be seen riding trails near his home on a race-ready ICE VTX recumbent trike. Christian enjoys the endless summer in Florida where he lives with his wife and Chihuahua and plays with orchestras around the state.

  • Xajel
    So, how long till we will see a 21:9 version of these... the 21:9 version will be good, as it will you give you the 21:9 ratio and still be able to view a full 4K resolution in the same time, as 21:9 version will have 2160 vertical resolution with 5K width... final res is 5120x2160
  • fmyhr
    No measurement of power consumption? Did you lose your Kill-A-Watt?
  • Tanquen
    Rent is too damn high!

    27" is too damn small! (So is anything under 34" for 4 and 5k screens.)
  • thor220
    No measurement of power consumption? Did you lose your Kill-A-Watt?

    This is a professional monitor and one of the few 5k screens on the market. Power consumption does not matter.
  • utroz
    You would need a microscope to see the pixels on this bad boy!!
  • 10tacle
    Ping me when this resolution is available in 32"...and there are GPUs powerful enough to run games at that resolution since even SLI 980Tis get taken to their knees in 4K in games like Witcher 3.
  • Bghead8che
    Too bad regarding the Adobe RGB test. Otherwise a pretty decent monitor, especially for the price. You wonder if the Adobe RGB issue is specific to the exact monitor they tested or it affects all HP Z27q models?
  • Larry Litmanen
    Ping me when this resolution is available in 32"...and there are GPUs powerful enough to run games at that resolution since even SLI 980Tis get taken to their knees in 4K in games like Witcher 3.

    I have a 34 inch Dell Monitor, 21:9,, rather than wait until the GPUs will become powerful enough i simply temporarily switched to playing AAA games on the XBox One. So i have the monitor for general PC activity and play Xbox on it as well.

    Realistically it is simply too much to drop all that money on the monitor and a GPU, of the two i think GPU can wait.
  • Karsten75
    You say "... it will send a true 10-bit signal to the display."

    That is one of my perennial questions. How to verify that when looking at a monitor's specifications. Can you provide any guidance in that area? I lnow that 10-bit (or 8-bit) is important for the entire path of image production, but I do not always know how to ensure that.
  • none12345
    The more 200ppi screens the merrier. As far as processing power for games...ya we arent there yet, but we should have gpus later this year that will be fine on that res. I wouldnt touch this screen tho because its only 60hz. Not touching 4k till there are a bunch of 120hz monitors out. All thought id really like an OLED screen next, id really like to see 10bit per channel 120hz OLED become average for monitors.