MSI Optix G27CQ4 Monitor Review

Tested using Methodology v1.1
Reviewed Apr 20, 2021 at 11:15 am
MSI Optix G27CQ4 Picture
7.1
Mixed Usage
7.0
Office
7.9
Gaming
6.9
Multimedia
6.9
Media Creation
5.7
HDR Gaming
Size 27"
Resolution 2560x1440
Max Refresh Rate
165 Hz
Pixel Type
VA
Variable Refresh Rate
FreeSync

The MSI Optix G27CQ4 is a very good budget-friendly gaming monitor with a 27 inch screen and 1440p resolution. It has all the features most gamers are looking for, like FreeSync variable refresh rate (VRR) support and a native 165Hz refresh rate. Its input lag is really low, but even though it has a quick response time, you may notice some motion blur in fast-moving scenes. Its VA panel has a high native contrast ratio, but it lacks a local dimming feature to improve it. The viewing angles are narrow, and the stand doesn't offer many adjustments, so it's hard to place it in an ideal viewing position if you need to share it with someone else. Lastly, it doesn't support HDR, which is somewhat expected for a model in this price range.

Our Verdict

7.1 Mixed Usage

The MSI Optix G27CQ4 is decent for mixed usage. It's very good for gaming because it has a high refresh rate with VRR support. Its low input and quick response time deliver a responsive gaming experience, but some motion blur is visible with fast-moving objects. It's decent for office use thanks to its high peak brightness and good reflection handling, but it has terrible ergonomics and narrow viewing angles, making it harder to share the screen with someone else.

Pros
  • Gets bright enough to combat glare.
  • 165Hz refresh rate and VRR support.
  • High native contrast ratio.
Cons
  • Stand only allows for limited tilt adjustment.
  • Some visible motion blur.
  • No HDR support.
7.0 Office

The MSI Optix G27CQ4 is decent for office use. The high-resolution, 27 inch screen provides clear text and crisp images. It has good reflection handling and gets bright enough to combat glare in well-lit rooms. Sadly, it has narrow viewing angles and terrible ergonomics, so it's not the best choice if you need to share your screen with others.

Pros
  • Large 27 inch screen and high resolution.
  • Gets bright enough to combat glare.
Cons
  • Narrow viewing angles.
  • Stand only allows for limited tilt adjustment.
7.9 Gaming

The MSI Optix G27CQ4 is very good for gaming. It has a high 165Hz refresh rate with native FreeSync support to reduce screen tearing. It has low input lag and a quick response time, but some people may still notice motion blur. It's also great for dark room gaming thanks to its high native contrast ratio, but it lacks a local dimming feature.

Pros
  • Very low input lag.
  • 165Hz refresh rate and VRR support.
  • High native contrast ratio.
Cons
  • Stand only allows for limited tilt adjustment.
  • Some visible motion blur.
6.9 Multimedia

The MSI Optix G27CQ4 is okay for watching multimedia content. It has a high resolution to deliver crisp images. It performs well both in bright and dark rooms thanks to its high peak brightness and great contrast ratio. However, it has narrow viewing angles, so those viewing from the side see an inaccurate image.

Pros
  • Large 27 inch screen and high resolution.
  • Gets bright enough to combat glare.
Cons
  • Narrow viewing angles.
  • Stand only allows for limited tilt adjustment.
6.9 Media Creation

The MSI Optix G27CQ4 is alright for content creators. It has a large screen and high resolution, so there's enough space to work on your video's timeline. It gets bright enough to combat glare and has good reflection handling if you work in a well-lit room. However, its terrible ergonomics and narrow viewing angles make it hard to share the screen with a coworker or client around you.

Pros
  • Large 27 inch screen and high resolution.
  • Gets bright enough to combat glare.
Cons
  • Narrow viewing angles.
  • Stand only allows for limited tilt adjustment.
5.7 HDR Gaming

The MSI Optix G27CQ4 doesn't support HDR.

