MSI Optix MAG274R2 Review | PCMag


What is a gaming monitor supposed to do? First and foremost for most buyers this should be a “duh, obvious” alert! –Game good. But many buyers want the full package in their purchase: good gaming and good media viewing, all in one panel at a price that doesn’t demand a huge premium over a mainstream entertainment display. Alas, in trying to appeal to multiple parties, MSI’s $ 299.99 Optix MAG274R2, a new 27-inch panel with a gaming curvature, stumbles across both departments. We noticed a washed out and choppy image during our gaming tests. Pricing is aggressive for a panel of games at its size, and its input lag reading is excellent, keeping it in the three-star line. It’s a good choice for a budget gaming panel, but you can do better at this size (and cheaper!) With the Dell 27 Curved Gaming Monitor (S2721HGF).

Highly adjustable, inside and out

With a 27-inch display running at 1920 x 1080 pixels natively and a maximum refresh rate of 165 Hz, the Optix MAG274R2 features a basic and straightforward design that’s right for its price (relatively speaking, that is, – say more about that in a minute).

The monitor sits on an all-black column that ends in a flat, rectangular, and sturdy base. The stand allows the screen to slide up and down just over 6 inches, tilt forward and back (-5 to 20 degrees), and rotate left and straight (75 degrees in both directions). The entire unit weighs 19.2 pounds assembled, while the display part itself weighs 13.4 pounds, making it a good choice for anyone with a VESA mount designed for less weight.

(Photo: Chris Stobing)

The monitor also rotates 90 degrees between landscape and portrait mode, which is unusual for a lower cost gaming panel. Overall, the MAG274R2 is a very ergonomic monitor, and it should easily fit on almost anyone’s desk or wall.

MSI Optix MAG274R2 portrait mode

(Photo: Chris Stobing)

Each of the lights that line a diagonal stripe on the back of the monitor housing is RGB ready and customizable using the responsive on-screen display (OSD) menu (it’s controlled by a five-way joystick. at the back), or via the MSI Gaming OSD software suite. To use the software, the display must be connected to your PC via a USB 2.0 upstream port on the back of the unit.

MSI Optix MAG274R2 Joystick OSD

(Photo: Chris Stobing)

MSI’s built-in menu is complete with customization options and predefined profiles to choose from. This includes three different game modes (RTS, FPS, Racing), as well as a professional mode for color work and a movie mode for watching content.

MSI Optix MAG274R2 ports

(Photo: Chris Stobing)

While the power button is located just below the OSD joystick, most of the ports are shifted to the rear left corner of the monitor. These include two HDMI 2.0 ports, one DisplayPort 1.4b input, one USB 2.0 Type-B upstream port, two USB 2.0 Type-A downstream ports, one USB-C port (display ready), one jack 3.5mm headphone for audio passthrough via HDMI, and connector for the power brick.

Optix MAG247R2 review: not everyone can do everything

The 1080p display is built on a standard IPS panel (note the lack of “Fast” or “Rapid” there) with a native refresh rate of 165Hz. It is billed as “HDR ready” which basically means it can accept an HDR signal and then downgrade it to SDR, and it is G-Sync compatible and supports AMD FreeSync (not “Premium” or “2” at the end of this last qualification).

We test monitors with a Datacolor SpyderX Elite colorimeter, a Murideo SIX-G signal generator, and CalMAN 5 portrait screens Software. Here’s what we saw …

In standard picture mode with an SDR signal, the MAG274R2 showed a surprisingly high peak brightness reading of 374.2 nits (the display is rated at just 300 nits) and a black level of 0.33 nit, That’s a contrast ratio of 1150: 1, well above its nominal value of 1000: 1. These numbers have not changed significantly in other picture modes such as FPS, Racing Mode or Cinema. (Learn more about how we test monitors.)

Brightness MSI Optix MAG247R2

However, turning on the HDR setting (remember this is simulated HDR) did the opposite of what you would expect, reducing the nits measurement to just 223.4. (Because HDR is simulated, it is not mapped in the table above.) Don’t use this mode if you can avoid it. It is used more for marketing purposes than to improve the picture quality of your games, movies or TV shows.

