MSI Optix MAG272CQR Review: Decent Speed, High Contrast

Another MSI value performer

Editor's Choice
(Image: © MSI)

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In the MAG272CQR’s User picture mode, image accuracy is good but could be better. A set of precise RGB sliders can get you to greatness, but you’ll have to apply our special tweak to match our results.

Grayscale & Gamma Tracking

Our grayscale and gamma tests use Calman calibration software from Portrait Displays. We describe those our grayscale and gamma tests in detail here.

At the monitor’s default settings, measured grayscale errors create a blue tint that is visible through most of the brightness range. The error is small but flattens the image a little. To maximize quality, select the user color temp, max the RGB sliders, then calibrate as we did. That will take the MAG272CQR to a very high standard, as seen in the second chart above, where there are no visible grayscale errors as the Delta E (dE) is under 3.

In either case, gamma tracks 2.2 well. There are tiny dips at 10% and 90% brightness, but they  are of no visible consequence.


A 4.92dE out of the box is large enough grayscale error to call for calibration. It isn’t a huge issue, but excellence is possible with a few adjustments (see our recommended calibration settings on page 1). In the second chart above, you can see that all the monitors benefit from some calibration love, except the MSI MAG274QRF, which looks exceptional out of the box.

Gamma tracking is very good for all the screens, so the MAG272CQR’s fifth place finish in the last two tests above isn’t a big deal. This is an impressively tight group of gaming monitors.

Color Gamut Accuracy

Our color gamut and volume testing use Portrait Displays’ Calman software. For details on our color gamut testing and volume calculations, click here.

We’ve compared the MAG272CQR’s color gamut measurements to the DCI-P3 standard. Like most extended color screens, green is a little under-saturated. MSI has taken the further step of reducing the inner red targets to keep SDR color from looking overblown. This is an effective way to use a wide gamut for all content. You’ll see on page four that the HDR gamut targets are still right on point. This is also a great way to eliminate the need for an sRGB mode, which we didn’t miss.

Though we find the default gamut measurements satisfactory, calibration (second chart) makes them even better. Every color is right on its hue targets and very close to ideal saturation.


The MAG272CQR’s 1.60dE average color error post-calibration is only eclipsed by the Dell’s 1.01dE result. All the monitors come in under 3dE, which is the point where issues become visible to the naked eye. The MSI costing less than $400 is further testament to its high price-to-performance ratio.

Gamut volume falls a tad short of the other screens with the MAG272CQR covering 85.67% of DCI-P3. That is an average number among all the extended color monitors we’ve tested, but the other panels in the comparison group have a little more saturation. The top-finishing MSI and the Gigabyte are the only two gaming monitors in our database that exceed 100% of DCI-P3.

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.