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Introduction

It's been quite a while since we've heard much from Hazro, a small UK based manufacturer of some pretty interesting displays we've reviewed in the past. In fact we've not tested any of their screens since 2011. The Hazro brand has gone through an identity and ownership change over the last 8 years or so, but there is a new focus from them now on producing some interesting higher-end displays. Hazro acknowledge they have had some issues with support and warranties in the past, and are scaling down their production and distribution operation quite considerably while also re-focusing on these areas to ensure a smooth customer experience. Stock of these new models will be limited, running in to the lower hundreds as opposed to the thousands. Retail will be mainly direct via the Hazro website for UK orders and also via Amazon for international shipment. In terms of support, they now have a ticketing platform with support in the UK and are trying to be frank about reply times which a customer should expect. Their warranties are 2 years return to base.

One of the reasons for the limited stock numbers is down to production qualities, which they have focused on improving in order to supply high-end products with quality parts. Some extras like USB hubs have been removed in favour of concentrating on the design, build and video inputs and aiming to provide 2k and 4k resolution panels. Manufacturing and assembly is all done in the UK and their key selling point is still focused around price - being cheaper than the likes of Apple and Dell.

Anyway, that's a brief introduction to the Hazro brand and where they are now. We have been sent one of their new 27" models for  review, the HZ27WiDP. This screen bears a striking (and deliberate) resemblance to the Apple Cinema Displays, with an attractive design, 2560 x 1440 IPS panel and a glossy screen coating as well. That's pretty rare in the 27" space so could well be of interest to buyers. It is aimed specifically at professionals and prosumers in the print, multimedia and engineering markets.

aimed specifically at professionals and prosumers in the print, multimedia and engineering markets. - See more at: http://hazro.com/products/hz27WiDP#sthash.VbSBJInx.dpuf

aimed specifically at professionals and prosumers in the print, multimedia and engineering markets - See more at: http://hazro.com/products/hz27WiDP#sthash.VbSBJInx.dpuf

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Specifications and Features

The following table gives detailed information about the specs of the screen:

Monitor Specifications

Size

27"WS (68.47 cm)

Panel Coating

Glossy low reflection coating

Aspect Ratio

16:9

Interfaces

1x DisplayPort

1x HDMI

1x DL-DVI
1x D-sub VGA

Resolution

2560 x 1440

Pixel Pitch

0.2331 mm

Design colour

Silver chassis, black bezel edge, silver aluminium stand

Response Time

5.5ms G2G

Ergonomics

Tilt only

Static Contrast Ratio

1000:1

Dynamic Contrast Ratio

n/a

VESA Compatible

No

Brightness

440 cd/m2

Accessories

Power cable and brick, DL-DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort cables

Viewing Angles

178 / 178

Panel Technology

LG.Display IPS

Weight

7Kg (without stand)

Backlight Technology

W-LED

Physical Dimensions

(WxHxD) without stand:
310 x 695 x 35

Colour Depth

16.78m (8-bit)

Refresh Rate

60Hz

Special Features

headphone socket, PiP and PbP

Colour Gamut

Standard gamut
~sRGB

The HZ27WiDP offers a decent range of connectivity options with DisplayPort, HDMI, D-sub VGA and Dual-link DVI provided. This connectivity is one area which sets it apart from the similarly designed Apple displays, which only feature a Thunderbolt connection. The digital interfaces are HDCP certified for encrypted content and the video cables are provided in the box for DL-DVI, HDMI and DP.

The screen has an external power supply brick which is provided of course. There are audio input and headphone output connections although no integrated speakers on this model. There aren't any USB ports on this model, or other extras like ambient light sensors or motion sensors. Hazro have deliberately left these off to focus on price and build quality.

Below is a summary of the features and connections of the screen:

Feature

Yes / No

Feature

Yes / No

Tilt adjust

DVI

Height adjust

HDMI

Swivel adjust

D-sub

Rotate adjust

DisplayPort

VESA compliant

Component

USB 2.0 Ports

Composite

USB 3.0 Ports

Audio connection

Card Reader

HDCP Support

Ambient Light Sensor

MHL Support

Human Motion Sensor

Integrated Speakers

Touch Screen

PiP / PbP

Factory Calibration

Blur Reduction Mode

Hardware calibration

G-Sync

Uniformity correction

FreeSync



Design and Ergonomics

 
Above: front views of the screen. Click for larger versions

The HZ27WiDP comes in an attractive design and looks very similar to Apple's Cinema Displays. The first thing you notice is that the front of the screen carries a glossy screen surface, providing a fairly shiny finish, although actually being only moderately reflective. It doesn't look overly glossy and reflective like some glass-fronted screens we've seen before. This glossy surface completely covers the front of the screen, including the panel and bezel. The black bezel measures ~26.5mm along all edges of the screen. There is then also a ~19mm thick silver coloured plastic trim along the bottom edge, designed to look like brushed aluminium as you can see from the above pictures. Because the edges are flat with the panel it looks pretty sleek and attractive. There's no manufacturer logos or model names visible on the front of the screen. There are only the OSD control labels in the bottom right hand corner located on the silver plastic edge.


Above: rear views of the screen. Click for larger versions

The back of the screen is a smooth silver plastic finish, which is well put together and feels of a high quality. There are minimal markings or screws on the back as well so it looks attractive from the back as well. The stand attaches into the middle of the screen at the back. It should be noted that there is no VESA mounting option on this screen. Where the stand attaches in to the back of the screen feels a little wobbly, but it isn't a problem during normal use. Sometimes when you re-position the tilt angle, the screen feels a little lose on the back.


Above: view of the monitor stand. Click for larger version

The monitor stand is made of silver aluminium and provides a strong and stable base for the screen. There is a cable tidy hole in the back of the stand as you can see above.


