MSI Optix MAG274QRF-QD gaming monitor review

MSI's new monitor shines thanks to quantum dots, fast response, and a great price

(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

MSI bundles together some great tech into a high performing package that is sure to please pro gamers and creatives alike.


  • Smooth and responsive gaming
  • Excellent 1440p Rapid IPS panel with Quantum Dot tech
  • Game mode for next-gen consoles


  • No true HDR
  • Gigabyte's G27Q is cheaper

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The MSI Optix MAG274QRF-QD is the latest in a line of great monitors that perform excellently and don't break the bank. MSI is targeting this new $400 27-inch gaming monitor at the esports aficionado who also happens to be a content creator thanks to a Rapid IPS display with Quantum Dot tech, a 1ms GTG response, and 165Hz refresh rate. Wait, only 165Hz I hear you say? Yes, that's fairly pedestrian next to the new wave of 240Hz and 360Hz screens out there, but this does produce much better images than most of those. 

MSI Optix MAG274QRF-QD specs

Screen size: 27-inch
Panel technology: Rapid IPS with Quantum Dot
Native resolution: 2,560 x 1,440
Refresh rate: 165Hz
Response time: 1ms
Contrast: 1000:1
Brightness: 300 nits
Inputs: 2x HDMI 2.0, 1x DisplayPort 1.4, 1x USB 3.0 Type-C
Other: G-Sync compatible, FreeSync Premium, 2x USB 3.0
Price: $399 (£500)

The ace up MSI's sleeve here is Quantum Dot technology, which massively improves color accuracy. It's the reason the MAG274QRF-QD makes games, movies, and photos really pop and shine without sacrificing accuracy. 

The 1440p panel is rated at an impressive 97% DCI-P3 coverage and 147% Adobe sRGB which makes it great for professional content creation. After years working in design, my eye is pretty tuned to color accuracy and I was impressed with the overall picture quality straight out of the box. If you do serious video color grading and photo editing, the 8-bit color depth will disappoint but then again, if you're doing work like that, you need a professional screen, not one that can also turn its hand to gaming.

For most people, the MAG274QRF-QD will look gorgeous in almost every scenario. It's worth noting that it lacks HDR certification due to its low peak brightness of 300 nits, although it is at least HDR Ready, which basically means it boosts color saturation and contrast. It's nothing to sing about, but it does look surprisingly decent. 

Whether you use SDR or HDR, games look stunning and with the right hardware, run beautifully thanks to the 165Hz refresh rate. The MAG274QRF-QD supports both FreeSync Premium and NVIDIA G-Sync, which is great for both team green and red. 

I was fortunate enough to have a review rig with an RTX 3070 to hand while reviewing this screen and games like Doom Eternal ran well in excess of 165 fps in 1440p with Ultra Nightmare settings enabled. The game was fast, fluid, and looked stunning in HDR. 


(Image credit: Future)

I also played a lot of CyberPunk 2077, which isn't necessarily a fast-paced game, but it's certainly a gorgeous one that's also a good test of a monitor's dynamic range. The game has plenty of dark environments with bright neon lights, shadows, and reflections. The MAG274QRF-QD handled details in the darker areas with clarity while not blowing out the highlights. 

One of the cooler tricks in the MAG274QRF-QD's arsenal is the Game Mode, designed specifically for Sony PlayStation 5 owners. Since the shiny new PlayStation 5 can't output 1440p resolution, the MAG274QRF-QD can accept the full 4K/120Hz signal from the console and then downsample it to 2K. 

I didn't have a PlayStation 5 on hand to test this but it worked great with my Xbox One X, which recognized the monitor as a 4K/120Hz capable display. Games look pin-sharp thanks to the higher pixel density on what is a relatively small screen, at least compared to a normal television.


(Image credit: Future)

The MAG274QRF-QD has a wealth of video inputs, with a Thunderbolt Type-C port, two HDMI 2.0, and a DisplayPort 1.4 connector. You can connect up to four devices and swapping between them is easy. It also has two USB ports that are powered via a USB Type-B upstream. This upstream also lets you use the MSI Gaming OSD; a Windows 10 app to adjust your monitor's settings without using the built-in OSD. 

With all these ports, cable management could easily get out of hand if it weren't for the MAG274QRF-QD's utilitarian stand. It's simple, with a fairly small footprint, that doesn't demand unhealthy amounts of your desk space. This stand gives you 90-degree rotation so the MAG274QRF-QD orients in that sweet portrait mode we love to see in Instagram dual monitor setups. It also tilts, swivels, and is height adjustable.

(Image credit: Future)

On the rear, you'll find MSI's signature RGB lighting strip, which you can of course customize. Sadly, it's not as bright as I'd hoped, and it doesn't really illuminate the wall behind my desk the way I hoped it would. It's VESA wall-mountable if that's your thing. 

At $400, the MSI Optix MAG274QRF-QD is a great monitor that will appeal to the working gamer who spends a lot of time in content creation but still needs a speedy gaming experience. In fact, if the incredible Gigabyte G27Q didn't cost $100 less, the MSI would be my top recommendation for a 27-inch gaming monitor in 2021. Still, the extra money does get you noticeably better color accuracy, a better overall design, and a handy Game mode too, which is great if you've got a console you want to play on too.

The Verdict

MSI bundles together some great tech into a high performing package that is sure to please pro gamers and creatives alike.

Kizito Katawonga

 Kizzy is the consummate geek, with black turtleneck design sensibilities, always on the hunt for the latest, greatest, and sexiest tech. He's played Doom on the OG Pentium and still remembers how to hack a dial-a-phone. After four decades of being crazy about tech, he's literally just getting started. It's the age of the geek, baby!