The gaming monitor market in Malaysia, especially in the sub-RM2,000 range, is quite competitive. Plenty of brands offer monitors with great value for money in this price range, so it can be tough to stand out in this segment. But for the MSI Optix MAG321QR-QD, it has plenty of qualities to love.
Retailing at RM1,799, the MAG321QR-QD has all the features of a capable mid-range gaming monitor. It has a fast refresh rate, a rather large (and great-looking) 31.5-inch QHD IPS panel with quantum dot technology, as well as support for Nvidia G-Sync Compatible and AMD FreeSync Premium to minimise screen tearing.
While this gaming monitor does have some drawbacks here and there, its value proposition more than makes up for them. Without further ado, let’s get to the review of the Optix MAG321QR-QD.
What It Is
One of the main highlights of the Optix MAG321QR-QD is its 31.5-inch 2560 x 1440 IPS panel with quantum dot technology. According to MSI, the quantum dot layer allows for better colour accuracy, higher colour saturation, and wider contrast ratio.
Beyond that, the MAG321QR-QD has a fast 165Hz native refresh rate too, which can be overclocked to 170Hz if you want the extra 5Hz. Connectivity wise, the gaming monitor features two HDMI 2.0b ports, a DisplayPort, a USB Type-C connection – it supports the DisplayPort standard with 15W charging – two USB-A ports, and a USB-B slot.
The Good Stuff
When I first started gaming on the MSI Optix MAG321QR-QD, I’m impressed with the quality of the QHD IPS panel. Not only can it get quite bright with a peak brightness of 400 nits, it can produce punchy, vibrant colours as well – with wide viewing angles – to further enhance the gaming experience. The quantum dot layer certainly makes a difference here.
While we’re on the topic of panel quality, the MAG321QR-QD is actually quite decent for video editing, thanks to its (relatively) good colour accuracy. While I wouldn’t say it’s ideal for creative professional – this is a gaming-centric monitor, after all – it will be serviceable for more…casual editing, if you will.
Naturally, motion clarity of the MAG321QR-QD is also great, thanks to the high 170Hz refresh rate. As far as I can tell, the Nvidia G-Sync Compatible and AMD FreeSync Premium support can minimise screen tearing quite well too, even in fast-paced games.
Good response time is paramount for a gaming-centric monitor, and in the case of the MAG321QR-QD, it feels responsive enough to not hinder my gaming experience. Granted, I’m not a competitive gamer, but MSI’s quoted 1ms response time does seem to hold water here.
Adjustability of the MAG321QR-QD is reasonably good too. It has tilt, swivel, and height adjustments, though it cannot be pivoted. Nonetheless, it’s still quite easy to get a comfortable viewing angle with this gaming monitor.
Another feature that I really like about the MAG321QR-QD is its on-screen display (OSD). It uses a joystick on the back of the monitor to navigate through the menu, which is far more intuitive to use than buttons.
Overall, I really enjoy using the MAG321QR-QD for both gaming and general use; the RGB light bar on the back of the monitor is a nice touch too. That being said, this monitor does have some drawbacks that are worth highlighting.
The Bad Stuff
Ghosting is a bit of an issue with the Optix MAG321QR-QD. While I don’t notice it in my usual gaming sessions – again, I’m no professional gamer – slight ghosting can be seen in UFO Test’s ghosting tool. If you’re sensitive to ghosting, it’s worth keeping this in mind.
Aside from that, the unit I’m testing here does have a slight light bleed at the lower right corner of the screen. This is more pronounced in darker scenes, though it is not particularly bad by any means. Again, still a point worth highlighting.
My last qualm with the MAG321QR-QD is the lack of pivot adjustment. While this isn’t exactly an important feature for gaming, it would be nice to have the flexibility of using the monitor in portrait mode for different usage scenarios.
Is It Worth It?
All in all, I still think the MSI Optix MAG321QR-QD is an easy gaming monitor to recommend, especially for folks who are looking for a relatively large 31.5-inch QHD gaming monitor with a reasonably high 170Hz refresh rate. It may not have a sharp 4K resolution or a blazing fast refresh rate beyond 200Hz, but for only RM1,799, you’re getting good value for your money.
Plus, MSI is a very reputable brand in the PC hardware market, so you know you’re getting a solid product in the Optix MAG321QR-QD. You won’t have to worry about poor aftersales support either – the Taiwanese company is a very established brand, even in Malaysia.