Above: view of the base of the stand. Click for larger version

From a normal viewing position you can only really see the base of the stand beneath the screen. There is no height adjustment offered here, but the default height of the screen is fairly comfortable we felt, maybe a tad too low.


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

The screen has a nice thin side profile too thanks to the use of a W-LED backlight unit and an external power brick (supplied). The tilt range is shown above.


Above: view from above the screen

There is a limited range of ergonomic adjustments offered from the stand, with only tilt available. This is smooth to move but a bit stiff and the stand attachment at the back feels a bit wobbly. We miss height adjustment to be honest, although the default height is thankfully pretty reasonable we found. The ability to remove the stand and VESA mount the screen might have been nice to give people a little more flexibility if they wanted.

A summary of the screens ergonomic adjustments is shown below:

Function

Range

Smoothness

Ease of Use

Tilt

Yes

Smooth

Stiff

Height

n/a

-

-

Swivel

n/a

-

-

Rotate

n/a

-

-

Overall

Limited range of adjustments offered, stand a bit wobbly at the back where it attaches to the screen.

The materials were of a good standard and the build quality felt good on the whole. We liked the design and appearance of the screen as well. There was a faint audible buzzing noise from the screen when conducting specific tests with a lot of high concentration text. We didn't notice this at all during normal use and you really have to listen very close to the screen to pick it up even during those tests. The whole screen remained reasonably cool during prolonged use.


Above and below: interface connections on the back of the screen. Click for larger version (above)

The back of the screen features all the connections. There are the audio in / out connections, D-sub VGA, DisplayPort, DL-DVI and HDMI. On the right is the power connection.

 


OSD Menu


Above: OSD control buttons on the bottom edge of the screen. Click for larger version

The OSD menu is accessed and controlled through a series of 6 touch sensitive buttons located on the bottom right hand corner of the screen, on the silver edge. There is also a touch sensitive power on/off button next to these, and a small, subtle LED power light. This glows blue during operation and red during standby. The buttons are responsive and work well we found with very few occasions where touches didn't register.

There is quick access via the 'source' button to the input selection as shown above.

The other buttons also serve as quick access to certain settings. The right arrow brings up the brightness control. Left arrow brings up a rather random "lamp" feature which basically just fills the screen with a solid grey/white background, which you can make darker or lighter using the up/down arrows. The down arrow provides quick access to cycle through the PbP and PiP functions, and the up arrow gives quick access to the volume control. We found the slider controls like brightness a little odd as if you press right or left twice in quick succession it makes more of a jump than just two notches of the control. You have to press the arrows quite slowly once at a time to make more minute adjustments.

The 'menu' button brings up the main OSD as shown above. This is split in to 6 sections down the left hand side, with the options available then shown on the right. The first 'image settings' menu has a few useful features including the usual brightness and contrast controls.

You can also access the preset mode menu here, and also use the 'custom color' option which then gives you access to the RGB adjustments for calibration.

The second section of the menu for 'display settings' has the aspect ratio control option - with a comprehensive set of options for full screen, auto resize, wide 16:9, 1:1 pixel mapping and 4:3 aspect. You can also change the gamma mode between 2.4 and DICOM here which we found useful during our testing.

The fourth section is for 'PxP', allowing you to control the PiP and PbP options.

The fifth 'audio' section allows you to control the sound options if you're using the audio out connection. There aren't any speakers on this model though.

The final 'setup' section allows you to adjust the OSD itself.

Overall we felt there was a decent range of options available in the menu. Navigation could be tricky and confusing sometimes, as there's a mixture of having to move arrows left and right, and up and down. We also often found we pressed the 'down' arrow while outside of the menu, popping up the PiP screen and annoyingly making you cycle through all the options to get back to it being turned off which was a bit cumbersome.

 


Power Consumption

In terms of power consumption the manufacturer specifies typical usage of <40W and standby usage of <2W. We carried out our normal tests to establish its power consumption ourselves.

State and Brightness Setting

Manufacturer Spec (W)

Measured Power Usage (W)

Default (50%)

<40.0

67.1

Calibrated (10%)

-

41.4

Maximum Brightness (100%)

-

80.2

Minimum Brightness (0%)

-

33.4

Standby

<2.0

5.0

We tested this ourselves and found that out of the box the screen used 67.1W at the default 50% brightness setting. In standby it used a comparatively high 5.0W, while most screens are <1W. Once calibrated to a more comfortable brightness level the screen used a more modest 41.4W. We have plotted these results below compared with other screens we have tested. The HZ27WiDP once calibrated (41.4W) used a fair amount more power than many W-LED 27" screens (typically 24 - 26W). It was very similar though to the previous Hazro 27" models we've tested.



Panel and Backlighting

Panel Manufacturer

LG.Display

Colour Palette

16.7 million

Panel Technology

IPS

Colour Depth

8-bit

Panel Module

LM270WQ1-SDF1

Colour space

Standard gamut

Backlighting Type

W-LED

Colour space coverage (%)

79% NTSC, 79.1% Adobe RGB, 100% sRGB

Panel Part and Colour Depth

The screen features an LG.Display LM270WQ1-SDF1 IPS panel which is capable of producing 16.7 million colours. The panel offers an 8-bit colour depth.

Screen Coating

The screen coating is a low reflection glossy coating. It provides a clean and clear image and helps make colours and blacks "pop" somewhat. There is no graininess at all to the panel as a result of this coating, and so it remains clearer than the wide range of AG coated IPS panels on the market. Certainly much better than older generation IPS panels which were often criticized for their overly aggressive, grainy AG coating. Being glossy it does pick up finger prints and dust very easily so have a micro-fibre cloth on hand if you can. Annoyingly the screen came shipped with a sticky plastic cover over the screen which left some marks around the edges of the panel, which needed to be buffed off to restore a nice even, glossy surface. Some glossy screens have a protective glass coating and can appear very reflective, to the point of being problematic. That didn't seem to be an issue on this screen as the low reflection treatment of the coating worked well, even with light sources directly opposite the screen in use.


