Monitors

MSI Optix MAG241C Review: 1080p 144Hz 1ms FreeSync Curved Gaming Monitor

By November 24, 2018 No Comments
msi optix mag241c review 2018

Introduction

Want an affordable 1080p 144Hz gaming monitor that doesn’t have a TN panel with poor viewing angles and color quality?

The MSI Optix MAG241C is a 24″ curved display with a high-contrast VA panel, AMD FreeSync, and the 1ms MPRT technology.

Furthermore, it’s got a modern slim design, plenty of exclusive features, and it’s fairly priced!

Image Quality

The MSI MAG241C is based on a VA (Vertical Alignment) panel which boasts the best static contrast ratio out of the other alternatives (IPS and TN). The contrast ratio is responsible for the relation between the darkest and the brightest colors.

With a 3,000:1 static contrast, the MSI monitor delivers deeper blacks than IPS and TN monitors with a usual contrast ratio of 1,000:1. This also makes details in highlights and shadows more noticeable.

Moving on, the MSI Optix MAG241C curved gaming monitor boasts an extended color gamut covering 90% DCI-P3 and 115% sRGB color spaces.

While the colors aren’t as accurate and consistent as that of an IPS panel for color-critical work, they are vibrant and distinct which in addition to the high contrast makes for an immersive and captivating picture quality in games and movies.

Since the MSI Optix MAG241C screen is only 24″ in size, the 1080p resolution provides a decent pixel density of 93.34 PPI (Pixels Per Inch) which is enough to make pixels individually indistinguishable when looking at the monitor from a reasonable distance.

Moreover, the Full HD resolution is still considered as the standard and it will make reaching high frame rates much easier on your PC gear than 1440p.

1ms MPRT Technology

msi optix mag241cr

Response time speed is the Achilles’ heel of VA panel monitors. Because the panel produces such as deep blacks, it takes longer for the pixels to change into lighter shades. So, when the picture is mostly dark, there will be prominent smearing and ghosting of fast-moving objects.

Now, this is entirely tolerable for some gamers, but competitive FPS players may find it too distracting which is the main reason why they go for the faster TN panel gaming monitors instead.

The MSI Optix MAG241C, however, has a solution for this called the 1ms MPRT (Moving Picture Response Time) technology.

Using the backlight strobing method where a black frame is inserted between each actual frame, the monitor greatly reduces the perceived motion blur.

This technology has its downsides though. The screen becomes less bright without the ability to adjust the brightness level and what’s more, backlight strobing cannot work at the same time as the variable refresh rate of AMD FreeSync technology.

So, remember to enable 1ms MPRT only when playing fast-paced competitive games; otherwise, leave it turned off. The MSI Optix MAG241C 24″ 1080p monitor will have to be set to at least 75Hz in order to enable 1ms MPRT.

Performance

There’s no excessive backlight bleeding nor any dead pixels; the wide 178-degree viewing angles ensure no color and contrast shifts when looking at the monitor from skewed angles, and the MSI Optix MAG241C input lag amounts to less than 9ms which is fit for hardcore gaming.

You can game for hours without worrying about your eyes as the monitor has a flicker-free screen and a built-in low blue light filter.

If you enjoy fast-paced competitive games, a 144Hz refresh rate is a must-have. Besides making the gameplay more immersive and enjoyable, it gives you a slight edge over your opponents with regular screens as your picture refreshes more than twice as fast.

As expected of a VA panel, some ghosting is visible in darker scenes but with the 1ms MPRT enabled and at over 100-120 FPS, it’s really not an issue, even for the hardcore players.

AMD FreeSync

msi optix mpg27cq

If you have a FreeSync-compatible graphics card by AMD, you will be able to synchronize its frame rate with the MSI MAG241C refresh rate.

The synchronized frame rate eliminates screen tearing and stuttering and since the monitor changes its refresh rate dynamically, there’s no perceptible input lag added.

The MSI Optix MAG241C FreeSync range is 48-144Hz/FPS (Frames Per Second). But even when your FPS dips below 48, LFC (Low Framerate Compensation) technology doubles or triples the framerate in order to maintain smooth gameplay.

