MSI MAG271CQR Review: 27″ 1440p 144Hz Curved Gaming Monitor

Msi Mag271cqr Review 2020

Bottom Line

The MSI MAG271CQR offers an immersive picture quality as well as smooth performance and plenty of useful gaming features, but there are many options to choose from at this price range, so you should take all alternatives into account. Note that some units suffer from color banding.

Design:
(4)
Display:
(3.5)
Performance:
(4)
Price/Value:
(4)
3.9

Introduction

The MSI MAG271CQR is another addition to the large selection of available 27″ 1440p 144Hz gaming monitors based on curved VA (Vertical Alignment) panels.

And that’s not a bad thing, the more options, the better. In fact, the MSI Optix MAG271CQR packs a bunch of useful gaming features and an eye-catching design.

Image Quality

The VA panel of the MAG271CQR offers a superior static contrast ratio of 3,000:1 and a strong peak luminance of 400-nits, which makes for vivid details in shadows and highlights of the picture.

In comparison to IPS and TN panel displays, which have a static contrast ratio of 1,000:1, the MSI MAG271CQR monitor provides deeper blacks and better relations between the darkest and the brightest shades in general. 

Further, the monitor supports 8-bit color depth without dithering and features a wide color gamut covering 115% of the sRGB color space and 90% DCI-P3, which makes for vibrant and lifelike colors.

The WQHD resolution of 2560×1440 pixels hits the pixel density sweet spot of 108 pixels per inch, ensuring plenty of screen real estate as well as striking detail clarity without any scaling necessary.

All in all, you get an incredibly immersive viewing experience thanks to the high contrast ratio, wide color gamut, and high screen resolution.

Unfortunately, the monitor doesn’t support HDR (High Dynamic Range), which is a shame as it meets VESA’s DisplayHDR 400 requirements.

This shouldn’t be a deal-breaker, though, as this entry-level HDR support just provides a glimpse of what HDR can truly do.

For a notable improvement in HDR picture quality, we recommend at least DisplayHDR 600 certified displays though these monitors are more expensive too.

Important: The monitor has noticeable color banding. It can be reduced by adjusting the gamma and ‘Black Tuner’ settings, which will degrade color accuracy and black depth.

To fix this issue completely, the monitor’s firmware needs to be updated on the FW013. Unfortunately, you cannot update it manually, meaning that you’ll need to send the monitor to MSI.

Performance

The MSI MAG271CQR 1440p display also offers an excellent performance. Thanks to its 144Hz refresh rate, all games that can take advantage of it will be significantly more fun and enjoyable to play due to the buttery smooth fast-paced motion.

Now, MSI specifies a response time speed of 1ms for the MAG271CQR. However, this actually applies to the MPRT (Moving Picture Response Time) pixel transition measurement which is achieved via backlight strobing.

The regular response time speed (GtG – gray to gray pixel transition) is not specified, though it’s safe to assume it amounts to ~4ms which is standard for VA panel displays at this price range.

Overall, there’s no particularly noticeable ghosting in fast-paced games. Some smearing of dark pixels is evident at higher frame rates, but it’s tolerable. The MSI MAG271CQR also has very low input lag of only ~4ms.

Naturally, if you just want the best performance in FPS games, you should look for a 1080p 240Hz 1ms gaming monitor which you can also get at this price range.

To get the 1ms response time speed on this MSI display, you will need to enable the Anti Motion Blur technology which via backlight strobing decreases the perceived trailing of fast-moving objects.

However, when this technology is in use, the brightness of the monitor is reduced. Further, you cannot use Anti Motion Blur and AMD FreeSync at the same time.

The MSI MAG271CQR curved gaming monitor has three overdrive presets: Normal, Fast, and Fastest. The ‘Fastest’ preset just enables Anti Motion Blur, so if you want to use FreeSync, you can choose between Normal and Fast.

We recommend using the Normal preset at lower frame rates and for regular PC use as ‘Fast’ can introduce pixel overshoot or reverse ghosting. At high frame rates, use the Fast option to reduce ghosting.

Features

Msi Mag271cqr Amazon

Moving on, the MSI MAG271CQR supports AMD FreeSync over both HDMI and DisplayPort with a 48-144Hz VRR (variable refresh rate) range.

