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Reviewed on Jun 17, 2019

MSI Optix MPG27CQ MONITOR REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.0
7.4
Mixed Usage
7.2
Office
8.4
Gaming
7.1
Multimedia
7.2
Media Creation
5.8
HDR Gaming
Size : 27 "
Resolution : 2560x1440
Refresh Rate : 144 Hz
LCD Type
:
VA
Variable Refresh Rate
:
FreeSync

The MSI Optix MPG27CQ is a decent 27", 1440p monitor with deep blacks and excellent gaming features. It has outstanding low input lag, an excellent response time, and it supports FreeSync, even when connected to a recent NVIDIA graphics card. This monitor has a great design, with an adjustable stand and great build quality, and it has a great RGB lighting system. Unfortunately, like most VA monitors, the image washes out quickly when viewed at an angle, and it has disappointing accuracy out of the box.

Test Results
Design 8.0
Picture Quality 6.3
Motion 9.3
Inputs 9.1
Pros
  • Great gaming features, including low input lag and FreeSync support.
  • Great design and an excellent RGB lighting system.
Cons
  • Image degrades when viewed at an angle.
  • Disappointing accuracy out of the box.

Check Price

8.0

Design

Curved : Yes
Curve radius : 1800R
Weight (without stand)
:
11.2 lbs (5.1 kg)
Weight (with stand)
:
16.3 lbs (7.4 kg)

The MSI Optix MPG27CQ has a great design. It's well-built, with an all-metal stand that supports the display extremely well, with no noticeable wobble. It appears to be made with premium materials throughout. It features two RGB lighting systems: a complex light pattern along the back for bias lighting, and a strip of LEDs along the front bottom bezel. It can be VESA mounted and has a quick release for the stand, but requires spacer screws (included) to attach the mount.

Stand
Width
:
20.7" (52.6 cm)
Depth
:
14.6" (37.1 cm)

The stand is very simple, with three feet that support the monitor extremely well. Although the feet themselves are small, they take up a large overall footprint. There is almost no noticeable wobble, which is great.

6.2 Ergonomics
Height Adjustment
:
4.6" (11.7 cm)
Switch portrait/landscape : No
Swivel Range : -40° to 40°
Tilt Range : -20° to 5°

The MPG27CQ has a decent height adjustment, and a very good tilt and swivel range. It can't rotate to a portrait orientation, but this wouldn't make sense with a curved monitor anyway.

Back
Wall Mount : VESA 100x100

There is an RGB bias lighting feature on the back of the monitor (shown here), that can be customized to your liking.

This monitor can also be VESA mounted, and there is also a quick release, but the mounting bolts are recessed on the back, and require spacers (included). Finally, there is a small hole in the stand that serves as cable management.

Borders
Borders
:
0.4" (1.0 cm)

The borders are thin and not very distracting. The front bottom bezel is a bit thicker, and features a strip of LED lights that can be completely customized to your liking.

Thickness
Thickness (with stand)
:
12.0" (30.5 cm)
Thickness (without stand)
:
3.1" (7.9 cm)

The stand is quite thick, and the monitor itself is thicker than most of the monitors we've tested, due to the curvature of the screen.

8.0 Build Quality

The MSI Optix MPG27CQ has great build quality. It appears well-built, with quality materials and a solid metal stand that supports the display well, with no wobble.

6.3

Picture Quality

The MSI Optix MPG27CQ delivers mediocre overall picture quality. It has a great contrast ratio, delivering deep blacks, but has disappointing black uniformity. It has very good peak brightness and great reflection handling, so there shouldn't be any issues placing it in a well-lit room. The biggest issue with this monitor is its viewing angles. If you are sitting even slightly off-center, the image quickly degrades and appears washed out. This monitor doesn't support HDR, but can display an excellent color gamut in SDR.

8.0 Contrast
Native Contrast
:
3225 : 1
Contrast with local dimming
:
N/A

Like the majority of monitors with VA panels, the MSI Optix MPG27CQ has a great contrast ratio, although it's slightly worse than the MSI Optix G27C. In a completely dark room, the bias lighting feature can help to further improve the perceived contrast ratio of the monitor.

