HP Dreamcolor Z27X; An In-Depth Review

Color accuracy and grayscale performance are the two most important factors graphics pros look for when shopping for work monitors. And that is exactly what HP DreamColor line is all about – provide professional users with a display great color accuracy, excellent grayscale performance, wide selection of features with comprehensive settings and calibration support. One of its larger versions named HP Dreamcolor Z27X, an Advanced High-Performance IPS panel with 2560 x 1400 resolution and can display more than 1 billion colors. But how does it stand against the fiercely competitive market of professional-grade monitors? Read this in-depth review to find out.

(image from Amazon)

Who is it for?

If you’re a graphics professional, someone who wants to master today’s digital film such as CGI effects, artist who demand for color-accurate monitor, then you need a display that can easily switch between major color standards, grayscale, and gamma that currently in use. One good example of this monitor is HP’s entry product to the professional monitor market – the HP Dreamcolor Z27X. This product covers sRGB, Adobe RGB, DCI (Digital Cinema Initiative) and Rec.2020 (the new proposed standard for Ultra High Definition).

 

Benefits

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HP Dreamcolor Z27X fills in the niche of reasonably priced professional-grade monitor. It may sound absurd for regular users, as this monitor doesn’t come with a cheap price tag, but color-accurate monitors for graphics and post-production video content are actually worth tens of thousands of dollars. It’s a 27-inch 2nd-generation IPS panel running at 2560×1440 resolution. It’s actually an update of HP’s 2008 DreamColor, it cost more than half the price with three times better color accuracy performance.

 

With Built-in Calibration Software for Graphics Pros

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As said earlier, the HP Dreamcolor Z27X is tailor made for graphics professionals, and one of the many features that make it a great professional-grade monitor is its built-in calibration software. Users need not to download monitor calibration programs from the web, as this monitor has its own calibration system for each of the six color-space presets, and even allow users to make their own custom color profile using their own settings for color, gamma, white point and luminance.

 

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Users of this display however, need to use supported colorimeter or spectroradiomater, as both of which are not included in this display. For hardware support, this HP monitor has quite a comprehensive list, including of course the HP DreamColor Calibration Solution, and others like the Konica Minolta CA-210 colorimeter, Klein K-10A colorimeter, as well as lots of Photo Research PR Series spectroradiometers.

 

All About Performance; Great Out-of-the-box Color Accuracy and Superb Grayscale performance

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As a professional-grade monitorHP Dreamcolor Z27X takes pride on its excellent color accuracy. Right off the bat you can easily notice the superior color performance of this HP display, as its out-of-the-box color accuracy is already very good. Digging a little further, chromaticity test shows all red, green and blue coordinates are on point in their ideal CIE coordinates. This test is performed with sRGB D65 color space and AdobeRGB and BT.709 presets.

This HP display also aced DisplayMate 64-Step Grayscale test, as it correctly shows each and every shade of light and dark grays, without any hints of clipped whites or crushed blacks. All the highlights in test images details were consistently sharp. Dark scenes from ‘The Matrix’ in Blu-ray have very good shadow details.

 

Excellent Viewing Angle Performance, Keeping Consistently Clear Images in All Angles

The panel is equipped with a special backlighting and customized front polarizers to help it keep blacks look darker, even when viewed from the sides, bottom or top angle. The same goes for its colors.


Decent Pixel Response Time and Input Lag for Average Day-to-Day Use

HP Dreamcolor Z27X scores 7ms (gray-to-gray) pixel response time, which is a little longer than the ideal, but quite capable of having smooth fast-motion performance for regular use. Playing big title movies such as Aliens vs. Predators may cause some blurring, but hey, this display isn’t meant for Blu-ray entertainment or hardcore gaming.

For its input lag (the time it takes for the display to execute commands from keystrokes), the display scored a respectable 26.1ms, still far from ideal, but definitely good enough for standard use. Dedicated gaming monitors such as the BenQ RL2460HT is far way superior, as it scores 10.1ms input lag.

 

Excellent Color and Grayscale Performance Can Mean Higher Power Consumption

This HP DreamColor monitor runs at 58 watts at Standard mode, which is a little higher than what we’ve been used to for monitors of its size. Philips Brilliance MultiView (272P4QPJKEB) for example, uses PLS (Plane-Line Switching) panel, and only consumes 42 watts of power, while the Acer K272HUL (an IPS-based monitor) uses only 38 watts.

Also, HP Dreamcolor Z27X doesn’t come with power-saving picture modes. Should you wish to conserve power when you’re not sitting on your work desk, then it’s good to know there’s ‘auto-sleep- mode to help conserve energy.

 

Dual Monitor or Multiple Monitor Setup Options

As a professional monitor, it is just right to pair this HP monitor with an adjustable stand, considering users will be using this display for hours. Though it does really come with some adjustment options, HP Dreamcolor Z27X doesn’t really offer enough adjustments for ergonomic work setup. It does however, come with VESA standard mounting holes, making it easy for users to use third-party solutions and mount this 27-inch display to a more flexible and versatile mounting system, even for dual monitor setup.