MSI Optix MAG247R2 Color Results

Moving on to color results, the Optix covered 100% of the sRGB gamut and also achieved high marks in DCI-P3 with 93% coverage, making it a solid enough choice for gamers and content enthusiasts alike. in terms of color coverage. Returns from the AdobeRGB line were also above average (84% coverage), which is higher than most gaming panels, but still lower than what a professional content creator should be looking for in their next monitor.

Finally, the MSI Optix MAG247R2 surprised us again with good results in our color accuracy tests, showing only a Delta-E rating of 0.91 in the short term using the out-of-the-box defaults. .

MSI Optix MAG247R2 Test

Many gaming monitors can go under 2.0, but less than 1.0 is an achievement. If you are working with color sensitive materials, a calibration session using six-axis customization under the OSD can reduce this figure even further.

Now let’s move on to media and gaming references. This is an area where display technologies such as IPS shine and struggle at the same time, with higher image quality but also slower response times and the potential for ghosting and ghosting. artifacts in high frame rate scenarios.

In HDR, our 4K test footage in Costa Rica (output at 1080p to match the monitor’s native resolution) was basically a non-starter, as this is not a true HDR monitor, and the reduced signal couldn’t stand up to even more basic HDR400 implementations. Red Dead Redemption 2, meanwhile, with HDR on or off looked Okay, but not as good as I expect from IPS panels in 2021.

MSI Optix MAG247R2 RDR2

(Photo: Chris Stobing)

As for the traditional input lag test (the time between when a monitor receives a signal and screen updates), we are testing this with a HDMI HDFury 4K Diva Matrix. With a 60 Hz test signal, the Optix to go past our offset tester because it was so fast that the LED diode couldn’t even pick up a signal. The fastest model we tested so far was MSI’s ultra-wide esports option, the Optix MPG341CQR, with an input lag result of 1.4ms. When testing the MAG274R2, our tool returned the error message “Result less than 1ms, please check the position of the sensor.”

After running the test again on another monitor next to the MAG274R2, we saw an expected result of around 5ms, which leads to the conclusion that the latest Optix messages from MSI at least less than 1 ms of input lag. However, how much will remain a mystery until our testing technology catches up.

Speaking of gaming performance, with G-Sync compatibility on board and input lag numbers like the ones above, I expected good things from the MAG274R2 when it came time to see how it handled things. quick options like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. But I was disappointed to see some serious ghost issues throughout my time in this game, as well as in a few rounds of Overwatch.

The problem was bad enough that I regularly missed critical lashes that could make or break a trick in competitive play. (It’s a good thing that I was fair against some bots.) Even with this advantage, ghosting was still a big enough issue that despite this monitor’s strengths as a gaming display in terms of input lag, he eventually meets defeat. (As you might, if you count on him to help you move up the ranks online ranked.)

Verdict: exorcise your ghosts

The Optix MAG274R2 is a well-priced entry into the IPS gaming space, with an incredibly low input lag and a generous feature set for the money. But its ghosting issues in high frame rate games make it hard to recommend to serious gamers on a budget. Anyone interested in esports games – and who wouldn’t, if you’re considering a display like this – shouldn’t choose the MAG274R2, as its ghost issues are big enough to actually to injure your gameplay rather than helping it.

MSI Optix MAG274R2 Hero

(Photo: Chris Stobing)

However, if you’re looking for an IPS panel with HDR-lite that’s good enough for watching movies or playing AAA titles at 60fps, the MAG274R2 is okay. Its limited HDR implementation led to a muddy, washed-out viewing experience with the feature turned on, and content was otherwise muted with it. If an IPS panel can’t look good besides being fast, why use one?

Instead, if you want to get an IPS panel for visual quality but also need some speed to match, you can find slightly more expensive options with Nano, Rapid, or Fast IPS displays (like the MSI Optix MAG274QRF-QD) which does not compromise. Otherwise, stick with a TN or VA panel that can keep up with game speeds like Counter-Strike or Valorant. It may not look like well done, but at least you will be able to take a sharp shot every time without worrying about previous ghosting on the current image.

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