Does anybody really need a 27-inch, 4K esports gaming monitor? 1080p and 1440p are the preferred resolutions for pros, and for good reason. For starters, it's relatively inexpensive to drive games at those resolutions at framerates exceeding 240 fps which is needed to successfully compete. But for some reason, the illustrious council of elders at MSI think that we all now own RTX 4090's, so have created the new MSI MAG 274UPF.
The MAG 274UPF retails for $449.99 (£449.99, AUD $849.00), and for that price, it offers a 27-inch Rapid IPS panel with a used-to-be-impressive 144Hz refresh rate and a 1ms GtG response time. It also throws in both AMD FreeSync Premium and Nvidia G-Sync Compatibility, so there's something for both red and green teams. At this price, there's stiff competition from LG 27GN950 and Gigabyte's M28U which are some of the best 4K gaming monitors right now.
But I know what you're thinking; 4K at 27 inches? Yeah, me too as I'm accustomed to 32-inch or larger monitors that offer more real estate for UHD resolution to shine. In this case, the 27 inches is extremely sharp, thanks to the tight pixel pitch, with the tiniest of details in Diablo IV's dark and dreary Sanctuary standing out. You will definitely revel in more paced games, like Starfield but esports fellas aren't sitting around admiring the detail in the tiles of Overwatch.
In addition to that, the MAG 274UPF has some wonderful colors thanks to its 8bit + FRC display, which basically combines 8-bit color depth with Frame Rate Control to display a larger number of colors through temporal dithering. This advanced technology enhances the vibrancy of colors and ensures smoother transitions between shades, making your gaming and content creation experiences more visually appealing. It's not exactly 10-bit color, but it's decent.
Resolution: 3840 x 2160 (4K)
Panel type: IPS
Contrast ratio: 1000:1
HDR: DisplayHDR 400
Response time: 1ms GTG
Refresh rate: 144Hz (120Hz PS5/Xbox Series X via HDMI 2.1)
Color: Adobe RGB 97%, DCI-P3 98%, sRGB 129%
USB hub: Yes
Connectivity: DisplayPort 1.4 x1, HDMI 2.1 x2, USB Type-C PD x1, 3.5mm jack
Stand: Rotation, swivel, height, and tilt adjustable
Price: $449 (£449, AUD $849)
And if that wasn't enough, the 274UPF is also VESA DisplayHDR 400 certified with a peak brightness of 400 nits. While this may not match the brightness levels of higher-tier HDR 600 or 1000 displays, it still manages to hold it's own surprisingly well. Colors pop and sizzle with good contrast so that blacks stay black instead of becoming some shade of grey. It's not perfect, though, as comparing it to an HDR1000 Mini-LED display I had on-hand showed the 274UPF oversaturates color and introduces a bit of a blue hue to the highlights.
Sure, you can dive into the OSD (On-Screen Display) to tweak some color settings, although it's worth noting that this monitor prioritizes gaming performance over extensive color customization. It's not intended for professional color-critical tasks but certainly holds its own for content creators working on YouTube videos and general multimedia tasks.
Despite that, MSI has certainly crafted a monitor that can sit at the center of your working and gaming life. Take the ports, for instance. You get two HDMI 2.1 ports at 4K 144Hz, a DisplayPort 1.4a, a USB Type-C with PD (Power Delivery) Charging of 65W, and two USB 2.0 ports for peripherals. This extensive connectivity options allow you to seamlessly connect your gaming rig, both Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5, and even a laptop that the monitor will also charge.
Moreover, you get MSI's standard KVM (Keyboard, Video, and Mouse) switch that lets you use the same keyboard and mouse between the two devices connected via USB Type-C and the Type-B port. This feature is a game-changer for users who frequently switch between multiple devices, making it convenient to seamlessly transition between work and play. Personally, I love this because I often have a laptop in for review that I want to use on my desk next to my main rig.
Additionally, the monitor allows for PIP (Picture-in-Picture) and PBP (Picture-by-Picture) modes, although at 27 inches, the practicality of these features is somewhat limited. Nevertheless, having the option to view multiple inputs simultaneously can be handy for some users who multitask between different devices.
✅ You want an affordable 4K gaming monitor: It's got decent HDR and lots of input options and good enough color for content creation, too.
❌ You are seriously competitive: If you want performance in excess of 240 fps you're not going to get that here.
❌ You do professional work: If you're after a color accurate display for video and photos, this isn't the screen for you.
I also like that the MAG 274UPF has a stand that supports full 90-degree rotation so if you have another monitor, you can set this one on the side in vertical orientation for an Instagram worthy look. That stand also has good swivel and tilt so positioning it will be a breeze and its stable enough to not worry about wobble.
Overall, for under $500, the MAG 274UPF is a pretty good 4K gaming monitor that will surely get the job done. I'm not convinced that a Valorant pro would benefit from this, but the MAG 274UPF performs admirably within its specs, and I've enjoyed playing a number of games on here without complaint.
While I wish MSI had used its Quantum Dot panel for better color reproduction, or given us 240Hz refresh rate, this isn't shabby for the price you pay. It doesn't do anything we haven't seen before but strikes a good balance between gaming performance and visual quality, making it suitable for both semi-competitive gamers and content creators. If you're in the market for a versatile 4K gaming monitor that won't break the bank, the MAG 274UPF is certainly worth considering.