Backlight Type and Colour Gamut

The screen uses a White-LED (W-LED) backlight unit which has become the norm in today's market. This helps reduce power consumption compared with older generation CCFL backlight units and brings about some environmental benefits as well. The W-LED unit offers a standard colour gamut which is approximately equal to the sRGB colour space. Studying the detailed panel spec sheet confirms colour space coverage of 79% NTSC, 79.1% Adobe RGB and 100% sRGB. Anyone wanting to work with wider colour spaces would need to consider wide gamut CCFL screens or the newer range of GB-r-LED type displays available now. If you want to read more about colour spaces and gamut then please have a read of our detailed article.


Backlight Dimming and Flicker

We tested the screen to establish the methods used to control backlight dimming. Our in depth article talks in more details about a common method used for this which is called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM). This in itself gives cause for concern to some users who have experienced eye strain, headaches and other symptoms as a result of the flickering backlight caused by this technology. We use a photosensor + oscilloscope system to measure backlight dimming control with a high level of accuracy and ease. These tests allow us to establish

1) Whether PWM is being used to control the backlight
2) The frequency and other characteristics at which this operates, if it is used
3) Whether a flicker may be introduced or potentially noticeable at certain settings

If PWM is used for backlight dimming, the higher the frequency, the less likely you are to see artefacts and flicker. The duty cycle (the time for which the backlight is on) is also important and the shorter the duty cycle, the more potential there is that you may see flicker. The other factor which can influence flicker is the amplitude of the PWM, measuring the difference in brightness output between the 'on' and 'off' states. Please remember that not every user would notice a flicker from a backlight using PWM, but it is something to be wary of. It is also a hard thing to quantify as it is very subjective when talking about whether a user may or may not experience the side effects.


100%                                                  50%                                                  0%

Above scale = 1 horizontal grid = 5ms

At all brightness settings a low amplitude oscillation is detected. This applies even at the maximum 100% brightness setting where it is normal to see a flat line and direct current applied to the backlight. The oscillation is not a full off/on switching of the backlight and is pretty low amplitude. It operates at a fixed 842Hz frequency and so is also fairly high. It probably won't cause issues for most people, although the screen cannot be classified as flicker free as a result.

Pulse Width Modulation Used

Yes, low amplitude oscillation only

Cycling Frequency

842Hz

Possible Flicker at

 

100% Brightness

Yes

50% Brightness

Yes

0% Brightness

Yes

For an up to date list of all flicker-free (PWM free) monitors please see our Flicker Free Monitor Database.

 


Contrast Stability and Brightness

We 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. We recorded the screens luminance and black depth at various OSD brightness settings, and calculated the contrast ratio from there. Graphics card settings were left at default with no ICC profile or calibration active. Tests were made using an X-rite i1 Display Pro colorimeter. It should be noted that we used the BasICColor calibration software here to record these, and so luminance at default settings may vary a little from the LaCie Blue Eye Pro report.

OSD Brightness

Luminance
(cd/m2)

Black Point (cd/m2)

Contrast Ratio
( x:1)

100

402.83

0.36

1119

90

386.76

0.34

1138

80

371.45

0.33

1126

70

353.63

0.31

1141

60

335.44

0.30

1118

50

315.89

0.28

1128

40

272.47

0.24

1135

30

225.79

0.20

1129

20

176.82

0.16

1105

10

125.73

0.11

1143

0

71.73

0.06

1196

 

Total Luminance Adjustment Range (cd/m2)

331.10

Brightness OSD setting controls backlight?

Total Black Point Adjustment Range (cd/m2)

0.30

Average Static Contrast Ratio

1134:1

PWM Free? 

Recommended OSD setting for 120 cd/m2

9

The brightness control gave us a very good range of adjustment. At the top end the maximum luminance reached 403 cd/m2 which was extremely high, although a bit less than the specified maximum brightness of 440 cd/m2 from the manufacturer. There was a decent 331 cd/m2 adjustment range in total, and so at the minimum setting you could reach down to a fairly low luminance of 72 cd/m2. This should be adequate for most people wanting to work in darkened room conditions with lower ambient light, although it could have done with being a little lower we felt. We'd gladly have sacrificed some range at the higher end. A setting of only 9 in the OSD menu should return you a luminance of around 120 cd/m2 at default settings. It should be noted that the brightness regulation is controlled without the need for a full off/on Pulse Width Modulation method, but there is a low amplitude and high frequency (842Hz) oscillation present, so it can't be classified as 100% flicker free. This kind of oscillation is unlikely to cause problems for most users though.

We have plotted the luminance trend on the graph above. The screen behaves as it should in this regard, with a reduction in the backlight intensity controlled by the reduction in the OSD brightness setting. This is not a linear relationship as you can see from the graph though, with settings below 50 controlling a much steeper change in luminance output.

The average contrast ratio before calibration of the screen was excellent for an IPS panel with an average of 1134:1. This was nice and stable across the brightness adjustment range as shown above although with some increase for settings of 20 and lower.



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.

We restored our graphics card to default settings and disabled any previously active ICC profiles and gamma corrections. The screen was tested at default factory settings using an X-rite i1 Pro Spectrophotometer (not to be confused with the i1 Display Pro colorimeter) combined with LaCie's Blue Eye Pro software suite. An X-rite i1 Display Pro colorimeter was also used to verify the black point and contrast ratio since the i1 Pro spectrophotometer is less reliable at the darker end.


