MSI Optix MAG321Curv monitor (review)

Whether you prefer to game on a PC or console, the main attraction for any gamer’s setup is the monitor. Standard monitors are enough to play your game, but to enjoy the game to its fullest extent, you’ll need a monitor that can keep up with the demands. The Optix MAG321Curv monitor from MSI is the latest in its line of curved monitors aimed to deliver a visually pleasing experience for any gamer. But can its 4K resolution, 4ms response time, and 60Hz refresh rate be enough to warrant the needs of a gamer?

Build and Design

To make sure that the curved monitor fits perfectly into any gaming setup, MSI gave the MAG321Curv (see it on Amazon) a revamped look to separate itself from MSI’s other monitors. A seemingly borderless design highlights the monitors 1500R curvature, which really pops and truly becomes the star attraction. While the monitor is in use, whatever is in view is undeterred and unobstructed by any bezels. 

On the backside of the monitor, you’ll notice a bit of thickness on the bottom half. This is where a majority of the monitors’ weight will come from, but it also houses the monitors’ multiple connections. For an added bit of flair, MSI included a series of RGB LED lights to act as an accent for the monitor, which is a perfect fitting for the monitors matte black color. The LED lights can be customized, but to do so, you’ll need to install the MSI Gaming APP.

The monitor’s base and stand have a strong and robust feel to it. It utilizes a typical three-legged design for support, which won’t take up a lot of space sitting on top of your desk. The stand will allow you to tilt the monitor from -5-degrees to 20-degrees and adjust the height from 0-millimeters to a very impressive 130-millimeters. The fact I was able to bring the monitor fairly low allowed me to be eye-level with the center of the monitor, which was optimal for my gaming. 

Connectivity and Features

As we stated before, it doesn’t matter what you prefer to game on, because MSI has included enough ports so that it can be used with both PCs and consoles. Available ports include one display port, two HDMI (2.0) ports and a USB 3.1 Type C port, which can be used for a display, as well as charging devices such as your smartphone. There will also be two USB (2.0) ports and one USB (2.0) Type B for a PC to monitor connection. Both the DisplayPort and HDMIs will output a 4K resolution with a 60HZ refresh rate.

Navigating through the monitor’s menu can be done with ease and minimal effort with MSI’s 5-way OSD joystick. Through the settings, gamers will be able to find the right settings that will benefit their gameplay. Inside the “Game Mode,” you can switch between FPS, Racing, RTS, and RPG gaming. This will automatically change the monitor’s contrast, colors, sharpness, and brightness that MSI feels is optimal for certain games. For gamers who need to use the monitor for other purposes, there is a “Professional Mode” that can be used to optimize cinematics, reading or writing, and for graphic or creative work. 

The Monitor includes a night vision mode for gamers who enjoy playing late into the night and in the darkness of their room. There are four different settings you can choose from that will change the intensity of “Night Mode,” which will alter the monitors’ contrast, brightness, and sharpness. At its highest setting, Night Mode seemed to over sharpen the graphics, making it a bit too pixelated with a loss of details in the shadows.

Performance

With a 4K resolution (3840 x 2160), you’ll have a lot of display area that makes it possible to see every feasible object in your game. During our Call of Duty: Modern Warfare multiplayer sessions, we were able to spot the heads of enemy combatants deep in the distance, which gives us our advantage over other players. The 4K resolution also makes the graphics highly detailed and sharp, with almost zero softness around the edges.

The 60Hz refresh rate isn’t anything to really gawk at since there are other monitors on the market that boast 144Hz. Ideally, the monitor is meant for console gamers, with a majority of consoles only supporting a max refresh rate of 60Hz. The response rate can go as low as 4ms, which again, is suitable for console gaming. But during fast-paced gameplay in online first-person shooters, you’ll be able to catch some of the pixel shiftings and images ghosting occurring in the darker areas.

Colors displayed on the monitor are somewhat accurate, but not as vivid as we were hoping. Video games that utilized a wide range of colors often looked flat and seldom popped. Skin tones leaned more towards the orange hue, regardless of what color temperature was being used. Where the monitor does pick up is in its contrast. With a ratio of  2500:1, blacks were dark and deep with whites and gray bright and balanced. 

Final Reaction

If you prefer to game on consoles or have a lower-end PC rig, the MSI Optix MAG321Curv monitor is a perfect companion to give you a visually pleasing gameplay experience. The 4K resolution gives you enough pixel density to make games look sharp, clean, and detailed, while the 60HZ refresh rate and 4ms response time ensure that the monitor can give even your most action intensive game the visual grandeur they deserve. The monitor, however, is not suited for gamers who are using the highest-end graphics cards, as the monitors’ performance will fall short as to what cards, such as the Nvidia RTX 2080 or Radeon RX 570, are capable of. 

Colors are adequate in their vividness, while the contrast ratio makes darks exceptionally deep, giving video games a great sense of depth. With a retail price of just over $400, the monitor is a bit expensive for console or casual gamers. For those who don’t mind the price, the MAG321Curv is the necessary upgrade for those who game on the Xbox One X or PS4 Pro.

Score: 4/5 Atoms

 

 

 

*The MAG321Curv was provided by MSI for review purposes.

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Arvin Santiago
Arvin Santiago 375 posts

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