It would seem, how can you surprise with a monitor today? It turns out that it is very simple: you just need to put a matrix of an unusual format and non-standard hertz pattern, make a cool design and not overdo it with the price. This is exactly what MSI did with the Optix MAG301CR2 .
The model is usually supplied. Cardboard box with a bunch of Styrofoam inside and a full set of cables: HDMI, DisplayPort and 90W PSU. The monitor itself is parsed. The panel is separate, the stand and leg are separate. This business is going to be assembled quickly, but you cannot do without a screwdriver: for some reason, MSI remains faithful to all screws, and the support must be screwed on here. The same is with the VESA mount: the monitor is curved, and its mounting points are recessed deep into the body. Accordingly, to hang the panel on a wall or on some third-party rack, you need to use the supplied spacer screws. However, okay, this is nit-picking – and I’m ready to discard all of them for the design of this monitor.
Now, of course, pure taste will go, and you can disagree with it at all, but the MAG301CR2 designer really tried and adjusted everything to a single very strict style. The support on the table is sweeping, but at the same time thin and leaves a decent amount of free space. The stand itself is round and unobtrusive. Well, the panel is the height of minimalism. Charcoal black, slightly rough plastic. On the front side there are gray, unobtrusive inscriptions. Behind – the MSI logo barely noticeable burned out on the plastic and a stylish metal insert with the Optix inscription. At the same time, MSI even disguised the backlight here: it goes around the place of attachment to the rack, but in the disconnected state it is impossible to guess its presence at all.
The build level is also great. Although the case itself, like all similar displays, is thick, there is no feeling of hollowness in it. The plastic is dense, does not rattle when tapped and leaves, albeit completely unnecessary, but a pleasant feeling of a well-made thing.
This monitor’s stand is perhaps the most functional I’ve seen on a widescreen. As a rule, they are limited by adjustments in height and tilt angles around the horizontal axes. You can also turn it as you like: and in addition to turning it along the vertical axis, even a transfer to portrait mode was added. It looks mega-strange, and the panel itself is so long that it rests against the table in this position, but the very possibility is pleasant – and with its presence I will not even complain that all the ports here are looking down. And by the way, there are a lot of them here: for connecting sources there is Display Port 1.2, a pair of HDMI 2.0, USB Type-C, a headphone output and a pair of USB 3.0.
In principle, everything is also normal in terms of control. On the bottom edge are the power keys and launch the proprietary MSI Gaming OSD application . Menus and quick functions are suspended from a joystick behind the panel. For what exactly the movements to the sides will be responsible, you can decide for yourself: almost any function is allowed to hang there, except, oddly enough, the volume of the built-in DAC.
There are no special complaints about the menu itself. It is divided into several understandable groups: “Games”, “Professional”, “Image”, “Signal source”, “Navigation button” and “Settings”. Behind each is exactly what you expect to see under the appropriate name. The only thing you have to get used to is a bit strange logic of saving the settings. It always requires a confirmation click of the joystick for any changes.
As for the parameters themselves, in addition to the usual brightness, contrast and RGB ratio, there are a lot of gaming tricks. This is an alarm clock, so as not to sit out too much while playing, and a timer, and several presets for games of different genres, and highlighting dark zones, and a fixed sight. The latter, by the way, is adjusted not only in shape, but also in position, which is very useful in games in which the shot does not go clearly in the center. For example, in Escape from Tarkov, it goes below and to the right.
However, personally, I personally like in MSI monitors not so much the number of settings (they are all the same plus or minus), but the fact that all these parameters, including the RGB layout, are available through MSI’s proprietary Gaming OSD program, which allows you to create five profiles for any occasion and bind them to the launch of any program. For example, I hooked up the profile calibrated with the help of a colorimeter to Photoshop and Lightroom , and the settings with contrasts twisted and an exposed crosshair – to the Tarkov launcher. And this is really convenient: on my monitor, I repeatedly edited the photo in game mode by mistake, and, of course, everything had to be redone.
