The Display You’ve Always Wanted For Your Mac: HP Z34c

| In-Depth Review

1. Introduction

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:

My Search: a New Display for a Mac Pro, Part I (December 2014)

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:

My Search: a New Display for a Mac Pro, Part II (January 2015)

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:

Hewlett-Packard’s Z27s is a 27-inch 4K Display for Your Mac Without the 4K Price (November 2015)

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:

  1. Why is the display curved the way it is?
  2. Is it worth the money?
  3. Is it easy to connect and operate?
  4. 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

Product: HP Z Display Z34c 34-inch Ultra Wide Curved Display

Company: Hewlett-Packard

List Price: MSRP: US$1299. $778 at Amazon.


Outstanding Product. Get It Now!


Pleasingly large 34-inch, (3440 x 1440 @ 60 Hz, 21:9 aspect), pleasingly curved (3 meter radius). Good trade between size and resolution. Capable of high brightness. Two USB 3.0 ports. Two HDMI input ports. One has an MHL interface (not supported by Apple). Tilt adjustment. Remote control.


No Mac-centric DisplayPort cable included. Remote is not well marked and controls are difficult to operate intuitively. Only one DisplayPort input.

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That is honking, stonking, great big butt ar$ed display !


For a display that is already going to take up a huge amount of space, it seems a little surprising to add speakers to the outside edges ( I assume that’s what they are).  Not many people use built-in speakers in the first place.

Mike Weasner


But a couple of questions:

1. How is off-axis viewing if you are not precisely centered in front of the display?

2. And related to that, how is viewing by two people sitting side-by-side?

Johnny Getz

I think a screen that large would be difficult to see sitting close as we most do.  It would be like watching tennis from 10 feet away.


I have a 27 in screen and want to got back to 2-3 displays of 23 inch, moving my head like I’m in row 1 of an iMax is a pain in the neck grin

John Martellaro

Mike.  There is a slight loss of contrast at extreme side angles, angles that you’d never encounter in routine use of the display. As for two people side by side, I think this display would work very well.

Johnny. Because the display is curved, I never felt what you describe.  It’s just a glorious panorama and easy to take in all parts without a lot of head movement.

JustCause.  Perhaps you are just too close for the resolution you’ve chosen.  Try sitting farther away and experiment with the resolution settings.


Expect new Apple Thunderbolt Display by end of 2016 or first half of 2017.


Guys, I read the article and watched the video review several times and ... just received my own Z34c. I’ve spent a good 20 minutes in the settings menu and found the ‘text’ option you recommended. Would you be so kind as to list out what other settings best work at your end - this would be much appreciated!

But so far so good though and am actually very happy to be able to extend the life of my Mac Pro 2009 (4,1)... by coincidence I had only recently upgraded my RAM from 16Gb to 28Gb so looks like I’ll have the cheese grater for a few years more but now driving this huge screen wink

Regards, thebimbo

Marcelo Moyano

hello! , i am wondering the exact same question from “thebimbo” , what is the setting to have this “retina display” for text on this HP Envy 34” ?... thank you!

John Martellaro

To set the Z34c to optimize for text (or other modes) on the remote control, follow these steps.

1. Click MENU (the hamburger button on the left.)
2. Click +

Shows “Quick View.”

3. Click + or - buttons to scroll to “Text”
4. Click MENU -> Save and Return
5. Click MENU to exit.

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