As long as your FPS (Frames Per Second) is within this range, you’ll get no screen tearing or stuttering with minimal (~1ms) input lag penalty.

Although the monitor is not certified by NVIDIA as G-SYNC compatible, you can use FreeSync with compatible NVIDIA graphics cards. However, some users experience brightness flickering when FreeSync/G-SYNC is enabled.

This only affects some units of the monitor and the brightness flickering is mostly present below 48FPS and/or when your FPS fluctuates a lot.

Sadly, this issue affects a lot of monitors based on Samsung’s VA panels and, hopefully, a GPU driver update will fix it at some point.

Other gaming features include Game Mode (picture presets such as FPS, RTS, RPG, and Racing), Black Tuner (increases visibility in darker games), Screen Assistance (custom crosshairs), Zero Latency (minimizes input lag), and Picture in Picture/Picture by Picture.

The OSD (On-Screen Display) menu is quite user-friendly and easy to navigate with thanks to the 5-way joystick. You can also download the Gaming OSD application which allows you to make monitor adjustments using your mouse and keyboard.

The MSI MAG271CQR 144Hz gaming monitor also features the MSI Mystic Light RGB lighting which consists of various different glowing patterns.

You can even sync your smartphone and change the lighting colors/styles remotely.

Additionally, you can synchronize it with the rest of your Mystic Light compatible devices.

Design & Connectivity

Msi Optix Mag271cqr Review

The design of the monitor boasts a steady and high-quality build with a height-adjustable stand (up to 130mm). You can also tilt the screen by -5°/20° and VESA mount it (100x100mm), but you cannot swivel or pivot it.

Other notable features include a 1800R screen curvature, a headset hanger, and a matte anti-glare screen coating while the bezels are ultra-thin. 

Connectivity options include two HDMI 2.0 ports, DisplayPort 1.2, a headphones jack, and a dual-USB 2.0 hub (one upstream plus two downstream ports). All display connectors support AMD FreeSync and 144Hz at 1440p.

Price & Similar Monitors

The MSI MAG271CQR price ranges from $350 to $400.

Newer models of this monitor are now available as well including the MAG272QR (with a flat screen) and the MAG272CQR (with a more aggressive 1500R curvature).

At that price range, you can also get a great 1440p 144Hz IPS gaming monitor such as the LG 27GL83A. It doesn’t have as high contrast ratio, but it has a much faster response time speed.

If you’re looking for something more affordable, check out the AOC CQ27G2 which is a 1440p 144Hz curved gaming monitor. It has FreeSync and 1ms MPRT, but not as high brightness as the MAG271CQR, but it can be found for ~$250.

Visit our best gaming monitor buyer’s guide for more information and the best deals available.

Conclusion

Overall, the MSI MAG271CQR is a great gaming monitor for the price, but as you can see, there are lots of options available at this price range which can make picking the ideal monitor for you a bit difficult.

If you’re on the fence between two or more monitors or have any other questions, feel free to leave us a comment below.

MSI MAG271CQR Specifications

Screen Size 27-inch
Screen Curvature 1800R
Resolution 2560×1440 (WQHD)
Panel Type VA
Aspect Ratio 16:9 (Widescreen)
Refresh Rate 144Hz
Response Time 4ms (GtG)
Motion Blur Reduction 1ms (MPRT)
Adaptive Sync FreeSync (48Hz-144Hz)
Ports DisplayPort 1.2, 2x HDMI 2.0
Other Ports 2x USB 2.0, Headphone Jack
Brightness 400 cd/m2
Contrast Ratio 3000:1 (static)
Colors 16.7 million (true 8-bit)
VESA Yes (100x100mm)

The Pros:

  • High contrast ratio and wide color gamut
  • Plenty of gaming features including FreeSync and 1ms MPRT
  • Height-adjustable stand and a USB hub

The Cons:

  • Moderate smearing of dark pixels is visible in fast-paced games
  • No swivel and pivot ergonomic options
  • Color banding issues on units with FW012 and older firmware

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Rob Shafer
Rob Shafer

Rob is a software engineer with a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Denver. He now works full-time managing DisplayNinja while coding his own projects on the side.