Hazro HZ27WA & HZ27WC
Simon Baker, Updated 7 November 2012 (original review 27 Feb 2011)

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Quick Browse:

Introduction
Colour Accuracy, Black Depth and Contrast
    Calibrated Results
    Calibration Performance Comparisons
Contrast Stability
Dynamic Contrast
Viewing Angles
Panel Uniformity
General and Office Applications
Responsiveness and Gaming
Input Lag
Movies and Video
Differences between the HZ27WA and HZ27WC
Conclusion


Hazro HZ27WA/C

Towards the end of last year we brought you the news of two new 27" models which were in production by Hazro. These new models would form part of their new range of IPS screens, and follow on from the updated 30" HZ30Wi and HZ30Wi-Q models. We took an in depth look at the 30" HZ30Wi back at the beginning of October last year and we were impressed by its performance and its excellent price point. In December we also had chance to test and review the first of the two completed 27" models, the HZ27WB. This screen used a wide colour gamut CCFL backlight unit and offered a  cost effective alternative to Dell's popular U2711 screen. The screen did lack some of the advanced features and extras of the Dell U2711 of course but was a more basic 'no frills' screen with a great spec, some very nice performance and a very low price point.

Now we have an exclusive first look at the brand new HZ27WA, Hazro's second 27" model which is to be released imminently to the market. Hazro tell us that it is expected to be available within the next couple of weeks. This new screen is already attracting a lot of pre-release interest. The reason for this is its very similar spec to Apple's 27" Cinema Display featuring the same LG.Display H-IPS panel, a W-LED backlighting unit, standard gamut and even a glossy screen coating. The HZ27WA is really the only alternative to the Apple Cinema Display with the same type of features so it is bound to attract a lot of interest. Rather than being aimed at professional graphics users it is more aimed at general and multimedia use. There will actually be two versions of this model as well with different interface options. We have tested both version. There is the HZ27WA which features a decent range of connections including Dual-link DVI, HDMI, 2x VGA and component. The other version, which will cost a little less, is the HZ27WC and will be the same screen, but with only a dual-link DVI connection. We will discuss this a little more later.

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Update 7/11/12 - Important Note -
Since this review was published there have been further versions of the HZ27WA/C model released although fundamentally the screen and panel remain the same. Hazro have released glass-free versions of the monitor to some retailers, mostly due to user feedback about dust becoming trapped behind the glass on the "regular" versions. A new HZ27WD model has also been introduced which ultimately replaces the HZ27WA model.

It has been brought to our attention that a number of buyers of the glass fronted version of these screens have experienced problems with the glass front becoming disconnected, slipping in position or completely falling off in some cases. This could present a safety concern, especially where screens are wall-mounted or used by children. We feel it is only right to reference this report in the review so that potential buyers have the full picture. This issue has not affected all samples of the HZ27WA/C/D monitor, but there have been numerous reports of disconnected glass. It seems in many cases the glass may only be held on by double sided tape. We would advise caution when considering a purchase of the glass fronted versions of these screens while this issues is investigated by Hazro.

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Let's start by taking a look at the specs for the HZ27WA / HZ27WC:

Size

27"WS

Colour Depth

A = 1.07 billion colour (8-bit + AFRC)
C = 16.7m colours (8-bit)

Aspect Ratio

16:9

Colour Gamut

Standard gamut = 77% NTSC, 77.2% Adobe RGB, 99.9% sRGB

Resolution

2560 x 1440

Backlight

White-LED (W-LED)

Response Time

6ms G2G

Panel Technology

H-IPS

Contrast Ratio

1000:1 static
(with 1 million:1 DCR on HZ27WA only)

Panel Manufacturer

LG.Display

Brightness

420

Interfaces

A = Dual-link DVI (HDCP), HDMI, 2x D-sub, 1x component
C = Dual-link DVI (HDCP) only

Viewing Angles

178/178

Design Colour

Black glossy plastic bezel and stand with silver panel trim.

Special Features

Tilt adjustment only, 2x 5W integrated speakers, glossy glass panel coating. PiP and aspect ratio control support on HZ27WA only


Above: views of the front of the screen from an angle.

The screen is an all black design with a minimalist silver coloured trim around the front bezel as you can see from the images here. The bezel around the panel measures about 23mm along the top and sides, and is a little thicker at ~33mm along the bottom. The whole front of the screen, including the bezel, is covered by the glass protective sheet, which gives an attractive appearance and is very similar to Apple's 27" Cinema Display. While the pre-release model I had for testing was missing the Hazro branding logo, the final release will feature a small silver logo in the middle of the bottom bezel, again like Apple's screen. There is a small subtle LED in the bottom right hand corner which glows blue during normal operation, and red in standby.


Above: The HZ27WA with a glossy panel coating and stand.

Hazro have reverted to a plastic enclosure and stand for this model due to the cost of the aluminium designs they have used for the HZ30Wi and HZ27WB, and their desire to keep final retail costs down. This doesn't detract from the appearance of the screen at all though, since the front has this nice glossy appearance from the glass coating, and high quality materials have been used throughout. The stand is a glossy black plastic as well which goes with the overall feel of the glossy panel.

The dimensions of the screen are (in millimetres) 654 (W) x 479 (H) x 180 (D) with the stand, and 654 (W) x 461 (H) x 81 (D) without it. The height measurement on this "without stand" spec actually includes the stump at the base of the screen, just not the plastic stand base. I have measured the height of the panel only and found that to be ~ 403mm (H). The screen itself weighs 8.5 Kg maximum and the package overall is 10.5 Kg max.


Above: side views of the screen showing range of tilt. Click for larger versions

There are limited ergonomic adjustments available from this model, with only a basic tilt function available. This offers a decent range of adjustment but is a little stiff to use. Once you have it set to a comfortable angle then you are fine of course. There is no height adjustment from the stand unfortunately which is missed. However, the screen is VESA 100 x 100 compatible and Hazro have told us that a separate stand or monitor arm will be available to buy if required which will add further functionality. This extra stand is expected to retail for around £30 - 40 we are told.


Above: back view of the HZ27WA

The back of the screen is a matte black plastic colour and is pretty rounded and well enclosed. The OSD operational buttons are located on the right hand side of the screen (left hand on this image above). On the HZ27WC these buttons are labelled slightly differently but look the same.


Above: back view of the screen showing OSD buttons and speakers. Click for larger version

There are 2x stereo integrated 5W speakers included as well which you can see on the bottom of the screen, which accept sound either from the HDMI input or from the stereo audio input (connected to your PC).


Above: back view of the HZ27WA showing range of interface options. Click for larger version

The back of the screen features connections for  Dual-link DVI, HDMI, two D-sub VGA connections and component. There are also SPDIF and  PC audio inputs. There is a connection for the external power supply which is a reasonably big power brick.


