The MSI MAG273R is a suitable gaming monitor for competitive gamers who want great color quality and wide viewing angles without having to worry about blurring. It feels different to review a flat IPS variant from the brand, but their previous offerings like the MAG251RX performed brilliantly which made it one of our highly recommended monitors this year. Let’s check out if the MSI MAG273R follows suit or if its just another one of those 144Hz monitors that has limited capabilities in some crucial aspects.
MSI MAG273R Specifications
- Screen Size: 27 Inches
- Resolution:1920 x 1080 FHD
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Panel Technology: In-Plane Switching (IPS)
- Refresh Rate: 144Hz
- Response Time: 1ms MPRTf
- Contrast Ratio: 1000:1 (Static)
- Brightness: 250cd/m²
- Speakers: Yes( 2 x 2 Watts)
- Stand: Height -Yes
- Stand: Tilt – Yes
- Stand: Swivel – No
- Stand: Pivot – No
- VESA Compatibility: Yes (100 x 100)
- Connectivity: HDMI 2.0 x 2, DisplayPort 1.2 x 1, USB 2.0 x 3, 3.5mm Jack x 1
- Dimensions (W x H x D): 24.29” x 18.84” x 8.14”
- Weight: 13.54 lbs
Design and Features
The MSI MAG273R looks cleaner and more sophisticated than previous releases since it looks more streamlined and less garish. The monitor has a matte black chassis with a slash of glossy black and a brushed texture at the rear to give the monitor a unique look that coincides with the rest of the Optix monitors. This model isn’t bezel-free, but the borders are even on all sides so it’s a great candidate for multi-monitor setups.
This model isn’t small by any means, but its dimensions are more modest so you don’t need a massive desk to support it. The cabinet itself is quite slim so users shouldn’t have any problems when trying to flush mount the device to a full custom setup. The MSI MAG273R only requires a depth of a little over eight inches, plus it doesn’t weigh too much so glass desks can hold it without any problems in the long run.
Build quality for the MSI MAG273R has improved drastically even if its made mostly of plastic on every main part. The panels feel thick and durable, and there are no cosmetic defects which would usually indicate rushed manufacturing or poor quality control. The included stand doesn’t wobble and it’s able to hold the view angle you’ve set almost permanently.
The MSI MAG273R also has RGB LEDs at the top of its bulge which can sync with the brand’s Mystic Light ecosystem. The LEDs aren’t very bright, but they cast a soft ambient glow that will go nicely with your themed setup. This is a nice feature to have if you already have MSI gear in your PC, but mixing and matching it with other brands will prove to be troublesome.
Another improvement the brand has been doing for its monitors is its use of joysticks across the range instead of OSD buttons for the budget offerings. This gadget makes it easier to manipulate the OSD and you can usually get to a specific submenu or setting faster. Buttons are functional and cheaper in some ways, but it’s not user-friendly especially if you can’t see the keys directly.
The MSI MAG273R’s stand only offers tilt and height adjustments, so it’s a bit awkward to use in multimonitor setups. The peripheral displays are usually slightly swung to the left or right so the stand doesn’t have to encroach closer on your keyboard. Thankfully, the monitor is VESA compatible, but we all know that adds a cost that many are allergic to.
Connectivity for the MSI MAG273R is limited compared to some prosumer options we’ve tested, but it already includes everything you need for a gaming setup. The video inputs include a DisplayPort 1.2 slot for your PC and two HDMI 2.0 slots for secondaries like gaming consoles so you can build a multi-platform set up around it. There is also a trio of USB slots for accessories and a 3.5mm jack for audio output.
The MSI MAG273R doesn’t come with speakers, but we don’t consider that as a fault since most gamers will opt for headsets anyway. Speakers are nice to have if you are also using this monitor for work from home use, but we reckon it would rarely get used unless your ears are getting hot and you’d like to only listen in on Zoom meetings and the like.
