The MSI MEG 342C QD-OLED is a 34-inch ultrawide gaming monitor with a QD-OLED panel. It's designed as a gaming monitor as it has a 175Hz refresh rate, variable refresh rate (VRR) support, and HDMI 2.1 bandwidth that lets it take full advantage of gaming consoles and high-end graphics cards. It even has a strip of RGB lighting on the bottom bezel to match your other RGB peripherals. On top of its gaming features, it also has extra perks designed for everyday use, like a USB-C port that supports DisplayPort Alt Mode and 65W of power delivery, a KVM switch, and Picture-by-Picture and Picture-in-Picture modes. As it's an OLED display, it's prone to permanent burn-in when exposed to the same static elements over time. It includes some settings to mitigate the risk of burn-in, like a pixel refresh cycle with a pop-up message on the screen every four hours to run it.
The MSI MEG 342C QD-OLED is excellent for most uses. It's fantastic for gaming as it has a near-instantaneous response time, low input lag, and VRR support. The incredible picture quality is also beneficial for watching content, whether in SDR or HDR, as it displays deep and inky blacks and a wide range of colors. Its 34-inch, 3440x1440 resolution provides plenty of space for multitasking, like if you need it for work or content creation. Still, it has some text clarity issues and the risk of permanent burn-in when exposed to the same static elements over time.
The MSI MEG 342C QD-OLED is good for office use, but there are some limitations. Its ultrawide screen provides plenty of screen space to multitask, and it has fantastic reflection handling, which is useful if you want to use it in a well-lit room. However, it has text clarity issues due to its subpixel layout, and there's color fringing around windows. It also risks permanent burn-in when exposed to the same static elements over time, which can be problematic with taskbars and icons on the screen all day.
The MSI MEG 342C is fantastic for gaming. It has a 175Hz refresh rate with VRR support, and motion looks incredibly smooth thanks to its near-instantaneous response times. Your inputs also feel responsive as it has low input lag. While it performs best for PC gaming, it also supports 4k @ 120Hz gaming from consoles, but you'll see black bars on the sides due to its ultrawide format. Lastly, it's incredible for gaming in dark rooms because of its near-infinite contrast ratio, so blacks look deep and inky.
The MSI MEG 342C QD-OLED is remarkable for media consumption. The ultrawide screen is ideal if you like watching movies in an ultrawide format, as they fill up the entire screen. The picture quality is incredible thanks to its near-infinite contrast ratio that makes black deep and inky, and it also displays a wide range of colors and makes them look vivid. It has wide viewing angles, which is ideal if you want to watch something with a friend sitting next to you, as they'll see a consistent image from the sides.
The MSI MEG 342C is excellent for media creation. It displays a wide range of colors, and has impressive accuracy before calibration. Its ultrawide screen allows you to view more of your work area at once, and its wide viewing angles are great if you constantly need to share the screen with someone next to you. However, its curved display isn't ideal if you need to view straight lines, and it has color fringing and text clarity issues. Another major downside is that it runs the risk of permanent burn-in when exposed to the same static elements over time, like if your editing programs are open all the time.
The MSI MEG 342C QD-OLED is incredible for HDR. Thanks to its OLED panel, it displays deep and inky blacks, and there isn't any blooming around bright objects either. It also displays a wide range of colors and makes them look vivid due to its incredible color volume. The HDR brightness is also decent enough to make small highlights stand out against the rest of the image, but the overall screen brightness in HDR can be a bit limited, and it doesn't track the PQ EOTF well.
We tested the 34-inch MSI MEG 342C QD-OLED, which is the only size available for this monitor.
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Our unit was manufactured in Feb 2023; you can see the label here.
