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MSI Optix MPG27C Review

MSI Optix MPG27C Review

MSI Optix MPG27C Review MSI Optix MPG27C Gaming Monitor review 07£360 or $366 is a high price to pay for a 1080p gaming monitor, but the MSI Optix MPG27C tries to justify its cost with loads of features. The MPG27C serves up a superb refresh rate, a fast response time, smart software and even RGB LEDs. Can MSI’s gaming monitor deliver enough performance to make that price worthwhile? Read our MSI Optix MPG27C review to find out.

MSI Optix MPG27C Review – Design

The MSI Optix MPG27C is geared for gaming – and, in particular, it’s designed to excel in esports. That’s why this screen has a peak 1ms response time. In terms of gaming panels, that’s about as good as it gets.

The MSI’s gaming design is also why the panel’s refresh rate rises to a huge 144Hz. There aren’t many screens that rise above this figure right now. Crucially, if you want to get your hands on one of the few screens that does go beyond 144Hz, you’ll either have to spend more cash or give up some features.

The 144Hz refresh rate is impressive, but the MSI uses AMD FreeSync instead of Nvidia G-Sync. That means that you’ll need to use an AMD graphics card if you want to synchronise your GPU’s output to your monitor’s refresh rate. And, aside from that, any AMD GPU that powers this monitor will need the grunt to run games at 100fps or beyond. That’s because getting closer to that 144Hz refresh rate and 144fps frame rate will mean better results from FreeSync.

MSI Optix MPG27C Review MSI Optix MPG27C Gaming Monitor review 08On one hand, the inclusion of FreeSync is tricky – because more people have Nvidia graphics cards, and they are faster than AMD equivalents. On the other, though, remember that AMD’s 500-series and Vega GPUs still have ample power for playing triple-A and esports games at the framerates required for the MSI Optix MPG27C. And the inclusion of AMD FreeSync does save money – equivalent screens with Nvidia G-Sync tend to cost around £40 or $40 more.

The 1080p resolution helps when trying to achieve triple-figure framerates. The 1,920 x 1,080 resolution on the MSI Optix MPG27C is fine for gaming and esports, but it is stretched across a 27in diagonal. That means it’s not the sharpest screen out there. If you prize detail and sharpness, a 1440p screen would be better.

The MSI’s 1080p resolution could seem a little more galling when the £369/$366 price is considered. That’s right at the top end when it comes to 1080p screens with a 144Hz refresh rate. It’s also right at the point where 2,560 x 1,440 panels appear, albeit with fewer features.

As well as the high refresh rate and low response time, the MSI Optix MPG27C is curved. The 1800R radius is the standard for curved gaming panels, and it works well, It’s certainly more immersive than a flat screen. It wraps nicely around the player in games without the curve distorting the image. It’s especially handy for racing and FPS titles.

MSI Optix MPG27C Review MSI Optix MPG27C Gaming Monitor review 02The MSI Optix MPG27C has slim bezels, which makes it easier to slot several of these screens together in a multi-monitor arrangement.

The screen itself is an 8-bit VA panel. VA technology is dominant in serious gaming screens right now because it usually serves up impressive contrast and black levels. The screen uses 8-bit technology, too, rather than the more expensive 10-bit. That’s fine though – you still get 16.7 million colours with 8-bit rather than the 1.07 billion that 10-bit panels can display, and that’s still plenty for gaming.

On the outside, the screen has wide, pointing feet, burnt-orange metallic styling and a rear covered in textured plastic and a huge logo. There’s a cable-routing hole, a VESA mount and tilt, swivel and height adjustment. There’s a single DisplayPort 1.2 port and two HDMI 1.4 jacks for connectivity.

The side-mounted USB ports rely on the slower USB 2.0 standard. Some features are missing, too: there’s no handle or headphone hook, and no speakers – although most gamers will use headsets or external speakers.

At first glance, the aesthetics and the feature set are conventional – while there are some features missing, they’re not things that most gamers will notice.

MSI Optix MPG27C Review MSI Optix MPG27C Gaming Monitor review 06Get a little closer, and you’ll start to discover that the MSI Optix MPG27C has some unique features of its own. For starters, you don’t necessarily need to use the flimsy OSD joystick that’s sitting on the back of the panel – cleverly, MSI has ported all of the OSD options to a Windows app.

This is a smart move that makes the MSI’s options easier to use. After all, a mouse is a lot easier for navigation than the awkward joystick. The MSI app contains every option that’s found in the conventional OSD, alongside tools to add reticules to games. You can also bound common screen-alteration options to the keyboard. MSI even has an Android app that can manage these settings.

The bottom of the panel holds the MSI’s other unique feature. MSI has added five RGB LED bars to the bottom of the panel – something we’ve not seen on a screen before. There are also lights in the huge logos at the rear of the screen.

The SteelSeries Engine 3 app is used to control the lighting. The LEDs can be configured in static colours or the usual patterns. Cleverly, the lights can also interact with games, displaying health status, ammo amounts, kill alerts and more. Sadly, though, this system only works in CS:GO, DOTA 2, Minecraft and a handful of other more obscure titles, with no more on the way.