  • 7.1 Mixed Usage
  • 7.0 Office
  • 7.9 Gaming
  • 6.9 Multimedia
  • 6.9 Media Creation
  • 5.7 HDR Gaming
  1. Updated Apr 20, 2021: Review published.
  2. Updated Apr 16, 2021: Early access published.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
Curved Yes
Curve Radius 1500R
Weight (without stand)
8.4 lbs (3.8 kg)
Weight (with stand)
9.9 lbs (4.5 kg)

The MSI Optix G27CQ4 looks like the other entry-level MSI monitors that we've tested, like the MSI Optix G27C4. It has an all-plastic construction with a bit of a gamer-friendly tone, but it shouldn't stick out in an office environment.

Design
Stand
Width
17.8" (45.1 cm)
Depth
8.9" (22.5 cm)

The tripod stand is wide enough so that you can place stuff in between the legs, like your keyboard and mouse. The feet are metal and support the monitor well.

1.5
Design
Ergonomics
Height Adjustment
0.0" (0.0 cm)
Switch Portrait/Landscape No
Swivel Range No swivel
Tilt Range -20° to 5°

Sadly, the ergonomics are terrible. You can only tilt it, and even at that, the tilt range is limited.

Design
Back
Wall Mount VESA 100x100

The back of the MSI Optix G27CQ4 looks exactly like the MSI Optix G27C4. It's all-plastic with a slight gamer-friendly design to it, and there are air vents directly above the hinge for the stand. Sadly, there isn't much for cable management.

Design
Borders
Borders
0.3" (0.8 cm)
Design
Thickness
Thickness (with stand)
8.7" (22.1 cm)
Thickness (without stand)
2.8" (7.2 cm)

The monitor isn't too thick, even with the stand attached, so it shouldn't take up too much space.

6.5
Design
Build Quality

The build quality of the MSI Optix G27CQ4 is okay. It's built with generic and cheap-feeling plastic, and the feet are metal. The back panel flexes a bit, and the plastic covering the hinge feels very flimsy. Also, the bottom bezel isn't uniformly attached to the screen and bends a bit.

Picture Quality
8.1
Picture Quality
Contrast
Native Contrast
3,390 : 1
Contrast With Local Dimming
N/A

The contrast of the MSI Optix G27CQ4 is great, which is expected from a VA panel. It displays deep blacks when viewed in the dark, but there's no local dimming feature to improve it. It's higher than the advertised 3000:1 contrast, but this can vary between units.

0
Picture Quality
Local Dimming
Local Dimming
No
Backlight
Edge

This monitor doesn't have a local dimming feature. The video above is provided for reference only.

7.7
Picture Quality
SDR Peak Brightness
SDR Real Scene
335 cd/m²
SDR Peak 2% Window
297 cd/m²
SDR Peak 10% Window
297 cd/m²
SDR Peak 25% Window
297 cd/m²
SDR Peak 50% Window
297 cd/m²
SDR Peak 100% Window
297 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 2% Window
296 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 10% Window
297 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 25% Window
297 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 50% Window
297 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 100% Window
297 cd/m²
SDR ABL
0.000

The MSI Optix G27CQ4 has good SDR peak brightness. It's higher than the advertised 250 nits, and it's very consistent across different content. Surprisingly, it gets brighter with real content than with the test slides, so it easily gets bright enough to combat glare. We tested the peak brightness after calibration in the 'User' Picture Mode.

0
Picture Quality
HDR Peak Brightness
HDR Real Scene
N/A
HDR Peak 2% Window
N/A
HDR Peak 10% Window
N/A
HDR Peak 25% Window
N/A
HDR Peak 50% Window
N/A
HDR Peak 100% Window
N/A
HDR Sustained 2% Window
N/A
HDR Sustained 10% Window
N/A
HDR Sustained 25% Window
N/A
HDR Sustained 50% Window
N/A
HDR Sustained 100% Window
N/A
HDR ABL
N/A

This monitor doesn't support HDR.