Targets for these tests are as follows:

  • CIE Diagram - validates the colour space covered by the monitors backlighting in a 2D view, with the black triangle representing the displays gamut, and other reference colour spaces shown for comparison

  • Gamma - we aim for 2.2 which is the default for computer monitors

  • Colour temperature / white point - we aim for 6500k which is the temperature of daylight

  • Luminance - we aim for 120 cd/m2, which is the recommended luminance for LCD monitors in normal lighting conditions

  • Black depth - we aim for as low as possible to maximise shadow detail and to offer us the best contrast ratio

  • Contrast ratio - we aim for as high as possible. Any dynamic contrast ratio controls are turned off here if present

  • dE average / maximum - as low as possible. If DeltaE >3, the color displayed is significantly different from the theoretical one, meaning that the difference will be perceptible to the viewer. If DeltaE <2, LaCie considers the calibration a success; there remains a slight difference, but it is barely undetectable. If DeltaE < 1, the color fidelity is excellent.



Default Performance and Setup

Default settings of the screen were as follows:

Monitor OSD Option

Default Settings

Brightness

50

Contrast

50

Preset mode

Standard

RGB

n/a

Gamma

2.4


Hazro HZ27WiDP - Default Settings

  

 

Default Settings

luminance (cd/m2)

320

Black Point (cd/m2)

0.28

Contrast Ratio

1128:1

 

Initially out of the box the screen was set in the default 'standard' colour temperature mode. The gamma settings available in the OSD were 2.4 or DICOM, with the default being the 2.4 option. The screen felt pretty well balanced although very bright at the default 50% brightness level. We went ahead and measured the screen with our i1 Pro.

 

The CIE diagram on the left of the image confirms that the monitors colour gamut (black triangle) is roughly equal to the sRGB colour space. There is some minor over-coverage in all shades, particularly blue, but not by anything significant. Default gamma was recorded at 2.0 average, leaving it with a fairly large 11% deviance from the target which was a bit of an issue. We will try the other OSD gamma setting in a minute to see if that helps. White point was measured at 6683k being a bit too cool from the target of 6500k but with a fairly low 3% deviance.

 

 

Luminance was recorded at a very bright 320 cd/m2 which is too high for prolonged general use. Thankfully a simple adjustment to the OSD brightness control will bring that down, without impacting other aspects of the setup. The black depth was 0.28 cd/m2 at this default brightness setting, giving us an excellent contrast ratio (for an IPS-type panel) of 1128:1. Colour accuracy was moderate out of the box, with average dE at 3.6 and 6.2 maximum. When testing the screen with colour gradients there was some gradation evident as you will see from most monitors in darker tones, but no banding visible.
 



 

Monitor OSD Option

Default Settings

Brightness

50

Contrast

50

Preset mode

Standard

RGB

n/a

Gamma

DICOM


Hazro HZ27WiDP - Default Settings, DICOM Gamma Mode

 

Default Settings,
DICOM Gamma mode

luminance (cd/m2)

320

Black Point (cd/m2)

0.28

Contrast Ratio

1129:1

 

We switched to the only other OSD gamma option to see if that helped improve the gamma from from the default 2.0 figure we'd previously measured (11% deviance from our target). Thankfully, it did! Gamma in this mode was now at 2.2 average, with only a minor 1% deviance now. White point remained at a similar 3% deviance from the 6500k target, measured at 6701k here. Luminance, black depth and contrast ratio were the same as before. With the improvement in the gamma curve, the colour accuracy had improved a bit overall, with dE now measured at 2.7 which was pleasing. This mode certainly looked better to the naked eye, especially if you then reduce the brightness setting down to something comfortable.

 

 

 

 

Calibration

 

We used the X-rite i1 Pro spectrophotometer combined with the LaCie Blue Eye Pro software package to achieve these results and reports. An X-rite i1 Display Pro colorimeter was used to validate the black depth and contrast ratios due to lower end limitations of the i1 Pro device.

 

Monitor OSD Option

Calibrated Settings

Brightness

10

Contrast

50

Preset Mode

Custom Color

RGB

97, 94, 96

Gamma

DICOM


Hazro HZ27WiDP  - Calibrated Settings

  
 

 

Calibrated Settings

luminance (cd/m2)

121

Black Point (cd/m2)

0.12

Contrast Ratio

995:1

 

We changed to the 'custom color' preset mode which gave us access to the RGB channels, allowing us to adjust the white point at the hardware level. These OSD changes allowed us to obtain an optimum hardware starting point and setup before software level changes would be made at the graphics card level. We left the  LaCie software to calibrate to "max" brightness which would just retain the luminance of whatever brightness we'd set the screen to, and would not in any way try and alter the luminance at the graphics card level, which can reduce contrast ratio. These adjustments before profiling the screen would help preserve tonal values and limit banding issues. After this we let the software carry out the LUT adjustments and create an ICC profile.

 

 

Average gamma was now corrected to 2.2 average, correcting the 11% deviance we'd seen out of the box in the default mode, and the 1% error in the DICOM gamma setting. The white point was now also corrected to 6506k, correcting the minor 3% deviance from before. Luminance was now far more comfortable as well at 121cd/m2 after the adjustment to the brightness control. This left us a black depth of 0.12 cd/m2 and maintained a very good static contrast ratio (for an IPS-type panel) of 995:1. The reduction from the default 1128:1 level is accounted for due to the adjustment to the RGB channels and correction of the white point and gamma curve during the graphics card profiling. Colour accuracy of the resulting profile was excellent, with dE average of 0.4 and maximum of 1.2. LaCie would consider colour fidelity to be very good overall. Testing the screen with various colour gradients showed mostly smooth transitions. There was some slight gradation in darker tones and some minor banding introduced due to the adjustments to the graphics card LUT from the profilation of the screen. You can use our settings and try our calibrated ICC profile if you wish, which are available in our ICC profile database. Keep in mind that results will vary from one screen to another and from one computer / graphics card to another.

