Brightness & Contrast
To read about our monitor tests in-depth, please check out Display Testing Explained: How We Test Monitors and TVs. We cover brightness and contrast testing on page two.
Uncalibrated – Maximum Backlight Level
For comparison, we rounded up four monitors with refresh rates up to 240Hz (compared to the MAG24C’s 144Hz refresh rate). They are Acer’s XB252Q, Alienware’s AW2518H, AOC’s AG251FZ and ViewSonic’s XG2530. We completed the stable with the 165Hz Asus PG27V. All monitors besides the MSI are TN (twisted nematic) panels.
Before we get started, note that high-speed gaming monitors are dominated by TN panels since they’re the fastest type of display panel, but the MAG24C goes against the grain with a VA panel. VA panels are known for having the best contrast, and in this case the VA panel gave up very little speed while offering vastly superior image quality.
Our MAG24C didn’t pump out a lot of light, but it surpassed MSI’s claim of 250 nits, which is enough for any indoor environment. Since there is no blur reduction offered, we saw no need for more brightness. You can see why VA panels have such great image quality in the black level results. The next darkest monitor is almost five times brighter at the zero-signal level. Even among other VA displays we’ve tested (and outside today’s comparison group), MSI excels with over 3300:1 contrast. Anyone with trepidations about resolution will quickly forget them when playing games on the MAG24C. Image depth, clarity and detail-rendering are all exemplary.
Uncalibrated – Minimum Backlight Level
Uncalibrated and at minimum backlight level, backlight throttled down to a very dim 28.3 nits. Even in a completely dark room, the picture wasn’t bright enough to be usable.
To set a more comfortable 50 nits, we moved the brightness slider up to 10. Black levels were almost unmeasurable at just .009 nit. We weren’t able to tell that the monitor was turned on. Contrast dropped slightly to 3158.2:1, but to the eye, contrast remained consistent at all backlight levels.
After Calibration to 200 nits
Calibration to 200 nits increased contrast slightly to 3571.1:1. Only a few other VA panels can boast this much dynamic range. That the MAG24C is a budget display only makes this result more impressive. MSI may have given up some features to keep costs down, but it cut zero corners in image quality.
ANSI Contrast Ratio
Most panels, VA or otherwise, measure lower than the MAG24C did in the ANSI test. Our MAG24C sample had roughly the same intra-image contrast as its uncalibrated sequential number. This is excellent performance. To say MSI is offering a lot of bang for the buck is an understatement. Contrast truly doesn’t get much better than this.
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