The MSI MAG272QR is a 27″ 1440p 144Hz (165Hz factory-overclocked) gaming monitor with AMD FreeSync, 1ms MPRT, and wide color gamut. What makes it different from other similar models is that it has a flat-screen VA panel. So, if you don’t like curved monitors, but love strong contrast and deep blacks, it might be just the gaming monitor for you!
There are various 27″ 1440p 144Hz gaming monitors available, but the MSI MAG272QR is one of the rare models that has a flat-screen VA panel which makes it ideal for those who prefer high contrast ratio and don’t like curved screens.
The VA (Vertical Alignment) panel technology is praised for its high static contrast ratio. The MSI Optix MAG272QR has a contrast ratio of 3,000:1, which is three times higher than that of IPS and TN panel displays.
As a result, you get significantly deeper blacks and brighter whites, which makes the overall relation between the darkest and the brightest tones more pronounced.
Additionally, VA monitors don’t suffer from IPS glow, making them ideal for gaming or watching movies in a dark room as details in shadows can really stand out.
The viewing angles are 178° horizontally and vertically; while they aren’t quite as wide as that of IPS panels in real use, they are much better than the narrow 170°/160° viewing angles on TN panels.
There are only tiny changes in contrast, and only while looking at the screen off-axis.
Moving on, the MSI MAG272QR supports wide color gamut with 95.6% DCI-P3 coverage (123.7% sRGB) specified.
This makes for more vibrant and lifelike colors, but it also means that sRGB content (which includes most games, web content, Windows apps, etc.) will have over-saturated colors.
For instance, it can make YouTube’s red logo seem slightly neon-pink, which some users don’t mind, some despise, and some even prefer.
Unfortunately, the MSI MAG272QR monitor doesn’t have an sRGB emulation mode that would restrict the color output to ~100% sRGB for a more accurate representation of sRGB content.
You can use the ‘Designer’ mode, which does reduce color saturation, but it also applies a cold/blue tint to the picture.
Because VA panels aren’t used for color-critical work anyway, this isn’t a particularly big issue. However, if you prefer accurate colors for sRGB content, you will need to calibrate the monitor manually.
In other words, the colors do look rich and vivid thanks to the wide gamut, but some users may find the lack of a properly calibrated sRGB mode disappointing.
Further, because each individual unit of the monitor has at least slightly different calibration out of the box, your mileage may vary when it comes to color accuracy on your particular display.
The monitor also supports HDR (High Dynamic Range). It can accept the HDR10 signal and display it, but for a proper HDR viewing experience, a monitor would need a much higher peak brightness and contrast ratio.
With a 300-nit peak brightness, the MSI MAG272QR is more than bright enough under normal viewing conditions, but for a notable HDR picture quality, it would need at least 600-nits as well as localized dimming.
HDR monitors with these features do exist – but they are, naturally, more expensive.
Due to the monitor’s wide color gamut and high native contrast ratio, some HDR content will actually look better, but most of the time, you’ll prefer to have it disabled.
Finally, the 2560×1440 Quad HD resolution of the monitor is ideal for 27″ sized screens as you get a pixel density of ~108 pixels per inch, which translates to crystal-clear details and plenty of screen space without any scaling necessary.
The MSI MAG272QR input lag amount to only ~4ms, which makes for imperceptible delay at 165Hz.
Now, MSI specifies a 1ms response time speed for the MAG272QR. However, this applies to the MPRT (Moving Picture Response Time) measure, not the standard GtG (Gray to Gray) pixel transition time.
In order to achieve 1ms MPRT, you need to use the Anti Motion Blur technology, which, once enabled, strobes the backlight to reduce perceived trailing behind fast-moving objects.
While it does improve motion clarity, it sacrifices picture brightness while active. Further, this technology cannot be active at the same time as AMD FreeSync.
Just like with most VA panel monitors, there is visible smearing in fast-paced games, which is most evident in dark scenes because dark pixels take longer to change into brighter shades.
The amount of smearing and motion blur is negligible for casual gaming. If you’re a hardcore FPS gamer, though, you should consider a faster 1ms GtG monitor instead.
There are three response time overdrive modes: Normal, Fast, and Fastest.
If you are using FreeSync and your frame rate is usually around 144FPS – 165FPS, the Fastest mode will eliminate most of ghosting. At lower FPS (60 – 120FPS), you should use the Fast mode to reduce pixel overshoot.
FreeSync allows the monitor to change its refresh rate dynamically (Hz=FPS) to completely eliminate screen tearing and stuttering with minimal (~1ms) input lag penalty.