5.6
Picture Quality
Horizontal Viewing Angle
Color Washout From Left
24°
Color Washout From Right
26°
Color Shift From Left
43°
Color Shift From Right
47°
Brightness Loss From Left
28°
Brightness Loss From Right
30°
Black Level Raise From Left
19°
Black Level Raise From Right
21°
Gamma Shift From Left
17°
Gamma Shift From Right
16°

The MSI Optix G27CQ4 has a narrow horizontal viewing angle, which is expected for a VA panel. The image looks inaccurate as soon as you move off-center, so it's not suggested for co-op gaming.

5.3
Picture Quality
Vertical Viewing Angle
Color Washout From Below
26°
Color Washout From Above
27°
Color Shift From Below
40°
Color Shift From Above
44°
Brightness Loss From Below
29°
Brightness Loss From Above
30°
Black Level Raise From Below
13°
Black Level Raise From Above
12°
Gamma Shift From Below
13°
Gamma Shift From Above
10°

Once again, the vertical viewing angle is poor. The image looks inaccurate if you mount the screen above eye level.

8.9
Picture Quality
Gray Uniformity
50% Std. Dev.
2.089%
50% DSE
0.104%
5% Std. Dev.
0.739%
5% DSE
0.067%

The MSI Optix G27CQ4 has excellent gray uniformity. Although the edges are a bit darker than the rest, there's no dirty screen effect in the center, which is great. Uniformity is even better in near-dark scenes, but some backlight bleed is visible along the bottom edge. Keep in mind that uniformity can vary between units.

4.7
Picture Quality
Black Uniformity
Native Std. Dev.
2.860%
Std. Dev. w/ L.D.
N/A

The black uniformity is bad, but this can vary between units. There's visible backlight bleed along the top and bottom edges, which could be really distracting in dark scenes. However, there's not too much blooming around the center cross.

8.4
Picture Quality
Pre Calibration
Picture Mode
User
Luminance
297 cd/m²
Luminance Settings
100
Contrast Setting
70
RGB Controls
Normal
Gamma Setting
No Gamma Setting
Color Temperature
6,369 K
White Balance dE
1.77
Color dE
2.48
Gamma
2.12

The out-of-the-box accuracy is impressive. Both colors and white balance are slightly inaccurate, but it shouldn't be noticeable for most people. The color temperature is a bit warmer than the 6500K target, giving the image a slightly reddish tint, but not by much. However, gamma doesn't follow the target all that well as some dark scenes are too dark, and other scenes are over-brightened. Keep in mind that accuracy may vary between units.

9.6
Picture Quality
Post Calibration
Picture Mode
User
Luminance
99 cd/m²
Luminance Settings
26
Contrast Setting
70
RGB Controls
94-95-98
Gamma Setting
No Gamma Setting
Color Temperature
6,536 K
White Balance dE
0.57
Color dE
0.60
Gamma
2.18

After calibration, accuracy is incredible. Any remaining inaccuracies can't be spotted by the human eye, and color temperature is very close to the target. Gamma is also improved, except some really dark and bright scenes are still over-brightened.

You can download our ICC profile calibration here. This is provided for reference only and shouldn't be used, as the calibration values vary per individual unit, even for the same model, due to manufacturing tolerances.

9.2
Picture Quality
SDR Color Gamut
sRGB xy
98.4%
Adobe RGB xy
84.6%
sRGB Picture Mode
User
Adobe RGB Picture Mode
User

The SDR color gamut is fantastic. It has near-perfect coverage of the sRGB color space used in most content. For photo editors, it has excellent coverage of the Adobe RGB color space.

9.5
Picture Quality
SDR Color Volume
sRGB In ICtCp
99.2%
Adobe RGB In ICtCp
90.5%
sRGB Picture Mode
User
Adobe RGB Picture Mode
User

The MSI Optix G27CQ4 has an outstanding SDR color volume. It displays bright colors and dark colors well.

