HP Z38c monitor envy – I want one now!

HP Z38c
100% human

HP dropped off its HP Z38c monitor for review, and it instantly had hordes of Gadgeteers volunteering to review it – a great sign.

As the name suggests it is 38-inches, and the successor to the famous and now superseded HP Z34c that set industry standards for Ultra-wide, UDH, ‘ludicrous mode’ monitors when released in 2016.

In fact, I still use one – its 3440 x 1440, gently 3000R curved, PVA, LED-backlit panel with front-firing Dolby DTS 2.0 speakers is my day-to-day production monitor. So much so I took it to GadgetGuy when I became Managing Editor there.

HP Z38c
My Z34c with those great speakers – but it made it very wide!

So, is the HP Z38c monitor the successor to the throne?

Well, I was so excited (as a good monitor is a thing of beauty) that I opened the large box, put it in the desk, plugged in the USB-C connector and have been using it since as my second production monitor.

HP Z38c

It adds a new dimension to the word ‘ludicrous’ size monitor – but in a good way. Not like the huge, huge, I tell you, Samsung 49” QLED that had Gadgeteers fawning over it.

HP Z38c

For starters, it has lost the dual DTS speakers that made the 34-inch so wide. It has upped the resolution to UWQHD 3840 x 1600 (that is ultra-wide 4K), 10-bit colour, added UBS-C data/video/power support, increased contrast to 1000:1 and tightened the curve a little to 2300R … Need I go on?

Yes, it is the successor and probably the best and most expensive 38”, high accuracy colour ultra-wide available. It is a monitor for business professionals that need real estate and high accuracy.

Its competitors are Acer XR382CQK, ASUS MX38VQ, Dell UltraSharp U3818DW and LG 38WK95C while they are all worthy and a little less expensive the HP Z38c is king.

Why Ultra-wide?

The ratio is 21:9 – wider than the standard 16:9 so you get a wider screen. But unlike flat panel monitors at 4:3 (that is 12:9) you get a longer, wider, more usable workspace instead of a very tall squarish workspace.

HP Z38c

The 2300R curve is gentler but still helps focus your eyes and allows you to see the whole screen at the usual 600mm eye-to-screen distance. It has a denser, sharper image.

You can get 4.5 standard A4 sized documents on 87.97 x 36.65 cm screen and can even scale them up or the mother of all spreadsheets out to column BG and row 66. It is the perfect compromise between flat and the aggressively curved 1800R monitors.

HP Z38c
HP Z38c

Review: HP Z38c UWQHD monitor

Website here

Panel 3840 x 1600 @60Hz (100.93ppi)

The HP Z38c uses an AH-IPS (Advanced High-Performance IPS) from LG. It is the type of panel Apple uses on some of its larger Retina screens. This allows a more stable 60Hz refresh rate, higher contrast (1000:1), wider viewing angles than VA or IPS, more even colours, and wider colour gamut.

It has a thin bezel – 11 mm top and sides and 22 mm on the bottom so you could put two of these together for a very wide desktop.

HP Z38c
My desktop – HP38c left and HP34c right – al on an 1800mm desk

It is 10-bit colour (8-bit with 2-bit Frame Rate Control) and reproduces 1,07 billion colours (compared to an 8-bit of 16.7 million).

Refresh rate defaults to 14ms but can be adjusted down to 5ms G-t-G. It is not a gamers display as it does not support FreeSync or G-Sync.

Brightness is 300 nits (we found 324 nits across the entire screen), and colour uniformity is accurate across the screen.

Colour accuracy – spot on

HP individually colour calibrate the HP38c monitor to 98% sRGB and 99% Rec.709 modes and include a report. You can select these or play worth custom modes. But the Delta E (accuracy) is very good in both modes so why bother?

HP Z38c

For viewing modes, you get toggles for Night, Low Blue Light, Reading, HP Enhance+, and Photo.

sRGB reproduces all of the colours you could hope to see in real life on an LCD. Our tests show 100% – slightly more than claimed.

Rec. 709 colour standard was created by ITU (International Telecommunication Union) for TV, movie and A/V industries to ensure all HD equipment including displays, DVDs, and Blu-rays uses the same colour gamut, resolution, frame rate and video specifications. Again, our tests were just above claimed.

While still and video editors might want 100% DCI-P3 that only comes in reference monitors several times the price. We estimate that it is about 78% Adobe RGB.

All that is complemented by a low glare screen that rejects office light and reflections admirably.

Stand and size

It has a -5° to +20° tilt, +/-45° swivel and a 120mm height adjustment.

HP Z38c

It also comes with a VESA wall mount bracket.

Overall it is 89.55 x 24.80 x 55.87 cm x 13.8kg


  • DisplayPort 1.2
  • HDMI 2.0
  • USB Type-C 3.1 65W PD 2.0
  • Three USB Type-A
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Security Slot
HP Z38c

The USB-C 3.1, Gen1, 5Gbps, port is both data and power supporting three USB-A ports and USB-C Alt mode – DisplayPort 1.2 (video support) as well as power output of 5V/5.25A, /9/10/12/15V/3A and 20V/3.25 A (65 W) – you could charge a MacBook or most Windows 10 laptops from that.

It comes with a USB-C cable, Display Port cable, HDMI cable and documentation.

GadgetGuy’s take: HP has done it again

First, th HP Z38c is aimed squarely at business. There are no tricks like FreeSync, no speakers or sexy red bands you find on some monitors.

No, it is subtle, has a three-year warranty and does its job extremely well. It is very colour accurate, has heaps of adjustments and made well – as we expect from HP.

For me – working on it is an absolute pleasure. Getting work done takes on a whole new meaning on a monitor this large. Once you try it, you won’t want to go back to a smaller screen. Highly recommended. Hey Boss, I want one – now!


HP has it online for $2596. But astute shoppers may find it for considerably less, and that makes it a bargain.

Value for money
Ease of Use
Reader Rating1 Vote
Real estate, real estate, real estate
Very accurate colour
Subtle business styling
USB-C, PD2.0 and other ports
Not a gamers screen – was not intended to be
I miss the DTS speakers of the Z34c!