Now it’s time to get to the most important element of any display: its image quality. As already mentioned, the HZ27WC sports a 27in IPS panel with a whopping resolution of 2,560 x 1,440, which is just below that of a 30in display and 60 percent higher than a Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) display. In other words, it should be adequate to keep even the most pixel-hungry users happy. This specific panel is an S-IPS manufactured by LG, and is the exact same one that can be found in the Apple Cinema Display and Dell U2711 (the bigger version of the award-winning UltraSharp U2410).
Hazro’s decision to go for a glass front gives mixed results. It looks great and helps to protect the screen while improving perceived colour intensity and contrast, but it does turn the display into a bit of a mirror when ambient light is present. It’s a personal preference with advantages and drawbacks either way, though we would probably choose a matt finish.
In theory, the HZ27WC’s IPS panel should ensure superb viewing angles, good contrast and excellent colour accuracy. Unfortunately, in this case the white LED backlighting doesn’t do it too many favours, despite allowing an unusually high brightness rating of 420nits. For one thing, there are some noticeable uniformity issues on the bottom left and right corners that give blacks a distinctly greyish cast – though at least there is no noticeable bleed. For another, even at its minimum the backlighting is a tad too bright for the deep blacks we ideally like to see. Contrast shift also seems to be more of an issue than with previous IPS displays we have looked at.
At this point it’s worth noting that Hazro sends out review samples through resellers, so this monitor was not ‘cherry-picked’ to represent the best you can expect. The above problem will vary between different models in the same series, and we reckon this is a worst-case scenario. Still, it is disappointing to find it to such an extent at all. It was pretty obvious that the HZ27WC display was not aimed at imaging professionals from the get-go (with its limited NTSC colour space being but one reason), and this quality issue pounds the last nail into that coffin.
Thankfully, things get better from here on out. Colours were indeed accurate and, taking the uneven backlighting into account, colour shift was virtually nonexistent. Gradients were nice and smooth without banding or the artefacting that TN panels tend to suffer from. Contrast was good too, with every last greyshade being distinctly visible while maintaining good white differentiation. In other words, you’ll get to see all of the fine detail in movies, games and photos. Sharpness is of course also excellent, with that ultra-high resolution squeezed into a relatively small panel giving a tiny dot pitch of 233.
All but the most demanding gamers should also be reasonably happy with this display. While it won’t match a fast TN panel with its 6ms response time, its lack of conversion, scaling or additional processing means input lag is minimal, while ghosting and trailing is well within acceptable limits. It’s also a delight to play titles at such a high resolution, though you’ll need a graphics card that can keep up.
In terms of energy usage, it’s a little higher than we had hoped, hovering around 60W after calibration. However, this is still significantly less than a similarly-sized CCFL-backlit monitor would consume.
Overall then, the HZ27WC does offer a lot, but it’s not without its share of flaws. Luckily, its competitive price keeps these from being critical, as – for now – it really has no competition at its £400 price point. The next cheapest alternative is Hazro’s own HZ27WB, which will set you back around £500, or a dual-monitor setup. Also, if you’re looking for a glass-fronted, LED-backlit or sRGB colour-space display, it’s the only alternative to Apple’s £800-plus offering.
If you’re looking for something a little better connected, the HZ27WA will set you back an extra £150, which also includes scaling and 10-bit colour processing. Though if you’re paying more anyway, another £100 on top of that will get you the Dell U2711’s height adjustable stand, matt panel finish, wider colour gamut, and more advanced OSD.
A glass-fronted, 27in IPS monitor with a stunning 2,560 x 1,440 resolution for just under £400 seems almost too good to be true. But while it’s not without its flaws and the odd cut corner, that is exactly what Hazro provides. If you can live with the slight drawbacks of its LED backlighting, it’s a bargain.
Score in detail
Image Quality 8