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MSI Optix MAG322CQR Gaming Monitor Review
Review By @ 06:08pm 15/04/20

Product: MSI Optix MAG322CQR
Type: Gaming Monitor (32”)
Price: $729.00 RRP
Availability: Out Now
Link: msi.com/Monitor/Optix-MAG322CQR

This year has already seen the release of several amazing PC games - from DOOM Eternal to Ori and the Will of the Wisps to the excellent original Half-Life fan remake Black Mesa. Outside of stellar gameplay each title also offers up immersive and stunning digital worlds to explore, interact with, or find the nearest demon to cut in two. So, when it comes to putting together a new build choosing the right display carries as much weight as picking out the right CPU or GPU.

Even if you’re simply in the market for a new screen the result is the same. A large portion of how the game you’re playing looks comes down to the display you’re using.

When looking for a new gaming display there are of course a lot of factors that need to be considered. From size to features to resolution to refresh rate and price. Usually, the screen that ends up with the most ticks is the one that finds a new home on your desk, sitting next to your rig. The new MSI Optix MAG322CQR certainly falls into the desk-worthy category, thanks to it racking up more than a few ticks in our testing. From its large and impressive 32” curved display area, to the high 165 Hz refresh rate, low 1ms response time, and support for AMD FreeSync Premium. There’s a lot to love about this new display from MSI, especially when you factor in the affordable price tag.

Looking Good

At 32-inches corner to corner the MSI Optix MAG322CQR sits firmly in the big-screen realm for desktop displays. The impressive 1500R curvature brings it all together, adding a real sense of immersion even when you’re simply sitting there browsing through Reddit. Over the past couple of years curved displays have grown in popularity in the PC display space in ways the technology failed when it comes to TVs. Sitting front and centre the curve offers up a more natural image that gives the entire picture more presence. With the science saying that it’s because our eyes are round and not flat squares. Smart people those scientists.

“There’s a lot to love about this new display from MSI, especially when you factor in the affordable price tag."

When it comes to PC gaming on a desktop, the aforementioned sitting front and centre is the order of the day. Rated at 1500R, the curve in the MSI Optix MAG322CQR is one of the most impressive we’ve seen to date and much like variable refresh rates has become something of a must. In other words, worthy of a giant tick.

In terms of design the MSI Optix MAG322CQR is thin, sleek, minimal, with RGB accents and lighting on the back that can sync with any other RGB goodness going on. Although we did find the lighting to be a tad dull compared to other displays we’ve seen. Weighing in at around 7kg, it’s also surprisingly light and sturdy, and doesn’t feel cheap or hastily put together. In fact, it continues the trend of impressive and above all affordable MSI Optix displays seen in recent times. The near bezel-free look and minimal on-the-front branding is wonderful and pairs nicely with just about any modern stylish PC case.

Screen Story

  • Maximum Resolution: 2560 x 1440
  • Panel Type: VA
  • Refresh Rate: 165Hz AMD FreeSync Premium
  • Response Time: 1ms
  • Contrast Ratio: 3000:1 (Native)
  • Brightness: 300 nits
  • Weight: 7.0 kg

  • The 2560 x 1440 or 1440p resolution found here falls into the current sweet spot when it comes to modern PC gaming. It’s something we’ve mentioned quite a bit in the past, as not many – if any – GPUs can handle games running in 4K running at the sort of high framerates people are looking for. Playing DOOM Eternal or a competitive shooter like Rainbow Six Siege at anything less than 60 frames-per-second is unthinkable. Actually, and this may sound a little elitist, playing games at sub-100-fps has become something we’re not big fans of.

    “In terms of design the MSI Optix MAG322CQR is thin, sleek, minimal, with RGB accents and lighting on the back that can sync with any other RGB goodness going on."

    From Call of Duty to Overwatch to even the recent Resident Evil 3 remake, in our testing we managed to push the MSI Optix MAG322CQR right up to the 165Hz of its display – and it was glorious. We’re talking esports professional levels of buttery smooth gameplay.

    Speaking of glorious, with the excellent blacks offered by the vibrant VA panel and the 96% DCI-P3 colour rating (124% sRGB), the image quality is across-the-board excellent. That said the 300nit brightness means that its HDR Ready rating doesn’t quite enter the realm of truly impressive HDR. But we still switched on the effect when playing games like Forza Horizon 4 and, well, DOOM Eternal. Yeah, id Software’s latest is poised to become the benchmark of choice for PC hardware in 2020.

    With HDR turned off the brightness of the display isn’t an issue, and the natural colours make this a great choice for simply watching media, streaming movies, or watching the ol’ Tube.

    A View to Remember

    Another area where this display excels comes with the calibration and customisation options available. And with the USB-cable plugged in this can all be managed via the easy-to-use and responsive MSI Gaming app. In fact, not having to use the little dongle and buttons located on the back of the display make this the sort of feature that all display makers should adopt. Being able to switch between existing presets or store our own settings for gaming, watching movies, and working on-the-fly is the sort of time-saver and forward-thinking approach that’s commendable. Especially when you have access to blue-light filters, dynamic contrast adjustment, response time settings, and other enhancements. In addition to the usual trio of Brightness, Contrast, and Sharpness.

    “In our testing we managed to push the MSI Optix MAG322CQR right up to the 165Hz of its display – and it was glorious."

    With its colour accuracy there isn’t much out of the box tuning required either, outside of settings things to suit your own personal taste. In the end, there’s aren’t really a lot of issues to be found with the MSI Optix MAG322CQR as a gaming display. The large 32-inch screen size is impressive, and alongside the 165Hz refresh rate, curvature, and excellent colour response – make it a great choice for both competitive gaming and losing yourself in the post-apocalyptic streets of Raccoon City.
    What we liked
    Impressive size and curvature
    Sleek, thin, and light build
    Hits the 1440p sweet spot with 165Hz and great colour response
    Easy to tweak thanks to MSI's Gaming app
    What we didn't like
    HDR isn't all that impressive
    RGB lighting on the back a little dull in terms of brightness
    We gave it:
    OUT OF 10
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