MSI Optix MAG271CQR Gaming Monitor Review: Vivid and Versatile

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At this writing, the MSI Optix MAG271CQR sells for $400. That makes it a little pricier than some 27-inch QHD monitors, but not as costly as premium ones. The bang-for-the-buck quotient is high with a subtle but beneficial curvature, super-colorful image and fantastic gaming performance.

Though color doesn’t adhere strictly to the standard, it’s manipulated in a positive way. The resulting image is bright and saturated without looking blown-out or cartoonish.

We only have two wishes for the MAG271CQR. One would be the addition of an sRGB mode for those seeking perfect color. Given our test results, we speculate that an instrumented calibration may not be necessary. We’d also like improved gamma. If the monitor came closer to the ideal 2.2 luminance curve, it would look even better. It presents an excellent picture, but there’s potential for improvement. Indeed, you can find better image quality from other QHD, 144Hz monitors, including the Razer Raptor 27. But although that monitor has some of the best image quality we've ever seen, it's also much pricier ($700 at the time of publishing). 

Once we started gaming, the speedy and smooth video processing took center-stage. The MAG271CQR makes the most of its 144 Hz with one of the lowest input lag scores we’ve recorded. That, coupled with FreeSync or G-Sync (unofficially), make it a great choice for gamers running a wide variety of hardware, and you don’t need a premium graphics card.

With all this versatility, if you’re looking for a 27-incher to outfit a mid- to high-priced gaming rig, the MSI Optix MAG271CQR should be on your short list.

Image Credits: MSI, Tom's Hardware

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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.