0 Local Dimming
Local Dimming
:
No
Backlight
:
Edge

This monitor does not support local dimming. The above video is for reference only.

7.8 SDR Peak Brightness
SDR Real Scene
:
319 cd/m²
SDR Peak 2% Window
:
331 cd/m²
SDR Peak 10% Window
:
332 cd/m²
SDR Peak 25% Window
:
332 cd/m²
SDR Peak 50% Window
:
332 cd/m²
SDR Peak 100% Window
:
332 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 2% Window
:
331 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 10% Window
:
332 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 25% Window
:
332 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 50% Window
:
332 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 100% Window
:
332 cd/m²
SDR ABL
:
0.000

Very good peak brightness, with almost no variation in brightness with different content. Combined with the MPG27CQ's great reflection handling, this monitor is a great choice for almost any room.

0 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 does not support HDR.

4.5 Horizontal Viewing Angle
Color Shift from Left
:
29 °
Color Shift from Right
:
29 °
Brightness from Left
:
38 °
Brightness from Right
:
38 °
Black Level from Left
:
11 °
Black Level from Right
:
11 °
Curve Radius : 1800 R

Like most VA monitors, the horizontal viewing angle is poor. Even at moderate angles, the brightness decreases and colors shift, causing a loss of accuracy. At minor angles, the black levels increase drastically, causing the image to appear washed out.

4.6 Vertical Viewing Angle
Color Shift from Below
:
28 °
Color Shift from Above
:
26 °
Brightness from Below
:
37 °
Brightness from Above
:
35 °
Black Level from Below
:
5 °
Black Level from Above
:
5 °

Disappointing vertical viewing angle. The MPG27CQ maintains colors and brightness to decent angles, but the black levels increase massively even slightly off-angle, causing the image to quickly wash out.

8.2 Gray Uniformity
50% Std. Dev.
:
3.348 %
50% DSE
:
0.143 %
5% Std. Dev.
:
0.501 %
5% DSE
:
0.067 %

Great gray uniformity. There is very little dirty screen effect, but some slight vignetting, although neither of these should cause any issues for most users.

In near-dark scenes, the MPG27CQ's uniformity is excellent, and there are no significant issues.

5.2 Black Uniformity
Native Std. Dev.
:
2.508 %
Std. Dev. w/ L.D.
:
N/A

There is noticeable clouding in our over-exposed test image, which isn't ideal when watching really dark content in a dark room, but otherwise it isn't very noticeable. On the other hand, there is almost no noticeable backlight bleed, which is great.

5.4 Pre Calibration
Picture Mode
:
User
Luminance
:
307 cd/m²
Luminance Settings
:
80
Contrast Setting
:
50
RGB controls
:
50-50-50
Color Temperature
:
5995 K
White Balance dE
:
4.87
Color dE
:
4.56
Gamma
:
1.95

Out of the box, this monitor has disappointing accuracy. There are noticeable errors in almost every color, and gamma does not follow the sRGB target curve at all, which results in most scenes appearing brighter than they should.

9.4 Post Calibration
Picture Mode
:
User
Luminance
:
103 cd/m²
Luminance Settings
:
18
Contrast Setting
:
48
RGB Controls
:
96-100-95
Color Temperature
:
6408 K
White Balance dE
:
0.92
Color dE
:
0.76
Gamma
:
2.18

After calibration, the Optix MPG27CQ has excellent accuracy. Almost all color errors are corrected, and any remaining inaccuracies are not noticeable. Gamma follows the target curve much more closely than before.

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

9.0 SDR Color Gamut
sRGB xy
:
98.6 %
Adobe RGB xy
:
81.4 %

sRGB Picture Mode: User (calibrated)
Adobe RGB Picture Mode: User

The MPG27CQ has an excellent SDR color gamut. It has nearly perfect coverage of the sRGB color space, which is used by the vast majority of PC content. It has great coverage of the wider Adobe RGB color space, but can't display the full range of greens, which might not be ideal for some professional photo and video editing.

9.4 SDR Color Volume
sRGB in ICtCp
:
99.1 %
Adobe RGB in ICtCp
:
88.5 %

sRGB Picture Mode: User
Adobe RGB Picture Mode: User

Outstanding SDR color volume. In both sRGB and Adobe RGB, it can't display dark saturated colors very well, and like most LED monitors, it can't display very bright blues, but this isn't very noticeable.