Above: back view of the HZ27WC showing DVI, audio and power connections only

The HZ27WC (same screen, DVI-only) will only offer a Dual-link DVI interface, but will retail for a little less as a result. You may notice there is a USB port labelled as "SVC" here, but this is not a useable USB port, and is used for servicing by the manufacturer.


Above: view of the glossy black plastic stand

The screen is packaged in a pretty small box and is easy to assemble. The base of the stand is detached but is easily fastened in place with the two provided screws. The screen comes packaged with 1x DL-DVI cable, 1x VGA cable, 1x HDMI cable, 1x stereo audio cable and the external power supply unit. The HZ27WC (DVI only version) will come packaged with just the DL-DVI and stereo audio cables.


Above: The Hazro HZ27WA next to Apple's 27" Cinema Display

The panel itself has a very nice 'feel' to it with this glossy coating, and it helped give a sharp and vivid image I thought and was very nice to look at. It did produce some extra reflections of course in certain lighting conditions, and this could be an issue if you have a window or light source behind you when you work. Screen coating is down to personal taste of course but some people have found the aggressive AG (anti-glare) coating of the recent IPS screens to be an issue. If you've ever seen an Apple display in store in person, you will know what to expect here.


Above: back view of the screen showing OSD buttons of the HZ27WA (left) and HZ27WC (right). Click for larger version

The OSD operation buttons are located on the back right hand side of the screen. As such, they are pretty tricky to use at first, but you soon get used to them. On the HZ27WA there is quick access to select the input, and the right/left arrow buttons give quick access to the volume control for the speakers. These pop up a confirmation message on the screen as well. The HZ27WC model does not have an actual OSD and so the buttons control only power on/off, backlight up/down and volume up/down. No messages are displayed on the screen when you make these changes but the power LED blinks to confirm you have made a change. You can obviously also see and hear the change in brightness and volume respectively as you make those changes. On the HZ27WC the bottom two buttons are there, but do not function.

After using these buttons for a little while you do become accustomed to where they are, and you can feel your way to identify which is which without too much trouble. They are more difficult to use than if they were easily accessible on the front or side of the screen, but this has presumably been done to create the minimalist feel of the screen. At least the HZ27WA model features an OSD menu though, as there isn't one on the Apple 27" Cinema Display! The HZ27WC has more limited controls but useful at least to include backlight control and volume there.


Above: OSD menus shown in the picture and system sections Only available on the HZ27WA

Looking at the HZ27WA for a moment, the OSD itself is reasonable but a little limited compared with some models like the Dell U2711 for instance. As we've said already, at least one is included here and there's enough options to allow for a decent level of control over the hardware settings. You will notice that the images of the OSD are taken at a slight angle, and this is only to avoid reflections of the camera when I took them. The picture menu gives you access to the colour preset modes which has options for normal (default), warm, cool and user. The user menu allows you to control the red, green and blue channels individually, something which we will use during calibration. These RGB controls are greyed out in the other preset modes. You also have access to the brightness and contrast controls in this menu. We will talk about this much more in our calibration section, but the brightness control in this sub-menu is actually a digital white level control. Thankfully there is still a control of the backlight intensity through the 'ECO mode' setting (a normal 'brightness' control) in the other 'misc' sub-menu. The 'system' sub-menu shown here gives you access to the options for the audio and speakers, along with the PiP support through the 'multi window' option. You may notice that there is a slight bug with the firmware here which reports our resolution is 1920 x 1440, when in fact we are running at the native 2560 x 1440. I expect this will be fixed with the final release.

The 'Misc' menu gives you access to a few nice extra features. There are options for aspect ratio control which we will look at later and an option to turn the dynamic contrast ratio (DCR) on or off. It is in this sub-menu that you have access to the 'ECO mode' which is actually a control over the screens backlight intensity. You can control this in steps of 25% between 0 and 100, giving you control over the luminance of the screen properly, along with the associated power savings which can be made. You will notice also the other two sub-menu icons here. The menu with the globe icon was actually part of the OSD software when it was used for an alternative model in Asia where a Digital TV tuner was incorporated. Since this is not included on the HZ27WA this section of the OSD menu will probably be removed in the final version. The monitor icon has a sub-menu which is available when you are using the D-sub analogue interfaces. There are options for clock, phase etc in there.

As we've already mentioned, the HZ27WC (DVI-only model) will not feature an OSD menu and will only offer 5 useable buttons controlling on / off, backlight up / down and volume up / down.

 

HZ27WA



HZ27WC

HZ27WA State

Power Usage (W)

Factory Default

57.1

Calibrated Settings

49.1

Standby

4.0

HZ27WC State

Power Usage (W)

Max brightness

72.5

Calibrated Settings

43.6

Standby

3.4

HZ27WA - We tested the screen at factory settings and once calibrated (see calibration section). At default brightness (50% ECO mode) setting the screen used a reasonable 57.1W of power but this was reduced a little to 49.1W once calibrated, and the ECO mode (backlight intensity) setting was reduced to 25%. In standby the screen uses only 4.0W of power. The top of the plastic gets a little warm during extended use, but the front of the screen does not give off much heat thankfully. There is a slight electronic buzz from the panel if you listen up very close but not something you would notice in normal use.

HZ27WC - We tested the screen at the maximum brightness control which used 72.5W of power. Once calibrated we had reverted to setting level 2 (see our contrast stability section for explanation) which resulted in a reduced power consumption of 43.6W, slightly less in fact that the calibrated setting of the HZ27WA. During standby the screen used only 3.4W of power.

 

It should be noted that the sample we tested was slightly ahead of the official release of the screen so there will be a couple of minor aesthetic changes made when it ships to customers including a couple of screws and there will be some Hazro logos on the screen. Apart from that there shouldn't be any difference.


A note about warranties and support – I have received some emails and read online about some difficulties some buyers have had with the after-sales support from Hazro with their original launch screens. There have been some complaints online about lack of contact, warranty repair issues etc. I wanted to acknowledge that briefly here, as while we are mainly interested in the performance of the screens we test, we do know it can be a concern to potential buyers. Hazro are obviously a smaller company than the Dell’s and HP’s of this World so it's right to be a little cautious, but I have spoken to their representatives about the warranty and support customers can expect to receive from these new screens to which they have responded:

“Whilst Hazro as a brand remains as is, the company was reformed. Hazro is now operated by new management and whilst our warranty policy hasn't changed much, it will be strictly enforced by internal support staff [as opposed to outsourced warranty providers who were used previously]. It is important to note that all new Hazro monitors are manufactured and assembled in the UK so we have better control of the entire manufacturing process. Consumer sales account for 5% of our turnover; yet all consumer warranties will be handled by the same system used to manage business SLAs. A press-release will be prepared at some point outlining what exactly has been going on over the past 16 months. Full warranty details for the new screens will be available on the website soon for those needing specifics.”