0
Picture Quality
HDR Color Gamut
Wide Color Gamut
N/A
DCI P3 xy
N/A
Rec. 2020 xy
N/A
DCI P3 Picture Mode
No HDR
Rec. 2020 Picture Mode
No HDR

Even though it's advertised to have 92% coverage of the DCI P3 color space, it doesn't support HDR so we don't test for it.

0
Picture Quality
HDR Color Volume
DCI-P3 In ICtCp
N/A
Rec. 2020 In ICtCp
N/A
DCI P3 Picture Mode
No HDR
Rec. 2020 Picture Mode
No HDR

This monitor doesn't support HDR.

10
Picture Quality
Image Retention
IR After 0 Min Recovery
0.00%
IR After 2 Min Recovery
0.00%
IR After 4 Min Recovery
0.00%
IR After 6 Min Recovery
0.00%
IR After 8 Min Recovery
0.00%
IR After 10 Min Recovery
0.00%

There are no signs of image retention, even after displaying a high-contrast static image. Keep in mind that this can vary between units.

9.7
Picture Quality
Gradient
Color Depth
10 Bit

The MSI Optix G27CQ4 has incredible gradient handling. There are no visible signs of banding.

10
Picture Quality
Color Bleed
Pixel Row Error
0.001%
Pixel Column Error
0.002%

There's no visible sign of color bleed on this monitor.

7.5
Picture Quality
Reflections
Screen Finish
Matte
Total Reflections
5.4%
Indirect Reflections
3.3%
Calculated Direct Reflections
2.1%

The MSI Optix G27CQ4 has good reflection handling. It handles a moderate amount of light really well, but struggles if you place the screen opposite a direct source of light, like a window.

7.5
Picture Quality
Text Clarity
Sub-Pixel Layout
RGB

The MSI Optix G27CQ4 has good text clarity. Enabling Windows ClearType (top photo) makes diagonal lines more legible, like on the letters R, N, G, and S.

Motion
7.8
Motion
Response Time @ Max Refresh Rate
Best Overdrive Setting
Fastest
Rise / Fall Time
5.5 ms
Total Response Time
13.5 ms
Overshoot Error
6.9%
Dark Rise / Fall Time
12.6 ms
Dark Total Response Time
21.9 ms
Dark Overshoot Error
0.0%

Overdrive SettingResponse Time ChartResponse Time TablesMotion Blur Photo
NormalChartTablePhoto
FastChartTablePhoto
FastestChartTablePhoto

The MSI Optix G27CQ4 has a good response time at its max refresh rate of 165Hz. However, the response times in the darker transitions are slow, and there's too much overshoot in the lighter transitions, so you can still notice motion artifacts in most scenes. The recommended overdrive setting is 'Fastest' because it has a quicker total response time than the other settings.

6.8
Motion
Response Time @ 60Hz
Best Overdrive Setting
Fast
Rise / Fall Time
5.7 ms
Total Response Time
21.1 ms
Overshoot Error
10.2%
Dark Rise / Fall Time
10.2 ms
Dark Total Response Time
22.2 ms
Dark Overshoot Error
1.8%

Overdrive SettingResponse Time ChartResponse Time TablesMotion Blur Photo
NormalChartTablePhoto
FastChartTablePhoto
FastestChartTablePhoto

The response time at 60Hz is just okay. The recommended overdrive setting is 'Fast' because 'Normal' is too slow, and there's too much overshoot with 'Fastest'. Still, there's way too much overshoot in the lighter transitions, so motion doesn't look all that good. Also, this means that you may have to change the overdrive setting if the frame rate of your game drops.

10
Motion
Image Flicker
Flicker-Free Yes
PWM Dimming Frequency
0 Hz

The MSI Optix G27CQ4 has a flicker-free backlight, which helps reduce eye strain.