Now let’s talk about the main parameters. There is a matrix with a diagonal of 29.5 inches and a resolution of 2560×1080 – in other words, this is a 24-inch monitor elongated by a third. It comes with a 1500R curvature, which is considered ideal for long dies. At first you have to get used to such forms, but in general they are more convenient than conventional flat panels: the edges of the monitor are at the same distance from the eyes as the center, so there is no “big picture” effect. As a rule, only designers cannot master such bends: it is hard for them without straight lines.
Technically, the matrix is built on VA technology. The coating is matte, I personally did not notice the crystalline effect. Likewise with flares and Glow: the former are in a minimal amount along the lower edge, the latter appear only at non-standard viewing angles, and even then not much. But the colors fade noticeably when you deviate from the central position. And this applies to both horizontal and vertical displacement. In the latter case, however, the effect is only when viewed from above, and in real life we usually do not look at the monitor from such an angle.
As for the speed, the matrix officially holds an amazing 200 Hz for such a diagonal at 1 ms MPRT. Technically, I cannot measure the latter parameter directly, but according to UFO tests, the MPRT response is really impressive: 4.8 ms is one of the best indicators in recent years.
Unfortunately, this speed was not given for nothing. The sensor has a fairly high level of blurring, and a plume can be seen behind the objects. I cannot say that it is very annoying, but if you know where to look, then it is difficult to miss it. Also note that VA has one peculiarity in its work. Due to the pixel structure, VA blinks a little in dark images – this is especially noticeable when text is scrolling on a black background. Someone does not notice this at all, but for someone such an effect hits the eyes.
The color scheme is as follows. The matrix itself is eight-bit, but with an FRC filter, which greatly increases the color gamut. Based on our measurements, the screen covers 99.3% sRGB and 90.6% DCI-P3. In this case, after calibration, the average spread in colors is 0.55. This is not a record figure, but sufficient to work with both video and photos. It is interesting, by the way, that most of all the monitor is mistaken in the black gradations, although in terms of the contrast level it is very good and produces 1237.8: 1 with a black point of 0.1 cd / m22…
From the factory, however, there is no calibration. We measured the minimum delta using the Pro_Cinema setting, but it turned out to be higher than two. Immediately, we note that MSI has quite a few profiles created purely for games, and, nicely, they are all logically explained. For example, in the “shooters” mode, the brightness and contrast are increased, as well as the green level is lowered so that enemies do not get lost in the foliage. The panel also works with HDR content. Of course, at a basic level (changed contrast and expanded palette), but you can diversify the image.
Now for general impressions. At the level of office work, the matrix has a complaint only regarding the scrolling of dark backgrounds. In all other respects, it is no worse than older comrades in the shop. It is more convenient to work with a long monitor than with 16: 9, well, and tools for pulling and scaling windows over the area in place.
The games are similar. I can, of course, find fault with the fact that the monitor could be a little clearer on fast turns and more actively fight against duplication of objects, but this is the lot of e-sportsmen who still do not pay attention to long matrices. But I can praise MSI for its high-quality “night vision” system. This monitor really brightens the picture, be healthy, and in the same Tarkov night raids almost do not differ from daytime ones.
To summarize, the monitor is good. And first of all, due to the excellent combination of features and prices. The only thing that can somehow scare him away is the peculiarities of the VA matrix when working with dark backgrounds in Windows. As for the rest, no complaints at all. For 30,000 rubles, there is everything.
MSI Optix MAG301CR2
Diagonal: 29.5 inches
Resolution: 2560×1080, 21: 9
Scan Rate : 200Hz
Response Time: 1ms (MPRT)
Contrast: 3000: 1
: 300cd / m2 Curve Radius: 1500R
Color Gamut : 8bit + FRC
I / O ports: DisplayPort 1.2, 2x HDMI 2.0, USB Type-C (DP), 2x USB 3.2 Gen.1, 3.5mm jack
Dimensions: 70.3×51.2×2.9 cm
Weight: 5.8 kg
Price for August 2021: 30,000 rubles ($ 400)