 

 


Colour Accuracy, Black Depth and Contrast

The Panel and Backlighting Unit

I wanted to explain the differences between the two 27" Hazro models here and talk a little about their "10-bit colour support". The HZ27WB CCFL model offered a "10-bit" panel as you will be aware from our review. The HZ27WB can take a 10-bit input and, like the majority of so-called "10-bit displays", it has a Frame Rate Control stage at the panel level which gives that support. It isn't a 'true' 10-bit panel, and there are actually very few models which offer this (e.g. the very expensive HP LP2480zx does), so this is not uncommon. Instead the panel is actually an 8-bit + AFRC module (LG.Display LM270WQ2). The HZ27WB supports 10-bit input through this FRC at the panel level. This is the same as NEC's 10-bit displays and the Dell U series which support 1.07 billion colours.

You may notice that the HZ27WA also quotes a colour depth of 1.07 billion colours in Hazro's spec. The screen actually utilises an 8-bit LG.Display H-IPS (LM270WQ1) panel and is capable of producing 16.7 million colours. While the panel does not offer an additional FRC for processing 10-bit sources, this has instead been applied at a controller board level through the use of the two scalers in this model. A 10-bit input would be processed on the scaler side with an 8-bit+AFRC support, but the panel is actually a native 8-bit module. Some other manufacturers, like Eizo for instance, use processes like this to offer "10-bit support" for screens using 8-bit panels. Both manufacturers have commented to us in the past that the end result is pretty comparable in practice really. The difference with the DVI-only edition of the screen (HZ27WC) is that it does not feature the scaler and so cannot offer this additional FRC stage. That model is a standard 8-bit model only offering 16.7 million colour support.

Regardless of how the manufacturers are providing this 10-bit support, you need to take into account whether this is practically useable and whether you're ever going to truly use that colour depth. There is a requirement of your application, operating system, graphics card and software to support a 10-bit colour depth, not just your display. A full 10-bit work flow is still extremely uncommon in the current market so don't get too bogged down with the marketing around 10-bit at this stage.

According to the spec the screen can offer a colour gamut covering approximately 72% of the NTSC colour space as it uses White-LED (W-LED) backlighting. This colour space is approximately the same as the sRGB reference but is less than modern wide gamut screens of course. In fact if you study the precise coordinates of the panel used from LG.Display's datasheet, the screen covers 77% of the NTSC colour space and 99.9% of the sRGB gamut.


Testing Methodology

An important thing to consider for most users is how a screen will perform out of the box and with some basic manual adjustments. Since most users won't have access to hardware colorimeter tools, it is important to understand how the screen is going to perform in terms of colour accuracy for the average user.

I restored my graphics card to default settings and disabled any previously active ICC profiles and gamma corrections. The screen was tested at default factory settings using the DVI interface, and analysed using an X-rite i1 Pro spectrophotometer combined with LaCie's Blue Eye Pro software suite. An NEC-branded and customised i1 Display 2 colorimeter was also used to verify the black point and contrast ratio since the i1 Pro is less reliable at the darker end.

 

Targets for these tests are as follows:

 

We will test both the HZ27WA and HZ27WC in turn. Let's start with the HZ27WA. Default settings of the screen were as follows:

Monitor OSD Option

Default Settings

Brightness

50

Contrast

50

Colour Temp

Normal

ECO Mode

50


Hazro HZ27WA - Default Factory Settings



 

Default Settings

Luminance (cd/m2)

153

Black Point (cd/m2)

0.52

Contrast Ratio

297:1

 

Out of the box the screen did feel a little bright and while the colours felt even, they were perhaps a little washed out in appearance. Blacks also appeared quite grey and not very deep. I tested the screen in default mode with the i1 Pro and LaCie's software package. On the left you can see a CIE diagram representing the colour space which can be covered by this screen with its W-LED backlighting. The black triangle represents the monitors colour space, with the orange triangle being the sRGB reference space. As you can see, the monitor covers this space well, extending a little beyond it in fact along the edges.

 

Default gamma of the screen was moderate, being recorded at 2.0 which matched the performance of the HZ27WB out of the box. This was 9% out from our target of 2.2 gamma. The colour temperature was a little too high and was 14% out from the target, being recorded at 7408k. Luminance was a little too high at default settings, and we recorded it at 153 cd/m2. This wasn't too bad though and certainly not as blinding as some screens out of the box. Black depth was a very poor 0.52 cd/m2 giving us a very low 297:1 static contrast ratio. There was a reason for this though. Hazro have given you access to the settings at a controller board level for the digital adjustments of white and black. The brightness control in the OSD menu actually controls the digital white level as opposed to the backlight intensity, which is usually what this control is used for in modern screens. The contrast setting controls the digital black level. At the default 50/50 settings the contrast ratio is very poor as the balance between the two seems to be off. Fear not, you can adjust these to obtain a much better contrast ratio which we will look at in a moment in our calibration section. There is also a proper backlight control available through the OSD menu but it is accessed through the 'ECO mode' function which has 5 different settings. More on all this shortly. Hazro have informed us that the screens will actually be factory calibrated before they are shipped out with targets set to 2.2 gamma, 6500k white point and 120 cd/m2 brightness. The HZ27WA sample we received was sent out before this factory calibration was carried out and so hopefully the default settings will be better from the actual retail stock. Default colour accuracy was moderate here with an average dE of 3.1, ranging up to only 4.3 maximum. We will need to calibrate the screen to return more accurate colours and change some settings to address the contrast ratio issue.

 

 

 

Monitor OSD Option

Default Settings

Brightness

Maximum

Contrast

n/a

Colour Temp

n/a

ECO Mode

n/a


Hazro HZ27WC - Default Factory Settings



 

Default Settings

Luminance (cd/m2)

302

Black Point (cd/m2)

0.32

Contrast Ratio

943:1

 

The HZ27WC unit which was sent to us for testing has had the factory calibration applied and so these are hopefully a more representative view of what you can expect from these screens out of the box. I have taken these default measurements with the brightness control set at maximum. I am unsure which setting will be used out of the box so this could vary and there's no OSD menu to do a "factory restore". The default luminance could vary as a result so I will disregard this measurement here. The default gamma of the screen was spot on at 2.2 and colour temperature was 6293k, being only 3% out from the target which was also very good. The contrast ratio recorded was a very respectable 943:1 which is excellent for an IPS panel. This is of couse much better than the HZ27WA test above where the unit had not been factory calibrated and the digital white/black balance was off. Even colour accuracy was very good here with dE average of only 1.5 and maximum of 3.8. It's very easy to change the brightness control to return a comfortable luminace and so this performance should be adequate for most users easily. A very good out of the box performance here. You may not even need further calibration for every day use unless you need higher end accuracy or want to use it for colour critical work.