0 HDR Color Gamut
Wide Color Gamut
:
N/A
DCI P3 xy
:
N/A
Rec. 2020 xy
:
N/A

This monitor does not support HDR.

0 HDR Color Volume
DCI-P3 in ICtCp
:
N/A
Rec. 2020 in ICtCp
:
N/A

This monitor does not support HDR.

10 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 noticeable signs of image retention on the Optix MPG27CQ, which is great.

7.9 Gradient
Color Depth
:
8 Bit

Good overall gradients on the MPG27CQ, but there is noticeable 8-bit banding in all shades, which might bother some people.

10 Color Bleed
Pixel row error
:
0.000 %
Pixel column error
:
0.000 %

There is no noticeable color bleed on this monitor, which is great.

8.0 Reflections

This monitor has great reflection handling, similar to the Samsung CF398 and the MSI Optix G27C. Like the G27C, the curved screen distorts some reflections, which may be less distracting in some situations.

9.3

Motion

Outstanding motion handling on the Optix MPG27CQ. It has an excellent response time, with very little blur behind fast-moving objects. The backlight is completely flicker-free, which is great for longer play sessions. There is also an optional black frame insertion feature that helps improve the appearance of motion a bit. Finally, this monitor supports FreeSync, even when connected to a recent NVIDIA graphics card, and it has an extremely wide FreeSync range, ensuring an almost perfect, tear-free gaming experience.

9.4 Motion Blur
80% Response Time
:
2.7 ms
100% Response Time
:
11.8 ms
Best Overdrive Setting
:
Fast

Response Time Normal
Response Time Fast

The Optix MPG27CQ has an excellent response time for most transitions, and is much faster overall than the MSI Optix G27C. Although it's fast overall, some transitions are slower, especially in dark scenes, and motion isn't as clear as on TN monitors, like the ViewSonic XG2402.

There are three overdrive settings: 'Normal', 'Fast', and 'Fastest'. There is very little difference between 'Normal' and 'Fast', but we recommend 'Fast'. The 'Fastest' setting is linked to the Black Frame Insertion (BFI) feature. Selecting 'Fastest' automatically enables BFI, and vice-versa, enabling BFI automatically changes the Overdrive setting to 'Fastest'.

9.4 Image Flicker
Flicker-free : Yes
PWM Dimming Frequency
:
0 Hz
Black Frame Insertion (BFI)
:
Yes
BFI Maximum Frequency
:
144 Hz
BFI Minimum Frequency
:
85 Hz

The backlight of the Optix MPG27CQ does not use PWM to dim the backlight, and is completely flicker-free, which is great for longer periods of use, as there is less eye-strain.

There is an optional Black Frame Insertion (BFI) feature. When enabled, the Overdrive setting is automatically set to 'Fastest'.

9.2 Refresh Rate
Native
:
144 Hz
Factory Overclock
:
N/A
Variable Refresh Rate
:
FreeSync
G-SYNC Compatible
:
Yes
VRR Maximum
:
144 Hz
VRR Minimum
:
< 20 Hz
VRR Maximum With OC
:
N/A
VRR Supported Connectors : DisplayPort, HDMI

The MSI Optix MPG27CQ has an excellent 144Hz refresh rate, and it supports FreeSync. It has an extremely wide FreeSync range, ensuring a nearly tear-free gaming experience, even when your computer can't quite keep up with the game and the frame rate decreases.

We tested this monitor for compatibility with NVIDIA's Adaptive Sync drivers, and although it isn't officially supported by NVIDIA, we had no issues using FreeSync on our GTX 1060 6Gb. FreeSync on NVIDIA cards is only supported over DisplayPort, but on AMD cards it's supported on both HDMI and DisplayPort.

9.1

Inputs

The MSI Optix MPG27CQ has outstanding low input lag in any mode. The 27" screen and 1440p native resolution is great for multitasking, and provides a more immersive gaming experience, which is enhanced further by the curved screen.

