MSI has a new gaming monitor with some nice features, the first of which is alphabet soup, because this is the MAG274QRF-QD.
It’s got a 27 inch 16 by 9 IPS panel with a 1440p resolution and an anti-glare matte finish. It’s flat too, so no curve here. It’s got a 165Hz refresh rate, and MSI are claiming a 1ms GTG response time. Combined with adaptive sync, meaning you can use either FreeSync with a Radeon graphics card or G-Sync with Nvidia, it’s got some nice sounding features for gaming that I’ll put to the test. Personally I think 27 inches at 1440p is a great sweet spot for gaming, 1080p at 27 inches is a bit too stretched out in my opinion and the pixels are less obvious to notice here comparatively.
It feels a bit smaller to me personally, but that’s because I normally use 32” 4K monitors, but yeah apart from that overall the monitor was great to use.
I’ve tested colour gamut with the Spyder 5, and got 100% of sRGB, 91% of NTSC, 96% of AdobeRGB and 90% of DCI-P3.
At 100% brightness I measured it at 366 nits in the center, though the contrast ratio was just 710:1, granted this is with the default of 70 out of 100 contrast setting so you could tweak that.
The monitor gives us three response time settings in the on screen menu, normal, fast and fastest. With the slowest normal mode, I’ve measured the average grey-to-grey response time at 5.84ms, though some transitions were slower than the 6.06ms required for all to occur within the refresh window.
Things are a bit better now in fast mode, the average grey-to-grey response time is now lower at 4.17ms, but we’re still a fair way from MSI’s stated 1ms, so surely the fastest mode will get us all the way there right? Unfortunately I wasn’t seeing that, the fastest mode was only a little faster at 3.86ms on average, but I also found this mode to introduce more overshoot and undershoot, so given fast mode wasn’t much different in response time but had closer to no overshoot or undershoot, it’s probably the way to go.
This was hard to pick up on camera, but in normal mode there was a little ghosting, fast mode looked best to my eyes, then fastest mode had a little inverse ghosting trail, so yeah again, fast mode seems best.
In order to run the monitor at 1440p 165Hz you’ll need to use DisplayPort, HDMI is limited to 144Hz, as this is just a limitation of the HDMI 2.0b spec. You can do this with either the dedicated DisplayPort output, or the Type-C port, which also offers DisplayPort out, and with Radeon graphics I confirmed the FreeSync range is 48Hz to 165Hz.
Just visually, viewing angles looked fine to me regardless of position, the specs note it’s good for 178 degrees both horizontally and vertically, which isn’t really a surprise with IPS. The bezels aren’t too thick, I measured them at around 8.5mm on the sides, but I honestly can’t say I really care too much as I hardly notice them once I get into a game, but that would be more important if you have more than one side by side.
Backlight bleed wasn’t looking amazing in this photo, but the patchy spots aren’t big differences to the rest, so I didn’t notice any problems when actually viewing darker content, but this will vary between monitors. It was while testing backlight bleed that I noticed one of the pixels was dead on arrival, unfortunately this can happen with any panel, but to be fair this is an early review sample, and MSI have confirmed that they have a dead pixel warranty.
There’s more to it than just the panel though. The stand has a matte black plastic exterior and it felt sturdy enough. There’s also a hole in the stand to help with cable management. In terms of adjustments we’ve got -5 to 20 degrees of up and down tilt, -75 to 75 degrees of side to side swivel, which is much more than most, 0-10cm of height adjustment up and down, and it can be pivoted 90 degrees in either direction if you prefer vertical.
There’s also a 100mm VESA mount on the back behind where the stand connects if you want to attach the screen to a different stand or monitor arm. The included stand connects here too, but it’s not a toolless installation like some others, you’ve got to screw in two included phillips head screws down the bottom, which isn’t really a big deal given you’ll probably do it once.
Otherwise the back has a Kensington lock on the right, and a single 5 way joystick for navigating the on screen display, or OSD, on the left. Well, on the left if you’re facing the back, when you’re sitting in front of the screen using it it’s on your right. I found it easy to reach and use, the OSD menu felt quite clean and I had no problems looking through the available options.
If you install MSI’s Gaming OSD software you can manage all of this and more through Windows and use your mouse instead of the on screen display, which is far easier. You just need to connect the included Type-B to Type-A USB cable to your PC for it to work, and once setup, you can simply press the shortcut button on the bottom left of the screen to open the settings.
It can also be used as a macro key, with a few different options available. The back also has some RGB lighting, but it was pretty subtle. Even at night in a dark room I only barely noticed it when sitting in front of the screen. You can turn it off through the OSD if you prefer, but if you want to customize the colours and effects then you need to connect the USB cable and get Mystic Light Sync going which comes with the Gaming OSD software.
The I/O is on the back on the right and faces down. From left to right there’s DisplayPort 1.4, two HDMI 2.0b ports, Type-C port which offers DisplayPort output and 15 watts for charging devices, 3.5mm audio output, USB 2.0 Type-B port, two USB 2.0 Type-A ports, and the power input.
A small 65 watt power brick is included, the power supply isn’t built into the monitor. Other cables included are HDMI, DisplayPort, and a USB Type-B to A cable which allows you to connect the monitor to your PC, and this is required to use the monitor’s Type-A ports as a USB hub in addition to managing the monitor through Windows as discussed.
Finally, let’s discuss pricing. It’s launching this month in various regions, I’ve been told by MSI that in the US the expected price will be $550 USD, while here in Australia we’re looking at $860 AUD. This sounds reasonable, it’s the same price as the Aorus FI27Q-P I previously covered, which is also a 1440p 165Hz screen.
Personally I preferred the design and look of the Aorus, which is of course subjective, but the panel in the MSI offers better colour gamut and faster response time, so it could be slightly better for both gamers and creators. So with all of that in mind, let me know what you thought of the MSI MAG274QRF-QD gaming monitor down in the comments.