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It’s getting harder to find a gaming monitor that doesn’t include HDR these days. But many of the screens we’ve reviewed merely include the support without making much improvement to the picture. After looking at a lot of different monitors, we’ve settled on three HDR categories: edge-lit IPS screens with no dynamic contrast, edge-lit IPS with dynamic contrast or VA screens and full-array local dimming (FALD) panels. Obviously, the latter represents the most expensive category. The middle tier is where the best price/performance ratio is, and that’s where you’ll find the MSI Optix MAG272CQR.
As an HDR monitor, the MSI Optix MAG272CQR offers better-than-average performance with nicely saturated color and good contrast. Though it doesn’t have a dynamic feature, its VA panel delivers a true 3,000:1 ratio for both SDR and HDR content. That puts it ahead of many IPS monitors, some of which cost more. The MAG272CQR’s DCI-P3 gamut coverage is average at around 85% but strikes a good compromise between saturation and accuracy that makes it work for all types of content.
Ultimately, a gaming monitor needs to maintain high refresh rates and deliver Adaptive-Sync. The MSI Optix MAG272CQR does this perfectly, and QHD resolution means you can peg the counter at 165 fps without difficulty.
Its only flaw, a minor one at that, is the need for some tweaking at the outset. To get the best picture, refer to our settings back on page 1. That way, you’ll see the maximum brightness and contrast that the MAG272CQR is capable of.
With adjustments in place, the MSI Optix MAG272CQR is one of those displays that delivers 98% of the performance of a premium screen at 30% of the cost. It’s one of the best values we’ve seen of late and definitely stands out in the red-hot 27-inch QHD category. If you’re looking to add HDR and extended color to your gaming rig, this is one to check out.
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.