 

 

 

Calibration Performance Comparisons


 

The comparisons made in this section try to give you a better view of how each screen performs, particularly out of the box which is what is going to matter to most consumers. When comparing the default factory settings for each monitor it is important to take into account several measurement areas - gamma, white point and colour accuracy. There's no point having a low dE colour accuracy figure if the gamma curve is way off for instance. A good factory calibration requires all 3 to be well set up. We have deliberately not included luminance in this comparison since this is normally far too high by default on every screen. However, that is very easily controlled through the brightness setting (on most screens) and should not impact the other areas being measured anyway. It is easy enough to obtain a suitable luminance for your working conditions and individual preferences, but a reliable factory setup in gamma, white point and colour accuracy is important and not as easy to change accurately without a calibration tool.

 

From these comparisons we can also compare the calibrated colour accuracy, black depth and contrast ratio. After a calibration the gamma, white point and luminance should all be at their desired targets.

 

 

Default setup of the screen out of the box was reasonable, although gamma was a little out from the target at 2.0. Thankfully white point was reliable and the static contrast ratio was high (1128:1). With a simple change of the OSD gamma setting to DICOM you can improve the setup quite nicely, correcting the gamma curve to 2.2 (1% out) and improving the dE colour accuracy a little too. At that setting the default setup would be classified as good, and should be adequate for most casual users without much change (other than setting the brightness to something comfortable).

 


 

 

The display was strong when it came to black depth and contrast ratio for an IPS-type panel. With a calibrated contrast ratio of 995:1 it was comparable to some of the better screens using this kind of panel technology. It was not quite as high as some models like the recently tested Dell U2515H (1138:1) which holds the record for an IPS contrast ratio. It was close to that figure out of the box, but after some OSD adjustments and corrections to the gamma curve and white point it dropped a little lower. Of course it can't compete with VA panel types which can reach over 2000:1 easily, and commonly up to 3000:1, even close to 5000:1 in some cases (not shown here on the graph).

 


Viewing Angles


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

Viewing angles of the screen were very good as you would expect from an IPS-type panel. Horizontally there was very little colour tone shift until wide angles past about 45. A slight darkening of the image occurred horizontally from wider angles as you can see above as the contrast shifted slighting. Contrast shifts were a little more noticeable in the vertical field with the image appearing more pale, but overall they were very good. The screen offered the wide viewing angles of IPS technology and was free from the 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 and a lot of the quite obvious gamma and colour tone shift you see from some of the modern VA panel type offerings. All as expected really from a modern IPS-type panel.


Above: View of an all black screen from the side. Click for larger version

On a black image there is a pale white glow when viewed from an angle, commonly referred to as IPS-glow. This kind of glow is common on most IPS-type panels and can be distracting to some users. A lot of panels show a far more obvious silvery white glow than this (e.g. see the recent Asus MG279Q using an IPS-type panel) and so on this display it is not as obvious day to day. It is still there though so something to be aware of if you work with a lot of dark content.



Panel Uniformity

We wanted to test here how uniform the brightness was across the screen, as well as identify any leakage from the backlight in dark lighting conditions. Measurements of the luminance were taken at 35 points across the panel on a pure white background. The measurements for luminance were taken using BasICColor's calibration software package, combined with an X-rite i1 Display Pro colorimeter with a central point on the screen calibrated to 120 cd/m2. The below uniformity diagram shows the difference, as a percentage, between the measurement recorded at each point on the screen, as compared with the central reference 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.
 


Uniformity of Luminance

The luminance uniformity of the screen was very good overall. The upper corners and edges showed some minor drops in luminance, but only by around 7% in the worst cases where it dropped down to ~111cd/m2. The lower left hand corner was a little brighter than the rest of the screen as well, ranging up to 126 cd/m2. Overall though 97% of the screen was within a 10% deviance of the centrally calibrated point which was very good.


Backlight Leakage


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

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. The camera showed there was some backlight bleed from all four corners. You could see this with the naked eye when viewing a dark screen in a dark room, but you couldn't see any ill-effects of it during normal day to day use.

 


General and Office Applications

The HZ27WiDP feature a 2560 x 1440 WQHD resolution, a significant step up from the wide range of 1920 x 1080 screens on the market. The pixel pitch of 0.233 mm is quite 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 resolution 27" models offer a tight pixel pitch and therefore small text as well. We found it quite a change originally coming from 21.5 - 24" sized screens back in the day, even those offering quite high resolutions and small pixel pitches. Although now we are very used to working with 27" 1440p screens all the time and find them very comfortable and a significant upgrade over 1080 / 1200p models. Some users may find the small text a little too small to read comfortably, and we'd advise caution if you are coming from a 19" or 22" screen for instance where the pixel pitch and text are much larger. The extra screen size takes some getting used to over a few days as there really is a lot of room to work with but once you do, it's excellent. 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. With its WQHD display, you enjoy 77% more desktop space than a full HD screen to spread out your windows and palettes.

The low reflection glossy screen coating of the panel is certainly nice to work with, and much better than the grainy and 'dirty' appearance of older IPS AG coatings. Some users prefer a glossy coating and is does help the image look clean and sharp. Colours and blacks also "pop" and overall the image quality is very nice. You might need to contend with some slight reflections depending on your ambient lighting conditions, although we found them to be very low really on this screen and not a problem during day to day use. Certainly far less reflective than screens with a glass protective front to them. The coating can pick up finger prints and dust quite easily though so keep a cleaning cloth nearby.