6.1
Motion
Black Frame Insertion (BFI)
Black Frame Insertion (BFI)
Yes
BFI Maximum Frequency
165 Hz
BFI Minimum Frequency
120 Hz

The MSI Optix G27CQ4 has a Black Frame Insertion feature to try to improve the appearance of motion. It flickers within a narrow range and can't be used with VRR enabled. Keep in mind that the BFI score is based on the flicker range and not the actual performance.

9.2
Motion
Refresh Rate
Native
165 Hz
Max Refresh Rate
165 Hz
Variable Refresh Rate
Yes
FreeSync
Yes
G-SYNC
Compatible (Tested)
VRR Maximum
165 Hz
VRR Minimum
< 20 Hz
VRR Supported Connectors DisplayPort, HDMI

The MSI Optix G27CQ4 has variable refresh rate support in the form of native FreeSync support. It isn't officially listed as G-SYNC compatible by NVIDIA, but it works. You can achieve its full refresh rate range over a DisplayPort connection. Over HDMI, only FreeSync works, and the max refresh rate is 144Hz.

Inputs
9.5
Inputs
Input Lag
Native Resolution
4.3 ms
Native Resolution @ 60Hz
9.6 ms
Variable Refresh Rate
4.5 ms
Variable Refresh Rate @ 60Hz
9.5 ms
10 Bit HDR
N/A
Black Frame Insertion (BFI)
6.3 ms

The MSI Optix G27CQ4 has incredibly low input lag that remains low with VRR enabled. It increases slightly with BFI enabled, but most people shouldn't notice it.

8.3
Inputs
Resolution And Size
Native Resolution 2560 x 1440
Aspect Ratio 16:9
Megapixels 3.7 MP
Pixel Density
109 PPI
Screen Diagonal 27.0"
Screen Area 310 in²

The large 27 inch screen has a high 1440p resolution, which helps delivers crisp images. This is an upgrade over the MSI Optix G27C4, which has a 1080p resolution. There's also a 32 inch version, the G32CQ4, which has the same resolution, resulting in a lower pixel density.

Inputs
Inputs
Inputs
Total Inputs
DisplayPort 1 (DP 1.2)
Mini DisplayPort No
HDMI 2 (HDMI 2.0)
DVI No
VGA No
DisplayPort Out No
USB No
USB C No
Analog Audio Out 3.5mm 1
Microphone In 3.5mm No
Digital Optical Audio Out No
Analog Audio Out RCA No
Power Supply External Brick

Like some other MSI monitors we've tested, this one doesn't have any USB inputs.

Features
Features
Additional Features
RGB Illumination
No
Speakers
No
HDR10 No
Multiple Input Display
No

The MSI Optix G27CQ4 is limited on extra features, but it has:

  • Crosshair: Adds a virtual crosshair on the screen for FPS games.
  • Low Blue Light Mode: Removes blue light to help reduce eye strain.
  • Frame Rate Counter: Displays the current frame rate of your game.

Features
On-Screen Display (OSD)
Features
Controls

There's a joystick on the back of the monitor to navigate the on-screen display.

Features
In The Box

  • Power cable and brick
  • HDMI cable
  • DisplayPort cable
  • User guides

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

We tested the MSI Optix G27CQ4 in a 27 inch size, and it's also available in a 32 inch size, which we expect to perform similarly. There are other monitors in MSI's G Series lineup, which you can see below.

Model Size Type Resolution Refresh Rate Notes
MSI Optix G27C4 27" VA 1080p 165Hz  
MSI Optix G27CQ4 27" VA 1440p 165Hz  
MSI Optix G27CQ4P 27" VA 1440p 165Hz Height adjustable stand
MSI Optix G32CQ4 31.5" VA  1440p 165Hz  

If someone comes across a different type of panel, or if their MSI Optix G27CQ4 doesn't correspond to our review, let us know and we'll update the review. Note that some tests, like the gray uniformity, may vary between individual units.

Our unit was manufactured in December 2020 and you can see the label here.