9.6 Input Lag
Native Resolution
:
4.3 ms
Non-Native Res @ Native Refresh
:
N/A
Native Resolution @ 60 Hz
:
8.8 ms
Variable Refresh Rate
:
4.2 ms
10 bit HDR
:
N/A
Black Frame Insertion (BFI)
:
4.4 ms

The MSI Optix MPG27CQ has outstanding low input lag in any mode. When connected to a console that only supports 60Hz, there is a bit more input lag, but it is still excellent.

8.4 Resolution and Size
Native Resolution : 2560 x 1440
Aspect Ratio : 16:9
Megapixels : 3.7 MP
Pixel Density : 109 PPI
Screen Diagonal : 27.0 inches
Screen Area : 310 sq inches

The 27", 1440p screen delivers a great amount of screen real estate, and is great for gaming or multitasking.

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

This monitor has a good selection of inputs, but does not have any analog inputs for older computers. There is an included 'Y' cable, that can be used to connect the monitor to the speaker and microphones connections on the back of your computer, allowing you to connect speakers and a microphone directly to the monitor. Speakers work fine without the 'Y' cable, but the microphone requires it.

When audio is set to 'Analog' from the monitor's OSD, the monitor will only play sound sent through the 'Y' cable, and will not play any audio sent through the HDMI or DisplayPort cables.

Features

The MSI Optix MPG27CQ has some great additional features, including a great RGB lighting system and support for both Picture-in-Picture and Picture-by-Picture. It doesn't support HDR, and has no internal speakers.

Additional Features
Speakers
:
No
HDR10 : No
Multiple input display
:
PIP + PBP

The Optix MPG27CQ has some great additional features. It supports both Picture-in-Picture and Picture-by-Picture, great for multitasking, and it has the ability to add virtual crosshairs to any game.

The biggest feature of this monitor is by far the RGB lighting feature. There are two sets of lights: a strip of lights on the front bottom bezel (shown here), and an arrow-shaped strip on the back (shown here). These lights can be controlled using either the Mystic Lights app (shown here), which offers basic control of the lights, or the SteelSeries Engine App, which allows you to customize each individual LED (shown here). The 'RGB light' setting must be enabled for these programs to work.

There is also a Gaming OSD app (shown here), which, similar to the Aorus AD27QD, allows you to control many of the monitor's settings from your computer, and set per-game presets that are automatically applied to the monitor. For any of the above programs to work, the USB-B cable must be connected from the monitor to your computer.

On-Screen Display (OSD)
Controls

There is a single joystick on the back of the monitor that is used to navigate the OSD and change settings. The control scheme for the joystick can be customized.

In The Box

  • User Manual
  • USB B Cable
  • Audio Y adapter
  • VESA Spacer Screws
  • HDMI Cable
  • DisplayPort Cable
  • Power Cable and Adapter

Differences between Sizes and Variants

We tested the 27" Optix MPG27CQ which is part of MSI's Optix MPG Series, and has other models available. We do not expect our review to be valid for the other models, except for the MPG27CQ2, which we expect to perform the same, but has a slightly different design.

If someone comes across a different type of panel or if their MPG27CQ doesn't correspond to our review, let us know and we will update the review. Note that some tests such as the gray uniformity may vary between individual units.

Model Size Resolution Refresh Rate Notes
MPG27CQ 27" 1440p 144Hz  
MPG27CQ2 27" 1440p 144Hz  
MPG341CQR 34" 3440x1440 144Hz  
MPG27C 27" 1080p 144Hz  

The MPG27CQ we reviewed was manufactured in March 2019.

Compared to other Monitors

Left: Dell S2719DGF. Middle: MSI Optix MPG27CQ. Right: Samsung CHG70.
Unlike our other photographs, this picture wasn't taken under a controlled environment, so do not draw conclusions from it.

The MSI Optix MPG27CQ is a great gaming monitor, but not very versatile. See our recommendations for the best monitors, the best 27 inch gaming monitors, and the best budget monitors.

Gigabyte Aorus AD27QD
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Gigabyte Aorus AD27QD and the MSI Optix MPG27CQ use different panel technologies, but the AD27QD is much better overall, and slightly better for gaming. The AD27QD has an IPS panel, with wide viewing angles and a slightly faster response time. If viewing angles aren't important, the MPG27CQ has a VA panel, which looks much better in a dark room. Unlike the Aorus, the MSI doesn't support HDR, but this doesn't add much to the Aorus.

