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 opt for a 1080p 144Hz+ VA display.
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 pixely, but to a tolerable degree; for entertainment purposes 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 amount 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.
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 which gets rid of all screen tearing and stuttering as long as your FPS rate 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 100Hz.
While not certified by NVIDIA as G-SYNC compatible, we didn’t detect any issues when using FreeSync with compatible NVIDIA graphics cards.
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 make 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 essentially Black Tuner 2.
When set to ‘A.I.’, the Night Vision features increases 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
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.
For ~$100 less, you can get the AOC C24G1 or the MSI MAG241C. These two 24″ curved models also offer 1080p, 144Hz, 1ms MPRT, and AMD FreeSync. Basically, they offer a better image quality (due to the higher pixel density) and pretty much identical performance (the difference between 165Hz and 144Hz is barely noticeable).
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 ~$30 extra, you can get the Viotek GN27DB or the Samsung C27JG50. These are 27″ 144Hz curved VA-panel gaming monitors with 2560×1440 resolution that will provide you with a significantly better picture quality.
In case you want a 27″ 1440p 144Hz VA gaming monitor with a flat screen, there’s the Samsung S27R750, though it’s a bit more expensive.
At this price range, you might also want to consider the Acer VG271 – a 27″ 1080p 144Hz gaming monitor with an IPS panel. It offers a faster response time speed and more accurate colors, but not as high contrast ratio.
Finally, MSI should be releasing the MSI Optix MAG271V model which is identical to the MAG271R minus the Mystic Light RGB lighting and the height-adjustable stand, so it will certainly be cheaper.
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.
MSI MAG271R Specifications
|Resolution||1920×1080 (Full HD)|
|Aspect Ratio||16:9 (Widescreen)|
|Response Time||4ms (GtG)|
|Motion Blur Reduction||1ms (MPRT)|
|Adaptive Sync||FreeSync (60Hz-165Hz)|
|Ports||DisplayPort 1.2, HDMI 2.0|
|Other Ports||2x USB 2.0, Headphone Jack|
|Contrast Ratio||3000:1 (static)|
|Colors||16.7 million (true 8-bit)|
- 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
- A bit overpriced
- Moderate ghosting in fast-paced games, mostly in darker scenes
MSI MAG271R Review
- Design - 9.1/109.1/10
- Display - 8.6/108.6/10
- Performance - 8.6/108.6/10
- Price/Value - 8/108/10
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.
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.