MSI MAG271R Review: 1080p 165Hz VA FreeSync Gaming Monitor

The MSI MAG271R is the first 1080p 144Hz+ VA-panel gaming monitor with a flat screen. Find out how it compares to the alternatives.

Bottom Line

The MSI MAG271R is the first 1080p 144Hz+ VA-panel gaming monitor to feature a flat-screen.

Those who don’t like curved screens may find this model to be interesting, but there are better alternatives for the money available out there.


The MSI MAG271R is a 1080p 165Hz VA gaming monitor which, unlike most of the high refresh rate VA models, has a flat screen. So, those who can’t get around curved screens can now finally choose a 1080p 144Hz+ VA display.

Image Quality

Based on a VA (Vertical Alignment) panel with a static contrast ratio of 3,000:1, a peak luminance of 300-nits, and true 8-bit color depth with an extended color gamut (118% sRGB, 92% DCI-P3), the MSI Optix MAG271R delivers an immersive image quality with deep blacks and lifelike colors.

Its 1080p resolution, however, isn’t perfect given its 27″ screen size as it results in a below-average pixel density of 82 PPI – pixels per inch.

So, the image is somewhat pixelated, but to a tolerable degree. For entertainment purposes, however, such as watching videos and playing video games, it is good enough.

The backlight of the monitor uses DC (Direct Current) to regulate the brightness, so there’s no flickering present which, along with the built-in low-blue light filter, ensures a comfortable viewing experience.

Further, the MSI MAG271R monitor features 178-degree wide viewing angles meaning that the picture won’t shift in color, contrast, or brightness when you look at it from certain angles.


The MSI MAG271R input lag amounts to ~4ms, which is more than quick enough to eliminate any noticeable delays between your actions and the reaction on the screen.

When it comes to the response time speed, which is the number of time pixels take to change from one color to another, MSI didn’t specify the standard gray to gray (GtG) pixel transition.

Instead, they just specified the 1ms MPRT (Moving Picture Response Time) speed, which is achieved via backlight strobing.

To enable 1ms MPRT, you go to the OSD (On-Screen Display) menu, and set the Response Time option to ‘Fastest’ or turn on the Anti Motion Blur feature. Both things do the same thing; they enable backlight strobing, which reduces the perceived motion blur of fast-moving objects.

However, when 1ms MPRT is enabled, screen flickering is introduced, and although it’s invisible to the human eye, those sensitive to it may experience headaches after prolonged use of the monitor.

Furthermore, 1ms MPRT reduces the screen’s maximum brightness while active, and it cannot work at the same time as FreeSync/VRR (variable refresh rate).

So, when not using the Anti Motion Blur technology, the actual response time speed of the MSI MAG271R is closer to 4ms-5ms (GtG), which is standard for VA panels.

Overall, there is a bit of visible trailing left behind fast-moving objects, particularly in darker scenes, but unless you’re a hardcore FPS gamer, it’s certainly tolerable.


Msi Mag271r Amazon

AMD FreeSync allows you to synchronize the monitor’s refresh rate with GPU’s frame rates. As a result, you get a variable refresh rate that gets rid of all screen tearing and stuttering as long as your FPS is within the monitor’s VRR range, which in this case amounts to 60-165Hz/FPS.

Below 60FPS, LFC (Low Framerate Compensation) comes into play and forces the display to multiply the frame rate for a smoother performance. For instance, at 50FPS, the refresh rate will go to 150Hz.

While 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 60FPS and/or when your frame rate 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.

Moving on, the MSI MAG271R 165Hz gaming display has a 5-way OSD joystick placed at the back of the monitor and a very user-friendly menu, which makes for effortless and quick OSD adjustments.

Useful gaming features include the Game Mode pre-calibrated picture presets (FPS, Racing, RTS, RPG, and User), Screen Assistance (custom crosshairs), and Night Vision, which is mainly Black Tuner 2.

When set to ‘A.I.,’ the Night Vision features increase visibility of objects in the dark without over-exposing the bright areas.

When the OSD menu is not open, you can use the joystick as hotkeys for certain OSD functions. For example, pressing the joystick downwards opens the Screen Assistance crosshair selection. You can also customize your own shortcuts for these hotkeys.

Additionally, you can get the MSI Gaming OSD application for your smartphone, which will allow you to use your phone as a remote for certain OSD-related adjustments, including turning the monitor on/off, changing the input source, game mode, etc.

Design & Connectivity

Msi Optix Mag271r Review

The MSI MAG271R has a sturdy design with a matte black/dark gray finish, thin bezels, and matte anti-glare screen coating. The screen can be height adjusted up to 130mm, tilted by -5°/20°, or VESA mounted via the 100x100mm pattern.

Connectivity options include DisplayPort 1.2, two HDMI 2.0 ports, a headphones jack, and a dual-USB 2.0 hub. AMD FreeSync is supported over both DP and HDMI with a 60-165Hz VRR range.

At the back of the monitor, there’s the Mystic Light RGB lighting, which you can customize to glow in different colors and patterns.

Price & Similar Monitors

The MSI MAG271R price amounts to around $300, which is a bit steep. However, when on sale, its price goes down to $250, $230, and even $180.

At $180, it offers decent value for the money. Still, even then, there are better alternatives to consider, including the AOC 24G2 1080p 144Hz IPS monitor with faster response time and more vibrant colors, but not as high contrast.

For just ~$150, you can also get the AOC C24G1A, which is a 24″ curved VA model with 1080p, 165Hz, 1ms MPRT, and AMD FreeSync. Basically, it offers a better image quality (due to the higher pixel density).

Of course, if you’re absolutely against curved displays, the MSI MAG271R is currently your only choice in the 1080p 144Hz+ VA-panel category.

Keep in mind that for just ~$250, you can also get the AOC CQ27G2, which is a 27″ 144Hz curved VA-panel gaming monitor with 2560×1440 resolution that will provide you with a significantly better picture. However, you’ll also need a more powerful PC rig to run games with high frame rates at 1440p properly.

Visit our always up-to-date best gaming monitor buyer’s guide for more deals and information.


All in all, the MSI MAG271R is an excellent gaming monitor with an immersive image quality, smooth performance, and plenty of useful features. Alas, its price is too high considering the alternatives. However, since it’s a rather unique model, some users might turn a blind eye to it.


Screen Size27-inch
Resolution1920×1080 (Full HD)
Panel TypeVA
Aspect Ratio16:9 (Widescreen)
Refresh Rate165Hz
Response Time4ms (GtG)
Motion Blur Reduction1ms (MPRT)
Adaptive SyncFreeSync (60Hz-165Hz)
PortsDisplayPort 1.2, HDMI 2.0
Other Ports2x USB 2.0, Headphone Jack
Brightness300 cd/m2
Contrast Ratio3000:1 (static)
Colors16.7 million (true 8-bit)
VESAYes (100x100mm)

The Pros:

  • High contrast ratio and extended color gamut
  • AMD FreeSync up to 165Hz
  • Height-adjustable stand and rich connectivity options
  • Plenty of useful features including 1ms MPRT

The Cons:

  • A bit overpriced
  • Moderate ghosting in fast-paced games, mostly in darker scenes

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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.