Tech - MSI Optix MPG27CQ monitor
Gimmicks aside, this is a great, all-round, curved gaming monitor
MSI’s latest charge into the gaming monitor space comes with a determination to become the number one, curved, gaming monitor supplier in the world by the end of the year. But our first impressions of this 27in standard bearer were mixed.
A headline feature of the Optix MPG27CQ is compatibility with Steelseries’ Gamesense lighting system.
On the MPG27CQ, five separate banks of LEDs sit beneath the screen and can be programmed to act differently depending on which application or game you’re in. Support was scarce at the time of writing, however, with only CS:GO, DOTA 2, and, er, Minecraft compatible with the system. In CS:GO the default lights represent colour-changing health bars, ammo bars, and a kill counter. While they work well and are easy to configure, even when forcing ourselves to… we didn’t find them useful. In more complex games like DOTA, the greater number of functions makes the lights somewhat more useful (potentially).
There’s even a large bank of LEDs on the back of the screen which can show other people key stats like how much health you have left. This may be useful at LANs, but it’s super niche.
Other applications are also supported: Discord is compatible and can flash when someone connects, when particular-people speak, and when you’re muted. Other supported applications are generally decorative and revolve around audio-influenced pulsing but more support is needed to make Gamesense lighting a killer feature.
At 27in the 180R curve is subtle to the point where you almost forget it’s there.
We didn’t notice light-bleeding around the edges of the curves but this is partly because the super-thin bezel at the top and sides of the monitor is buffered by a centimetre of dead, black, screen. This means that there is a relatively-thick bezel should you want to tile multiple monitors.
The VA gets bright (it’s rated to 400 nits), is uniformly-lit, and has good viewing angles (rated at 178o). However, colour reproduction and contrast vary considerably according to settings used.
On rivals, adjusting settings can be laborious thanks to delayed changes and awkward, unintuitive interfaces. While MSI offers a single, rear joystick we almost-exclusively used the GamingOSD Desktop app, which facilitates almostinstant mode changes plus simpleto-use adjustments. If you don’t like a pre-set – FPS mode destroys the colour green, for instance – then it’s very easy to create your own.
five separate banks of LEDs sit beneath the screen and can be programmed to act differently...
More importantly, the 144Hz refresh rate means that games ran as super smooth as we’d hoped in everything we played. We didn’t experience screentearing, but the Optix does support Freesync.
At $699 it’s pricey compared with some other, excellent, 27in, flat-screen equivalents, but much cheaper than curved rivals. As such, if you want a curved gaming monitor this is one of the best you can buy, even with the flashy light things. NICK ROSS