Review: HannsG HZ281

Our score: 4/5
Reviewed: June 24, 2010 11:00 PM
 
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Published: June 24, 2010 11:00 PM
By Alexandre Botella
We first discovered HannsG when we reviewed the HG281DJ, and now the manufacturer is back with another 28'' monitor, the HZ281.  Apart from both being the same size, both monitors have something else in common: they represent great value in terms of how much you pay per pixel.  So has HannsG managed to produce another excellent display at a decent price?

Its new 28'' monitor has the added bonus of having a resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixels, which is better for office work than the more common 1080p.

Hardware: where's the stand?

The monitor is very well made, but is still lacking in usability.  Although you get VGA, DVI and HDMI inputs, as well as a pair of 2 W speakers and a headphone jack, we've rarely seen a less impressive stand.  The only possibility for movement is tilting the panel back a few degrees.  We were very much hoping to find something more impressive, with a height-adjustable stand, or one that allowed for horizontal rotation too.

Colours: cover your eyes!

Before you turn on your HZ281, make sure you put on some sun screen, find the Menu button and keep your finger hovering over it ready to dive in and turn the brightness down.

Measured Colours

Ideal Colours
Compare the HannsG HZ281 to other LCD monitors in our Product Face-Off

Using the default settings, the screen's brightness is as high as 400 cd/m², twice the recommended level for a room with normal lighting.  Unless you want to use your new monitor to replace your lights, the first step is turn brightness down from 100 to 30.

Fortunately, colour reproduction isn't affected by this adjustment, and the HZ281's average deltaE remains under 3.0, the level at which the majority of users will perceive them as accurate.  In reality though, we did notice a few shades of grey that were a little too light, which might disappoint anybody who wants to edit photos.  If that's what you're planning to do, then you'll likely be put off by the TN panel anyway.

We'd like to thank HannsG for using an honest contrast ratio of 800:1 that we were able to confirm in our lab.  While that's actually below average, and costs the HZ281 a star in this section, it's refreshing to find a manufacturer that doesn't inflate the quality of its products in its specs.

Responsiveness: fast enough for office work, but not FPS


Coloured   Transparent
Average ghosting
over ten frames

The HZ281 isn't one of the fastest screens out that, which is almost certainly why HannsG quotes a response time of 3 ms rather than the more common 2 ms in its spec.  In reality, we found it to be mid-way between a 5 ms office monitor and a 2 ms dedicated gaming screen.  You should keep away from FPS games that demand the most reactivity, but racing, strategy and sports games will all be fine.

This monitor is also a great choice for online gaming or LAN parties, thanks to an input lag that's so low as to be invisible.  In the worst case scenario, you'll keep up with what your enemies are seeing, and in the best outcome, you'll sneak into the lead.

Movies


This is where the HZ281 really struggles.  Blurriness isn't kept in check at all and upscaling is mediocre.  You're definitely better off doing this job somewhere else if you'll want a quality experience.
4/5 HannsG HZ281 DigitalVersus 2010-06-25 00:00:00

Pros

  • 1920 x 1200 pixel resolution good for office work
  • Accurate colours after configuration
  • Great value for money

Cons

  • TN panel, so poor vertical viewing angles
  • Far too bright by default
  • Poor stand design
  • Dreadful display of films
  • Contrast below average

Conclusion

This is the second time that HannsG has managed to pull off a decent 28'' monitor for a price that easily beats the rest of the market. It's perfect for anybody who puts size and price ahead of insisting on the very best quality.

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