The MSI Optix MPG341CQR is a hot-new 34-inch 144Hz gaming monitor that uses VA rather than IPS panel tech and packs extras like HDR support, RGB lighting, USB-C and more.
- Excellent VA panel
- Great gamin performance
- A really robust overall feature set
- This class of monitor can be expensive
The MSI Optix MPG341CQR is the latest hot-sale in the market, featuring a VA panel instead of IPS technology that we’re used to seeing on gaming monitors. The curved LCD panel has support for 144hz refresh, adaptive sync, HDR plus some gamer-friendly extras and it offers all those at a price that looks pretty palatable compared to most of its key competitors.
As mentioned, the major highlight here is that MSI has gone all out and used VA rather than the obligator IPS screen technology that’s common in most high-end LCD panels. And, to live upto the gaming vibe, MSI has also fitted the Optix with some really dapper RGB LED lighting.
Plus, there’s both an integrated camera in the lower bezel, but you also have a mount for your own camera, a feature designed for gamers who like to livestream their gaming escapades. Even with the extras, the Optix MPG341CQR will have to deliver on its core proposition and be feature-rich to fight the competition from the usual suspects in this category from Asus and Acer. Let’s go!
The MSI Optix MPG341CQR might look like a big save as compared to many other alternatives, but it’s still expensive in outright terms. So, with that understanding, you’d expect great value and a quality product. That’s exactly what you get.
MSI adorns the Optix with a sophisticated design that feels expensive. For starters, the stand is versatile and widely adjustable for height, tilt, and swivel. The aesthetics are slick too, thanks to slim bezels on three sides of the screen.
On looks, another standout feature is the “Mystic Light” RGB LEDs spread along with the lower bezel. While the light configurations and design don’t add anything to the overall look, they do give you a slick gaming panel, that’s easily the center of attention in any room.
For connectivity, you have a DisplayPort, HDMI, and USB-C interfaces. Also, there’s a fitted camera on the lower bezel, something you rarely find on a monitor.
The Optix MPG341CQR’s core feature begins with a 34-inch VA panel that boasts a 1800R curve and 144 refresh rate. It adds a 3,440 by 1,440 pixels resolution, which is the current norm for this class of 21:9 aspect monitors. With a rating of 3:000:1 for static contrast, this is far much better than any IPS screen can achieve. There’s also adaptive sync support in FreeSync 2 rather than the Nvidia G-Sync form found on the Asus VG278Q gaming monitor.
Another significant feature of the MSI Optix is HDR400 certification, which means the monitor is capable of 400 nits brightness, which is great from an image quality perspective, but nowhere close to the 600 or 1,000 nits produced by true HDR displays.
The main advantage of the MSI’s unique combo of specs is that it does allow for quite a bit of detail and very fluid frame rates in nearly all games, courtesy of beefy graphics cards that exists today.
As such, 4K at 144Hz plays very well; you can drive games like, say, Metro Exodus at 4K and full detail on an RTX 3080 graphics card. Same with other games, you’ll need a heck of a graphics card to break 30 fps, let alone 144fps.
Anyway, thanks to the use of VA technology, the MSI Optix MPG341CQR looks bright, vivid, and punchy straight out of the box. Its colors reproduction is very vibrant, with outstanding blacks. Granted the HDR400 certification is pretty much poor man’s HDR; which can’t match the HDR1000 on the Asus Rog Swift PG35VQ or even the HDR600 available on the Asus ROG Strix XG438Q gaming monitor.
Is MSI’s new Optix MPG341CQR a hit or a miss? In a gaming monitor marked suffocated by IPS monitors, it does an excellent job of standing out. By using a VA panel rather than an IPS panel, MSI manages to offer a unique and capable monitor – and, that right there is a net plus in terms of image quality.
Compared to IPS technology, VA makes for punchier colors and offers better contrast, and this implementation comes with little to no downside in terms of response and input lag. We consider that as a win.
All that is delivered at a price that may be cheap per se, but is highly competitive with similar monitors. The reality on the ground is that this class of gaming monitor is almost expensive. But if you’re shopping in this part of the market and price isn’t a deterrent over quality, then we recommend you put the MSI Optix MPG341CQR at or near the top of your shopping list.