MSI Optix MAG274R
Gaming Display (27”)
A budget display for gaming is a very different thing than say a budget... display. No matter the price point the same considerations come into play when creating a new gaming display -- regardless of price point or overall look and feel. Resolution, refresh-rate, panel quality, colour accuray, and overall features and calibration tools. All stuff that people kind of expect to be there.
The MSI Optix MAG274R
falls into the “budget” category thanks to its sub-$460 AUD price-point, but in keeping with MSI’s recent trend of ensuring its displays tick off all the right boxes what you get here is something that can just as easily carry its ‘esports ready’ tagline and mean it.
As a full-HD display with a 144Hz FreeSync Premium refresh-rate, that is also G-Sync compatible (as per our own testing), right off the bat a simple look at the specs does make you wonder if there’s a catch. And sure, there are concessions outside of the 1080p resolution made by MSI to keep the price-point down, but the end result is a display that exceeds expectations thanks to its competitive performance and overall image quality.
Off the bat it’s worth highlighting that this is a 27-inch display, which means that even in the “budget” space MSI (among other brands) are moving away from smaller panels in the 144Hz space. Even with its 1080p resolution it’s a size that still can offer a crisp and detailed image, and on paper at least will serve as the perfect counterpart to something like the upcoming release of the new mid-range GeForce RTX 3060 graphics card
. In fact most GPUs in circulation target high-end 1080p performance in games like Rainbow Six Siege or Apex Legends so it’s no wonder the MSI Optix MAG274R looks to be as popular as MSI’s recent runaway success -- the 1440p MSI Optix-MAG274QRF-QD
The end result is a display that exceeds expectations thanks to its competitive performance and overall image quality.
Visually the MSI Optix MAG274R is in line with MSI’s latest range of gaming displays, a near bezel-free look with a minimal rectangular stand, and RGB flourishes and high-tech gaming angles left mostly to the rear. Port-wise it’s no slouch either, with 1 x DisplayPort (1.2a) and 2 x HDMI (2.0) inputs and even 1 x USB Type C -- meaning it could just as easily double as a display for the new budget-friendly Xbox Series S console which supports FreeSync.
A View to Remember
Maximum Resolution: 1920 x 1080 (Full HD)
Panel Type: IPS
Refresh Rate: 144 Hz FreeSync (G-Sync compatible)
Response Time (GTG): 1ms
Contrast Ratio: 1000:1 (Native)
Brightness: 300 nits
Weight: 6.05 kg
Although it doesn’t offer up the high-end rapid-IPS panel seen in the excellent 1440p MSI display, the MSI Optix MAG274R -- as per the intro -- exceeds expectations thanks to its colour accuracy and image quality. With its 95% DCI-P3 rating and on-point sRGB output, there’s very little in the way of out-of-the-box calibration needed to get an immediate and impressive image here. The trade-off being, the overall brightness of 300 nits means the ‘HDR Ready’ tag is more ‘HDR Not Quite Ready’. But, it’s a smart concession to make on behalf of MSI as the colour accuracy and for-the-price contrast pairs beautifully with the low response time and high refresh-rate.
With its 95% DCI-P3 rating and on-point sRGB output, there’s very little in the way of out-of-the-box calibration needed to get an immediate and impressive image here.
Of course 300 nits is more than bright enough for non-HDR usage, and HDR in the PC space is still a little iffy, especially when it comes to how it looks from game-to-game. So lacking in this area this isn’t even close to a deal-breaker. The MSI Optix MAG274R’s other ace up the sleeve is its wide viewing angle, which is something that also complements the overall image quality. As we’ve grown accustomed to in other displays from MSI, its dedicated Gaming OSD software -- which allows for on-screen calibration when connecting via USB -- is worth its weight in bits and bytes. That is, if those things could be measured. And when you switch between titles like DOOM Eternal, Cyberpunk 2077, and Call of Duty Warzone it’s incredibly handy.
In the end the MSI Optix MAG274R is as much a great 1080p display as it is affordable. It not only focuses on the good stuff (games) but with excellent FreeSync Premium and G-Sync performance, a 144Hz refresh-rate, low response times, great colour accuracy and overall image quality, it’s further proof that MSI’s wider gaming display range is something worth looking at. And keep looking at when you end up taking one home.