If you are looking for a monitor that is both impressive to look at and to use, the HP Z38c is for you. The large 21:9 aspect ratio is perfect for video editing and its 37.5 inch wide curved screen is big without being too big. With a great price, the Z38c is sure to impress.
Monitor configuration is a personal preference. Depending on the type of work you do, your needs will be different. Additionally, the capability of the computer being used can limit the amount of monitors, their bit-depth, and overall performance. However, work area is key factor for video editing. Before wide aspect ratio monitors were available, using two monitors to edit was standard. The biggest issue with using two monitors is the the space between the monitors taken up by their bezel. Plus, because the workspace is split in two, the configuration of your editor is impacted.
If you have ever set up a workspace in a wide aspect monitor, you know what I’m talking about — not only do you not lose width from the bezel, but you can configure your work area with much more flexibility than with two monitors. Without the change in aspect ratio, an increase in resolution doesn't change the editing workspace much.
This monitor is a 37.5 inch In-Plane Switching Panel (IPS) with a 3840 by 1600 at 60 Hz native resolution. The Z38c offers 111 pixels per inch and a 21:9 aspect ratio. It has a brightness of 300 nit with a 1000:1 static contrast ratio. It supports up to 1.07 billion colors in 10-bit, with the use of FRC technology (8+2). With a 178 degree viewing angle, it has 98 percent sRGB color gamut coverage and is anti-glare.
Do curves matter?
The Z38c has a 2300mm radius curved screen. Looking at it from above, the curve is very noticeable; it’s got quite a bend. Unlike with TV’s, where your viewing position is farther away, the curve on this monitor is more than a marketing ploy. However, that doesn’t mean that when in use, a user is consciously aware of the curve; it’s just there. If this screen was not curved, it would be wider and could affect your ability to see the whole screen. A curved screen is meant for a more immersive user experience. Say you put two Z38c’s together, you would have a viewable area much larger than what you can see out your peripheral. This much area could work against the video editor, as it would be a large space to manage. However, a gamer would get a fully immersive gaming experience.
First Impressions and Use
The monitor this reviewer uses on a daily basis is the Dell UltraSharp U3415W. It’s also a 21:9 ratio monitor. Because the aspect ratio wasn’t changing, the wow factor wasn’t as heavy as when moving from a 16:9 aspect ratio. However, the added three and a half inches of viewable area makes the HP feel much larger. The Z38c’s resolution is greater as well at 3840 x 1600 over the 3440 x 1440 of the Dell. The additional resolution is a nice upgrade. This is how HP describes the resolution: “crystal-clear 4K-wide.” So yeah, it’s UHD wide, but on 74 percent of the UHD resolution tall, meaning you still can’t view 4K footage at full resolution. Would we love it to be larger resolution? Yeah, always. However, this monitor would be much more expensive if it offered true 4K viewing capability at the same aspect ratio — the monitor would need to up its resolution to 5K-wide.
The Z38c doesn't have a large footprint. The height adjustment is nice, too. As editors, we stare at screens for long periods of time. Being able to adjust it so it is viewable from the most comfortable position is a necessity. The swivel from the base works well and moves freely without disturbing the foot of the stand. Additionally, it has the standard VESA mounting adapter for mounting to a monitor arm.
Our favorite feature is a small one. We love the anti-glare.
Our favorite feature is a small one. We love the anti-glare. The screen is matte, so it’s easy to look at regardless of the lighting situation. If you encounter any sun glare, this screen holds up. It’s not super bright at only 300 nit, so don’t expect to work with any HDR projects; it’s just not bright enough. HDR requires a brightness of 1000 nit at minimum.
The response rate of the monitor isn't great at 14ms. However, we didn't experience any ghosting even when watching high frame rate playback. It’s likely, if you require a monitor that does great at high framerates, you're either a specialist or a gamer.
Although the marketplace for large, wide aspect ratio monitors isn’t huge, it is quite competitive. Both Dell and Acer offer monitors that are very similar. The differences between these models are nuanced.
Let’s start off with the Acer 37.5 inch XR Curved QHD XR382CQK BMIJQP for 1,300 dollars. It’s a 3840 x 1600 curved widescreen with a 75Hz refresh rate and a response time of 5ms. It is also 300 nit and has a 178 degree viewing angle. It is also a IPS panel and has a contrast ratio of 100,000,000:1.
Next up is the almost identical in spec Dell U3818DW Ultrasharp 38 for 1,500 dollars. It has a 37.5 inch IPS Panel with a 3840 x 1600 resolution. It has an identical contrast ratio at 1,000:1 and 178 degree viewing angle. It has a better response time at 5ms and is brighter at 350 nit. It also supports up to 1.07 billion colors and covers 99 percent of sRGB.
Final Thoughts and Recommendations
We really liked the Z38c. It’s a beast of a monitor and makes for a great work area for a video editor. Although it’s UHD resolution wide, its not full resolution tall — we would like for it to be at minimum able to play a UHD video in full resolution. Its price is good in the marketplace, but is still 1,200 dollars. Our favorite part of this monitor is its matte finish and anti-glare coating. If you want to get more space for your workplace and make all of your friends drool, you should look in to the HP Z38c.
- Anti-glare coating
- 21:9 aspect ratio
- Not full UHD resolution tall
The HP Z38c is a 21:9 aspect monitor that's 37.5 inches wide. It’s a great workspace for video editors, though it’s only UHD resolution wide, not tall.
- Indy and Enthusiast filmmakers
- Event and Home video shooters
- Commercial and Corporate filmmakers
- Post-production specialists
Screen Size: 37.5" / 95.3 cm
Type: IPS, LED-backlit
Resolution: 3840 x 1600 @ 60 Hz
Aspect Ratio: 21:9
Viewing Angle: (H x V) Up to 178°/178° (10:1 minimum contrast ratio)
Brightness: 300 cd/m2 (typical)
Contrast Ratio: 1000:1 (typical)
Dynamic Contrast Ratio: 5,000,000:1 (typical)
Response Time: 14 ms (GtG) (default, can be adjusted to as low as 5 ms in the display menu)
Pixels Per Inch: 100.93
Backlight Lamp Life: 30,000 hours minimum (to half brightness)
Bit Depth: 10-bit, up to 1.07 billion colors (8+2 With the use of FRC technology)
Color Gamut: 98% of sRGB
Factory Color Calibrated: Yes
Flicker Free: Yes
Connector Types: 1 x DisplayPort 1.2, 1 x HDMI 2.0, 1 x USB 3.0 Type-C, 1 x Audio out/headphone (analog)
USB Type-C Ports: 1 (upstream & downstream)
Video Support: USB Type-C Alt mode - DisplayPort 1.2
Power Output: 5/5.25/9/10/12/15 V, 3 A and 20 V, 3.25 A
Maximum Power Output: 65 W
Power Supply: Internal
Input Power: 100-240 VAC at 50/60 Hz
Typical Power: 80 W
Maximum Power: 195 W
Tilt Range: -5 to 20° vertical
Swivel Range: ±45°
Display Height Adjustment Adjustment Range: 4.70" / 12 cm
Dimensions With Stand: 35.3 x 9.76 x 22" / 89.6 x 24.8 x 55.9 cm
Weight With Stand: 30.36 lb / 13.77 kg
Chris Monlux started wearing glasses when he was 19. He doesn’t wear contacts because the struggle makes him very angry. He is also Videomaker’s Multimedia Editor.