Hanns.G: hz281

Small changes can make a big difference. On paper, you wouldn't wager the difference between the 16:9 masses and the Hanns.G HZ281 with its 16:10 aspect ratio amounts to much. And you'd be wrong.

The main difference is an extra 120 vertical pixels. For typical PC usage, that matters. It means you can see more of web pages and documents without scrolling. The impression of increased spaciousness really is tangible.

Even if that weren't the case, the Hanns.G HZ281 has plenty going for it. At 28 inches, it's positively panoramic. For a TN panel, it also delivers pretty good visuals. Clear and bright, the backlight is clean and powerful despite being a CCFL unit. So much for the superiority of LED technology.

Anyway, the powerful backlight no doubt contributes to the relatively rich and vivid colours. We're also impressed by the fact that the HZ281 suffers from absolutely no edge bleed, a rare achievement for a TN monitor. Pixel response is another strong point.

Overall, therefore, this is one fine monitor for PC gaming. In terms of absolute image fidelity, however, the HZ281 isn't so strong. The white saturation images in Lagom betray a tendency to compress detail and gradients reveal banding and a whiff of dithering-induced pixel fizz.

Meanwhile, although there's enough contrast to deliver good detail in HD movies, the absolute black levels aren't all that great. That said, with flesh tones that are more natural than the TN norm, this 28-incher makes for a very decent movie machine.

We liked

The HDTV-aping 16:9 aspect ratio has nearly assimilated the PC monitor market. But Hanns.G is holding out with this big, 16:10 beast.

The consequence is increased vertical resolution, which we reckon suits real-world PC usage well. The HZ281 also delivers image quality well above normal expectations for TN technology.

We disliked

At this price point, something has to give. The HZ281 has a cheap stand that only allows for tilt adjustments. In terms of image quality, black levels are a weakness, if only slightly, and the viewing angles are fairly typical of TN technology. In other words, quite narrow.