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For dual monitor setup, you can opt for either the LX Dual Side-by-Side Arm or LX Dual Stacking Arm, both from Ergotron. Both arms can extend up to 25 inches, with 18 inches range adjustment, allowing you to push your monitor completely out of the way when not in use, and free your desk. It is a very versatile solution, easy to setup and install to your workstation, and effortless to use.

(image from Amazon)

If you want to fully upgrade your office with a sit-stand desk, then you can opt for Vertdesk Electric Adjustable Height Desk. This desk is one of the most affordable desks out there for dual monitor setup, but make no mistake about its price tag, as it is fully equipped with great components and quality build. It comes with a push button control for easy operation; strong German Gear and Spindle Drive systems for smooth adjustments and whisper quiet lift mechanism, very spacious desk, and wide range of adjustability.

 

Design and Features

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Design wise, HP Dreamcolor Z27X looks ordinary, typical HP business monitor; matte-black finish for the cabinet, 2.5 inches thick frame, and 0.8 inches black bezels with rounded corners. It weighs around 14 lbs., which is supported by a solid matte-black stand that comes with a sliding hinge, while the backside of the cabinet features with VESA mounting holes.

 

Buttons and Controls

HP Dreamcolor Z27X has five (5) function buttons, plus a Power button, all conveniently located at the right size bezel. The buttons lights up with white and red, and can be adjusted to dim, good feature for low-light environments or playing games and watching movies. The OSD (on-screen display) labels shows up on screen whenever you press any of these buttons. The buttons provides access to the Color Space menu where users can choose 7 factory-calibrated presets, color-space presets, as well as AdobeRGB (Adobe color space), sRGB D65 (white point of 6,500K), sRGB D50 (white point of 5,000K), BT.709 (HDTV), BT.2020 (UHDTV), DCI P3 (Digital Cinema Initiatives), and Native.

The luminance button on the other hand, allow users to adjust the screen’s luminance, which ranges from 48 cd/m2 to 250 cd/m2, while the Input Select button allow users to choose their display’s input source.

The Open Menu buttons provides quick access to more settings, including the monitor’s features such as Picture-In-Picture (PIP) configurations, change image characteristics like Aspect Ratio, and enable management options. There’s also the Blue Channel option and ‘Overscan the Frame’ features, the former turns off colors red and green for color inspection of images in compression errors, while the latter feature works by enlarging images by 5%, a very helpful feature for precise video editing.

 

Wide Selection of Connectivity Options

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As a professional-grade monitor we expect HP Dreamcolor Z27X to have a generous set of I/O ports, and HP delivered well in this aspect. This Dreamcolor monitor features two (2) DisplayPort inputs, one HDMI port, three (3) USB 3.0 ports (1 upstream, 2 downstream) and two (2) USB 2.0 ports at the backside of the cabinet. It also comes with a digital audio output, an analog audio output, and RJ-45 LAN jack. The backside of the cabinet also features two more USB 3.0 ports, making it convenient for users to plug in their devices to the big display.

The LAN connector allows users to plug the HP monitor to a network for easy remote management. Users can also use web-based consoles similar to router’s administrative console to update the device’s firmware, track asset-tag data like deployment date, calibration status, and physical location, change color-push settings, push custom settings to make way for multiple monitors on the network.

 

Solid and Sturdy Stand with Decent Adjustments for Basic Comfort

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The black stand supports the huge 27-inch nicely in place. It comes with basic adjustments for comfort, including almost 15 inches of height adjustment, 25⁰ tilt and can pivot 90⁰ to rotate display from landscape to portrait and vice versa. Compared to its rival NEC MultiSync PA242W, however, the monitor is not programmed to automatically rotate its display to different orientation mode, which means you have to manually switch the orientation through graphics control panel.

 

Tech Specs

Package includes the HDMI cable, a DisplayPort cable, a DisplayPort mini cable, a USB upstream cable, a printed calibration report, and a resource disc containing User Guide and the drivers of the monitor.

 

Bottom Line

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The HP Dreamcolor Z27X doesn’t come cheap, but with its performance and quality, it is worth every penny, plus, if you’re a graphics professional, then you know that computer monitor is one of the few things you need to invest in for your work.

With outstanding color accuracy and gray-scale reproduction, HP Dreamcolor Z27X redefines a new hallmark of professional-grade monitor. It is fully capable of delivering professional performance for a reasonable price. It also has 1.07-billion-color DreamColor engine, wide array of factory-calibrated color gamut presets to fit all your viewing and working needs, as well as embedded-calibration software to fit the needs of any graphics professionals in their transition from one color space to another with a simple touch of a button. Users can even make their own custom calibrated profiles without the need of extra software.

If there’s anything we can complain about this product, it would be its lack of auto-rotate support, which means you have to manually rotate the orientation yourself when you switch from landscape to portrait mode, and vice versa.

The product packs a lot for its price of $1499 at Amazon. So unless you’re willing to pay 6 figures for a professional-grade display, this is the best option out there for critical colorwork. It’s loaded with features that large animation studios or VFX house would really enjoy having. All in all, HP Dreamcolor Z27X offers great build quality and comprehensive list of setup and adjustment functions, while keeping essential ease of use.

For more in-depth reviews like this, check out Dual Monitors Guide today!



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