The MSI MEG 342C is an excellent ultrawide gaming monitor that combines fantastic gaming performance with incredible picture quality. It's better than most gaming monitors, and its performance is very similar to its main competitors, the Dell Alienware AW3423DW, the Dell Alienware AW3423DWF, and the Samsung Odyssey OLED G8/G85SB S34BG85. It has worse PQ EOTF tracking than the other QD-OLED monitors, so if you care about the best HDR performance, it might not be worth getting this monitor. However, it has features the others don't have, like a useful KVM switch if you need to connect multiple sources. Its HDMI 2.1 bandwidth is also ideal for any type of gamer, including console gamers, and even if consoles don't support ultrawide gaming, it's at least versatile if you want something for your PC and console. It's a fantastic choice, especially if you can find it for cheaper than other QD-OLED monitors.
The Dell Alienware AW3423DWF and the MSI MEG 342C QD-OLED both use the same QD-OLED panel and have many similarities, but some differences exist. The Dell has better PQ EOTF tracking, so the image looks more accurate on the Dell. However, the MSI has a few advantages in other areas, like its HDMI 2.1 bandwidth that lets it take full advantage of gaming consoles and its extra productivity features like a KVM switch and Picture-in-Picture and Picture-by-Picture modes.
The Samsung Odyssey OLED G8/G85SB S34BG85 and the MSI MEG 342C QD-OLED are similar monitors that use the same QD-OLED panel. There still are a few differences, though, as the Samsung gets brighter in SDR but also has a slightly more aggressive Automatic Brightness Limiter. The Samsung monitor also has a built-in smart system, making it easier to stream content without needing a PC. While they both support HDMI 2.1 bandwidth, the MSI works with 4k @ 120Hz signals from the Xbox Series X|S and PS5, which the Samsung model can't do. They each have USB-C ports, but the MSI has a few extra features, like a KVM switch and Picture-by-Picture and Picture-in-Picture modes.
The Dell Alienware AW3423DW and the MSI MEG 342C QD-OLED are similar monitors that use the same QD-OLED panel. While they mainly perform the same, there are a few differences. The Dell has better PQ EOTF tracking in HDR and improved color accuracy. While the Dell monitor has native G-SYNC VRR support, the MSI still has G-SYNC compatibility and works with NVIDIA graphics cards. The MSI has a few advantages regarding features, as it has HDMI 2.1 bandwidth and can take full advantage of the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S, which is something the Dell model can't do. The MSI also has a USB-C port and a KVM switch, making it the better choice if you need something for multitasking.
The MSI MEG 342C QD-OLED and the Corsair XENEON FLEX 45WQHD240 are both fantastic OLED gaming monitors with a few differences. The MSI has a smaller screen, but because they have the same resolution, the Corsair has lower pixel density and worse image sharpness. The MSI also has a QD-OLED panel that gets brighter and delivers more vivid colors than the Corsair for an improved HDR experience. While they each have USB-C ports, the MSI delivers higher power delivery, making it easier to charge power-hungry devices. On the other hand, the Corsair has a higher 240Hz refresh rate and a bendable screen that lets you adjust its curve to your liking.
The build quality is excellent. It feels solid, and the plastic body doesn't flex. Rubber feet on the stand prevent it from sliding easily, but the screen still wobbles, so you need a stable desk to place it on. One small annoyance is that the power cable measures 59" (1.5 m) and may be too small if your power source is far from the monitor.
The MSI 342C has a V-shaped stand that takes up a lot of space, and you can see what it looks like from the back here. The thickness is measured from the sides to the back of the stand, and the thickness from the center of the screen to the back of the stand is 8.9" (22.5 cm).
The thickness is measured from the sides to the back of the screen, and the thickness from the center of the screen is 3.3" (8.4 cm).
The controls consist of a power button, a button to open Gaming Intelligence if you have it installed (or you can use it as a hotkey), and a joystick to control the on-screen menu.
The MSI 342C has a near-infinite contrast ratio with perfect black levels thanks to its OLED panel. This means it can display deep blacks next to bright highlights when viewed in dark rooms. However, it's important to remember that ambient light causes the black levels to raise, so blacks look closer to purple in bright rooms.
The MSI MEG 342C doesn't have a backlight, so it doesn't require a local dimming feature. However, with a near-infinite contrast ratio, there isn't any blooming around bright objects, and it's the equivalent of a perfect local dimming feature. We still film these videos on the monitor so you can see how the screen performs and compare it with a monitor that has local dimming.
