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Review: HP Z27i 27-inch IPS Display

HP's new, lightweight, full-powered 27-inch monitor fits into several workflows with its adjustable, detachable base and varied connectivity options.


The Z27i native resolution is definitely a step up from the 1920x1200 resolution of our older monitor. Despite the fact that the LP2475w was listed at a 5 ms response time, the Z27i feels much snappier thanks to the second-generation In-Plane Switching (IPS) panel and a much higher dynamic contrast ratio: the LP2475w had a 3000:1 dynamic contrast ratio, but the Z27i blows that away with a 5000000:1 dynamic ratio.


When we first tested the Z27i at HP’s event at the Sheraton New York Times Square, during HP’s media event, we thought perhaps we’d stumbled on an issue regarding the HDMI input.

Regardless of whether we tried our mini DisplayPort to HDMI cable on the 27” or 30” models, or on one of two MacBook Air laptops, we could only generate 1920x1080 output. The EDID information seemed to indicate that we should be able to see higher resolutions, which makes sense given the HDMI 1.4 connector. The same was true with the production review model, but then we discovered that our HDMI cable had a chipset in it that limits output to True HD (1080p or 1920x1080).

Once we had that sorted, we then bought a mini DisplayPort to DisplayPort cable for the same price—around $10 on Amazon for either the HDMI or DisplayPort variants—and magically our MacBook Air and Mac Mini test machines could now output 2560x1440 to the Z27i, and the EDID information was correct.

This was a great reminder that all the best gear can sometimes still be limited by a cabling issue. Newer mini DisplayPort to HDMI cables support 1.4 with updated chipsets, although they’re a bit more than the 1080p-only cables.

Performance on the Z27i has been flawless. While we’ve tended to only have one device at a time connected to the monitor, we’ve found that it actively tracks which input connections are active, cycling through them if the front-panel button is pressed.

We also used the monitor as a second side-by-side monitor with the all-in-one HP Z1, using the Z1’s integrated DisplayPort connector, and we found it has equal clarity. The Z1 comes in a glossy 27” IPS version and the Z27i is more of a matte surface; we find we prefer the Z27i as the primary monitor for this reason, as colors seem crisper, but that may just be a perception difference.

Bottom Line

We’ve been very pleased with both the weight and responsiveness of the HP 27i monitor. With the quick-release stand and the convenient handle grip, we can move the monitor around the office or pack it securely for an in-the-field project. On some short trips where I’ll have a few hours in the hotel, I’ve even laid the Z27i face down in the back seat, then walked into the hotel with it in one hand and my overnight bag in the other. Several hotel desk clerks have expressed surprise on how light it feels versus the expected weight for a monitor of this size.

We hope to be to test the bigger brother, HP Z30i monitor, in the near future. Until then we unequivocally give endorsement to this being the best 27” IPS generation 2 monitor that we’ve used.

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