The MSI Optix MPG321QRF-QD is clearly being targeted at stereotypical gamers with its lurid styling. The plastic rear of this gaming monitor mimics brushed metal and carbon fiber, it sits on a dramatically angled base, and around the back you’ll find RGB LEDs. Happily, the Optix backs up the dramatic design with practical features.
The stand offers 100mm of height adjustment alongside swivel and tilt movement, as well as a cable-routing cut-out. Around the back, there are two HDMI 2.0 ports, a DisplayPort 1.4 input, and a USB Type-C connection that also handles DisplayPort. There are also three USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports, two of which are helpfully located on the left-hand bezel.
Meanwhile, a handy joystick navigates an excellent on-screen display – it’s fast, well-organized, and clearly displays key information and the impact to expect when you change different settings. The MSI’s final big feature is its most surprising – a KVM switch. These are usually found on business screens, and allow users to control two devices with one set of peripherals – handy for switching between a PC and laptop, for instance.
There are good gaming credentials too. The MSI’s 32-inch IPS screen has a 165Hz default refresh rate that overclocks to 175Hz and it supports FreeSync and G-Sync. Its 2,560 x 1,440 resolution is good for mainstream gaming too, but it’s not particularly crisp on a 32-inch screen – you can easily see the pixels if you look closely.
Build quality is middling as well. Its plastic rear feels weak, it’s not a tool-free build and the monitor is heavy. LG’s rival UltraGear 32GP850 lands a punch against it too – it has the same core specification as the MSI alongside a 180Hz overclocked refresh rate, a sturdier, more mature design, and a cheaper price.
The MSI pairs its adaptable design with bold colors, though. This screen rendered 99 percent of the sRGB gamut with a monster 167.4 percent volume, and the default contrast ratio of 1,127:1 is good. Those figures deliver colors with huge vibrancy and decent depth.
There’s no obvious ghosting or inverse ghosting when the panel runs at its default 165Hz refresh rate, and there’s hardly any halo around objects either. While this screen doesn’t have the speed to sate high-end esports players, it’s fast enough to tackle mainstream esports and single-player games. Moving to 175Hz only has a tiny impact, and we’d avoid the MPRT Sync option – it creates ghosting and darkens the display.
The MSI is a bit ordinary in some other areas, however. Its delta E of 4.14 is mediocre, and the color temperature of 6,143K is on the warm side. The peak brightness of 600cd/m² and lack of high-end dimming means this screen isn’t good enough for HDR gaming too.
The rival LG is sometimes better. Its colors are more accurate than the MSI, and it offers similar gamut performance alongside a reasonable contrast ratio of 900:1. Its output is more realistic, and better if you want to enjoy gritty games or need a panel for creative work.
MSI Optix MPG321QRF-QD pros and cons
- Punchy colors
- Loads of features
- Decent refresh rate
- Great OSD
- Mediocre color accuracy
- Tricky to build
MSI Optix MPG321QRF-QD specs
The MSI Optix MPG321QRF-QD specs list is:
|Resolution||2,560 x 1,440|
|Maximum refresh rate||165Hz (175Hz overclocked)|
|Stated response time||1ms|
|Max brightness||400cd/m² SDR|
|Stated contrast ratio||1,000:1|
|Adaptive sync||FreeSync Premium, G-Sync compatible|
|Display inputs||2 x DisplayPort 1.4a, 2 x HDMI 2b|
|Stand adjustment||Height, rotation, tilt|
|Extras||100 x 100mm VESA mount, 2 x USB-C 3.2 Gen 1, KVM, VESA DisplayHDR 600|
MSI Optix MPG321QRF-QD price
The MSI Optix MPG321QRF-QD price is a little on the high side as although it offers a high color gamut and 175Hz refresh rate, its build quality is nothing to write home about.
Price: Expect to pay $500 / £500
MSI Optix MPG321QRF-QD review conclusion
The MSI is pricier than the LG, and not everyone will appreciate its bright, bold visual output. There’s no denying its vibrancy, though, and it impresses with loads of features and an eye-catching design. The Optix isn’t the cheapest or most mature-looking gaming display, but it’s bold, absorbing, and has loads of features – it’s ideal if you want a versatile, striking screen.
The MSI Optix MPG321QRF-QD may not make it onto our best gaming monitor list but it’s still worth considering at the right price. Would you be tempted, or do you already own one? Let us know your thoughts on the Custom PC Facebook or Twitter pages, or join the discussion on our 350,000+ member Custom PC and Gaming Setup Facebook group.
MSI’s panel is big, bold, and packed with features, although its gamer styling lacks maturity and it’s a bit pricey too.