MSI MAG325CQRF 170Hz Gaming Monitor Review: Tons of Contrast and Color for an Attractive Price

32-inch Curved VA QHD gaming monitor with 170 Hz, Adaptive-Sync, HDR and wide gamut color.

(Image: © Tom's Hardware)

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Uncalibrated – Maximum Backlight Level

If you are looking for a super bright monitor, the MAG325CQRF is not it. It tops out at 283 nits in both SDR and HDR modes. While this is bright enough for a typical office or media room, it will not work next to a sunny window. Luckily, it has terrific black levels, so its contrast is above the norm, a distinction it shares with the AOC and Viotek screens. The average ratio I’ve recorded for VA monitors is around 3,500:1. This makes forgiving the lower-than-average peak output easy.

After Calibration to 200 nits

The MAG325CQRF’s calibration consisted only of setting the peak to 200 nits. I did not use the user color temp option because it cuts brightness to just 108 nits max. The ratio is now higher at 4,706.8:1. Only the Viotek can play in this arena.

Due to the screen uniformity issue I noted earlier, ANSI contrast is lower at 3,448.8:1. This is still a very high number and clearly better than the bottom four monitors. The MAG325CQRF’s excellent contrast more than makes up for its lower-than-average output.

Test Takeaway: You’ll need a dim or dark environment to best enjoy the MAG325CQRF. But its high contrast and deep blacks mean the picture is very dimensional and colorful. Enhanced by a wide color gamut, it is capable of a stunning image.

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Christian Eberle
Contributing Editor

Christian Eberle is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He's a veteran reviewer of A/V equipment, specializing in monitors. Christian began his obsession with tech when he built his first PC in 1991, a 286 running DOS 3.0 at a blazing 12MHz. In 2006, he undertook training from the Imaging Science Foundation in video calibration and testing and thus started a passion for precise imaging that persists to this day. He is also a professional musician with a degree from the New England Conservatory as a classical bassoonist which he used to good effect as a performer with the West Point Army Band from 1987 to 2013. He enjoys watching movies and listening to high-end audio in his custom-built home theater and can be seen riding trails near his home on a race-ready ICE VTX recumbent trike. Christian enjoys the endless summer in Florida where he lives with his wife and Chihuahua and plays with orchestras around the state.

  • helper800
    Unfortunately, 108 nits brightness is barely usable. Even my CX OLED with a 100% white window on the screen is brighter than that...