MSI MAG274QRF-QD Review: 1440p 165Hz 1ms IPS FreeSync Gaming Monitor

The MSI MAG274QRF-QD is a 27" 1440p 165Hz IPS gaming monitor with FreeSync, MBR, and Adobe RGB color gamut (but no sRGB mode).

Bottom Line

The MSI MAG274QRF-QD is a superb gaming monitor with a wide Adobe RGB color gamut, a fast response time speed, and plenty of additional features including FreeSync (G-SYNC Compatible), MBR, and an ergonomic stand.

However, it lacks some basic elements, such as an sRGB mode and DisplayPort 1.4, which take away from an otherwise great display.

Design:
(5.0)
Display:
(4.8)
Performance:
(5.0)
Price/Value:
(4.0)
4.7

The MSI Optix MAG274QRF-QD is a 27″ 1440p 165Hz gaming monitor based on an IPS panel with a wide 99% Adobe RGB color gamut and fast 1ms response time.

Additionally, it supports FreeSync (G-SYNC Compatible) and MBR (Motion Blur Reduction).

Note that this model is different from the MAG274QRF, which doesn’t have a quantum-dot enhanced backlight and therefore not as wide color gamut (~130% sRGB as opposed to ~$160 sRGB of the -QD model).

Image Quality

One of the main assets of the MSI MAG274QRF-QD monitor is definitely its wide 97% DCI-P3 and 99% Adobe RGB color gamut (equivalent to ~160% sRGB).

This makes for incredibly vibrant colors, especially when it comes to blue, cyan, and green shades.

However, when watching sRGB content or content that’s not color managed, you get over-saturation. For instance, people in YouTube videos can look as if they’re sunburnt because skin tones look too red.

Sadly, the MSI MAG274QRF-QD doesn’t have an sRGB mode which would clamp its wide ~160% sRGB gamut to ~100% for accurate sRGB color output.

If you have an AMD graphics card, you can enable ‘Custom Color’ and disable ‘Color Temperature Control’ in the Radeon settings to clamp the gamut to ~100% sRGB. NVIDIA drivers don’t offer this option.

amd drivers srgb gamut clamp

Another option is to use a colorimeter and make an sRGB profile yourself.

In games and videos, this isn’t as big of an issue. sRGB games will look saturated, but some users actually prefer this as you get more shade variety. HDR games, on the other hand, will look closer to what their creators intended.

While HDR (High Dynamic Range) is supported, the monitor lacks a high enough brightness and contrast ratio for the true HDR viewing experience. It can accept the HDR10 signal, and some HDR scenes will look better, but you’ll mostly prefer to have it disabled.

The monitor has a decent peak brightness of 300-nits and a static contrast ratio of 1,000:1, which is expected from an IPS panel monitor at this price range.

Dithered 10-bit color depth (8-bit + 2-bit FRC) is supported for 1.07 billion colors, while the 178° wide viewing angles ensure flawless image quality regardless of the angle you’re looking at the screen.

Due to the monitor’s wide color gamut, if you have a colorimeter, you can use the MSI MAG274QRF-QD for professional color-critical work once properly profiled and calibrated.

The 2560×1440 Quad HD resolution hits the pixel density sweet spot when displayed on the 27″ sized screen of the monitor. With roughly 108 PPI (pixels per inch), you get sharp text and details as well as plenty of screen space without any scaling necessary.

As it’s the case with all IPS monitors, some IPS glow is noticeable, but the amount of it varies across different units of the monitor.

Performance

The MSI MAG274QRF-QD has three response time overdrive modes: Normal, Fast, and Fastest. We recommend using the Fast mode as it effectively eliminates ghosting at high refresh rates without adding any overshoot.

At lower refresh rates, some inverse ghosting might creep in, but it’s not particularly noticeable. If it bothers you, you can dial back the overdrive to ‘Normal’, but it’s not necessary in most cases.

There’s also a backlight strobing technology called ‘Anti Motion Blur’ which can further decrease perceived motion blur by rapidly turning the backlight on and off.

This notably improves motion clarity, but it introduces flickering (invisible to the human eye, but can bother those sensitive to flicker) and decreases the monitor’s brightness while active.

Additionally, you can’t use it at the same time as VRR (variable refresh rate).

The MSI MAG274QRF-QD display supports Adaptive-Sync with both AMD’s FreeSync Premium and NVIDIA’s G-SYNC Compatible certifications ensuring smooth VRR performance with the compatible graphics cards.

G-SYNC Compatible only works over DisplayPort, while FreeSync is supported over both DP and HDMI. The supported VRR range is 48-165Hz over DP and 48-144Hz over HDMI at 1440p.