Compared To Other Monitors

The MSI Optix G27CQ4 is a very good budget gaming monitor. It has most features gamers are looking for, like VRR support and a high refresh rate. It also has a great native contrast ratio, but other than that, there's nothing that stands out against its competition. It provides good value for its price, but there are better and cheaper options available, like the Gigabyte G27QC.

Also see our recommendations for the best budget monitors, the best 1440p monitors, and the best gaming monitors.

Samsung Odyssey G5 LC27G55T

The MSI Optix G27CQ4 and the Samsung Odyssey G5 LC27G55T are both good gaming monitors. They each have a VA panel with a 1440p resolution, and they offer similar features, but the MSI has a 165Hz refresh rate compared to the Samsung's 144Hz. The MSI is also flicker-free at all brightness levels, while the Samsung flickers at lower brightness levels. The Samsung supports HDR, which the MSI doesn't, but it doesn't add much because it can't display a wide color gamut.

Gigabyte G27QC

The Gigabyte G27QC is much better overall than the MSI Optix G27CQ4, even though they each have a VA panel, 165Hz refresh rate, and 1440p resolution. The Gigabyte has a quicker response time, resulting in smoother motion, and its BFI feature flickers at a wider range. The Gigabyte also supports HDR10 and has a USB hub, which the MSI doesn't.

Gigabyte M27Q

The Gigabyte M27Q is better overall than the MSI Optix G27CQ4. The Gigabyte has a slightly higher 170Hz refresh rate compared to 165Hz on the MSI, and they each have a 1440p resolution, but they have different panel types. The Gigabyte has an IPS panel with wider viewing angles, which is great for sharing your screen with others, while the MSI has a VA panel with a better contrast ratio. The Gigabyte also has much quicker response times and supports HDR, which the MSI doesn't. The MSI uses an RGB subpixel layout, which is used in more programs than the BGR subpixel layout on the Gigabyte, so this helps with text clarity.

ASUS TUF Gaming VG27WQ1B

The MSI Optix G27CQ4 and the ASUS TUF Gaming VG27WQ1B are both very good gaming monitors, as they each have a VA panel with a 1440p resolution and 165Hz refresh rate. The ASUS supports HDR10, which the MSI doesn't, but it doesn't add much because it doesn't get bright enough to bring out highlights, and it lacks local dimming. In terms of gaming, they each have VRR support and low input lag. The MSI has a quicker response time at its max refresh rate, while the ASUS is quicker at 60Hz, but most people shouldn't notice any difference between the two.

Dell S2722DGM

The Dell S2722DGM is much better than the MSI Optix G27CQ4. The Dell has better ergonomics, a faster response time, better viewing angles, and better black uniformity. The Dell is also significantly brighter and can better overcome glare. On the other hand, the MSI has better gradient handling and can accept a 10-bit signal.

MSI Optix G27C4

The MSI Optix G27CQ4 and the MSI Optix G27C4 are both very good gaming monitors. They're built nearly the same, and each has a VA panel with a 165Hz refresh rate. The main difference is that the G27CQ4 has a 1440p resolution, while the G27C4 is limited to 1080p. The G27CQ4 is a better choice for well-lit rooms because it gets much brighter. However, the G27C4 delivers much smoother motion thanks to its quick response time.

BenQ EX2780Q

The BenQ EX2780Q and the MSI Optix G27CQ4 are both very good gaming monitors with different panel types. The BenQ is a 144Hz monitor with an IPS panel with wider viewing angles, and the MSI has a 165Hz refresh rate and a VA panel with higher contrast. The BenQ supports HDR, which the MSI doesn't, and it has quicker response times, so motion looks better.

Dell S3222DGM

The Dell S3222DGM is better than the MSI Optix G27CQ4. The Dell has better ergonomics, making it easier to place in an ideal viewing position. The Dell is also much better for gaming, as it has a much faster response time, especially when gaming at 60Hz.

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