HP's new displays push curves, VR and a 5K priced so low you MUST read this story

hp zvr right facing
Credit: HP

Ever wish you could just grab a 3D model of a plane on the screen, flip it around and look inside as though it were floating in front of you?

Your wish will get one step closer this year when HP begins shipping its first monitor using zSpace technology. The Zvr Virtual Reality Display blends a 3D monitor with precise head tracking and pen technology to create “virtual holographic 3D images” in front of you that you can manipulate with a pen. 

hp zvr left facing HP

HP’s Zvr lets you interact with virtual holograms. It doesn’t ship with that system pictured, naturally.

Spec-wise, though, the Zvr Virtual Reality Display’s not that remarkable. It’s a 120Hz TN panel with passive circular polarized glasses and a pedestrian resolution of 1920x1080. Input is either DVI or DisplayPort 1.2. So far, meh, right? After all, passive 3D is pretty inferior compared to active 3D, right? And 1080p? That’s for plebeians.

That is, until you slip on the glasses (which feature small tabs, so the monitor can track the angle and position of your head) and grab a model of a lunar lander with the pen. Your jaw will drop, as it seems to float in real space in front of you.

That’s the impact HP is hoping for, too. Alas, HP isn’t actually aiming the monitor at consumers today. Rather, it sees the Zvr in commercial applications such as medical or scientific uses. Pricing of the monitor wasn’t disclosed, but it’s not expected to be cheap initially. Perhaps the worst part: The monitor won’t be available until this spring.

hp z27q right facing HP

HP’s new 5K Z27q will break price barriers by shipping at $1,300.

5K is the resolution, not the price

Speaking of cheap, and by that I mean cheap in the way you would feel elated for lucking into a $1,300 laptop for $400, HP’s new 5K Z27q is sure to warm your heart.

This new 27-inch panel will feature a UHD resolution of 5120x2880 for the low, low price of $1,300. If you just coughed up your Diet Coke because that’s not exactly what you consider cheap, consider that when Dell spilled details of its 5K monitor in September, the price was $2,500. That price dropped to $2,000 after Apple’s bombshell pricing on the new iMac, a 5K display on top of a complete computer, for $2,500.

In that context, the Z7q is quite a price breakthrough. And it’s no low-quality TN panel, either: It’s an IPS panel boasting 10-bit color and a 99-percent Adobe RGB color gamut. It can rotate to a portrait mode, and it has two DisplayPort 1.2 inputs.

Why two? DisplayPort 1.2 can’t hack the bandwidth needed to push the pixels to a 5K panel on a single cable. That won’t come until DisplayPort 1.3 monitors hit the street, so you’ll have to slave two DisplayPort 1.2 inputs together just to drive the monitor. HP will ship the panel in March.

hp z24s left facing HP

HP’s budget 4k monitor will push $750 and use an IPS panel.

Still not cheap enough?

HP has an option for high-resolution display lovers on tighter budgets, too: Its new 4K Z27s. It’s a 27-incher boasting 3840x2160 across its 300-nit screen. For $750, you get an IPS panel, 10-bit color and sRGB color gamut. Inputs include DisplayPort 1.2, MHL 2.0/HDMI 1.4 and Mini DisplayPort. And yes, it has a 60Hz refresh rate. No company in its right mind would try to sell even a budget 4K monitor with 30Hz, right? 

hp z24s front facing HP

HP’s new Z24s packs in a 4K panel into a 24-inch monitor. You’ll just need bionic vision to use it.

Only those with bionic vision need apply

For those with exceptional vision, HP will also offer its Z24s, which shoehorns a 4K panel into a 24-inch monitor. Like its larger cousin, the monitor boasts an IPS panel and 60Hz refresh rate. Inputs include MHL 2.0/HDMI 1.4, DisplayPort 1.2 and Mini DisplayPort. It’s rated at 300 nits, with 178-degree vertical and horizontal viewing angles.

I’ll say, 24-inch 4K monitors are beautiful. They’re pixel-dense and fit better on your desk. But anyone interested in a 24-inch 4K needs to take one for a test drive first: Everything onscreen is small. You really need exceptional vision, perhaps bionic vision, to see things—or you’d better get used to reading your monitor with your nose practically pressed up against it. You have until April to decide, because the monitor won’t be available until then. The 27-incher will be available almost immediately, though.

hp z34c right facing HP

The Z34c packs a 3440x1440 resolution into its 34-inch curved display

It’s nothing without curves

You’re not a monitor maker if you don’t have curved panels, so HP’s trotting out no fewer than four at CES. Some are new and some not, but all are impressive. 

The HP Z34c and Envy 34c are both curved 34-inch panels with resolutions of 3440x1440 and 21:9 aspect ratios, and 350-nit brightness. Both feature a pair of MHL 2.0/HDMI 1.4 inputs, plus a DisplayPort 1.2 in back and integrated 6-watt speakers. 

Both monitors have 8-bit color depth and 98.8-percent sRGB color depth. The pair also use VA panel technology and feature 178-degree vertical and horizontal viewing angles. Pricing for each is $1,000, with availability pegged to April.

hp pavilion 27c left facing HP

The Pavilion 27c may be just 1920x1080, but at least it’s curved.

If you can’t wait until April to get your curve on, HP is making its EliteDisplay S270c and Pavilion 27c available immediately. They’re even cheaper for curved displays, at $400 apiece. The catch? Both are smaller at 27 inches, and the resolution drops to 1920x1080. Both get you 95-percent sRGB color gamuts, 4-watt speakers, and both also use VA (vertical alignment panel) technology. Brightness is 300 nits, compared to 350 nits for the curved 34-inch panels.

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