Regular readers here know that I have been on a crusade for the ultimate (or at least an excellent) display for my 2013 Mac Pro. My quest started when I left my 2010 27-inch iMac behind. The new Mac Pro acquired in the summer of 2014 needed a proper display or pair of displays to accommodate my writing workflow. The beginning of that journey started here:
The interim result was this Hewlett Packard Z27i display, (27-inch, 2560 x 1440) which I paired with my (2009) Apple 24-inch Cinema display:
I thought I was done. But then Hewlett-Packard announced some new displays in 2015 that really turned my head. The first was the Z27s, a 27-inch 4K (3840 x 2160) display that worked beautifully with the Mac Pro. I reviewed it here:
I liked it a lot, but I didn't buy it after the review because what I really wanted was the subject of this review, the object of my affection, a drop-dead gorgeous 34-inch curved display that's a bit short of 4K: 3440 x 1440.
The HP Z27i was handed down to my wife as a second display for her PC notebook. It remains an excellent choice to use as a second display for any notebook or desktop computer, Mac or PC.
A final caveat. I am writing this from the perspective of an experienced Mac user, but not as a video professional or a color/display professional. Instead, the questions I will try to answer are:
- Why is the display curved the way it is?
- Is it worth the money?
- Is it easy to connect and operate?
- What's life like as a Mac user with this display?
2. Executive Summary
The HP Z34c is a 34-inch (86 cm) diagonal display that uses LCD Vertical Alignment (VA) technology instead of In-plane Switching (IPS). More on VA later. It is LED backlit. The resolution is 3440 x 1440 at 60 Hz with an aspect ratio well beyond HDTV of about 2.39:1 (21:9). The face of the frame is black and the back is beige.
The display itself, excluding the stand, weighs 17.6 pounds (8 kg), and despite its bulk, it was relatively easy to handle while attaching the base stand. (Note: it cannot be laid face down; that puts too much mechanical strain on the curved display.) It takes up enough room on the desktop that, except for a Tony Stark lab, there isn't really any room for a second display. No worries. You won't need one.
A single DisplayPort cable connects to the Mac and no drivers are needed. It's plug-n-play. All I had to do was double check the Mac's display settings to make sure I was in the full 3440 x 1440 setting, which is the "Default for display."
Available resolutions shown.
The display has a slight curvature with a radius of 118 inches (3.0 meters). I'll get into the technical specifications and observations about the curved display later in this review.
Unlike the Z27i and Z27s displays I"ve reviewed, the connectors on the back are straight out (as they should be), like an iMac, and not on the bottom of the display's frame. Connectors underneath are hard to get to, and gravity is not their friend.
This may be all you need to know about this display to make a purchase decision. However, for completeness, I'll go into much more detail in the five pages that follow. Plus, our managing editor, Jeff Gamet, has also done a great video review that complements this written review. Okay, on we go.
Page 2: How it Was Tested and The Out of Box Experience