HannsG’s HZ281 is an extremely conventional computer monitor. That’s no bad thing though, and the HZ281 is pretty good value for money, as its 27.5in screen just scrapes ahead of our 27in Viewsonic monitor on both size and price. It also has both DVI and HDMI adaptors, as well as ye olde VGA, so you can hook it up to a computer and an iPad or DVD player at the same time and use it to watch videos or TV shows.

The HZ281 isn’t as elegant as some of its more slimline rivals, housing the large display within some rather nondescript and chunky black plastic panelling. The stand doesn’t tilt or swivel, and that big monitor panel seems to be perched somewhat precariously on top of the stand as well. The video connectors on the back of the monitor all face downwards, which makes it a bit tricky plugging the cables in, and we felt a little wary of tilting the monitor forward on the stand in order reach the connectors.

However, the large screen makes up somewhat for those minor shortcomings, and the HZ281 works well as an external monitor for a MacBook or a Mac mini. It was also rather impressive watching some HD episodes of Misfits playing from our iPad on that big screen using Apple’s new Digital AV adaptor.

The monitor doesn’t have an LED backlight, as some of its newer rivals do, but the image was bright and attractive. Our only complaint was that the 800:1 contrast ratio of the HZ281 is fairly modest, and video playback would have benefitted from crisper blacks and higher contrast.

The sizeable 27.5in screen of the HZ281 provides good value for money for those who don’t carry out precision design work

Even so, the HZ281 is fine for use in your bedroom or study. The built-in speakers provide adequate volume levels, although they lack bass, so a set of external speakers would come in handy if you regularly want to use it for music or video playback.

OUR VERDICT

Mac Pro owners who need a precise monitor for design or editing work might want to look elsewhere, but the HZ281 is good value for money if you simply want a nice big screen for your laptop or for watching video from an iPad or Mac mini.