The SDR brightness is okay. It gets bright enough to fight glare in rooms with a few lights around, and while it isn't enough if you have direct sunlight in your room, it's best to avoid placing OLEDs in direct sunlight as it can damage the panel. Luckily, its brightness is very consistent across different scenes, and there isn't an aggressively distracting Automatic Brightness Limiter (ABL).
The results are from after calibration with the following settings:
The MSI 342C has okay HDR brightness. While it doesn't get as bright with real content as the Samsung Odyssey OLED G8/G85SB S34BG85 or the Dell Alienware AW3423DW, it still gets very bright with small highlights, and they pop against the rest of the image. The EOTF doesn't follow the target well either, as dark scenes are too dark, and other scenes are too bright. There's a sharp cut-off at the peak brightness, meaning it gets the brightest it can before your PC does any tone mapping.
These results are in the 'Peak 1000 nits' DisplayHDR mode, which lets it get bright, but it has an aggressive ABL. This can be noticeable when you're on the desktop, as you'll see some changes in brightness when opening and closing windows. If that bothers you, you can also use the 'True Black 400' DisplayHDR mode, for which you can see the results below. It doesn't get as bright, but the EOTF is also much better, following the target almost perfectly.
The horizontal viewing angle is incredible. Although it isn't perfect, you won't have any issues as the image remains consistent from the sides.
The vertical viewing angle is fantastic. There's a bit of color shift going on at wide angles, but you need to stand above the monitor and look down on it from a tight angle to notice any difference.
The MSI MEG 342C has excellent gray uniformity. Solid colors across the screen look great, and there's no visible dirty screen effect in the center. However, like any OLED, it has thin vertical lines in dark scenes, but they're hard to notice unless you really look for them. You can see examples of what it looks like with darker grays in the Dell Alienware AW3423DW review here, which uses the same panel.
The MSI 342C has perfect black uniformity. Thanks to its OLED panel, it can turn individual pixels on and off, and there isn't any blooming around bright objects.
The accuracy before calibration in the sRGB mode is impressive. Some colors are still oversaturated, and gamma is too dark with really dark and really bright scenes, but other than that, the image is accurate. However, using the sRGB mode locks some settings like the Contrast and Color Temperature. You'd have to use another mode to unlock those settings, but you won't get the same accurate image, as you can see here.
The MSI MEG 342C QD-OLED has fantastic accuracy after a full calibration. While it isn't perfect, you won't notice any inaccuracies.
The MSI 342C has an incredible SDR color gamut. It displays all the colors needed for the commonly-used sRGB color space. It also displays a wide range of colors in Adobe RGB but oversaturates most colors, which isn't ideal for professional publishing.
The SDR color volume is incredible. It displays all bright and dark colors without any issues.
The HDR color gamut is remarkable. It displays a wide range of colors in both the commonly-used sRGB color space and the wider Rec. 2020 color space. Tone mapping is great with each color space, too, so images are life-like and realistic.
The MSI 342C has incredible HDR color volume. Thanks to its QD-OLED panel, it displays colors as bright as pure white, and it doesn't have any issues displaying dark colors either.
The glossy screen has fantastic reflection handling, and there aren't any distracting reflections from strong light sources. However, the main downside to using it in a bright room is that the black levels raise and look purple. This is because it lacks a polarizing layer, and it's the same issue as other QD-OLED monitors like the Dell Alienware AW3423DW. You can see examples of this with the Dell next to an IPS monitor, the ViewSonic XG2431, and an OLED monitor, the LG 42 C2 OLED.
|Bright room - with LG C2|
The MSI 342C has okay text clarity but isn't as good as other 34-inch, 1440p monitors because of its triangular RGB subpixel layout. It's different from traditional RGB monitors, which have all three subpixels in a straight line, and computer programs are designed to render text with this subpixel layout. This means that text looks worse with a triangular RGB layout. Another downside is that there's color fringing around text, which is worse with ClearType enabled, and there's even color fringing around windows. You'll see a thin green line at the top of every open window and a thin red line at the bottom. The unique subpixel layout causes all this. The text clarity photos are in Windows 10; you can also see them in Windows 11 with ClearType on here and with ClearType off here.