 

 

 


Calibrated Results

I wanted to see what was possible from both screens with some accurate profiling and calibration. First though I wanted to overcome the poor default contrast ratio from the HZ27WA sample we had. To do this you must alter the controls for digital white and black level using the brightness and contrast controls in the OSD respectively. I ran a series of tests to determine the optimum combination to return the best contrast ratio, without impacting the screen in an overly negative way. I first plotted the contrast ratio at each combination as shown below:

Brightness

 

0

10

20

30

40

50

0

93

120

149

181

191

101

10

142

166

209

245

236

124

20

181

218

269

310

292

146

30

222

267

315

380

354

175

40

282

334

369

441

407

209

50

348

407

443

527

484

247

60

421

488

527

582

567

288

70

610

674

743

798

661

347

80

748

801

866

941

737

352

90

827

898

947

942

786

386

100

952

943

948

942

844

386

From these tests I was able to establish the optimum settings for the digital white and black levels. The highest contrast ratios were returned when the contrast control was set at 90 - 100. When at these settings, brightness had to be below 20 otherwise there was some obvious gamma shift and the whole image became very washed out. I tested each of the maximum contrast ratio combinations in turn to determine how the screen was set up in terms of colour temperature and gamma. I found that the best combination was 10% brightness and 100% contrast settting, which returned us not only a high contrast ratio, but a good gamma of 2.2 average (1% out) and a good colour temperature of 6563k (1% out) as well. At the other high contrast ratio combinations the gamma was quite a long way off from the target of 2.2 so this did seem to be the optimum starting point for a calibration. It had even improved the gamma and white point compared with our out-of-the-box settings, which had returned gamma of 2.0 (9% out) and 7408k (14% out) respectively. The only negative really with this change was that the colour accuracy was not as good as default settings, with dE average of 5.2 and a maximum of 12.7 now. We will of course be correcting that through further calibration steps. I would recommend reverting to these OSD settings for brightness and contrast to get the right white/black balance and return you the best contrast ratio available, and also a decent gamma and white point set up. You will need to turn the backlight intensity down a little using the ECO mode as a luminance of 188 cd/m2 is produced at the default 50% ECO setting.

Hazro have informed me that the sample we were sent was delivered without their factory calibration, and that the retail stock will be factory calibrated correctly to address this issue, and also to bring the performance in line with the targets of 2.2 gamma, 6500k white point and 120 cd/m2 brightness. This is positive news, but even if this wasn't done it is simple enough to correct the contrast ratio through this basic adjustment to the OSD controls. The HZ27WC sample we had did come factory calibrated which was good since there is no OSD, and no control over the digital white and black levels anyway.



Hazro HZ27WA - Calibrated Settings

Monitor OSD Option

Adjusted Setting

Brightness

10

Contrast

100

Color Temp

User

RGB

30, 17, 25

ECO Mode

25

 

Calibrated Settings

luminance (cd/m2)

119

Black Point (cd/m2)

0.16

Contrast Ratio

747:1

As I discussed in the previous paragraph I had found the optimum settings for brightness and contrast (digital white and black levels) to be 10 and 100% respectively. This had returned the best contrast ratio at default settings while also giving an accurate gamma and white point starting point. I also switched here into the 'User' preset mode which allowed me access to the individual controls for red, green and blue (RGB). These were changed to the values shown as part of the calibration process as guided by the LaCie software. The ECO mode was also turned down to 25% here which helped reduce the luminance to around 120 cd/m2. The rest of the corrections would be carried out by the software at a graphics card LUT level, and through the creation of the ICC profile. There is no hardware level calibration available from this screen as you will find on some high end professional screens.

The calibration was a great success. Gamma, colour temperature and luminance were all pretty much spot on. There was a more comfortable luminance of 119 cd/m2 now, and we had a black depth of 0.16 cd/m2 which was actually pretty good and a vast improvement over the default settings. This was pleasing and gave us a reasonably high static contrast ratio of 747:1. This was not as good as the pre-calibrated settings where we had changed the brightness/contrast controls only and seen up to around 943:1. However, this was a calibrated result with correction of grey scale tracking, white point, gamma and colour tones. Colour accuracy was now much better with an average dE of only 0.3. LaCie would consider colour fidelity to be excellent from this test. Maximum dE was only 0.7, so a significant improvement compared with the factory settings. This screen is a standard gamut model and so for those wanting to work in the sRGB colour space and not have to contend with some of the issues of wide gamut screens, it is an obvious choice in the 27" market. Of course if you were wanting to work in a wider colour space such as Adobe RGB this screen cannot offer that.

Testing the screen with colour gradients showed pretty smooth transitions with some very slight stepping in darker tones. There was no banding evident. Since this pre-production sample unit did not feature the factory calibration I would not recommend using our settings or ICC profile on your HZ27WA model since the starting point is drastically different. The above tests should still give you an indication of what the screen is capable of however.

 


Hazro HZ27WC - Calibrated Settings

Monitor Control

Adjusted Setting

Brightness

Setting 2

 

Calibrated Settings

luminance (cd/m2)

119

Black Point (cd/m2)

0.16

Contrast Ratio

744:1

Although the default settings of the HZ27WC were very pleasing, I carried out the usual calibration process again. There is no OSD menu and so there are no hardware changes to be made other than altering the backlight brightness control to an optimum starting point. You cannot control the RGB channels or contrast and so all other corrections would be made at a graphics card LUT level and through the creation of the ICC profile by our spectrophotometer.

The calibration didn't actually need to correct much in terms of gamma which was already spot on out of the box at 2.2 average. It did correct the slight offset of the white point, bringing it within 0.5% of the taraget at 6518k. At the selected backlight setting of 2 (see our contrast stability section for explanation) we had a comfortable luminance of 119 cd/m2 now. Out of the box we found that the brightness setting of 1 actually returned a luminance of around 121 cd/m2 but you may notice we have used a setting of 2 here which returned us a default measurement of 160 cd/m2. This is because once the grey scale corrections and other alterations have been made, the brightness setting of 1 resulted in a luminance of around 110 cd/m2 which was too low. The setting 2 returned us a luminance of 119 cd/m2 as shown above after all other graphics card corrections are taken into account. With a black depth of 0.16 cd/m2 we had a moderate static contrast ratio of 744:1 which was pretty much identical to the HZ27WA results above. Colour accuracy was also corrected nicely to 0.3 dE average / 0.6 maximum.

Testing the screen with colour gradients showed pretty smooth transitions with some very slight stepping in darker tones. There was no banding evident. You can use our settings and try our calibrated ICC profile if you wish, which is available in our ICC profile database.

