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About the HP X27Q
Here are the specs of the monitor we tested:
- Display size: 27 inches
- Resolution: 2560 x 1440 pixels
- Refresh rate: 165Hz
- Peak brightness: 400 nits (rated), 281.3 nits (tested), 452.1 nits (in HDR mode)
- HDR support: VESA DisplayHDR 400
- Color depth: 8-bit
- Contrast ratio: 1000:1 (rated), 900:1 (tested)
- Pixel response time (GtG): 1ms
- Ports: 1 x HDMI 2.0, 1 x DisplayPort 1.4, 1 x 3.5mm
- VRR Support: Yes, AMD FreeSync Premium, G-Sync Compatible
- Other features: VESA mount
The HP X27q shouldn’t be confused with HP’s other X27 monitors. There’s an X27i that only tops out at 144Hz and 350 nits. There’s also an X27 non-q model that only offers a 1080p resolution.
What we like
The surprisingly decent panel
The HP X27q looks like a cheap monitor at first, with a basic design and plastic construction. When the price dips to its historic low of $175, it is a cheap monitor. But once that panel lights up, it’s a different story.
HP used an IPS panel that can well exceed 400 nits for a taste of basic HDR. That’s combined with a modest color gamut that raises few complaints and is backed by surprising color accuracy.
The monitor still stuffers from the low contrast ratio that plagues most IPS panels, but it looks damn good for a monitor that can often be found for below $200.
Enabling HDR bumps up the peak brightness considerably, hitting over 450 nits in my testing. That’s enough for a little extra oomph in games, movies, and TV shows. Better still, the monitor doesn’t take a huge blow to color accuracy and only sees small reductions in gamut and contrast when enabling HDR. It’s not groundbreaking, but you could do much worse.
The silky smooth performance
For a budget 1440p monitor we’d expect the display to top out at 120Hz or 144Hz, but the HP X27q ramps it up to 165Hz. That alone makes for a fairly smooth gaming experience, but the monitor also supports FreeSync Premium and plays nicely with G-Sync when paired with a Nvidia graphics card.
I kept up with the action in my Overwatch matches with ease, and could thank the low pixel response time for keeping the visuals from getting too blurry when I made fast camera movements. There’s a touch of ghosting behind fast-moving objects, but it’s subtle, and I’ve seen worse from faster, more expensive monitors like the 240Hz Cooler Master GM27-CFX.
Pair the speed and sharpness with the elevated peak brightness when HDR is enabled, and you get a gaming experience that’s more vibrant and visually engaging than you might be used to from a budget panel.
The X27q is listed at an eye-watering MSRP of $599 on HP’s website, which would be obscenely overpriced for a monitor of this caliber. At the $249 it’s normally listed for on Amazon, it’s a catch. But we’ve seen it hit lower still, regularly dropping to $175, which is a complete steal.
Even at $249, there’s some plain-to-see value from a monitor like this that excels at the basics and doesn’t stumble much. If you see the X27q even lower than that and your budget is tight, you shouldn’t sleep on it.
What we don’t like
The bottom of the barrel build quality
The HP X27q is a monitor you could probably fool your boss into thinking was strictly for work. It’s got a plain-as-pancakes black plastic construction and connects to a simple stand made of straight lines and right angles.
The most exciting it gets is when it rotates, but it turns out the monitor is actually too wide to sit in a vertical orientation on the included stand unless it hangs over the edge of a riser.
Factor in the annoying to use buttons on the back, and this could have been one of the worst designs available. HP at least includes height adjustment and the option to swap the stand out for a VESA-compatible arm. The X27q also lacks speakers.
The drought of ports
There’s power in, sound out through a 3.5mm jack, and just one DisplayPort and HDMI port apiece. The HP X27q covers its bases and nothing else. If you’re looking for a flexible monitor to sit at the center of a gaming battle station with a PC, laptop, and multiple consoles hooked up, this definitely isn’t it.
HP Omen Gaming Hub installed itself
Shortly after connecting the HP X27q to my computer, I received the exciting notification that I had a new app ready to use: HP Omen Gaming Hub. Sure enough, HP’s proprietary setting management software had installed itself quietly in the background, even evading my User Account Control settings in Windows.
It may be a useful tool, as it’s certainly easier to navigate monitor controls with a keyboard and mouse than with the five buttons on the back of the monitor, but the fact that it shares data with HP and installs itself without so much a prompt is unsettling at best.
Thankfully, it takes no more effort to uninstall than any other Windows app.
Should you buy it?
Yes, if your budget is tight
The HP X27q isn’t perfect, but it’s exceptional for the prices it regularly sells for.
It does see some serious competition from the NZXT Canvas 27Q, which beats it in most regards, but that monitor comes with a comparable bump up in price. Even other well-regarded and similarly fast “budget” 1440p gaming monitors like the Gigabyte M27Q or curved Dell S2722DGM rarely drop below $250 new, and never under $200.
You won’t find options much cheaper than the X27q without scraping the bottom of the barrel in terms of quality and gaming capabilities. If your budget is really tight and you can overlook the basic build quality and lack of ports, it’s an obvious choice.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
Meet the tester
Mark Knapp has covered tech for most of the past decade, keeping readers up to speed on the latest developments and going hands-on with everything from phones and computers to e-bikes and drones to separate the marketing from the reality. Catch him on Twitter at @Techn0Mark or on Reviewed, IGN, TechRadar, T3, PCMag, and Business Insider.
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