These issues with clarity don't affect everybody, and whether you like it or not is a personal opinion. You can read our own subjective impressions about it here. There are also workarounds to this, as you can use the Better ClearType Tuner utility to try to further improve the text clarity.
You can see other examples of the color fringing with photos that we took with the Dell Alienware AW3423DW, and it's also valid for this monitor as it uses the same panel:
The MSI MEG 342C has incredible gradient handling, and you won't have any issues with banding of similar shades.
The MSI MEG 342C QD-OLED works without issue with FreeSync VRR and G-SYNC compatibility, and both work over HDMI and DisplayPort.
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The MSI MEG 342C has an incredible response time at its max refresh rate of 175Hz. Motion is extremely clear, thanks to its near-instantaneous response time. However, there's still some persistence blur caused by the sample-and-hold method that OLEDs use. As is the case with other OLED displays, it doesn't have a setting to adjust the pixel overdrive.
The MSI MEG 342C doesn't have an optional black frame insertion feature to reduce persistence blur.
The backlight isn't technically flicker-free because it has a slight dip in brightness that corresponds to the 175Hz refresh rate. However, it isn't considered pulse-width modulation like on LED-backlit monitors because it isn't a full-screen on-and-off flicker, and you won't notice it.
The MSI MEG 342C QD-OLED has very low input lag for a responsive feel while gaming, and it doesn't significantly increase at 60Hz.
Thanks to its HDMI 2.1 bandwidth, the MSI 342C supports any signal from the PS5, as long as you set the HDMI 2.1 setting to 'Console' instead of 'PC'. Unlike the Samsung Odyssey OLED G8/G85SB S34BG85, it even supports 4k @ 120Hz, as it downscales a 4k signal to 1440p, which results in a more detailed image than native 1440p, but because the PS5 doesn't support ultrawide gaming, you'll see black bars on the sides.
Thanks to its HDMI 2.1 bandwidth, the MSI MEG 342C QD-OLED supports any signal from the Xbox Series X|S, as long as you set the HDMI 2.1 setting to 'Console' instead of 'PC'. Unlike the Samsung Odyssey OLED G8/G85SB S34BG85, it even supports 4k @ 120Hz, as it downscales a 4k signal to 1440p, which results in a more detailed image than native 1440p, but because the Xbox doesn't support ultrawide gaming, you'll see black bars on the sides.
The power input is located on the left side of the back, as you can see here. The audio port on the back serves as a combo port with both audio out and mic in, and there are separate ports for each of those on the side.
The 65W of power delivery from the USB-C port is high enough to charge most smaller laptops while you're using them, but it isn't enough for power-hungry, bigger laptops.
The MSI 342C works without issue with macOS. VRR works well, and HDR looks great too. The Automatic Brightness Limiter (ABL) isn't too aggressive in HDR, so you can enable HDR even on the desktop, and there won't be any distracting changes in brightness. Even if you're using a MacBook, you can close the lid and continue using it if you have it connected over USB-C, and windows return to their position when reopening the lid.
The MSI MEG 342C has extra features that improve the user experience. It has a KVM switch that makes it easy to switch between sources and use the same keyboard and mouse connected to the monitor. It works well and is responsive even if changing sources takes a couple of seconds. For example, if you have a MacBook and Windows PC connected and put the MacBook to sleep, the KVM automatically switches to the PC. It performs best when you have Gaming Intelligence installed. On top of the KVM switch, it has Picture-in-Picture and Picture-by-Picture modes to view two images at the same time, and it has different settings for how you can display the images.
As with other OLED panels, it has a few settings to mitigate the risk of permanent burn-in when exposed to the same static elements over time.
The monitor has some other extra features, like:
While you can access most of the settings through the on-screen display, you have extra settings with the downloadable Gaming Intelligence program. Some of these settings that are only available with Gaming Intelligence include Ray Tracing, Macro Key, Windows Layout, and mice and keyboard settings.