MSI Optix MAG274QRF-QD Review: Widest Color Gamut Yet

The largest color gamut we’ve measured to date

Editor's Choice
(Image: © MSI)

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No display is perfect, but some get more things right than others. Finding the right balance between video processing performance, contrast, color saturation, color accuracy and resolution is not always easy. It’s not hard to find this balance at the premium end of the price scale, but finding it in the midrange is somewhat rare. 

The MSI Optix MAG274QRF-QD strikes that balance. It combines excellent gaming performance with superb image accuracy and a huge amount of color. Plus, it sells for a reasonable price ($420 as of this writing) that delivers a lot for the money.

(Image credit: MSI)

There are plenty of fast 27-inch gaming monitors out there, and the 1440p class is particularly well-represented. But none of them offer the massive color gamut the MAG274QRF-QD delivers. With 112% coverage of DCI-P3, it is the most colorful monitor we’ve ever tested. Color is so saturated that it partially makes up for its contrast, which still can’t compete with VA. That color is also exceptionally accurate out of the box. It not only makes our calibration-not-required list, but manages better numbers than many monitors produce after calibration.

The only flaw in this otherwise wonderful dish is its lack of an sRGB mode. Any extended color display should have an option for sRGB to better match content mastered to that spec. If you’re looking for accurate sRGB color, the MAG274QRF-QD doesn’t have it. But in practice, it looks fantastic showing all content and even outside the confines of industry specs, it delivers a beautiful image.

At the other end of the scale, video processing is equally superb. The MAG274QRF-QD makes the most of its 165 Hz with lightning-quick response and low input lag. You’ll need a significantly higher refresh rate to see better performance. The only flaw is the included backlight strobe feature that produces a parallax artifact.

If you believe there’s no such thing as too much color, the MAG274QRF-QD hits the marks while hitting a sweet spot for gaming performance.

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.

  • Kridian
    $562!? (NewEgg)
  • JoBalz
    Kridian said:
    $562!? (NewEgg)

    I was just looking at other gaming monitors that use Quantum Dot technology displays. This one is one of the least expensive listed as using this tech.
  • samopitam
    Is standard calibration using something like Xrite i1display calibrator enough to decrease the oversaturation and gamma of this monitor to a normal, more natural level while still covering a big percentage of the AdobeRGB gamut?

    When using such a calibrator (using either its own or displayCAL software) will every program then automatically use the new lower saturation level? I have no experience with calibration devices so I am just worried about color accuracy and the stated problem that colors will be oversaturated and therefore false all the time. This monitor will be used with both Mac and PC for print and web design. I'm not sure if this software just creates an ICC profile that you can choose system-wide in OS and then change easily to an ICC with more saturation, or if it does something more.

    I'm interested in natural saturation levels until a project comes when I will have the need to see more of the color gamut in a graphics program. Is then all that is necessary to choose an AdobeRGB ICC profile in a graphics program like Adobe to view more colors or will the monitor calibration that lowered the saturation prevent you from ever seeing those colors unless you recalibrate?
  • Maverick110
    Does the Optix MAG274QRF-QD have a DisplayPort 1.2a port or a DisplayPort 1.4? The MSI product specifications page has a DP1.2a. The MSI store page specification section has DP1.4. It's just a bit confusing.