MSI detailed upcoming gaming monitors today at CES 2020, including two with some standout features. The MSI Optix MAG342CQR will be one of the curviest gaming monitors ever, and the MSI Optix MEG381CQR has a bonus OLED screen on its bottom bezel.
MSI Optix MEG381CQR
With two screens for the price of one, this could almost be considered a bargain. MSI said that its 38-inch MEG381CQR will be the first gaming monitor to use a human machine interface (HMI), which it defined as a user interface (UI) connecting the user to a device and allowing interaction to flow between the two. Yep. This HMI takes the form of an OLED display in the bottom left corner that can share information about the monitor and is controllable via a dial.
When I saw the monitor, it was showing the monitor's including refresh rate, CPU clock speed and temperature and even the weather. Additionally, the dial for navigating it felt strong and sturdy with firm, solid clicks. In my short time with the monitor I was able to scroll the menu, which included a system monitor and macro keys. You could also control the RGB, which can sync with other MSI RGB products.
There’s also a camera in the bottom bezel that uses facial recognition to load a user's specific settings.
In addition to the 144Hz refresh rate, shared specs include an IPS panel with a 2300R curve, 21:9 aspect ratio, 3840 x 1600 resolution, and HDR support at a minimum of 600 nits. The monitor will be available in Q3 or Q4 2020, MSI said.
MSI Optix MAG342CQR
Do I smell a trend here? Just last week, Samsung announced it's launching three gaming monitors with a 1000R curvature. Today, MSI revealed an equally curvy display in the form of its MAG342CQR. That curvature is deeper than that of any other curved gaming monitor available out in the market now. Samsung claims that that 1000R radius is the same curvature of that of the human eye, calling it "a curve optimizing the human eye's natural field of view.” Curved monitors are all about an immersive experience, but MSI’s 1000R announcement promised even more.
MSI claims that the 1000R radius improves gamers’ reaction time by 44.8%, compared to when using an 1800R gaming monitor. It didn’t specify if this was for professional gamers or typical users, but in either case we’ll hold off celebrating until we see the data for ourselves. I will say that playing a driving game on the monitor almost felt safe, as I could see my periphery just like when you're actually driving. And when viewing from the side, it looked nearly perfect, so we're thinking it can output a high level of brightness.
Available specs for the screen were minimal but include a VA panel (super patterned vertical alignment, or S-PVA, to be exact), quantum dot technology for displaying 1.07 billion colors with extra powerful dark reds and greens, according to MSI, and high brightness without eye strain.
The monitor is expected to be available in Q2 or Q3 2020, but pricing wasn't shared. An MSI rep told us that a 27-inch version will come this year, as well as another size that they couldn't disclose. But considering Samsung's prepping its own 1000R monitors in 27, 32 and 49 inches, we suspect MSI's third 1000R monitor will be 32 inches too.
Editor's Note: This article originally ran on January 6, 2020 and was updated on January 7, 2020 to include additional details and hands-on information.
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Scharon Harding has a special affinity for gaming peripherals (especially monitors), laptops and virtual reality. Previously, she covered business technology, including hardware, software, cyber security, cloud and other IT happenings, at Channelnomics, with bylines at CRN UK.