The market for gaming monitors has begun. Starting from 120hz gaming, we now have accessibility to 240hz gaming. MSI has pushed the limits to finally offering a 1440p with 144hz VA Curved gaming monitor. Today, we take a closer look at the MSI MAG321CQR and what it is capable of accompanied by AMD FreeSync technology along with a number of gaming features.
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|Resolution ||2560 x 1440|
|Input/Output Connector||DisplayPort 1.4, 2x HDMI 2.0|
|USB/Audio||3.5mm out, 2x USB 2.0|
|VESA Wall Mount||100 x 100mm|
Starting with the most striking aspect of the MSI Optix MAG321CQR , we look at the sleek design.
Focusing on the MSI Optix MAG321CQR’s bezels, we see that MSI has taken the liberty of thinning them out to make use of the whole monitor. This leaves a thicker structure where the internal components are hidden. Even so, the result at an aesthetic level is quite brilliant.
At the rear, we find a plastic panel that has a brush metal look along with the independent RGB LEDs that form different effects with different colors. Alongside this, we find the red joystick that controls the OSD.
ON-SCREEN DISPLAY MENU:
The MSI Optix MAG321CQR features 7 main menus with the Gaming mode fitted in most of the preset and settings. MSI was kind enough to add a Professional mode with its own version of eye-care and image enhancements. MSI allows you to navigate using the keyboard and mouse without having to reach behind your monitor.
In terms of connectivity, MSI did not hold back giving us more than we asked for completing 2 sets of HDMI 2.0 ports and a Display 1.4 port. In addition, we have a 3.5mm audio output in case we use the DisplayPort or HDMI audio signal and also a two USB 2.0 Hub with a USB 3.0 input that serves, in addition to the HUB, to configure the Panel using the software.
Moving to the center, we find the base screwed directly to the standard VESA support. We feel as though MSI could have implemented this better with some quick hinge or hooks as we have already seen in other monitors, In this case, we had to use a screwdriver to affix the four screws to the monitor. The stand at the lower base has a manual screw which made it easier to secure.
The base allows the screen to be adjusted by raising or lowering or tilting the screen forward or backward by about -5 to 20 degrees.
Testing and Calibration Analysis
The MSI MAG321CQR was able to attain a 99% sRGB coverage and an AdobeRGB coverage at 88% though color is not everything there is, the MAG321CQR is quite exemplary at attaining an 88% ARGB coverage for a VA panel. We do appreciate a little brightness on our monitors for the vibrancy and color it produces, but the monitor was able to attain 220cd/㎡ at 100% brightness while at 100% contrast level, the contrast ratio is at 1201:1. These results are fairly well and exceed our expectations.
The viewing angles are also included in our tests to see how the panel performs in multiple positions. This becomes helpful when you are looking for monitors for multi-monitor setups. As seen below, the viewing angles based on our test are good but could definitely have reflected better. Definitely decent for a VA Panel.
For ₱ 32,500, a 31.5-inch curved monitor with 1440p resolution and 144hz response rate are pretty decently priced. This is used to capture any PC gamer audience. The specifications are accompanied by other notable features like FreeSync technology for AMD Radeon graphics and the recently announced Gsync Compatibility.
We find comfort knowing that MSI has included a complete OSD Gaming software for convenience. Allowing configurations to be changed comfortably but we wonder why they still added the red joystick at the back.
Although curved panels do not really offer a clear advantage over the flat panels aside from aesthetics, it is these type of monitors that give more justification by allowing greater immersion and better access to areas further from the center.
In terms of design and finish, the MSI Optix MAG321CQR definitely shows quality. We have never been a big fan of RGB for gaming but is a big plus in our books for the Gaming Echo which glows and flash based on the audio signals coming from your pc. MSI still has a some of the improvements to be made, like the need to screw in the stand to the VESA mount.
With the level of image quality the MSI MAG321CQR produces, the calibration is not up to the rest of the set. We have values quite far from the best. Luckily, it is possible to calibrate it to the taste of one’s preference. Although the VA panels do not offer the same representation as an IPS, the number of adjustments allow us to improve the performance in games.
With that, there are so many ways that MSI has won by providing a monitor at this price and caliber. It isn’t the best at its price point but it isn’t the worst either.