MSI Creator Series PS321QR monitor review

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MSI Creator Series PS321QR monitor review

It'd designed for designers but do the impressive specs mean other users should consider it?

MSI’s Creator Series PS321QR monitor is a substantial monitor that’s primarily aimed at creative professionals – especially those working with video – but it has plenty of features to turn the heads of other users.

Design and features

From the front it looks like a typical, large, 32-inch, flat panel monitor although it can be augmented with an antiglare hood which magnetically snaps on to the top and sides. The rear has had some significant design efforts put into it in the form of contoured curves and an asymmetric, polychromatic light wheel that’s inspired by Asian calligraphy.

The colour wheel helps the MSI Creator PS321QR fit into cool design studios.

Performance

A core component of the PS321QR’s armament is the ‘Rapid IPS’ panel. This provides all of the colour benefits afforded by IPS panels but married to a high, 165Hz refresh rate plus a 1ms response time to keep all motion smooth. That’s better than many gaming monitors. It sports a UHD, 2,560 x 1,440 resolution and offers 178-degree viewing angles. It can swivel, tilt and rise in height to a generous degree but it won’t rotate at all. There’s a very thin hardware bezel surrounding the screen, but almost 1cm of black, dead space surrounding those edges which would impact on tiling – which few people will be bothered about when using monitors this size.

Being made for designers it can display a wide variety of colour gamuts including 99% RGB, 95% P3 and 99% sRGB. Each unit has been pre-calibrated in the factory to guarantee a colour fidelity rating of ∆E < 2. It supports Display HDR600 but this is a controversial rating that pretends to offer High Dynamic Range when it doesn’t really. It means that this panel can reach an impressive, peak brightness of 600 cd/m2. However, contrast is still impressive and has a 1,000:1 rating

Other features include PIP and PBP which makes it simple to switch between Picture-in-Picture (PIP) and Picture-by-Picture (PBP) when simultaneously viewing your creative content from multiple sources.

There are multiple image adjustments available curtesy of both the intuitive, rear-mounted joystick-button plus MSI’s Creator OSD app. These include many image preset modes, significant individual adjustments plus design aids like ruler, rule-of-thirds grids and paper-size guidelines.

In our tests, we were very impressed with the brightness, colour vibrance, accuracy and smooth motion in content such as the Costa Rica showreel. This also demonstrated impressive peak brightness without decimating detail in bright areas while simultaneously maintaining detail in shadows. Meanwhile, detail in shadows on dark screens was also impressive, as was demonstrated in this Darkest Hour test. However, while contrast performance was excellent, it noticeably didn’t offer the eye-popping, leap-out-the-screen effects that you get with proper, dedicated HDR panels.

When bright objects appear on black backgrounds there is some light bleeding in the form of a halo effect. This gets more noticeable in the edges and corners of the screen. However, it’s still very limited compared to most panels on the market – only OLED screens can really beat it. You’d have to be in a very dark room for letter box bars to appear distracting.

Connectivity options are superb. There are two HDMI 2.0b ports, one DisplayPort 1.2, one USB-C (DP) input, one USB-B 3.2 Gen 1 port plus three USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 ports (two are on the side). Also, on the side are two, 3.5mm audio jacks plus a full-size SD-card reader.

Key Specs of the MSI Pro MP241 24-inch curved monitor

32-inch, IPS technology, matte, flat panel, 2,560 x 1,440 resolution. 165Hz refresh rate. 99% RGB, 95% P3, 99% sRGB colour gamut coverage. 400cd brightness, 1,000:1 contrast ratio, VESA Certified DisplayHDR 600. 1ms GTG response time. 2x HDMI 2.0b, 1x DP 1.2, 1x USB-C (DP). 3x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1, 1x USB-B 3.2 Gen 1. 1x 3.5mm Mic-in, 1x 3.5mm Mic-out -5o/+20o Tilt, -35o/+35o Swivel, 0-100mm Height. 727 x 235 x 552mm. 13.1KG. Full specifications, here.

Conclusion

At $1,029 it’s not cheap for casual users or those who primarily want a high-quality gaming monitor but it’s very good value for a creative professional seeking high-end, all-round, graphical performance and features. If you don’t need full HDR, you can rest assured that the colour and contrast performance is still impressive – as is the motion-smoothing performance. These facets make it an attractive monitor to all potential purchasers but it’s fundamentally a great design tool which is what it set out to be.

Verdict
An attractive monitor to all potential purchasers but it’s fundamentally a great design tool for creatives.
Overall
Specs
$1029 AUD
32-inch, IPS technology, matte, flat panel, 2,560 x 1,440 resolution. 165Hz refresh rate. 99% RGB, 95% P3, 99% sRGB colour gamut coverage. 400cd brightness, 1,000:1 contrast ratio, VESA Certified DisplayHDR 600. 1ms GTG response time. 2x HDMI 2.0b, 1x DP 1.2, 1x USB-C (DP). 3x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1, 1x USB-B 3.2 Gen 1. 1x 3.5mm Mic-in, 1x 3.5mm Mic-out -5o/+20o Tilt, -35o/+35o Swivel, 0-100mm Height. 727 x 235 x 552mm. 13.1KG.
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