Sometimes you just don’t realise how average the things you’re using are, until you upgrade and experience a whole new world. For instance, my original monitor setup at home was a stock-standard DELL flatscreen monitor, as well as an ancient (HDMI and VGA only) LG Flatron screen. They both did their job as expected, but of course I knew much better was out there.
What I didn’t realise though, is how much of a difference that “better” quality would make. Prepare yourselves for the MSI Optix 27” MAG274QRF-QD, a monitor with so many acronyms and technical terms attached to it that it’ll make your eyes pop almost as much as the colours do. This monitor was designed with esports in mind – a 27” flat screen with a huge 2560×1440 WQHD (wide quad high definition) resolution offering a refresh rate of 165hz, on a Rapid IPS panel. The one drawback that some may find (though it didn’t cause me any issues) is a brightness rating of 300 nits – which coupled with the anti-glare screen did a decent job even in the sunniest conditions.
In simple terms – it is sharp, vivid, and showcases ultra high definition. Add in a strip of RGBs on the back for extra speed, and you’ve got yourself a complete package monitor that does everything you need it to and more. The screen has an anti-glare coating that also can be viewed from multiple angles without any issues, and when attached to the stand the monitor can rotate, rise and tilt to give you that perfect viewing spot. To top it off, the design of the monitor is simple and sturdy – no ridiculous stand shapes, or garish patterns; the design is minimalistic yet retains the MSI flair the brand is known for. There are bezels around the edge of the screen, but they are narrow and smooth enough to not be noticed.
In day-to-day operations the minor quirks are instantly noticeable compared to standard monitors – scrolling through pages or moving objects around the screen is smooth and almost strange when you’ve been using a screen with such a low refresh rate. The monitor comes with your standard connection inputs (no HDMI 2.1 sadly) as well as a USB Type-B connector to supply power to the additional USB ports. Hitting up YouTube for a few 4K videos just to view the colour range it outputs and was blown away not only by the clarity but by the range. Reds and oranges absolutely pop off the screen, while blues and greens are rich and vibrant – viewing things on this monitor was almost like experiencing colours for the first time, and realising what the difference is between a basic monitor and a top of the range device can be.
Getting into gameplay, I don’t think I’ve ever had to turn ON so many options in gaming menus to allow games to look so good on-screen. Boosting the settings to maximum in Rocket League and turning on v-sync options I was presented with a smooth and clear depiction of my car, with colours that absolutely popped. MSI’s Adaptive-Sync feature helps with switching from game-to-game. When I first got my hands on the monitor it wasn’t wasn’t G-Sync compatible, but after several updates it became G-Sync compatible, which is definitely a plus in many peoples’ books.
MSI have also announced compatibility with their Gaming OSD app, which allows users to customise and switch monitor modes on the fly – unfortunately at the time of writing, the only thing the app would display for me is “Cannot detect supported monitors” when connected with DisplayPort and USB at the same time. The app allows you to change features on the fly without navigating the menus via the physical buttons. Thankfully the majority of options for the onboard menu can be selected using the neat little red joystick toggle that sits on the back of the monitor, allowing for customised quick-change options or displaying refresh and frame rates on screen.
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The MSI Optix 27” MAG274QRF-QD is the absolute goods - a killer refresh rate, brilliant colours and a sleek design all rolled into one great package. If you’re in the market and want the absolute best, don’t let this one slip off your radar.