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MSI undercuts the competition with a 165Hz 27-inch gaming monitor for $350

(Image credit: MSI)

MSI just added a new 27-inch display to its lineup, the Optix MAG272QR, and because of its aggressive pricing it has the potential to be one of the best gaming monitors for the money. 

The MAG272QR is already in-stock and available to buy for $349.99 at Amazon and Newegg. While not cheap, it's less expensive than most other 27-inch models with comparable specs. Here's a rundown:

  • Size: 27-inch VA panel
  • Resolution: 2560x1440
  • Refresh rate: 165Hz
  • Response time: 1ms
  • Viewing angles: 178 degrees (horizontal and vertical)
  • Brightness: 300 nits
  • Contrast ratio: 3,000:1 (typical), 100,000,000:1 (dynamic)
  • Adaptive sync: FreeSync

I performed a filtered search on Newegg for 27-inch monitors with the same WQHD resolution and 165Hz refresh rate, and the only cheaper model is from an obscure brand (Newsync). The next cheapest is an open box Gigabyte Aorus CV27Q-SA for $368.99, and after that, new models start at $409.99 and go up from there. Some models even run north of $600.

At least some of the pricier options are using IPS panels. It seems MSI has found a way to undercut the competition by going with an 8-bit+FRC VA screen, which is a step up from cheaper TN panels. Generally speaking, IPS displays look the best with the widest color gamuts, though VA displays offer a nice compromise between image quality and price.

Screen type aside, this is a fast display that is primed for games where high framerates matter, such as less demanding esports titles. It's not clear if the 165Hz refresh rate is overclocked from 144Hz or is the native rating, but either way, it's a speedy display. That said, you'll need a DisplayPort cable to hit that refresh rate. Otherwise, it tops out at 144Hz over HDMI (which is still relatively fast).

The only knock I'm seeing is the brightness. At 300 nits, the brightness falls into the average category, and is 100 nits below the minimum requirement for VESA's entry level DisplayHDR 400 certification. This is not an HDR monitor, though, so it's not a huge deal.

On the ergonomic side, this monitor allows users to make tilt (-5 to 20 degrees), swivel (-75 to 75 degrees), pivot (-90 to 90 degrees), and height (0-100mm) adjustments. And for connectivity, it includes 2x USB 2.0 Type-A, 1x USB 2.0 Type-B, 1x Type-C (DisplayPort alternate), 1x DisplayPort 1.2a, 2x HDMI 2.0b, and 1x 3.5mm headphone out.

Paul has been playing PC games and raking his knuckles on computer hardware since the Commodore 64. He does not have any tattoos, but thinks it would be cool to get one that reads LOAD"*",8,1. In his off time, he rides motorcycles and wrestles alligators (only one of those is true).