Gaming computers have reached such a level of sophistication now that the only thing more important than a kick-ass desktop PC is a decent monitor to be able to show off all the graphics power on your card. HANNSG has been designing stylish and games-friendly LCDs for some time now and the latest (and largest) member of the HZ series continues this trend.
The HZ281HPB is a 27.5-inch widescreen display (overall dimensions of 653 x 254 x 523mm) with a glossy jet black bezel and matching oval stand that’s designed in the standard ‘wine glass’ style. The base feels pretty solid and is quickly clicked into place and locked using two wing-nuts; it can then be tilted up to 20º but it can’t be pivoted.
The rear of the display is in business-like matt black and reveals inputs for VGA, HDMI and VDI-D (which carries HDCP encryption) as well as audio and speaker inputs. The five control buttons for Menu, Brightness, Volume, Auto and Power are discreetly positioned under the middle of the front panel and, although their corresponding icons are engraved into the front of the bezel, they’re black and unlit and therefore unhelpfully invisible. There is a rather attractive power indicator above the controls, though, which glows green in normal power mode and orange when power-saving.
As you’d expect from a monitor that is intended for HD viewing and serious game playing, the HZ281HPB boasts a 1920 x 1200 WUXGA 1080p resolution, a 5ms response time, a contrast ratio of 800:1 and a high brightness level of 400cd/m². In the brightness menu there’s an X-Contrast setting which automatically boosts the light and dark areas of the screen to sharpen up the image. This works particularly well in more brooding scenarios like in Crysis and Left 4 Dead, but needs to be toned down in predominantly well-lit movies. The monitor’s anti-glare screen also means you don’t have to worry about late afternoon sun spoiling your enjoyment.
You do have a reasonable amount of control over colour temperature (warm, natural, cool) and the RGB levels and if your input is VGA then you can also vary vertical and horizontal positions, correct flicker and adjust sharpness. Although the display has two 2W speakers, naturally you’d do better to feed the sound through your 5.1 or 7.1 system to properly complement your visual delights.
Having a super wide viewing angle of 170º means you’re never going to miss any of the essential action and we experienced no obvious ghosting effects, tearing or lagging, and the 16.7 million colours seemed vibrant and authentic, though without being exceptional.
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