The Hp U32 is one of the budget professional monitors for those who can’t pay a premium right now for top-tier accurate screens. Still, this one has enough post-calibrated color accuracy for the majority of professionals out there, so if you are willing to spare some responsiveness in exchange for affordable prices, this is one of your best choices right now.
✓ Accurate colors
✓ Crisp images
✓ Premium looking
✓ Good amount of ports
✓ Average prices
✘ Poor responsiveness
When someone brought up professional monitors a few years ago, we couldn’t help but fear the hurdle of the sky-high prices of such screens. Manufacturers at the time used to combine high responsiveness and professional capabilities for those monitors.
As you can expect, a monitor with everything will inevitably cause the consumer to go bankrupt. As the years went by, the manufacturers had the wise decision to procure budget, professional monitors with a bunch of fair – sometimes subpar – features but with a higher balance towards professional-oriented ones such as color accuracy.
With that, “professional” displays have been more affordable, to the point that even a $200 monitor with a large screen and lots of connectors may be regarded as a professional display.
And for today’s post, we have a professional monitor right out of HP’s oven for the budget category. Check out the Hp U32 review, and find out if this is the monitor you should afford.
This is one of those displays that you may describe as ideal for workplace environments. It is slim, devoid of flashy colors, and naturally aims to be as small as possible within its size restrictions.
Keep in mind that, as it is a big 32-inch monitor, using it with a second screen may provide some challenges depending on the size of your desk.
On the other hand, considering that this monitor is lighter than usual for its size, whether your desk will support its weight shouldn’t really be a big concern. It has 16.53 pounds and 28.11 x 8.09 x 24.27 inches.
Just because this monitor is lightweight doesn’t necessarily imply that it has cheap materials. On the contrary, the materials of this monitor feel quite premium – surprisingly good for its price range.
In fact, it is a great question as to how they managed to keep this monitor with such low-grade weight, especially when we’re talking about a metal stand. This stand has a metallic gray finish and is quite heavy on itself, being unsurprisingly one of the main sources of the screen’s weight.
For being made out of metal, they had ways of keeping it as slim as possible, even implementing a piece of cable passthrough plastic, all of which makes the screen look much more premium than it actually is and costs.
In case you don’t want such a heavy stand you can use the VESA support and afford a better one; it’ll surely save you some desk space. Still, this stand has pretty much the required adjustments, so ergonomy is not a problem here. It includes height, tilt, swivel, and pivot adjustments.
Besides that, all the connectors were placed in a vertical row, which is way better for cable management, but not quite visually appealing to everyone’s tastes.
One slight downside we can nitpick here is the size of the bezels. Both the bottom one and the 3 sided ones are a little thicker than usual, but that shouldn’t be a big deal other than aesthetical.
Lastly, the joystick was implemented instead of the dated buttons some manufacturers are still betting on.
Overall, we can say that with its metal stand, easily matchable colors, and slim aesthetics, this premium-looking display is a perfect one for an office setup.
As expected for professional displays, the Hp U32 has a pretty good amount of ports as well, including 1x HDMI port, 1x Display port, 3x USB ports, 1x USB-C, and 1x headphone out.
As a mid-end screen, it is surprising that this one lacks a panel with vibrant colors after calibration. This is likely because of the short gamut space, but that is a topic for the image quality section.
It is very accurate straight out of the box, despite not being on the warm side of colors, but you can always make it better, even a little bit, after calibrating it yourself.
Since IPS glowing differs from unit to unit, we can’t guarantee that yours will be as minimal as ours. All we can say is that, even in a dark setting, it worked surprisingly well with contrasting blacks and whites.
However, the amount of glow you’ll experience depends on how strong the brightness is set, so keep that in mind as well. The VA monitors are hailed as the best for dark environments and high contrast for a reason.
Although the IPS panel of this monitor falls into the high-end category, we must admit that throughout the testing, the display showed slightly over-the-top glare levels compared to other displays in its price range.
That is, of course, with the brightness set to standard levels for use at night. If you increase the monitor’s brightness, which is really one of this display’s most appealing characteristics, you can resolve this problem.
The highest brightness the Hp U32 monitor is capable of reaching is just amazing, and it more than compensates for the poor handling of reflections. It is 400 nits on paper, and when compared to other displays in the same class and price range that are also 400 nits bright, this one stands out.
Some people may not need so much brightness, but if you work in a bright room, it may be quite helpful since the brighter the screen can be when direct sunlight hits it, the more clearly the images are displayed.
In our tests, 87 percent was about right for usage throughout the day in a well-lit space, but you may increase that based on your needs. On the other side, 30% was the ideal level for use at night because anything more than this irritated our eyes.