 

Calibration Performance Comparisons

I have plotted the performance of the HZ27WA and HZ27WC above compared with some of the other models we have tested in a similar size range. Default colour accuracy out of the box was moderate from the HZ27WA, with an average dE of 3.1 recorded. Keep in mind that this sample unit did not have the factory calibration applied. Despite this, it was pretty comparable to the Dell U2711 (3.7) and a little better than the 27" CCFL Hazro model, the HZ27WB (5.1). This un-calibrated default colour accuracy was pretty good from the HZ27WA but it was unfortunately not great out of the box in other areas, most notably in black depth and contrast ratio. Without the factory calibration you would certainly want to correct the black depth/contrast as we described earlier, but this does affect default colour accuracy. The change to 100 contrast / 10 brightness setting altered the average dE to 5.2 which was more in line with the default colour accuracy we had seen from the HZ27WB. We would hope that the factory calibration of the HZ27WA brings it much more in line with the HZ27WC tests. We found default settings to be very good there, with spot on gamma, very good white point, high static contrast ratio and even a good colour accuracy with dE average of only 1.5. A great result from the factory calibration there so I would hope you can expect the same from both models from retail stock.

Once calibrated, most of the models were very similar in this test. The HZ27WA and HZ27WC were both recorded as average dE of 0.3 which was the same as the HZ27WB and very close to the 30" HZ30Wi (0.4), old 26" HZ26Wi (0.5) and old 30" HZ30W (0.3). Some of the professional range models from NEC are even more accurate. Professional grade monitors like the NEC PA series also offer other high end features which separate them from some of these other models, including extended internal processing, 3D LUT's and hardware calibration. These comparisons are based on a small selection of tests, so it should be remembered that other factors do come into play when you start talking about professional use. For further information and tests of a high end professional grade screen with hardware LUT calibration, you may want to have a read of our NEC SpectraView Reference 271 review.

 

 

Once we had altered the OSD brightness and contrast control, the calibrated black depth of the HZ27WA was actually good for an IPS matrix. At 0.16 it was better than the Dell U2711 (0.18) and Hazro HZ27WB (0.18) which was good, and on par with the Hazro HZ30Wi (0.17). The factory calibrated HZ27WC already had the digital white/black balance corrected and also returned a calibrated black depth of 0.16. Hazro have made some significant improvements in black depth compared with their older models as well, where the HZ26Wi could only achieve 0.58 and the HZ24W 0.38. The modern IPS panels being used in their new range of screens have come on a lot in this regard, not to mention the fact that Hazro have also added a backlight control which was missing altogether from the HZ26Wi for instance. The range of the backlight control of the HZ27WA isn't quite as good as the HZ27WB but it is still there thankfully. The recently tested BenQ EW2420 was a long way ahead from all the other models here of course, with its new W-LED backlit AMVA panel offering a reading  of 0.04. Contrast ratio of the HZ27WA was 747:1, and the HZ27WC was 744:1, which was ahead of the Dell U2711 (672:1) and Hazro HZ27WB (649:1). Again pretty good for an IPS panel and certainly a lot better than the older models.
 

 



Contrast Stability

I wanted to see how much variance there was in the screens contrast as we adjusted the monitor setting for brightness. In theory, brightness and contrast are two independent parameters, and good contrast is a requirement regardless of the brightness adjustment. Unfortunately, such is not always the case in practice. As we have already discussed, the OSD brightness control would normally represent a control over the intensity of the backlight on a modern display. However, on the HZ27WA it controls the digital white level and so has a severe impact on the contrast ratio. We have already compared the contrast ratio results across a range of adjustments in our calibration section. For this test, we used the 'ECO mode' control to adjust the backlight intensity instead. We recorded the screens luminance and black depth at the five settings available, and calculated the contrast ratio from there. It should be noted that we used the BasICColor calibration software here to record these, and so luminance at default settings varies a little from the LaCie Blue Eye Pro report.

HZ27WA Tests

I used our optimum settings for contrast and brightness in this test (10 / 100), as opposed to the default 50/50 as we have already identified this returns the optimum contrast ratio and gamma / white point set up.

OSD ECO Mode

Luminance
(cd/m2)

Black Point (cd/m2)

Contrast Ratio
( x:1)

100

343

0.37

928

75

284

0.30

945

50

189

0.20

947

25

139

0.15

988

0

100

0.11

911

 

Luminance Adjustment Range =  243 cd/m2

Black Point Adjustment Range = 0.26 cd/m2

Average Contrast Ratio = 943:1

 

Although there was only a limited number of settings for the ECO mode, 5 to be precise, the control did allow a pretty decent adjustment range of the luminance of the screen. At 100%, the luminance was 343 cd/m2 which was a little lower than the specified maximum brightness of 420 cd/m2. Remember this is using optimum white/black level adjustments so perhaps you can achieve a higher luminance at the cost of contrast ratio but I wouldn't advise it. At the lowest 0% setting the luminance was a reasonably low 100 cd/m2. You would probably want to use either the 0% or 25% setting to return a luminance close to the recommended 120 cd/m2 for LCD screens in normal lighting conditions. The black depth ranged from 0.37 cd/m2 down to 0.11 cd/m2 which was good. We had a stable contrast ratio across this range of adjustments as you would hope, with an average of 943:1. It would have perhaps been nice to see more steps available from this ECO mode setting. The HZ27WB had 20 different levels of backlight control, but there are only 5 here. At least it is included though! We plotted the stability of the contrast ratio on the graph below:

 


Above: contrast stability of the HZ27WA
 

 

HZ27WC Tests

I ran the same tests on the HZ27WC. This model does not have an OSD and so there is no control over the digital white or black levels. We only have control over the backlight intensity so will have to rely on a good factory calibration here when it comes to contrast ratio.

Backlight Control

Luminance
(cd/m2)

Black Point (cd/m2)

Contrast Ratio
( x:1)

10

306

0.31

986

9

300

0.31

969

8

295

0.30

983

7

285

0.29

984

6

270

0.28

965

5

249

0.26

958

4

223

0.23

970

3

192

0.20

962

2

160

0.16

998

1

121

0.13

929

0

78

0.08

970

 

Luminance Adjustment Range =  228 cd/m2

Black Point Adjustment Range = 0.23 cd/m2

Average Contrast Ratio = 970:1

 

Thankfully the screens digital white and black balance has been set correctly from the factory and so we have a decent contrast ratio produced. Firstly I wanted to talk about the control over the backlight offered by the HZ27WC. There is no OSD and so it's difficult to tell which setting you are in unless you have a colorimeter or some way of actually recording the luminance change in the screen. When you press the up/down button you can obviously feel the 'click' and the power LED blinks once. However, it does seem that this is a little tempramental and not every press actually results in a change in the backlight. Overall through our measurements above we recorded 11 distinct settings for this control which allowed you to control the luminance between 306 and 78 cd/m2. I'll refer to them in this way elsewhere in the review, with setting 10 being the maximum setting, adn setting 0 being the lowest. The changes at the top end of the scale made smaller differences to the luminance of the screen, and a less noticeable change was made in the brightness that you observe. As you reached further down the scale of adjustments, the changes were more pronounced and obvious to the naked eye, and the difference between each step was larger. Thankfully this backlight control did offer a wide range of adjustments to the luminance of the screen, and there were more settings available in fact than the 5 from the HZ27WA using the ECO mode control. Contrast ratio remained static across the range very well with an average of 970:1. I have plotted the results of the HZ27WC below:

 


Above: contrast stability of the HZ27WC

 


Dynamic Contrast (HZ27WA)

The Hazro HZ27WA features a dynamic contrast ratio (DCR) control, which boasts a spec of 1 million:1. This is not available from the HZ27WC.

