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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Our HDR benchmarking uses Portrait Displays’ Calman software. To learn about our HDR testing, see our breakdown of how we test PC monitors.

The MAG325CQRF supports HDR10 signals with an automatic switchover. There are no picture adjustment options, but I found good accuracy in most tests.

HDR Brightness and Contrast

If you rank HDR monitors by peak brightness, none of these displays will rock your world. They all deliver similar brightness and contrast for SDR and HDR content. The VA panels offer excellent black levels and contrast, so HDR does look better, especially when color is factored in, which the MAG325CQRF has in abundance. While a dynamic contrast option would improve things, the MAG325CQRF still delivers decent HDR quality.

Grayscale, EOTF and Color

The MAG325CQRF nails the HDR grayscale and EOTF tests. There are no visible errors with all values under 2dE. Very few monitors are this close to reference. The EOTF tracks almost perfectly, with just a slight dip at 10% where it is a tad dark. The tone-map transition is on-point at 60%, where it should be given the measured peak brightness.

The HDR gamut charts show some interpretation on MSI’s part. Over-saturation is the order of the day, with all points well past their targets. This enhances the perception of color and sets it apart more clearly from SDR. That is good, but some fine detail may be lost in the process. In practice, I saw little to complain about when gaming. HDR had more impact and was definitely more colorful than the same content viewed in SDR mode. The Rec.2020 chart shows similar behavior with general over-saturation. The MAG325CQRF’s high volume means it will cover more of that gamut which you can clearly see. It gets over 90% in red, magenta and blue. Green, cyan and yellow top out at around 80%. That’s a lot of color. It isn’t super accurate, but the image is impactful.

Test Takeaway: The MAG325CQRF has very accurate HDR grayscale and luminance tracking which gives it a decent HDR image despite its low brightness. Color is extremely vivid and occasionally looks overblown, but is generally pleasing in games.

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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...