If you need the colors to be as accurate as possible, you must remember to maintain the brightness at a level that does not affect it a lot.
Refresh rate and Response time
Unfortunately, as not everything is just flowers, to keep such average prices and not break the thresholds they had to let some features lacking, and those lacking features can be a decisive point to some.
To begin, we must say that this is clearly not a monitor that should be targeted by competitive gamers, given its subpar responsiveness. Still, with its high resolution and color accuracy, it can surely give a good experience for casual games.
In contrast, if you play competitive games, you should steer clear of this option and get a screen with a faster refresh rate. Besides, if you’re used to a display with a high refresh rate, like 144 Hz, 60hz is definitely a strain on the eyes, so if you’re using this one as your primary monitor, it may take some getting used to.
In truth, a high refresh rate provides advantages for smoothness even for routine tasks like web browsing, but because 4K 60hz panels are so widely available due to their affordable cost, 144hz or higher 4K monitors are rarely seen at good prices.
If the motion blur bothers you, you may switch on the overdrive, but doing so will significantly reduce brightness and even color accuracy, and it can even not be worth it at all.
Anyway, according to Dell’s website, enabling that option might result in a GTG time of 4ms, which is again considerably below the 1ms “required” for competitive gaming.
As was said at the beginning of the article, a professional monitor on a budget cannot have everything, so if you don’t want to spend more money, you’ll have to put up with those drawbacks.
Truth is, if you simply need a high-resolution screen for gaming, the high prices are inevitable. Of course, you can find something like the: LG 32UP83A-W at $50 less and barely the same features, but $400-$500 is the usual range for 4k 32-inch screens.
One of the main advantages of getting this monitor is that it comes already with a pretty decent pre-calibration, meaning you won’t need to afford a pricey color sensor if you don’t have one, in order to get the better colors off of it, which would add to the price.
Although the calibration is pretty decent, you have to bear in mind that the Hp U32 monitor does not have a pretty high color gamut, either on the sRGB pattern as also on the DCI-P3.
It has sRGB 99% and DCI-P3 98%, for the sRGB, 99 is often enough, considering how the monitor supports 1.06 billion colors. But as you can switch between both, things are much better than if you would have to stick with only one.
The DCI-P3 98 percent is not a very high ratio, but it can already cause the colors to become oversaturated when displaying sRGB material. On the other side, if you deal with DCI-P3 content and want the highest gamut of that pattern, you’d be better off with something with a greater ratio like the ASUS PA329CV.
In the end, the sRGB ratio is the one to use if you require realistic visuals since it produces more accurate colors in sRGB content, which is the most usual pattern for all media sources.
We can say that this monitor offers you a respectable pre-calibration, but you won’t have the greatest sRGB 100 percent colors straight out of the box, which is fair considering the monitor’s price. Weigh this before making your decision.
The best case scenario to get the most accurate colors from this screen is to calibrate it to sRGB patterns using the DCI-P3 98 percent coverage, which would give you accurate colors and possibly an sRGB 100 percent. However, this would cost you around $250 in tools, which may not be worth it in the end.
Instead, you can add the costs and get a pre-calibrated sRGB 100 percent screen like the: ASUS PA329CV.
Anyway, moving on to the other characteristics, this screen’s 4K resolution is another fantastic feature. This is incredibly useful to work with multitasking, particularly if you require a lot of screen space.
Additionally, the content is considerably clearer and enjoyable to view with higher quality, improving the entire user experience. It is already difficult to see any pixels on the screen when viewing from a decent distance since 32 inches is enough to keep those pixels tightly packed to give an excellent PPI.
The blacks are somewhat gray when seen in the dark due to the IPS glow, which is what you would expect from an IPS screen.
All things considered, this is a real deal; it gives you great resolution, some decent colors right out of the box, and doesn’t cost the earth.
The worse thing is, the 4k feature is one of the major factors for the high prices of this screen, so if you feel 1440p is enough for you, you’ll be possibly saving roughly $230 on something like the ASUS VP32AQ.
When to buy it
The Hp U32 is a perfect monitor if you are just entering the content design world. It has a decent calibration out of the box that is enough for the most part of users, but if you really need to make it shine, you can give it a calibration.
On the other hand, this is not a recommended monitor to upgrade to if you already have a professional screen and need something better, in that case, something like the: ASUS PA329CV should give you a better cost-benefit upgrade, considering you need a higher accuracy as well.
We can’t deny this monitor is not the cheapest one out there, and it has some bitter downsides like the low refresh rate, so, if that is a big deal for you, you can opt for a hybrid monitor like the: Asus XG27AQM, sure it won’t give you as good colors as this one out of the box, but I would be good enough for the prices you’re spending on it.
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