Dynamic contrast ratio involves controlling the backlight of the screen automatically, depending on the content shown on the screen. In bright images, the backlight is increased, and in darker images, it is decreased. For this test I would use the colorimeter to record the luminance and black depths at the two extremes. Max brightness would be recorded on an all white screen once the DCR has caught up. Black depth would be recorded on an all black screen.

The DCR feature is available through the 'Misc' sub-menu and it has a simple on or off setting. You can use it no matter which colour preset mode you are in.

So where does this 1 million:1 figure come from? - As opposed to gas-discharge lamps (CCFL), LED's can be lit up instantly or turned out completely. This can lead to extremely high levels of dynamic contrast. Figures in the millions are very common now. But in real applications, for example when watching a movie, there are no absolutely black frames even in the credits. Most of the time there is something on the screen besides blackness and a monitor with a huge specified dynamic contrast will never have the chance to deliver it in practice. As a result, there is no real practical point in increasing the dynamic contrast higher than about 10,000:1 which has already become standard for many monitors, including those with a backlight based on CCFL lamps. Keep in mind that DCR figures are often exaggerated as a result, and since you will probably never get to utilise the full figure in practice, don't be fooled into buying into the hype too much!

 

User preset mode

Max luminance (cd/m2)

252

Min Black Point (cd/m2)

0.20

Max Dynamic Contrast Ratio

1262:1

The dynamic contrast ratio control didn't do a massive amount but then this is common from many displays with this technology. The DCR did operate smoothly and offered quick transitions. However, the range of operation was not massive. In the brightest examples the luminance ranged up to 252 cd/m2, and in the darkest examples it reached down to only 0.20 cd/m2. This gave us a dynamic contrast ratio of 1262:1 which did at least work a little, and improved our static contrast ratio of 747:1.

To be honest this 1 million:1 figure is exaggerated massively anyway. Even if the DCR technology could control the full range of the backlight properly, you would only have a maximum luminance of around 343 cd/m2, and a minimum black point of 0.11 cd/m2. You can see this from our contrast stability tests above. This would only give you a maximum DCR of 3118:1 anyway so a long way off the advertised figure. In practice it managed about 40% of this potential maximum. If we took Hazro's maximum brightness spec of 420 cd/m2, you would need a black point of 0.00042 cd/m2 (basically completely black) to achieve the 1 million:1 figure, something which clearly this panel is not capable of, even at 0% intensity. This figure would only be produced if the LED backlighting was being completely turned off, something which is possible through local dimming technology but not something which is widely used yet and not available from this screen. Overall it doesn't live up to its advertised spec, but that's normal with dynamic contrast ratios anyway. At least it does something and offers some extension to the static contrast ratio.

 


Viewing Angles


Above: Viewing angles shown from front and side, and  from above and below. Click for larger version

Viewing angles of the HZ27WA and HZ27WC were very good as you would probably expect from an IPS based panel. Horizontally there was very little colour tone shift until fairly wide angles past about 45°. Contrast shifts were also minimal thankfully, and only really noticeable after about 45°. Vertically the contrast shifts were a little more obvious and noticeable with smaller movements away from a central point of view. The screen did offer the wide viewing angles of IPS technology and was free from the very restrictive fields of view of TN Film panels, especially in the vertical plane. It was also free of the off-centre contrast shift you see from VA panels. On black images you could detect a white tint from a wide angle, characteristic of H-IPS matrices.

 


Panel Uniformity

Measurements of the screens luminance were taken at 35 points across the panel on a pure white background. The measurements were taken using BasICColor's calibration software package, combined with the LaCie Blue Eye Pro colorimeter. The above uniformity diagram shows the difference, as a percentage, between the luminance recorded at each point on the screen, as compared with the reference point of a calibrated 120 cd/m2. This is the desired level of luminance for an LCD screen in normal lighting conditions, and  the below shows the variance in the luminance across the screen compared with this point. It is worth noting that panel uniformity can vary from one screen to another, and can depend on manufacturing lines, screen transport and other local factors. This is only a guide of the uniformity of the sample screen we have for review.

HZ27WA Tests

Uniformity of Luminance (HZ27WA)

 

The uniformity of the HZ27WA was excellent. 97% of the screen was recorded as having a luminance within 10% deviance of the target 120 cd/m2 which was excellent. The luminance fluctuated down to about 107 cd/m2 in the upper right hand quadrant, and down to around 108 cd/m2 along the lower edge. This was an excellent result from any display, and this is all without the need for additional uniformity correction technologies.

 


Above: All black screen in a darkened room. Click for larger version (HZ27WA)

As usual we also tested the screen with an all black image and in a darkened room. A camera was used to capture the result. There was very little backlight leakage noticeable to the naked eye in this test. There was some very slight variation in the bottom left and top right hand corners which was picked out by the camera, but it was very minimal. No real issues at all here with this test which was pleasing.


HZ27WC Tests

Uniformity of Luminance (HZ27WC)

 

Luminance uniformity of the HZ27WC was very good as well with only minimal variations across the panel. The left hand side was ever so slightly darker in this test by about 6 - 10%, but not something you could detect in practice. Like the HZ27WA, 97% of the screen was recorded as having a luminance within 10% deviance of the target 120 cd/m2 which was excellent. The luminance fluctuated down to about 107 cd/m2 in the lower left hand quadrant. This was again an excellent result from any display, and this is all without the need for additional uniformity correction technologies.


Above: All black screen in a darkened room. Click for larger version (HZ27WC)

Again I tested for backlight leakage. There was some very slight variation in the four corners here which the camera just about picked out, but it was very minimal. No real issues at all here with this test which was pleasing. Both screens have been very good in this regard which is pleasing.

 


General and Office Applications

The HZ27WA/C features a massive 2560 x 1440 WQHD resolution which is only just a little bit less vertically than a 30" screen. The pixel pitch of 0.233mm is very small as a result, and by comparison a standard 16:10 format 24" model has a pixel pitch of 0.270mm and a 30" model has 0.250mm. These ultra-high res 27" models offer the tightest pixel pitch and therefore the smallest text as well. I don't find it too small personally, but day to day I am used to a 24" screen. Some users may find the small text a little too small to read comfortably, and I'd advise caution if you are coming from a 19" or 22" screen for instance where the pixel pitch and text are much larger. I found a 30" screen to be quite a change with text size when I first used one, and this is very similar and even a little bit smaller! I still personally prefer the slightly larger text of a 24" model myself, but I expect I could happily get used to the added resolution on these models given time.

