MSI Optix MPG341CQR FREE SYNC CURVED MONITOR
A high-refresh-rate ultrawide gaming display, MSI Optix MPG341CQR introduces a range of features to the gaming monitor space that gamers didn't even know they wanted, and it posts some remarkably low input-lag figures. Its color results may not be ideal for creative professionals, and the HDR quality leaves a bit to be desired.
The Optix MPG341CQR uses a vast 34in, 3,440x1,440 VA panel, running at 144Hz for smoother gaming at high framerates. It’s gently rounded with an 1800R curvature, and claims to meet the DisplayHDR 400 standard for brightness. It’s the feature list that really stands out, though. Besides common qualities like RGB lighting and a fully adjustable stand, the Optix MPG341CQR’s tricks include desktop OSD software, mouse bungee and camera mount attachments and even a facial recognition camera that helps the software switch between different profiles for different users. AMD Freesync is also supported, as is Nvidia’s G-Sync, albeit in an unofficial capacity.
Based on a VA (Vertical Alignment) panel, the MSI MPG341CQR offers a static contrast ratio of 3,000:1, which makes for deep blacks that really stand out in comparison to blacks on IPS and TN panels which have a contrast ratio of around 1,000:1.The monitor also provides vibrant colors with 84% DCI-P3 color space coverage (105% sRGB), 10-bit color depth support, and excellent factory-calibration.However, as far as consistency and uniformity are concerned, IPS models are still better in this regard. So, for color-critical work, there are better options, but for just basic content creation, MSI’s ultrawide monitor is great.The 21:9 ultrawide format provides you with extra horizontal screen space for better productivity, and it also increases your field of view in video games for a more immersive gaming experience – as long as the video game supports 21:9.3440×1440 resolution results in a rich pixel density of roughly 110 PPI (pixels per inch), which means you’ll get plenty of screen real estate as well as clear and sharp details without having to use scaling.
A 34-inch superwide panel with 3,440 by 1,440 pixels and 144Hz refresh is arguably the sweet spot for high-end gaming right now. Yes, you can have higher resolutions and refresh rates, but the returns diminish pretty rapidly.The main advantage of the MSI’s particular combo of specs is that it allows for quite a bit of detail and very fluid frame rates in nearly all games courtesy of graphics cards that actually exist today. 4K at 144Hz is all very well. But good luck driving a game like, say, Metro Exodus at 4K and full detail. You’ll need one heck of a graphics card to break 30fps, let alone 144fps.
Anyway, thanks to the use of VA technology, the MSI Optix MPG341CQR looks vivid and punchy straight out of the box. Colours are very vibrant, while black levels are outstanding. Granted the HDR400 certification is very much poor man’s HDR.But this is still a bright and dynamic display by conventional standards.
MSI offers three levels of pixel response. The fastest is a little OTT and results in some overshoot and inverse ghosting. But the middle setting makes for very good response with no noticeable downsides. It’s also worth noting that the MPG341CQR’s adaptive sync works fine with both AMD and Nvidia graphics cards. Nvidia’s control panel recognises it as ‘G-Sync compatible’ and enables adaptive refresh automatically without any need to force that functionality on.
First off, there’s the Night Vision feature (essentially Black Equalizer 2), which increases the visibility of objects in dark parts of games. The A.I. preset of this feature can increase the visibility without overexposing the bright parts of the image.There is also the Game Mode and Pro Mode picture presets (FPS, RTS, RPG, Racing, Reader, Cinema, Designer, and two customizable profiles) as well as Picture in Picture and Picture by Picture.You can use the Gaming OSD desktop application to adjust all the OSD-related settings using your mouse and keyboard, or you can use the 5-way joystick, which is placed at the back of the monitor at the right side.
Beneath the bottom bezel of the monitor at the right side, there’s a macro hotkey that launches the Gaming OSD desktop application.
Other features include Screen Assistance (custom crosshairs), three response time overdrive modes (Normal, Fast, Fastest), Zero Latency for minimal input lag, refresh rate tracker, and Eye Saver Mode.
Finally, there’s a built-in 720p webcam with a sensor and A.I. that can adjust the screen’s brightness according to ambient lighting and change the display’s settings according to the user it detects in front of the monitor/camera.
Connectivity options are rich as well and include two HDMI 2.0b ports (up to 100Hz at 3440×1440), DisplayPort 1.4, USB type C (with DP 1.4 Alt Mode), three downstream USB 3.0 ports and one upstream USB port as well as headphone, microphone, and combined audio jacks.
MSI’s unusual approach to the Optix MPG341CQR pays dividends. For pure display performance the AG352UCG is a better-value alternative, but the MPG341CQR isn’t just a screen: it’s bristling with handy little tools and fun extras that make it easier to use, all the way from initial setup through to heavy gaming sessions.Back in the present, there’s the unshakeable feeling that the high price doesn’t quite match the contents – but the Optix MPG341CQR still performs where it counts. If you can hang fire until the daunting launch price begins to tumble, then this feature-rich monitor will be a much wiser purchase.