Tech - MSI Op­tix MPG27CQ mon­i­tor

Gim­micks aside, this is a great, all-round, curved gam­ing mon­i­tor

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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


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