The wide viewing angles provided by this panel technology on both horizontal and vertical planes, helps minimize on-screen colour shift when viewed from different angles. The default setup of the screen was pretty decent, and with a simple change to the gamma setting in the OSD offered a decent gamma curve, white point, contrast ratio and fairly low dE. The brightness range of the screen was also very good, with the ability to offer a luminance between 403 and 72 cd/m2. This should mean the screen is perfectly useable in a wide variety of ambient light conditions, including darkened rooms. We would have perhaps liked a little more control at the lower end, and a lower maximum luminance as ~400 is unnecessary. A setting of ~9 in the OSD brightness control should return you a luminance close to 120 cd/m2 out of the box. The brightness regulation is controlled without the need for a full off/on Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM) method although there is a low amplitude and high frequency oscillation present. Those who suffer from eye fatigue or headaches associated with flickering backlights probably don't need to worry too much about it, but the oscillation may be an issue for the hyper-sensitive. There was a very feint audible buzzing from the screen when specifically looking for it using test images with a large amount of text at once, but not detected during any normal uses. The screen remains fairly cool even during prolonged use. There is a specific 'paper' preset mode for office work or reading available if you want to set that up for your uses, which made the image more yellow in appearance.

The screen doesn't have much in the way of extras, with no USB ports, card readers or ambient light sensors offered. The stand is very limited in functionality as well with only a basic, fairly stiff tilt adjustment offered and no height, swivel or rotate. There is also no VESA mounting support which may have been useful to some people though to give more flexibility. The lack of ergonomic adjustments is one of the ways they've kept the cost down on this display, although it is also in keeping with the design of the rival Apple screens.

 
Above: photo of text at 2560 x 1440 (top) and 1920 x 1080 (bottom)

The screen is designed to run at its native resolution of 2560 x 1440 and at a 60Hz recommended refresh rate. However, if you want you are able to run the screen outside of this resolution. We tested the screen at a lower 1920 x 1080 resolution to see how the screen handles the interpolation of the resolution, while maintaining the same aspect ratio of 16:9. At native resolution the text was very sharp and clear. When running at a 1080p resolution the text is still clear, with very low levels of blurring. You do lose some screen real-estate as well of course but the image seems to be quite well interpolated from 1080p sources if needed.

 


Responsiveness and Gaming

Quoted G2G Response Time

5.5ms G2G

Quoted ISO Response Time

n/a

Panel Manufacturer and Technology

LG.Display IPS

Panel Part

LM270WQ1-SDF1

Overdrive Used

Yes

Overdrive Control Available to User

No

Overdrive Settings

n/a

The HZ27WiDP is rated by Hazro as having a 5.5ms G2G response time, which indicates the panel uses overdrive / response time compensation (RTC) technology to boost pixel transitions across grey to grey changes. There is no user control over the overdrive impulse within the OSD menu so we are reliant on the manufacturer setup. The part being used is the LG.Display LM270WQ1-SDF1 IPS panel. Have a read about response time in our specs section if you need additional information about response times and their measurement.

We will first test the screen using our thorough response time testing method. This uses an oscilloscope and photosensor to measure the pixel response times across a series of different transitions, in the full range from 0 (black) to 255 (white). This will give us a realistic view of how the monitor performs in real life, as opposed to being reliant only on a manufacturers spec. We can work out the response times for changing between many different shades, calculate the maximum, minimum and average grey to grey (G2G) response times, and provide an evaluation of any overshoot present on the monitor.

We use an ETC M526 oscilloscope for these measurements along with a custom photosensor device. Have a read of our response time measurement article for a full explanation of the testing methodology and reported data.

The average G2G response time was measured at 11.8ms which was fairly slow for an IPS-type panel. Transitions to white (x > 255) and to black (x > 0) were the fastest, and some even reached down to the specified 5.5ms figure. Intermediate changes between grey shades were slower, reaching up to 20ms in the worst case. Any overdrive being applied here is very light. To give you an idea, a fast 60Hz IPS-type panel can reach down to around 8.6ms G2G without introducing lots of overshoot, so the HZ27WiDP fell behind a bit here.

There was no overshoot at all though which was pleasing, another indication of the very light overdrive impulse.



Display Comparisons

The above comparison table and graph shows you the lowest, average and highest G2G response time measurement for each screen we have tested with our oscilloscope system. There is also a colour coded mark next to each screen in the table to indicate the RTC overshoot error, as the response time figure alone doesn't tell the whole story.

The measured response times of the HZ27WiDP were a little slow compared with some of the other 60Hz IPS screens we've tested. In the best cases, 60Hz IPS panels can reach down to around 8.6ms G2G (Dell U2415) without any noticeable overshoot issues. Larger models like the recent Dell U2715H and U3415W shown here were a bit slower at 9.9 - 10.6ms with only low levels of overshoot. The new 144Hz capable IPS-type panels in the Asus MG279Q and Acer XB270HU are faster, reaching down to 5.5 - 6.5ms with little to no overshoot. Modern TN Film panels are faster than HZ27WiDP as well as you might expect, reaching down to 2.9 - 3.4ms G2G average on models like the Asus ROG Swift PG278Q and BenQ XL2730Z respectively, but with moderate levels of overshoot introduced.

 

The screen was also tested using the chase test in PixPerAn for the following display comparisons. As a reminder, a series of pictures are taken on the highest shutter speed and compared, with the best case example shown on the left, and worst case example on the right. This should only be used as a rough guide to comparative responsiveness but is handy for a comparison between different screens and technologies as well as a means to compare those screens we tested before the introduction of our oscilloscope method.


27" 5.5ms G2G LG.Display IPS

In practice the HZ27WiDP showed moderate levels of blur with some trail images visible in these test photos. In practice the moving images were not as sharp as some faster screens and more blur was apparent. At least there are no overshoot artefacts here though.