Display and Performance
The MSI MAG273R sports a 27-inch IPS panel with a 1920 x 1080 resolution, a 144Hz refresh rate, and a 1ms boosted response time. The backlight is limited to 250 cd/m2, while the contrast ratio is listed at 1000:1 like most IPS panels. this model doesn’t heavily advertise on HDR capabilities, but it instead focuses on accurate color and speed.
Full HD or 1080p doesn’t look its best when its in a screen that’s larger than 24 inches due to the loose pixel density. It isn’t great for productivity and design, but gamers will appreciate the enlarged visibility and the low requirements to get high framerates on most GPUs. 1080p is also the universal standard for competitive gaming because of that, so you should only go for this monitor if that is your purpose.
The MSI MAG273R is capable of more than 100% sRGB and around 88% DCI-P3 which creates superb saturation for games and movies. However, its default accuracy is dismal with a deltaE average of 3.56 which means some discolorations can be noticeable. The color temperature is also too warm for our taste since it makes white backgrounds look yellowish for regular use.
Calibrating the monitor is required to get the best out of the MSI MAG273R, and fortunately, it responds with aplomb. You can achieve a low dE of only 0.45 with this model, along with more reasonable color temperature. These results required a colorimeter, but you can get away with a few tweaks to the brightness and the RGB controls to attain a more balanced look.
The MSI MAG273R can reach as much as 355 cd/m2 of peak brightness when it receives an HDR signal and around 298 cd/m2 in SDR. It can also provide a strong contrast ratio of around 1298:1 at 60% brightness which is excellent for an IPS panel. However, these scores are not enough to produce deep blacks or noticeable improvements in highlights and detail you’d get from a better-equipped monitor.
Panel uniformity for the MSI MAG273R is decent since there are no major backlight leaks on the edges. However, there is some slight clouding on some quadrants when an all-black image is on display, but it isn’t as noticeable when games are active on the screen. Take note that this varies with every unit, so there are better and worse ones out there.
The MSI MAG273R is capable of great response times, especially if you utilize its effective overdrive feature according to your needs. Most gamers and titles can get away with the Fast setting, but we recommend going with the Fastest level if you are playing high-speed games like CSGO. You will see very minor overshoot with the latter, but it’s the lesser of two evils if you hate smudges and persistence.
The MSI MAG273R is a FreeSync monitor, but it also works with Nvidia’s G-Sync Compatible Mode for their GPUs. Buying a monitor with this duality is more important now so you don’t have to buy a new monitor unnecessarily if you change GPU brands. Input lag sits at 4ms, so there are no delays or de-synced instances between your inputs and the screen.
Thoughts on the MSI MAG273R
The MSI MAG273R is a well-rounded monitor if you play competitive titles but would also like to appreciate the vibrant and immersive worlds of single-player games. It does, however, need a bit of tweaking to get right especially for users who are sensitive to inaccurate color and oversaturation. It’s also aesthetically pleasing, and we like that it’s less gaudy unlike some of its predecessors.
We think the only fault with the MSI MAG273R is its dismal color accuracy out of the box which is becoming rare nowadays. Many gaming monitors already feature excellent default profiles, so users can plug the product in and start using it. It’s a minor issue if you already know your way around a PC display, but first-time users might want to look at alternatives like the AOC 27G2.
- Wide Gamut Coverage
- Excellent Calibration Results
- Attractive Aesthetics
- Great Price
- G-Sync/FreeSync Compatible
- Poor Default Accuracy
- Limited HDR Capabilities
-About the Author:
Paolo is a gaming veteran since the golden days of Doom and Warcraft and has been building gaming systems for family, friends, and colleagues since his junior high years. High-performance monitors are one of his fixations and he believes that it’s every citizen’s right to enjoy one. He has gone through several pieces of hardware in pursuit of every bit of performance gain, much to the dismay of his wallet. He now works with Monitornerds to scrutinize the latest gear to create reviews that accentuate the seldom explained aspects of a PC monitor.