Review: MSI Optix MAG272CRX 27-inch, 240Hz AHVA gaming monitor
Ahead of the curve.
If you’re in the market for a new gaming monitor, it can feel overwhelming considering the number of high-quality monitors available.
High refresh rate panels are everywhere, and variable frame rate technology means that you get the smoothest action, even if you’re not able to hit the full top end of your monitor. Whether you’re building for the first time, or want to replace some aging monitors, it’s never been a better time to be a gamer.
One of the newest crop of high refresh rate panels to hit the marketplace is the MSI Optix MAG272CRX that we’re going to be looking at today. At $350, you get a 27-inch curved VA panel, at 1920×1080 resolution, but what you also get is a blisteringly-fast 240Hz refresh rate with AMD’s FreeSync technology. So, is it esports ready?
Wait, did you say 240Hz?
Yes, yes we did. Check out the glorious, blur-free movement using the Blur Busters UFO test. That translates into any game you’re playing, making it easier for you to track enemies, speed around a racetrack, or whatever else you need to be looking at. That 240Hz refresh rate is bolstered by AMD’s FreeSync, making your frame rates smooth even if you can’t hit that upper bound. Oh, and I’ve tested it with an Nvidia card, and even though it’s not on the approved list for G-Sync compatible, it works just fine in games.
At one point, high refresh rate monitors were limited to the older TN type of panels, with the trade-off being lower color accuracy for your games. Monitor panel tech has caught up, with IPS and AHVA (used in this monitor) managing high refresh rates and low gray-to-gray switching times, while also maintaining high coverage of the sRGB and AdobeRGB color gamuts, and even the video-focused DCI-P3 gamut.
The Optix MAG272CRX is rated as 120% of the sRGB gamut, and 90% of the DCI-P3 gamut. We found that using our SpyderX colorimeter, it calibrated to over 100% of the sRGB gamut, so MSI’s marketing materials are likely accurate. That’s no small thing, making this panel just as handy for photo editing as it is for grinding out levels in your favorite competitive game titles.
Gamers will appreciate the small bezels around the monitor, and the Mystic Light bar on the back adds some subtle bias lighting without turning your desk into a disco. MSI has also decided to just mention that the panel is “HDR-ready”, which really means it’s around the HDR400 spec. It’s a nice addition to brighten HDR content, but it’s not really needed as the black levels of the AHVA panel are really something spectacular. No “oh-it-could-be-gray” feelings here in dark scenes.
Connectivity-wise, there is one DP 1.2a port, two HDMI 2.0b ports, one USB 2.0 type B input that adds two USB 2.0 ports via a hub, and one USB-C input that both lets you use the monitor as an external monitor from your iPad or laptop with DP over USB-C, and also is bidirectional so it recharges your device. Nice.
So, is it esports ready?
The MSI Optix MAG272CRX monitor is hands-down the best gaming monitor I’ve used to date. The combination of superb color accuracy, high refresh rates, and FreeSync combines into something truly special. If you absolutely need the highest refresh rates you can get, put this on your short-list.
MSI has packed lots of other thoughtful touches here, like a fully-adjustable stand, a headphone stand that telescopes out of the left of the monitor, and a great joystick to navigate the OSD, eschewing the usually annoying buttons on most monitors.
The only minor issue I have is that because it’s only 1080p on a 27-inch panel, if you’re sensitive to pixel pitch like I am, you’ll see the individual pixels. That’s not really an issue while in-game, but you will notice it if you use the monitor for office documents or other productive work.
The other thing to note, if you notice text being distorted, turn off any image sharpening and other similar tools in the OSD. That’ll have text looking crisp again.
So, should I buy an MSI Optix monitor?
The $350 MSI Optix MAG272CRX is almost a perfect monitor for the fast-pace of esports and competitive gaming. The combination of high-contrast AHVA and a 240 Hz refresh rate gives you the perfect platform for fragging the competition.
The bias lighting strip on the back is classy and blends well, and the USB-C input for your mobile devices is a nice touch. Add those to the superb color accuracy, and MSI is on their way to the winner’s podium.
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