Below 48FPS, LFC (Low Framerate Compensation) takes over and multiplies the frame rate in order to keep tearing at bay.

Input lag amounts to only ~4ms, which makes for imperceptible delay between your actions and the result on the screen.

The backlight of the monitor is flicker-free (unless MBR is enabled) and there’s an integrated low-blue light filter (Eye Saver).

Features

MSI Optix MAG274QRF QD Monitor OSD Menu

The OSD (On-Screen Display) menu is controllable via the directional joystick placed at the back of the monitor. Alternatively, you can use the Gaming OSD 2.0 desktop application, and make your adjustments there.

Noteworthy gaming features include Night Vision (improves visibility in darker scenes), various pre-calibrated picture presets (FPS, RTS, RPG, Racing, etc.), custom crosshair overlays, a refresh rate tracker, and on-screen timers.

Other adjustments include the standard brightness, contrast, color temperature, and other tools, but you won’t find any gamma or hue/saturation settings.

At the rear of the monitor, there’s an RGB LED strip, which you can synchronize with other MSI Mystic Light RGB compatible peripherals.

Design & Connectivity

MSI MAG274QRF QD Monitor Back 1

The stand of the monitor is sturdy and offers decent ergonomics with up to 100mm height adjustment, 90° pivot, +/- 75° swivel, -5°/20° tilt, and 100x100mm VESA mount compatibility.

The screen has a 3-side borderless design while the screen is coated with a matte anti-glare finish that eliminates reflections.

Connectivity options include DisplayPort 1.2a, two HDMI 2.0b ports, a dual-USB 2.0 hub, a headphones jack, and a USB-C port with DP 1.2 Alternate Mode and 15W Power Delivery.

Due to the DP 1.2 bandwidth limitations, you can only use 10-bit color depth at up to 120Hz – or at 165Hz with chroma subsampling.

Alternatively, you can drop the color depth to 8-bit and run the monitor at its maximum 165Hz refresh rate without chroma subsampling.

Note that HDMI can accept a 4K signal and downscale it to 1440p allowing you to enjoy crisp image quality on your PS5 instead of having to resort to 1080p.

Price & Similar Monitors

The MSI MAG274QRF-QD goes for ~$450, which is reasonable for a fast IPS panel monitor with a wide color gamut.

If you have a colorimeter, an AMD GPU, or don’t mind the over-saturation, it’s a great gaming monitor for the price.

Otherwise, consider the LG 27GL850 instead. It doesn’t have as good Adobe RGB coverage, but it covers 98% DCI-P3, so you still get punchy colors. It also has a fast response time speed and G-SYNC compatibility, but no MBR.

The LG 27GL850, however, has an sRGB mode, which allows you to clamp its native ~135% sRGB gamut to ~100% for more accurate colors.

If you can afford something pricier, check out the Acer XV272UX.

Just like the MAG274QRF-QD, it has a wide 99% Adobe RGB gamut, but it also has an sRGB mode, a higher 240Hz native refresh rate, and its USB-C input supports Power Delivery up to 60W, but it goes for ~$700.

Conclusion

All in all, the MSI MAG274QRF-QD is an excellent monitor for the money. However, the lack of an sRGB mode can make some content look ridiculously over-saturated; it’s the only thing we really hold against this display and we really hope that monitor manufacturers like MSI and Dell will start implementing sRGB clamps in their displays.

Specifications

Screen Size27-inch
Resolution2560×1440 (QHD)
Panel TypeIPS
Aspect Ratio16:9 (Widescreen)
Refresh Rate165Hz
Response Time (GtG)1ms (GtG)
Response Time (Anti Motion Blur)Not specified
Adaptive-SyncFreeSync Premium (48-165Hz)
G-SYNC Compatible (48-165Hz)
PortsDisplayPort 1.2, 2x HDMI 2.0
Other PortsHeadphone Jack, 2x USB 2.0
Brightness300 cd/m²
Contrast Ratio1000:1 (static)
Colors1.07 billion (8-bit + FRC)
99% Adobe RGB
HDRHDR10
VESAYes (100x100mm)

The Pros:

  • Wide Adobe RGB color gamut
  • Quick response time speed
  • Plenty of features including FreeSync and MBR up to 165Hz
  • Fully ergonomic design and rich connectivity options

The Cons:

  • No sRGB mode
  • DisplayPort 1.2 bandwidth limitations
  • IPS glow and inferior contrast ratio of VA panels

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Samsung C27HG70/C32HG70 Review: 1440p 144Hz FreeSync HDR Gaming Monitor
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.