Thinking of a new system? Here’s our in-depth guide to AMD’s AM4 platform – and the best motherboards

MSI Optix MPG27C Review – Performance

MSI Optix MPG27C Review MSI Optix MPG27C Gaming Monitor review 03The MSI Optix MPG27C is packed with features, but when it comes to benchmarks it’s very much a gaming monitor – rather than anything you’d want to use for colour-sensitive work.

MSI quotes a brightness level of 250cd/m2 for this screen, and in benchmarks it actually exceeded this figure with a brightness level of 261cd/m2. That’s ample for making games look punchy. It’s also enough punch to cope with bright lights in the vicinity of the screen.

The solid brightness measurement combines with a fantastic black level of 0.06cd/m2. That’s one of the best that we’ve ever recorded from a monitor. In practice, it means that dark areas in games will look pitch-black – so you’re going to get a huge amount of depth from your favourite titles.

The brightness and black levels combine for a contrast ratio of 4,350:1. That’s a fantastic result – it far exceeds MSI’s quoted figure. It doesn’t just mean that darker areas on this screen will look suitably inky. It also means that colours will have incredible punch and vibrancy across the entire range, from the darkest shades right through to lighter tones. Whether you’re playing an esports title, an FPS game or doing some sim-racing, the contrast ratio will make games pop off the screen.

MSI Optix MPG27C Review MSI Optix MPG27C Gaming Monitor review 04The fantastic contrast is matched with solid uniformity and response times. The panel’s backlight only varied by 12%, even in the corners. That’s marginally better than a lot of other gaming screens, and it’s not a high enough deviation to notice during gameplay.

The input lag time of 10.6ms is excellent, and under the key 20ms benchmark. That means the MSI Optix MPG27C is easily quick enough for the keenest esports players.

Colour accuracy is a weak point of VA panels. The MSI Optix MPG27C returned a Delta E figure of 2.98 – an average result. The colour temperature of 7,420K is too cool, which means the screen looks a little pallid in some circumstances. The screen did manage to cover 97.8% of the sRGB gamut. However we’d expect any panel at this price to manage that.

The colour temperature and Delta E figures aren’t brilliant. That means we certainly wouldn’t recommend using the MSI Optix MPG27C for colour-sensitive work. For gaming, though, the 8-bit VA panel in this screen is good, and no worse than anything else at this price. It’s also worth noting that AMD FreeSync worked perfectly in our tests, with smooth gaming and no issues.

The screen modes aren’t much cop either. The FPS and RTS modes are far too cold and sharp. The racing and RPG modes are oversaturated and dark respectively.

Click here for the rest of our gaming monitor reviews!

MSI Optix MPG27C Review – Conclusion

MSI Optix MPG27C Review MSI Optix MPG27C Gaming Monitor review 05The monitor in our MSI Optix MPG27C review doesn’t have brilliant colour accuracy, but that’s arguably the least-important attribute in a gaming panel – the colours here are good, and that’s good enough.

Instead, the Optix excels in other areas. Its contrast ratio and black point are both fantastic – important for giving games real punch. The great input lag, curved design and solid uniformity mean the MSI is consistent and clear in any game.

AMD FreeSync works well, the OSD software is great, and there’s decent connectivity and versatility – including RGB LEDs. It’s a shame that this screen doesn’t have Nvidia G-Sync to work with more GPUs. However, that would have also pushed the price higher.

Despite the absence of the price-inflating Nvidia technology, the £369/$365 MSI Optix MPG27C is still more expensive than many other 1080p gaming screens. It’s also at the same sort of level as the most affordable 2,560 x 1,440 screens with 144Hz refresh rates, although those panels will have fewer features.

If you’re comfortable paying a little more than is strictly necessary for a 1080p gaming panel, you won’t regret it. This is a curved, fast screen that’s packed with features, and with the quality to make games punch at satisfyingly high speeds.

The MSI Optix MPG27C costs $366 in the US and £360 in the UK – and here’s its official site.  Discuss our MSI Optix MPG27C review on our Facebook and Twitter pages. And, if you need some more inspiration after reading the MSI Optix MPG27C review, check out our guide to our favourite laptops or go deep with our ultimate guide to 4K monitors – covering the technology, the terms and our top recommendations!  

Recommended AwardThe Good

  • High refresh rate and solid FreeSync performance
  • Superb contrast and black levels
  • Windows-based OSD is effective
  • Plenty of features – including curved design

The Bad

  • AMD FreeSync – not Nvidia G-Sync
  • Mediocre colour accuracy
  • Under-utilised RGB LEDs
  • A little expensive for a 1080p screen

The Specs

Panel Technology: VA
Native resolution: 1,920 x 1,080
Diagonal: 27in
Maximum refresh rate: 144Hz
Syncing: AMD FreeSync
Display inputs: 2 x HDMI, DisplayPort
Speakers: n/a
Ports: 2 x USB 2.0, 2 x audio
Weight: 7.6kg

Review Date
Reviewed Item
MSI Optix MPG27C

About Author

Mark Reed

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