27" 5.5ms G2G LG.Display IPS


27" 8ms G2G LG.Display AH-IPS (Response Time = Normal)


25" 8ms G2G LG.Display AH-IPS (Response Time = Normal)


24" 8ms G2G LG.Display AH-IPS (Response Time = Normal)


It is also interesting to compare the Hazro screen to a selection of popular Dell IPS models, in sizes of 24 to 27". The 27" U2715H is probably the most direct competitor to the Hazro given the resolution and size. It's response times were a couple of ms faster (9.9ms vs. 11.8ms G2G) and the PixPerAn tests showed a slightly less noticeable blur to the moving image. The 25" U2515H was a similar story, being ever so slightly faster still (9.3ms G2G) and having less blur than the Hazro again. The 24" U2415 represents one of the fastest 60Hz IPS panels available (in real life, without overshoot being an issue) and at 8.6ms G2G it showed a sharper and less blurry image again. The differences in these comparisons are fairly small as you make marginal improvements from one to the other, but the Hazro is a little slower in practice than the faster IPS panels available.



27" 5.5ms G2G LG.Display IPS


27" 4ms G2G AU Optronics AHVA (IPS-type) @ 144Hz (OD = Normal)


27" 1ms G2G AU Optronics TN Film @ 144Hz (OD = Normal)


27" 1ms G2G AU Optronics TN Film @ 144Hz (AMA = High)


23.5" 4ms G2G Sharp MVA + 120Hz

We've also included a comparison above against some other very fast 120Hz+ compatible screens we have tested. The screens shown here are all aimed primarily at gamers and have various features and extras which make them more suitable overall for gaming. Firstly there is a comparison against the excellent Acer XB270HU with very fast response times (5.5ms G2G, no overshoot), 144Hz refresh rate and also NVIDIA G-sync and Ultra Low Motion Blur (ULMB) support. That certainly delivers a better gaming experience than the Hazro, probably to be expected given that's a gaming screen and a much higher retail price. It's currently our bench-mark for IPS panel gaming - well, actually our current favourite gaming screen of any type!

Then there's the very popular Asus ROG Swift PG278Q with its 144Hz refresh rate and fast response time TN Film panel. This showed very fast pixel response times (2.9ms G2G), with moderate levels of overshoot, but smooth movement thanks to its increased refresh rate. You are able to reduce the motion blur even more through the use of the ULMB strobed backlight as well if you need to and again this model also supports NVIDIA's G-sync technology.

Then there is a comparison against the BenQ XL2730Z with another very fast TN Film panel and 144Hz refresh rate. This showed very low levels of motion blur (3.4ms G2G), but some dark overshoot was introduced as a side-effect as you can see. This screen also includes a native Blur Reduction mode to help eliminate further perceived motion blur and works well, along with AMD FreeSync support.

Lastly there is the MVA based Eizo FG2421 screen with a fast response time (especially for the panel technology being used) and 120Hz refresh rate support. There is also an additional 'Turbo 240' motion blur reduction mode which really helps reduce the perceived motion blur in practice.
 


Additional Gaming Features

  • Aspect Ratio Control - The HZ27WiDP has several options in the 'display settings' menu for aspect ratio control. There are options for full screen, auto resize, wide 16:9, 1:1 pixel mapping and 4:3 aspect. This should offer you all the scaling options you could need really and that's especially handy for external devices you may want to connect.
     

  • Preset Modes - There is a specific 'game' preset modes available on this screen although it looked very similar to the default  mode and our calibrated state. It doesn't retain its own brightness level sadly, so it probably won't be of much use.



Lag

We have written an in depth article about input lag and the various measurement techniques which are used to evaluate this aspect of a display. It's important to first of all understand the different methods available and also what this lag means to you as an end-user.

Input Lag vs. Display Lag vs. Signal Processing

To avoid confusion with different terminology we will refer to this section of our reviews as just "lag" from now on, as there are a few different aspects to consider, and different interpretations of the term "input lag". We will consider the following points here as much as possible. The overall "display lag" is the first, that being the delay between the image being shown on the TFT display and that being shown on a CRT. This is what many people will know as input lag and originally was the measure made to explain why the image is a little behind when using a CRT. The older stopwatch based methods were the common way to measure this in the past, but through advanced studies have been shown to be quite inaccurate. As a result, more advanced tools like SMTT provide a method to measure that delay between a TFT and CRT while removing the inaccuracies of older stopwatch methods.

In reality that lag / delay is caused by a combination of two things - the signal processing delay caused by the TFT electronics / scaler, and the response time of the pixels themselves. Most "input lag" measurements over the years have always been based on the overall display lag (signal processing + response time) and indeed the SMTT tool is based on this visual difference between a CRT and TFT and so measures the overall display lag. In practice the signal processing is the element which gives the feel of lag to the user, and the response time of course can impact blurring, and overall image quality in moving scenes. As people become more aware of lag as a possible issue, we are of course keen to try and understand the split between the two as much as possible to give a complete picture.

The signal processing element within that is quite hard to identify without extremely high end equipment and very complicated methods. In fact the studies by Thomas Thiemann which really kicked this whole thing off were based on equipment worth >100,1000 Euro, requiring extremely high bandwidths and very complicated methods to trigger the correct behaviour and accurately measure the signal processing on its own. Other techniques which are being used since are not conducted by Thomas (he is a freelance writer) or based on this equipment or technique, and may also be subject to other errors or inaccuracies based on our conversations with him since. It's very hard as a result to produce a technique which will measure just the signal processing on its own unfortunately. Many measurement techniques are also not explained and so it is important to try and get a picture from various sources if possible to make an informed judgement about a display overall.

For our tests we will continue to use the SMTT tool to measure the overall "display lag". From there we can use our oscilloscope system to measure the response time across a wide range of grey to grey (G2G) transitions as recorded in our response time tests. Since SMTT will not include the full response time within its measurements, after speaking with Thomas further about the situation we will subtract half of the average G2G response time from the total display lag. This should allow us to give a good estimation of how much of the overall lag is attributable to the signal processing element on its own.

