MSI Optix MAG274QRF-QD Review | IGN

There are things that the MSI Optix MAG274QRF-QD could have done better, like that alphabet soup of a name and a build that is far from perfect. But there’s also things it has done right, namely its almost impeccable “rapid IPS” panel that delivers gorgeous true colors and 1ms Gray to Gray response time. At $450, this 1440p 165Hz gaming monitor is an excellent proposition, especially if you’re looking for something in the mid-range market.

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MSI Optix MAG274QRF-QD – Design and Features

A quick run-through will tell you that the MSI Optix MAG274QRF-QD is a nicely built monitor with some great design details. The bezels are slim, giving you a bit of extra screen real estate. The rear has some cool gaming textures and flourishes, like the more subtle customizable RGB lighting, while still keeping things smart and classy. The stand has a built-in cable management solution as well to keep things fairly neat and tidy.

The hinge gives users a lot of flexibility in terms of positioning and orientation. The Optix can tilt 5° down and 20° up, slide up to 100mm up and down, swivel 75° to the left or right, and pivot -90° to 90°, which means you can switch to portrait mode if there’s a need for it. That’s something only a handful of monitors these days can do, and certainly gives this one a bit of an advantage when it comes to ergonomics. That said, sadly there’s no screen auto-rotation option, which means you have to dive into the settings menu to rotate your desktop every time you change its physical orientation.

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There are a couple of things MSI could have also done better here. To start, the bottom bezel isn’t completely flush with the screen. There’s a bit of gap there that’s noticeable, especially at the center where the MSI logo is. I’ve compared this to two other monitors I’m reviewing – one from Dell, the other from AOC – and this MSI monitor is the only one that has this gap.

The other design gripe I have is its stand. With a hinge this versatile, you’d think MSI would have taken care to give it a heavier, more robust stand to keep it in place while you turn and pivot. Unfortunately, this stand is too light, meaning every turn, slide, and pivot causes the whole thing to move a bit. It’s a tad disappointing and inconvenient, but hardly a deal-breaker.

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MSI Optix MAG274QRF-QD – Features & OSD Menu

There’s a decent number of ports on the MSI Optix MAG274QRF-QD, with two HDMI 2.0, one DisplayPort 1.4, and one USB-C port. It’s worth noting that while the DisplayPort and USB-C will give you the monitor’s advertised 165Hz, the refresh rate does drop down to 144Hz when connected via the two HDMI ports. To eliminate screen tearing, stuttering, and latency, the monitor also comes with a 1ms GTG response time and adaptive sync.

On top of those video ports, there are two USB Type A and one USB Type B ports for connecting and charging your peripherals, as well as a 3.5mm headphone jack.

Much like other monitors, the Optix comes with an OSD accessible via the tiny red joystick positioned at the rear in the bottom right corner where it’s within quick reach. The OSD menu is easy to navigate, with different options for viewing modes, image settings, and monitor settings, as well as quick access to the input source selection.

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For a more complete list of choices, however, it’s best to download the MSI Gaming OSD app, which you can get from the monitor’s dedicated page on the MSI website. This app not only gives you access to the different modes or profiles, but also allows you to tweak each one, adjusting such things as brightness, contrast, Night Mode, and Image Enhancement, as well as toggling HDCR, Anti-Motion Blur and Adaptive Sync.

This app also lets you choose to quickly arrange your open windows (and some unopened programs) in ten different layouts so you won’t have to drag each one yourself, select a preset for the RGB lighting in the back via the Mystic Light button, and change settings like mouse pointer speed and auto shutdown time.

Sadly, there are no speakers built-in, but given that most monitor speakers aren’t worth using in the first place, you probably won’t miss them too much.

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MSI Optix MAG274QRF-QD – Performance and Gaming

The MSI Optix MAG274QRF-QD may have its share of minor design flaws, but it really shines in performance. Based on its Lagom LCD test results, it boasts a full range of contrast, decent black and white levels, and smooth transitions in the gradient test. There’s also very minimal ghosting at 165Hz when doing the UFO test.

With a 165Hz refresh rate, 1ms refresh rate, 2560 x 1440 WQHD resolution, G-Sync compatibility, and wide DCI P3 color gamut, that’s not a surprise. With a 178-degree viewing angle, that picture quality remains consistently great whichever angle you’re viewing from. It’s listed as “HDR Ready,” but only has 300 nits brightness – which isn’t bad, but falls short of the HDR400 standard.

There is an HDCR option you can toggle on and off, but it does very little to the image quality. In gaming, it only seems to brighten and sharpen the picture a little, but the difference is hardly noticeable. It doesn’t get in the way of the monitor’s overall performance, but if you’re looking for something with HDR capabilities, you’re better off considering other options.

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There are a couple of noteworthy additional settings worth exploring: Night Vision and Image Enhancement features. Night Vision, which has four modes – normal, strong, strongest, and AI – lets you “brighten” dark areas in your game and is extremely effective when playing FPS titles. The Image Enhancement feature, on the other hand, effectively sharpens picture quality.

When it comes to gaming and media consumption, the MSI Optix MAG274QRF-QD really does exude with crisp picture quality, vibrant colors, and the smoothest graphics. Testing it with Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Metro Exodus, and Red Dead Redemption 2, it delivers butter smooth performance with no discernible lags or screen tearing. That’s much improved when you have adaptive sync on.

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With a fast-paced game like Rocket League, it’s even more impressive. If you’ve played the game, you’ll know that it’s very busy with fast turns, flips, and direction changes, and the monitor delivers crisp, vibrant picture quality with no ghosting or stuttering.

I found that Netflix content comes through slightly softer, but you can remedy that by turning on Image Enhancement, which sharpens content noticeably. The monitor at default does have a warmer tone, so if you prefer a cooler, bluer hue when watching movies, I’d recommend swapping to the Movie preset.

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