Most LCD screens are built down to a price, using the cheaper and more plentiful twisted-nematic (TN) liquid-crystal display technology.
The Hazro HZ27WA is different. Not only is it much larger than your average PC monitor, at 27in across the diagonal, it also uses the superior in-plane switching (IPS) system.
In real terms, IPS screens have a better colour gamut, so can reproduce a wider range of colours, ultimately resulting in a more realistic image; much closer to CRT monitors.
They also have decent viewing angles, so when looking at the screen from the side, you still get a convincing picture, rather than one that looks dark or even a negative of the original. And that’s what we found on the Hazro here.
The Hazro HZ27WA here is based around an LED-backlit IPS panel from LCD manufacturer LG, and assembled in Britain by this Birmingham-based display specialist. And if the core spec of this panel sounds familiar, it’s because a similar screen fronts the current generation of 27in iMacs from Apple.
While such high-end panels can also be found in highly priced professional monitors from HP and Dell – typically costing around £1000 – the Hazro HZ27WA stands out for its more attractive pricing. At £550, the improved image reproduction quality of a designer’s screen comes more in reach.
Design and Build
The build qualilty of the Hazro HZ27WA is somewhat no-frills, taking a simple plastic pedestal mount rather than articulated adjustable stand. You can tilt the panel a little fore and aft – but that’s all.
The design is more focused on the consumer rather than pro market. Evidence of this includes the use of shiny black plastics instead of discreet matt black bezels, and the metal-effect plastic band around the screen.
There’s also a pair of speakers sited at back, with stereo phono or mini-jack input. These go reasonably loud, although are a bit gritty sounding.
A choice of video inputs includes HDMI 1.3, two VGA and three-cable component. But perhaps the biggest giveaway of its non-pro target audience is the whopping great glass sheet that covers the LCD itself.
While such glossy screens are ubiquitous on consumer laptops, for example, the improved sense of colour is inevitably undermined by distracting reflections. We found we could use this panel in a darkened room, but otherwise found it too infuriating for comfortable use during the daytime.
Hazro also offers 27in and 30in monitors with anti-glare matt displays, which we hope to cover in forthcoming reviews. There’s also a similarly glass-fronted version of this model, the HZ27WC, at just £455 with a single dual-link DVI input.
The panel is bright and our sample had even colour with no hint of vignetting or backlight bleeding. An array of six buttons and standby switch behind the right edge lets you access a straightforward but usable menu, that includes adjustments for brightness, contrast, sharpness and colour temperature.
Other features include sleep timer, picture-by-picture (PBP) to show two video sources simultaneously in split-screen, dynamic contrast ratio, and an eco mode that adjusts backlight strength.
The very high 2560 x 1440 resolution requires some connection planning: you’ll need to use a fully-wired dual-link DVI cable to a compatible PC, or an HDMI version 1.3 connection. For connection to Apple Macs, for instance, beware that most Mini DisplayPort to DVI or HDMI adaptors will not work at greater than 1920 x 1080 resolutions. And older Mini DVI outputs also do not support dual-link resolutions.
Once calibrated by a Datacolor Spyder3, and viewed with the blinds down, we found a startlingly good picture, every bit as good as seen on the 27in iMac. Unlike some IPS panels we’ve used, reds were rendered quite naturally, for example, rather than overly scarlet.
The specifications list 72% NTSC, or 100% sRGB, coverage and we certainly appreciated the improved colour depth of this 10-bit panel.
Text was rendered cleanly down to tiny point sizes, and 1080p HD video looked stunning even after scaling – this time upwards – to full-screen size. The monitor is rated with a 6ms (grey-to-grey) response time, and we were satisfied it could handle fast video without visible smearing.
NB. Since this review was published it's been brought to our attention that a small number of these monitors were manufactured with a non-recommended adhesive that can result in the front glass becoming loose.
These units have been narrowed down to a small number of Hazro HZ27WA and HZ27WD monitors sold through OCUK and Scan Computers.
If you think you may be affected, contact Hazro through its website contact page to check the status of your monitor.