 

Lag Classification


To help in this section we will also introduce a broader classification system for these results to help categorise each screen as one of the following levels:

  • Class 1) Less than 16ms / 1 frame lag at 60Hz - should be fine for gamers, even at high levels

  • Class 2) A lag of 16 - 32ms / One to two frames of lag at 60Hz - moderate lag but should be fine for many gamers. Caution advised for serious gaming and FPS

  • Class 3) A lag of more than 32ms / more than 2 frames of lag at 60Hz - Some noticeable lag in daily usage, not suitable for high end gaming

For the full reviews of the models compared here and the dates they were written (and when screens were approximately released to the market), please see our full reviews index.

(Measurements in ms)

Standard Mode

Total Display Lag (SMTT 2)

28.70

Pixel Response Time Element

5.90

Estimated Signal Processing Lag

22.80

Lag Classification

2

 

 Class 2

We have provided a comparison above against other models we have tested to give an indication between screens. The screens tested are split into two measurements which are based on our overall display lag tests (using SMTT) and half the average G2G response time, as measured by the oscilloscope. The response time is split from the overall display lag and shown on the graph as the green bar. From there, the signal processing (red bar) can be provided as a good estimation.

The HZ27WiDP showed a total display lag of 28.7ms. 5.9ms of this can be accounted for by pixel response times roughly, leaving us with approximately 22.8ms of signal processing lag. This is just under 1.5 frames at 60Hz refresh rate and fairly standard for displays with a scaler and multi-inputs like this. It could be a bit too high for people wanting to play FPS or competitive gaming.




Movies and Video

The following summarises the screens performance in video applications:

  • 27" screen size makes it a reasonable option for an all-in-one multimedia screen, much smaller than LCD TV's and many larger format desktop monitors which are now emerging.

  • 16:9 aspect ratio is well suited to videos and movies, leaving you with smaller/no borders on DVD's and wide screen content at the top and bottom than on a 16:10 aspect display.

  • 2560 x 1440 resolution can support full 1080 HD resolution content.

  • Digital interfaces support HDCP for any encrypted and protected content.

  • Good range of interface options available here with HDMI included which is useful for external devices.

  • Cable provided in the box for Dual-link DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort which is good to see.

  • Low reflection glossy coating provides clear images with no graininess at all. Colours and blacks "pop" somewhat because of the coating, although do keep in mind it is moderately reflective and so could be a bit of an issue in darkened room conditions depending on where your other lighting is. It's not nearly as reflective as some glass fronted screens we've seen though so it was actually pretty good here.

  • Wide brightness range adjustment possible from the display, including high maximum luminance of ~403 cd/m2 and a good minimum luminance of 72 cd/m2. This should afford you very good control for different lighting conditions. Contrast ratio remains stable across most of that adjustment range as well and is excellent for an IPS-type panel at >1100:1 (default out of the box). Brightness regulation is controlled without the need for a full off/on PWM switching, although a low amplitude and high frequency oscillation is present so could be an issue for the hyper-sensitive.

  • Black depth and contrast ratio are very good for an IPS-type panel at 995:1 after calibration. Detail in darker scenes should not be lost as a result.

  • There is a specific preset mode offered for movies which makes the image a little more blue and cooler than our calibrated state.

  • Adequate pixel responsiveness which should handle fast moving scenes in movies without real issue. No overshoot at all.

  • Wide viewing angles from IPS panel technology meaning several people could view the screen at once comfortable and from a whole host of different angles. The pale glow from an angle on dark content may be problematic to some users and is common for IPS panel technology. Although it's actually fairly low on this model.

  • Some backlight leakage on our sample from the corners but results may vary.

  • Very limited range of ergonomic adjustments available from the stand, with only tilt available. Lacking any other adjustments making it potentially a problem for moving your viewing position.

  • No integrated stereo speakers offered on this model although there is an audio out/headphone connection if passing sound to the screen over HDMI.

  • Wide range of hardware aspect ratio control provided including options for automatic aspect ratio retention and 1:1 pixel mapping. Should be able to handle external devices nicely if they are anything outside of the native 16:9 aspect ratio.

  • Picture By Picture (PbP) or Picture In Picture (PiP) are available on this model if you want to use them.

     


Conclusion

We enjoyed using the HZ27WiDP and one of the main reasons was the attractive design and sleek appearance. It's very similar to the Apple Cinema Displays which are well-regarded for their looks. The glossy screen coating was nice to work with as well, and something still very rare in the monitor market. We've seen a few glossy screens in the past which end up being just too reflective, but the low reflection treatment of the surface here did a great job and avoided a lot of reflections. The stand was solid with a nice aluminium design, but we did miss some ergonomic adjustment options to be honest. Unlike the Apple displays there is a good range of video connection options here as well which was great to see, especially considering the retail price.

The default setup was good and we were pleased with the strong contrast ratio. Response times were a little slower than we would perhaps like, but at least free from overshoot at all. Lag was also a little high for any serious gaming, but that's not the audience for this display anyway.

The HZ27WiDP is available from Hazro's website at a cost of 419 GBP which makes it less than half the price of the Apple 27" equivalent Thunderbolt display (899). If you're looking for a 1440p resolution display and fancy a nice design and glossy screen coating it's  definitely worth checking out. Keep in mind stocks are limited. See our intro section of this review for a bit more information on that along with details about support.

If you appreciate the review and enjoy reading and like our work, we would welcome a donation to the site to help us continue to make quality and detailed reviews for you.
 

Pros

Cons

Nice sleek design and low reflection glossy coating pleasing to work with

Limited stand adjustments with only tilt available

Good default setup and high IPS contrast ratio

Quite slow response times and moderate lag

Good range of video inputs, especially compared with similarly designed Apple screens

Low amplitude and high frequency oscillation, not 100% flicker free but probably not an issue for most

 

 

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