As already mentioned, FreeSync and 1ms MPRT cannot work at the same time. You will have to choose according to the game/performance.

If you have an NVIDIA card, you can still use the monitor and the 1ms MPRT technology, but not the variable refresh rate of AMD FreeSync.

Features

optix mag271cr

The OSD (On-Screen Display) is very user-friendly and it has plenty of useful settings. You can adjust the settings via the OSD joystick placed at the back of the monitor or via a desktop application using your keyboard and mouse. You can even adjust some settings using an Android MSI Optix software.

In the OSD menu, you will find FPS, RTS, RPG, Racing, and one customizable picture preset under the Game Mode settings. Next, there’s the Black Tuner feature which increases visibility of dark areas in video games.

Under the Response Time settings, there are three modes including Normal, Fast, and Fastest. Setting it to ‘Fastest’ automatically enables Anti Motion Blur which is the 1ms MPRT technology.

While not in the OSD menu, the joystick can be used as a hotkey for certain shortcuts: ‘up’ opens the Game Menu settings, ‘down’ provides you with six different crosshairs, ‘left’ allows you to set an alarm clock, and ‘right’ changes the input source.

Other features include the standard settings such as brightness, contrast, and sharpness as well as an Eye Saver mode, 4:3/16:9 aspect ratio selection, and RGB color settings.

Design & Connectivity

msi optix mag241c amazon

The design is clearly gamer-inspired but not over the top. The bezels are very thin which along with the aggressive 1500R curvature makes the MSI Optix MAG241C 144Hz gaming monitor ideal for a multi-display setup.

Alas, the stand is tilt-only, but it’s VESA mount compatible for third-party monitor stands. There’s also a hanger for the headphones and an anti-glare screen coating.

Connectivity includes a DisplayPort 1.2, two HDMI 1.4, a headphones jack, and a dual USB 2.0 hub. All display connectors support FreeSync with a 48-144Hz dynamic range.

Price & Similar Monitors

The MSI Optix MAG241C price is $222.85 MSRP. Any standard 24″ 1080p 144Hz FreeSync gaming monitor costs just as much and given the number of exclusive features the MSI MAG241C offers and its stunning image quality, it’s well worth the price.

There’s also a 27-inch version of the monitor, the MSI Optix MAG271C, but we recommended the 24″ model due to the higher pixel density.

For more 1080p 144Hz models, check our best gaming monitors under $200 buyer’s guide.

Conclusion

The MSI Optix MAG241C is a unique gaming monitor which combines the smoothness of 144Hz at 1080p with a curved screen and a striking picture quality for added immersion.

Its relatively small 24″ screen and the 1ms MPRT technology seamlessly handle motion blur allowing you to fully enjoy all advantages of the VA panel.

Add to all that a plethora of useful exclusive features, extensive connectivity, a gorgeous design, and an appealing price tag, and you get one of the best 24″ 1080p 144Hz gaming monitors.

MSI Optix MAG241C Specifications

Screen Size23.6-inch
Resolution1920×1080 (Full HD)
Panel TypeVA
Aspect Ratio16:9 (Widescreen)
Refresh Rate144Hz
Response Time4ms (GtG)
Response Time (Backlight Strobing)1ms (MPRT)
Adaptive SyncFreeSync (48Hz-144Hz)
PortsDisplayPort 1.2, 2x HDMI 1.4
Other Ports2x USB 2.0, Headphone Jack
Brightness300 cd/m2
Contrast Ratio3000:1 (static)
Colors16.7 million (true 8-bit)
VESAYes (100x100mm)

What We Loved

  • Great value for the price
  • Wide color gamut and high contrast
  • 1ms MPRT effectively deals with ghosting
  • Eye-catching thin-bezel curved design
  • Plenty of gaming features

What We Didn’t Like

  • Tilt-only design

Head Editor

Joseph is a tech writer and copy-editor that has written and ghostwritten hundreds of articles for different online magazines and blogs. He now writes and manages DisplayNinja to ensure it stays as the people’s favorite resource.

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