Samsung CHG70
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Samsung CHG70 is better than the MSI Optix MPG27CQ for most uses. The CHG70 supports HDR and has a slightly more adjustable stand that can also rotate to portrait orientation. The MPG27CQ has a slightly better contrast ratio and a slightly faster response time.

ASUS ROG Swift PG279Q
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The ASUS ROG Swift PG279Q and the MSI Optix MPG27CQ use different panel types, each with their strengths and weaknesses. The ASUS looks better in a brighter room, and it has much better viewing angles. The MSI looks better in a dark room, but only if you're sitting directly in front. For gaming, the better one depends a bit on your hardware. The ASUS works best when paired with an NVIDIA graphics card, whereas the MSI works best with an AMD card or Xbox One.

Samsung JG50
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The MSI Optix MPG27CQ is much better than the Samsung JG50. The MSI has better ergonomics and is much better for gaming, as it has an optional black frame insertion feature, a much faster refresh rate, and a faster response time.

MSI Optix MAG271CQR
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The MSI Optix MPG27CQ and the MSI Optix MAG271CQR are very similar overall. The MPG27CQ we tested has worse viewing angles, but better black uniformity and better ergonomics. The MAG271CQR has a built-in two port USB hub.

MSI Optix G27C
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The MSI Optix MPG27CQ is much better than the MSI Optix G27C. The MPG27CQ has a higher native resolution, a much better stand with better ergonomics, and better black uniformity. The MPG27CQ also has a much faster response time, and an optional black frame insertion feature for even clearer motion. Finally, the MPG27CQ also has a great RGB bias lighting system.

Dell S2417DG
SEE PRICE
Newegg.com

Overall, the Dell S2417DG is slightly better than the MSI Optix MPG27CQ for most uses. The S2417DG has a slightly better stand, with the option to rotate to a portrait orientation. The MPG27CQ looks better in a dark room, as it has better native contrast and an RGB bias lighting feature. The S2417DG supports G-SYNC, whereas the MPG27CQ supports AMD's FreeSync technology.

+ Show more
7.4 Mixed Usage

Overall, the MSI Optix MPG27CQ is a decent monitor for most uses. It's a great gaming monitor, with low input lag and a fast response time, and it supports FreeSync for a nearly tear-free gaming experience. This is also a decent monitor for office use or media creation, thanks to the great screen real estate, but the image degrades when viewed at an angle, which isn't ideal. The MPG27CQ does not support HDR.

7.2 Office

Decent monitor overall for office use. The 27", 1440p resolution is great for multitasking, and the backlight is flicker-free, so there is less eye-strain with longer viewing sessions. The stand has good height, swivel, and tilt adjustments, but can't be rotated to a portrait orientation. Unfortunately, the viewing angles on this monitor are poor, and the image washes out rapidly when moving off-center.

8.4 Gaming

This is a great monitor for gaming. It has an excellent response time, extremely low input lag, and it supports FreeSync, even when connected to a recent NVIDIA graphics card over DisplayPort. It also has a great contrast ratio, making it a good choice for late-night gaming in a dark room.

7.1 Multimedia

This is a decent monitor for multimedia. The 1440p, 27" screen is great for watching videos, but the viewing angles are poor, so it isn't great for watching the latest trending videos with some friends. It has a great contrast ratio, delivering deep blacks when watching movies in a dark room, but there can be some noticeable clouding in really dark scenes. This monitor also has an excellent response time, delivering clear motion with very little blur behind fast-moving objects.

7.2 Media Creation

Decent monitor for media creation. It has great screen real-estate, thanks to the 27" display and 1440p native resolution, so you won't have to zoom or scroll as much. This monitor can display an excellent color gamut with SDR content, but does not support HDR. It also has very good peak brightness, great reflection handling, and a great contrast ratio, making it a versatile choice for almost any room.

5.8 HDR Gaming

This monitor does not support HDR. For a 27" 1440p gaming monitor that supports HDR, check out the Samsung CHG70.

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