The massive resolution is really good for office and general use, giving you a really big screen area to work with. It is a noticeable upgrade from a 24" 1920 x 1200 resolution, and it's good to see Hazro have opted for the high res panel here rather than sticking with another 1920 x 1200 res panel as you may find in other older 27" models. For those wanting a high resolution for CAD, design, photo work etc, this is a really good option. The image was very sharp and crisp and text was very clear.

There were no preset modes available from either screen as they are a 'no-frills' option designed to bring you good performance but at a very low cost. On the HZ27WA there is at least a reasonable OSD menu, so you can make a few adjustments. There is a fairly limited set of adjustments available from the backlight control (ECO mode) but they offer a good range of luminance for the screen which is good. The same can be said for the HZ27WC which offers a good range of adjustments over the backlight if nothing else. You should be able to easily obtain a comfortable setting for office use, depending on your ambient lighting conditions, probably wanting to use either the 0% or 25% ECO mode setting on the HZ27WA and a setting of either 1 or 2 (in our scale) on the HZ27WC. Since there are no presets or different modes, you will have to change this control if you want to have a different setting for movies or games.

The 30" HZ30Wi did offer 4x USB ports which are always useful for connecting external devices such as printers and cameras. These have been left off the HZ27WA/C (and HZ27WB) models unfortunately, again to keep costs low. Compared with some competing models like the Dell U2711 for instance, the HZ27WA/C is certainly lacking in these areas. Dell have provided every connection and extra you could probably want, but the cost of their model is obviously higher as a result. The tilt function allows for a reasonable range of adjustments to get a comfortable viewing angle. Unfortunately there is no height adjustment which might be missed by some people. There is no rotate function either to switch between portrait and landscape modes, but the practicalities of using that on a screen this size are questionable. The integrated speakers should be more than adequate for general office sounds and light music as well.

 


Responsiveness and Gaming

The Hazro HZ27WA/C was tested using the chase test in PixPerAn, a good bit of software for trying to quantify differences in real terms responsiveness between monitors. As a reminder, a series of pictures are taken on the highest shutter speed and compared. The images below show the best case example on the left hand side, and the worst case example on the right hand side. This should only be used as a rough guide to comparative responsiveness but is handy as a way of keeping a constant test of each screen.


27" 6ms G2G LG.Display H-IPS (W-LED)


27" 6ms G2G LG.Display H-IPS (W-LED)


27" 6ms G2G LG.Display H-IPS (WG-CCFL)


30" 8ms G2G LG.Display H-IPS (WG-CCFL)


The Hazro HZ27WA and HZ27WC both use an H-IPS panel from LG.Display (LM270WQ1). The panel itself is rated by LG.Display as having a 14ms ISO response time on paper, but with an overdrive impulse applied, Hazro have rated the screen with a 6ms grey to grey (G2G) response time figure. This screen makes use of response time compensation (RTC) technology, to boost the pixel transitions across the range. This technology can significantly help reduce motion blur and ghosting compared with non-RTC panels in practice.

These tests revealed a good result from both screens. I have first provided a comparison against the HZ27WB and HZ30Wi models here. The screen actually showed less motion blur in practice than the HZ27WB which is also rated  with a 6ms G2G response time. The moving car was sharper in appearance and there was a less pronounced blur to the movement. You can see this from the pictures above which show a more obvious trail behind the car in the best case photos of the HZ27WB. The HZ30Wi was a little better than the HZ27WB in this regard, but again the blur was slightly less noticeable on the HZ27WA/C which was positive.

The HZ27WA and HZ27WC did actually vary a little bit from one another and I was able to run this test side by side for a comparison. On the HZ27WC there was an ever so slightly more pronounced blur from the image as you can see from the pictures above. It was still better than the HZ27WB and quite similar to the HZ30Wi in fact. This was actually reduced a little on the HZ27WA model, however there was some slight overshoot of the RTC impulse evident in the form of a dark trail behind the speech bubble and head, and a slight pale halo behind the car. Overshoot of an RTC impulse can be quite common on modern screens using this technology, and its severity depends on the control of that impulse. Some models show a far worse overshoot than is evident here, and although you can pick it out, it is not too bad at all. The HZ27WC appeared to be free of this overshoot artefact perhaps down to the differing internal electronics. This could be due to the use of two scalers on the HZ27WA and the fact that the HZ27WC does not have any. Perhaps these are having a slight impact on the RTC impulse control. It's being applied a little more aggressively on the HZ27WA but at the cost of some slight overshoot. I'd personally say that these two models are very similar in terms of responsiveness in practical use.

 


27" 6ms G2G LG.Display H-IPS (W-LED)


27" 6ms G2G LG.Display H-IPS (W-LED)


27" 6ms G2G LG.Display H-IPS


27" 1ms G2G CMO TN Film (Response time mode = Advanced)


24" 6ms G2G LG.Display H-IPS

I have also provided a comparison of the screens against some of the other 27" models we have tested, and the very popular Dell U2410. The HZ27WA performs very similarly to the Dell U2711 here in fact which shows a low level of blur, but some RTC overshoot as well. It's on par with the Dell in these tests. The ViewSonic VX2739wm is a gamer-orientated screen with an advertised 1ms G2G response time from its fast TN Film panel. It shows a faster response time compared with the IPS based 27" models here, and is free (in the Advanced mode) of any noticeable overshoot or dark trailing. The Dell U2410 is a little more responsive than the U2711 and HZ27WA and again doesn't show any obvious overshoot.

 


27" 6ms G2G LG.Display H-IPS (W-LED)


27" 6ms G2G LG.Display H-IPS (W-LED)


23.6" 2ms G2G CMO TN Film + 120Hz


22" 3ms G2G Samsung TN Film + 120Hz

I've also included a comparison above against two gamer-orientated screens, both featuring heavily overdriven TN Film panels, and 120Hz technology. The pixel responsiveness of both of these is a little ahead of the HZ27WA/C as you will probably expect and the 120Hz frequency allows for improved 120fps frame rates and the support of 3D content as well. The BenQ XL2410T does show some rather noticeable RTC overshoot in the form of dark trails behind the moving image (speech bubble and head) which is unfortunate, and a sign that the RTC impulse is too aggressive. This is more apparent than on the HZ27WA which shows these artefacts to a lesser degree. The Samsung 2233RZ remains our champion in this test.

The Hazro HZ27WA/C should be perfectly adequate for most gaming but those wanting to play fast FPS may still want to look elsewhere, perhaps at some of the modern 120Hz TN Film models with super fast response times and support for 120fps frame rates and 3D content.

