MSI Optix MAG27CQ 144Hz FreeSync Monitor Review
Peter Donnell / 2 years ago
Curves and More Curves
The Optix is a fantastic looking display, that much we already know, but it’s a little strange to use at first too. It’s the smallest curved display I’ve ever used, and at first, the curve seems a little bit pointless. If you’re running a single display, it does take a little getting used to. However, once you start gaming, that little curve really does help bring your focus more into the game and gives you a slightly improved view of your peripheral vision.
Of course, that curve will pay off bigger if you’re running three of these displays, as you’ll lose that strong angular layout for a more sweeping curve between the three displays, which is sure to look amazing. MSI, send me two more!
Configuration and OSD
Setting up this monitor couldn’t be easier, as it’s very well calibrated and ready to rock right out of the box. The OSD isn’t particularly advanced, but it has all the standard features you’re likely to need. Obviously, the monitor is FreeSync, but even on an Nvidia GPU you can still benefit from the 144Hz refresh rate, you just won’t get the dynamic refresh rate.
Cool features like the on display Crosshair are nice, and you can boost the response time to cut down on ghosting, although that’s subjective on how high you may want to tune this.
The colour settings are great out of the box (Warm), but this can be easily changed if required. As can the gamma, although we recommend leaving it at the default 2.2 setting.
The first thing that strikes me about this monitor is the picture quality. The black levels are absolutely fantastic and the NTSC 85% & sRGB 110% colour range certainly helps too. I find a lot of gaming monitors push the blue too high and the backlight is cranked far too high by default, but that’s not the case here.
Motion is silky smooth with ultra-fast response times that make quick aiming a joy. Of course, the 1440p resolution provides plenty of detail, but the 144Hz refresh rate has a bigger part to play in the image clarity, and navigating your game world feels fluid and natural.
Fast paced shooters, such as Borderlands, CS:GO, or competitive MOBA games like LOL perfect superbly too. Again, the increase in resolution and refresh rate are a big benefit to both competitive gaming and a joy to use for casual single player experiences too.
Taking photos and playing a game is not easy by your own, but I don’t blame the monitor for my death.
A 1080p screen is great for viewing a single page. However, if you’re playing with a lot of editing software, or doing a lot of work on this monitor, it’s large screen and resolution are a big help. You can comfortably side by side two browser tabs with ease. If you wanted more, I’d suggest moving up to a 4K display, but for more, 1440p is more than enough.
Finally, it would be a shame not to test some other multimedia tasks. Of course, movies aren’t in 1440p generally, but HD content, as well as 4K video content, display really nicely. The consistent black levels look fantastic, and there’s plenty of detail in the highlights too, showing a competent contrast ratio. The colour depth is superb, with vibrant colours that really pop without looking washed out.