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HP Z38c Curved Display review: The ultimate ultrawide experience for creators

Windows Central Recommended Award

Having a wide curved display increases production. Ever since I've placed the HP Z38c Curved Display on my desk, I've been able to edit videos faster, write more quickly, and become more productive.

The HP Z38C is the widest curved display from the company, and it doesn't disappoint power users like me with its 4K, 3840x1600 resolution.

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HP Z38c specs

CategoryHP Z38c Curved Display
Panel Type37.5-inch IPS, LED Backlit
Resolution3840 x 1600 @ 60Hz
Aspect Ratio21:9
Brightness300 nits
Contrast Ratio1,000:1
Response Time5ms Gray to Gray
Color Gamut98% of sRGB
Anti-GlareYes
Tilt Range–5° to + 20° vertical
Swivel Range45°L to 45°R
Display height adjustmentAdjustment Range: 120 mm

What you need to know about HP's Z38c monitor

HP Z38c

While the monitor isn't bezel-free, it's barely noticeable because you're immediately captivated by what's shown on the massive display. Images are sharp, and there's no glare to be seen. At first, I thought curved displays were a gimmick, but using one in person completely changed my mind. Content feels more immersive especially with a screen that's almost as wide as my desk.

I love the adjustability on the HP Z38c curved display. You can tilt, change height, and even swivel left or right. You cannot rotate the display for portrait view, but I don't think many people are looking for that feature. If you need even more adjustability, the monitor has a standard VESA mounting adapter for monitor arms.

There are five buttons at the bottom of the display, and the menus are easy to navigate. I leave it in sRGB mode for the most accurate colors when I'm editing photos and videos, but you can switch to other modes like Night mode or optimize the display for reading.

The left side a has a USB-C port in addition to a USB Type-A port. The rest of the ports are accessible under the display.

HP Z38c Display ports

  • DisplayPort 1.2
  • HDMI 2.0
  • USB Type-C
  • Three USB Type-A
  • Headphone jack
  • Security slot

HP Z38c

I'm disappointed there are no built-in speakers, but there is a headphone jack. That's probably not a big deal for people who already use external speakers, but you'll have to look elsewhere if you need a monitor with built-in speakers.

Modern laptops now include USB Type-C ports, so having one on the Z38c is a nice feature. I'm able to connect my 15-inch Surface Book 2 with a single USB-C cable and start working right away. The monitor can also provide 65-watt power output via the USB-C, so depending on your laptop, you won't need to attach the wall charger too. My Surface Book 2 (opens in new tab) 15-inch comes with a 95-watt charger, so I noticed it doesn't stay at 100% when just using the monitor for power. It was discharging about 2 percent per hour during browsing and word processing.

The form factor alone makes the Z38c drool-worthy, but HP also delivers with the display quality. My tests show 100% of the sRGB color gamut and 78% of AdobeRGB which is undoubtedly useful for editing photos and videos. The monitor also scored 324 nits at max brightness, which doesn't make it the brightest monitor out there, but it's certainly good enough for most people. For example, at 85% brightness, it already feels too bright for my eyes in the home office.

HP Z38c sRGB Gamut

Final thoughts on the HP Z38c

Overall, I'm pleased with the HP Z38c Curved Display. Instead of placing two large monitors next to each other on my desk, I like having one seamless curved ultrawide display instead. The color accuracy is also excellent for creators who work with a lot of images or videos. And the massive screen real estate gives you plenty of room to increase productivity. However, this monitor isn't cheap. The HP Z38c curved display retails at $1,199. That's a lot of money for a monitor, but you can't have that excellent ultrawide experience for much less. Dell sells a curved monitor (opens in new tab) with similar specs for about the same price.

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Pros:

  • Massive display for increased productivity
  • 100% sRGB color gamut
  • Plenty of adjustability options
  • Easy-to-use menu

Cons:

  • No built-in speakers
  • Expensive

Mark Guim is Video Editor at Windows Central. He switched to Windows because the MacBook Pro isn't Pro enough. You can follow him on Twitter at @markguim.

14 Comments
  • At 1600p, this is not a 4K monitor. 4K is 2160p. Better to call it QHD+ or almost 3K
  • Yes it is as they do not count the pixels from top to bottom when considering the screen to be a 4K display of 2K or else, instead the count the pixels from left to right. In this case that is 3840 so it is 4K.
  • Yeah, but that's a marketing cheat.
  • A 2160p vertical pixel monitor beats a 1600p one.
  • A 2160p ultrawide monitor would be 5120x2160. Companies are calling them 5K.
  • I have "the Dell version" of this monitor: Dell U3818DW.  I believe it has the same panel as all these 38" ultrawides (Aces, Asus, HP and Dell all use a LG panel).  The only downside of the Dell is that it only supports 60Hz refresh rate, but the added features more than make up for that.  It has a built in KVM, which was the killer feature for me.  I can hook up my work laptop (via displayport) and my personal Surface Pro (via hdmi by way of a mini displayport to HDMI adapter).  I don't gripe about the refresh rate as I use a dock for my work laptop and the Surface Dock for my Surface Pro.  Unfortunately it is those docks that only support a max refresh rate of 60Hz.  It is also the cheapest of all of the 38" ultrawides.  I got mine from Costco for $999. I really like the increased vertical resolution that the 38" offers over the 34" version of all of these.  3840x1600 vs. 3440x1440.
  • Play a 2160p movie on this 1600p monitor and kid yourself that you're getting the full experience.
  • I'd like to see Windows Central do a review of the Samsung 49" CHG90 QLED gaming monitor.
  • Why would anyone want a curved display?   Both for monitors and TV sets. i really hope this is not going to be the norm.     
  • it makes a lot of sense for wider displays. feels more immersive.
  • Compared to the equivalent 2 monitor setup, it saves connection hassle.  When you get that wide though, curvature helps with eye/neck strain; you can angle the monitors in a dual display, but a flat ultra wide that big is going to be painful when you're using it for a PC monitor and working right in front of it.
  • "78% of AdobeRGB" that's not great, is it?
  • Not for professional print use, well it is "ok" but ideally you want 100% AdobeRGB. Monitors that show the full AdobeRBG specturm are considerable higher priced.  
  • For that price, I would think that a 4k TV (that does 2160P) would be a better deal.