True to its name, the HP 34f Curved Display is an ultra-wide 34-inch monitor with a gently bowed screen. This spacious panel is ideal for multitaskers, and its rich, accurate colors recommend it for watching videos or preparing photos to upload. (It covers nearly the full sRGB color space.) It lacks some of the features found in serious pro-grade panels such as the Asus ProArt PA34VC and the Dell UltraSharp 34 Curved USB-C Monitor (U3419W), both Editors’ Choice models, but, at a $ 649 MSRP, it comes in at a lower price.
A Wide-Wingspan Panel
The 34f is matte black with a silver stand and a silver bottom bezel. While the bottom bezel is an inch across, the top and side bezels are very thin, making this a good choice for use in a multi-monitor setup.
Including the stand, the 34f measures 17.8 by 28.3 by 7.4 inches (HWD), and weighs 15.7 pounds. The cabinet rests on a short stalk attached to a base that’s a rectangular metal loop with a 10.4-by-7.4-inch footprint. The loop’s interior can serve as a “corral” in which you can gather thumb drives, hard drives, or other small peripherals. The monitor supports tilt adjustment, from 5 degrees forward to 25 degrees back, but it lacks height or swivel adjustments.
The 34f employs a 34-inch panel (measured diagonally), with a native resolution of 3,440 by 1,440 pixels (known as Ultrawide QHD, UQHD, or UWQHD), for a 21:9 ultra-wide aspect ratio. The panel uses in-plane switching (IPS) technology, which is known for its high contrast ratio, deep blacks, and good off-axis viewability. Its pixel density work out to 110 pixels per inch (ppi), which should ensure a reasonably sharp image for the screen size.
These are the same essential specs as three other 34-inch monitors we have reviewed, the Asus PA34VC, the Dell U3419W, and the Dell UltraSharp 34 Curved Monitor U3417W. The U3419W is an upgrade to the U3417W, its main addition being a USB Type-C port, yet it sells at a lower price than the earlier model. Another 34-inch ultra-wide display, the Dell P3418HW, has the same aspect ratio but a lower native resolution (2,560 by 1,080 pixels), giving it a relatively low pixel density (82ppi).
HP doesn’t provide a measure of the 34f’s degree of curvature, but it is similar to those of the aforementioned Dell and Asus monitors, providing a gentle curve. In contrast, many recent gaming models have screens with curves that are more pronounced.
The 34f’s port selection comprises two HDMI ports, one DisplayPort connector, one upstream USB 3.0 Type-B port (for connecting to a computer) and three downstream USB 3.0 Type-A ports, these for charging small devices or connecting peripherals. The 34f lacks an audio-out jack or speakers, so you’ll have to get your sound from your computer or other input source. It also lacks USB Type-C connectivity; as mentioned, the Dell U3419W has a USB-C port, while the Asus PA34VC includes two.
All the ports on the 34f are in back and face outward, which is also the case with the HP Pavilion 32 QHD 32-Inch Display and other recent HP monitors we’ve reviewed. I’d prefer at least some of the USBs on the side, but it’s a lot better than downward-facing ports hidden behind the stand, which is what too many monitors force you to contend with. With the 34f, you can turn the monitor around to add a cable to the port of your choice.
You access the HP 34f’s onscreen display (OSD) with a set of small buttons on the panel’s bottom right edge. The rightmost button turns the monitor on and off, while the others let you navigate the OSD. It’s not as intuitive as the small four-way joystick controller found on the HP 32 QHD, but it gets the job done.
From the 34f’s main menu, you can access settings for Brightness, Color, Image, and Input. The color settings include Warm, Neutral, Cool, Native, Custom RGB, and a slew of preset picture modes. These include Low Blue Light, Night, Reading, HP Enhance+ (a noise-reduction feature), Gaming, Movie, Photo, and Custom. The menu choices are nearly the same with the 32 QHD; it’s just the navigation method that’s different.
I did our color, brightness, and black-level testing for the HP 34f using our usual Klein K10-A colorimeter, Murideo Six-G signal generator, and SpectraCal CalMAN 5 software. HP rates the monitor’s luminance (that is, the brightness per unit area) at 300 candelas per meter squared (nits), and it came up just short of that (281 nits) in my testing. I calculated the contrast ratio at 1,112:1, a little better than its 1,000:1 rating.
HP states that the 34f covers more than 99 percent of the sRGB color space, and indeed, in my testing, CalMAN reported that it covered 99.5 percent. This makes it suitable for processing photos for the web, for which sRGB is the standard color space. Below is a color fidelity or chromaticity chart for the 34f. The area within the triangle represents the sRGB color space, and my data points (the circles) are placed around it.
Also, I viewed a host of test video clips, as well as standard sample photos, with the HP 34f. Video showed rich colors and and fine detail. Photos were bright, with realistic-looking colors.
The main gaming-friendly feature that the 34f includes is its support for AMD’s FreeSync adaptive-sync technology. When coupled with a computer with a supported AMD Radeon graphics card, FreeSync can reduce image tearing by adjusting the panel’s refresh rate to match the frame-rate output of the card. The 34f has a 60Hz pixel refresh rate, which is standard for nongaming monitors. This monitor is fine for casual gaming, and its curved screen provides for an immersive experience, but serious gamers will want a monitor with more gaming-specific features.
The ultra-wide screen makes the HP 34f a natural choice for multitasking, though. The display includes HP’s My Display Smart software, which lets you partition your screen so that multiple application windows can be open at the same time, and it lets you save user-preferred settings for easy startups in that arrangement.
One place I’d like to see HP do better—on this panel and with similar ones—is with warranty coverage, specifically length. The company provides a mere one-year plan for the 34f out of the box. Most other monitor manufacturers back their products with at least three years of coverage. That’s the case with the Asus PA34VC and Dell U3419W mentioned earlier.
Ultra-Wide and Cost-Effective
As a relatively low-priced 34-inch monitor, the HP 34f Curved Display lacks some features (like USB-C connectivity, height and swivel adjustment, and a three-year warranty) found in the Asus PA34VC and Dell U3419W, both Editors’ Choice models. Still, its expansive, gently curved panel is a great choice for multitasking. The panel showed acccurate colors in our testing, and covered more than 99 percent of the sRGB color space. It did well in showing our test photos, and videos were a joy to watch (although widescreen videos can’t fill the full ultra-wide screen and were bracketed by black bars on either side). Although it falls a bit short of becoming an Editors’ Choice, it’s an appealing monitor that will save you a bit of money over the two top picks discussed here.