“HDR Ready” may be a misnomer but, with its fast refresh rate, short reaction times and vibrant color and contrast, the MSI Optix MAG272CQR reflects a 1440p display that almost all players are worthy of appreciating. The VA panel has a touch of a ghost but it isn’t necessary to pull the overall appeal down.
Refresh rate improved 165Hz
Compatibility FreeSync AMD
Fantastic contrast and colour
Nice ports with USB-C
High build quality with RGB lighting
Not an HDR Display
VA panel display some ghosting
While 1080p (FHD) screens are still being sold by the truckload to gamers who want the very best possible framerates from their hardware, 1440p (QHD) monitors like the above are coming on fast, mainly in the esports scene. Graphics cards (GPUs) are more powerful than ever and if you have at least an AMD or NVIDIA mid-range card, you’re likely to be able to comfortably play on anything like MSI’s Optix MAG272CQR.
There is a row of RGB lighting on the back of the case, customizable through the MSI Gaming OSD app. There are a lot of options to choose from, and you can synchronize the lighting with other compatible items, including a mouse and keyboard. A single joystick provides primary power over the monitor’s UI settings, but there is also a quick-access button on the bottom left edge of the panel that activates the Gaming OSD app right away. It’s a more elegant way to change the image and doesn’t need the joystick, but unlike the standard UI gui, it will pop you out of a game.
Should you buy MSI’s Optix MAG272CQR?
Optix MAG272CQR by MSI is not fine. The VA panel suffers from some ghosting and the “HDR service” is mostly an ugly affair, but the pros easily overweight these drawbacks. The overall 1440p image right out of the box is great and only gets better with a bit of tuning. It’s simpler to get drawn into the action with a slight slope, and the native FreeSync support (as well as non-native G-Sync support) prevents screen tearing. The optional MSI Gaming OSD software is easier to use than the joystick and displays its own hotkey. It’s all packaged in an elegant frame with a sturdy stand and adjustable RGB lighting. Looking to the future, it also has a USB-C port and multiple USB-A connections.
Will you buy this monitor? The Optix MAG272CQR is a winner for just about any gamer if you can deal with a bit of ghosting and don’t really want true HDR support. The QHD resolution is a big step up from 1080p, but make sure your equipment can handle it — there’s no point purchasing a display that your PC won’t be able to max out. Likewise, if you’re looking for a competent job show, you’re better off with the specialist.