The MSI MAG272QR FreeSync range is 48-165Hz. Below 48Hz, LFC (Low Framerate Compensation) kicks in and multiplies the frame rate for smoother performance (47Hz -> 94FPS).
Although NVIDIA does not officially certify it as ‘G-SYNC Compatible,’ AMD FreeSync works well with NVIDIA’s cards too (GTX 10-series or newer). You’ll just have to enable it in NVIDIA’s control panel manually.
Some units of the MSI MAG272QR, however, exhibit VRR brightness flickering, which is a common issue for monitors based on Samsung’s VA panels.
Note that the monitor has a flicker-free backlight (except when Anti Motion Blur is enabled) and an integrated low-blue light filter allowing you to enjoy long gaming sessions without eye strain or headaches.
The OSD (On-Screen Display) menu of the monitor is well-organized and easy to work with thanks to the 5-way joystick placed at the back of the monitor.
Alternatively, you can use the Gaming OSD desktop application and make all your adjustments using your keyboard and mouse. You can also link this app to your smartphone allowing you to access some settings remotely.
Noteworthy gaming features include Night Vision which alters the gamma curvature in order to make objects in shadows more visible in video games.
There are five Night Vision modes: Off, Normal, Strong, Strongest, and A.I. (prevents overexposing of bright areas).
Other features include custom crosshair overlays, pre-calibrated Game Modes (FPS, RTS, RPG, etc), and other standard image adjustment tools such as contrast, brightness, sharpness, color temperature, etc.
At the back of the monitor, there’s an RGB LED strip which you can customize (different colors, patterns, etc) via the Mystic Light feature. You can also synchronize the RGB lighting with the rest of Mystic Light compatible peripherals.
Design & Connectivity
The design of the monitor consists of ultra-thin bezels and a versatile stand with up to 100mm height adjustment, +/- 75° swivel, +/- 90° pivot, -5°/20° tilt, and 100x100mm VESA mount compatibility. It has a matte anti-glare screen coating.
Connectivity options are abundant and include two HDMI 2.0b ports, a single DisplayPort 1.2 input, and a USB type C port (with DP 1.2 Alt Mode, 15W Power Delivery, no data transfer).
Other ports include a headphones jack and a dual-USB 2.0 hub (2 downstream + 1 upstream).
Note that HDMI 2.0 is limited to 144Hz at 2560×1440.
For 165Hz, you will need to use DisplayPort or USB-C with 8-bit color depth. For 10-bit color, you will need to limit the refresh rate to 120Hz due to DisplayPort 1.2 bandwidth limitations.
Price & Similar Monitors
The MSI MAG272QR goes for around $350, which is a bit steep.
For just $250, you can get the AOC CQ27G2 instead. Although it has a curved screen, 1500R curvature is really not that noticeable on 27″ sized monitors.
Around $350, you can also get a 27″ 1440p 144Hz IPS gaming monitor, such as the ViewSonic VX2758-2KP-MHD or the LG 27GL83A. They don’t have as high contrast, but they have a faster pixel response time speed.
If you really like the combination of a high contrast VA panel and a flat-screen, the MSI MAG272QR is your best bet.
At the time of this writing, these alternatives aren’t available in the US; the article will be updated once they are.
Visit our always up-to-date best gaming monitor buyer’s guide for more information and the best deals available.
The MSI MAG272QR offers an immersive image quality thanks to its wide color gamut, high pixel density, and high contrast ratio as well as smooth performance and plenty of useful features including an ergonomic stand.
It lacks an sRGB mode and it’s a bit expensive in comparison to the alternatives with similar specs, however, since it’s one of the rare VA models with a flat screen, some users may be able to sweep aside these drawbacks.
|Aspect Ratio||16:9 (Widescreen)|
|Response Time (GtG)||Not specified|
|Response Time (Anti Motion Blur)||1ms (MPRT)|
|Adaptive Sync||FreeSync Premium (48Hz-165Hz)|
|Ports||DisplayPort 1.2, 2x HDMI 2.0|
USB-C (DP 1.2 Alt Mode, 15W PD)
|Other Ports||2x USB 2.0, Headphone Jack|
|Contrast Ratio||3000:1 (static)|
|Colors||1.07 billion (8-bit + FRC)|
- High pixel density and contrast ratio
- Wide color gamut
- Plenty of features including FreeSync and MBR
- Ergonomic stand and rich connectivity options
- Minor ghosting in fast-paced games, mostly in darker scenes
- No sRGB mode
- A bit expensive