 

 


Input Lag

As usual I tested the screen in clone mode with a CRT to determine the level of input lag. This is something which can put off some gamers and is a delay between graphics card and monitor output. By hooking up a CRT you can show that  the LCD lags behind somewhat, which can affect users in some situations where they rely on the screen image being as fast as their inputs (e.g. fast FPS shooting games). Often, input lag is very low and probably wouldn't represent too much of a problem in real terms.

 

The input lag of the HZ27WA was moderate here with an average lag of 26.3ms recorded, ranging up to 40ms in the worst cases. It was not quite as fast as the HZ27WB (11.3ms) or HZ30Wi (14.4ms) which had no in-built scaler. Because the HZ27WA has two scalers, the input lag is a little higher. However, because these scalers enable features like the added Frame Rate Control for "10-bit colour" support, and options for aspect ratio control, this small sacrifice is arguably worth it. Even at 26.3ms average, it is not that much and should be fine for casual gaming. It is also very similar to the Dell U2711 which was recorded at 30ms average.

Without scalers the HZ27WC is faster in this test with an average lag of only 8.8ms, far more in keeping with the other Hazro models without a scaler and a very good result. This makes it a better choice for competitive gaming. I have provided the result of the Apple 27" Cinema Display, as recorded in a review by Anandtech which was 12.7ms. Again there are no scalers available on the Apple screen and not even an OSD menu, which explains the reduction there compared with the HZ27WA; but the HZ27WC was a little faster.

 


Movies and Video

The following summarises the Hazro HZ27WA/C's performance in video applications:

Since the HZ27WA offers the additional interfaces, aspect ratio control and support for dynamic contrast ratio, it is more suitable for movies and multimedia than the HZ27WC.

 


Differences Between the HZ27WA and HZ27WC

From a technical point of view here is a quick summary of the differences between the HZ27WA and HZ27WC:

In terms of performance the screens are quite similar. I can't fairly analyse their default factory settings as the HZ27WA unit was not factory calibrated when it was sent to me. If the HZ27WC's very good out of the box performance is anything to go by then this is very promising. A good default setting and the contrast ratio issue had been fixed. Responsiveness was slightly different on the HZ27WC with an ever so slightly more noticeable blur, but freedom from the RTC overshoot we saw on the HZ27WA. The input lag was considerably lower which is great for those wanting to use this screen for fast gaming. The HZ27WC is more suited for gamers as a result. The HZ27WA holds the edge for multimedia and movies thanks to its additional interfaces, aspect ratio control and dynamic contrast ratio. In other areas the performance was very comparable and impressive.

 


Conclusion

As I had been with the HZ30Wi and HZ27WB, I was suitably impressed by the performance of the HZ27WA and HZ27WC. Despite it being a no-frills offering it does offer a decent range of options, some nice extras and some great performance. Comparisons with the Apple 27" Cinema Display are bound to be made here. Aesthetically the screen is very similar to Apple's display, and this screen is really the only alternative with similar features and specs. The use of an IPS panel is bound to attract the usual high level of interest, and this is the only other standard gamut IPS offering in the 27" sector. Those wanting to work in a standard sRGB colour space will find this a great option and a compelling alternative to the Apple screen. The glossy panel coating is also very rare in today's market and users who have found modern anti-glare coating to be too grainy or 'dirty' looking will find this a very nice alternative. Glossy panel coatings are down to personal taste, but I did find that it added something to the feel of the panel and helped produce a crisp, vibrant and clear image. You have to be a little more careful with reflections and make sure you don't have any windows behind you though. Again, this is the only other alternative for a glossy 27" IPS screen.

This HZ27WA model also offers a reasonable OSD menu (something which the Apple doesn't have at all), and it's good to see a few features like aspect ratio control included here. It would have perhaps been nice to see a wider set of adjustments available from the backlight control in the 'ECO mode' but at least it does offer you this option and a decent range is available. This is aimed more at multimedia users and the decent range of interfaces, integrated 2x 5W stereo speakers and HDMI support are welcome. An additional DisplayPort would have been handy too perhaps and a height adjustable stand, but I can understand the reasons for leaving these out to keep costs low. The HZ27WC is a little more basic with only a DVI interface, no OSD and limited adjustments.

Performance wise I was very impressed as well. On the HZ27WA I had to manually correct the poor default contrast ratio and black depth, but this was simple enough with some basic OSD adjustments. It even brought about an improvement in gamma and white point which was positive. Hazro told us that the retail stock will be factory calibrated so you shouldn't even face this issue anyway and tests of the HZ27WC (which had been factory calibrated) revealed a very good performance. Once calibrated the screen offers great colour accuracy, gamma and white point, and a good contrast ratio for an IPS panel. It was actually a little better than the HZ27WB and HZ30Wi which was pleasing. Uniformity of the panel was excellent and very impressive, and this will surely be positive news considering some of the varying issues with some of the mainstream 27" alternatives like the Dell U2711. Responsiveness was good as well and improved compared with the CCFL-backlit HZ27WB model. There was some slight overshoot of the RTC impulse on the HZ27WA but nothing severe. Input lag was moderate on this model but a small sacrifice to make for the added benefits of the in-built scalers in my opinion. The HZ27WC was faster without the scalers and so will fill that gap nicely for those wanting to game more.

I'm sure readers will be very interested to know about the price of the new screen as well! Apple's 27" Cinema Display currently retails for £918 GBP from their store, inclusive of VAT and free delivery. (Updated 1/4/11) In the UK the Hazro HZ27WA and C will be available exclusively from www.overclockers.co.uk. At the time of writing the review we were informed that Hazro would supply direct and expected an MSRP of ~£550 for the A model. An MSRP was not known at the time for the C model. An introductory offer of £499 was expected as well for the A model, with the C model expected to launch at ~£399. Now that the screens have been launched and are available to order in the UK, they are actually a little higher priced than the expected offer prices. The A model is available at £529.99 (inc VAT but without delivery) while the C model is £439.99. The C model is still less than half the price of Apple's 27" Cinema Display!

Internationally the screens will be available in the near future directly via Hazro's website and they will be offering free delivery to all major countries in Western Europe. Prices to be confirmed. The launch puts the screens at a very competitive price point in the 27" IPS market, and makes them well worth a look if you are considering a similarly priced 24" model even. I was very impressed by the performance of the HZ27WA and HZ27WC and at this price, I expect it will be very popular indeed.
 

Pros

Cons

Great price point vs. the competition

Default contrast ratio of the HZ27WA was poor, but easily corrected. Models will come factory calibrated in retail stock as the HZ27WC proves

Excellent colour accuracy once calibrated and decent black depth / contrast ratio

Moderate input lag from HZ27WA, lower on HZ27WC

Glossy screen coating improves the feel of the screen and the design is nice

Limited stand ergonomics with only basic tilt functions

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