MSI Optix MPG341CQR Curved Monitor Review
Published: 8th November 2019 | Source: MSI | Price: |
We know that the MSI Optix MPG341CQR isn't the first ultra-wide panel to come through the OC3D offices, but their visual impact never lessens. If you've spent the majority of your gaming career on a regular 16:9 panel then the difference it makes having your whole visual range filled cannot be overstated.
In fact we'd go so far as to say that it is as close to virtual reality without actually spending a huge amount of money on something that will probably give you motion sickness and certainly only has a handful of tech demo style games to recommend it. With the eye-filling width of the Optix you get the total immersion with none of the drawbacks. What we particularly like is that the resolution has been kept large enough to justify the girth, without pushing your system to its knees. With a 3440x1440 resolution it's only a million extra pixels - just under 5 million total - above a 2560x1440 display which shouldn't impact your performance too much, and certainly nothing like the 9 million of a 4K display. This frees up your GPU to push the 144Hz refresh rate that the MPG341CQR is capable of to its limits, thus bringing you more responsive gaming and a bigger chance of killing your opponent before they kill you.
Naturally our visual range has a certain limit. If you pay really close attention to your eyes you'll note that the 'in focus' section is much narrower than a whole screen and the extra width available from this 34 inch panel will lead to lots of screen space in your peripheral vision. By utilising a soft curve to the monitor - the C part of the lengthy model designation - it is brought closer to your eyes and thus giving you a more uniform viewing experience. It's one of the few times when a curve is a genuine solution to a problem rather than just something to put on the spec sheet. Additionally, whilst the screen hardly reflects anything thanks to its coating, the curve does diffuse any reflections that do exist in your gaming location, cleaning up the image in extreme scenarios. Perfect if you're stuck with a window behind you.
The quality of the image is excellent too. Yes there is a big visual impact from having such a large screen, but if the image was washed out or the screen suffered from heavy ghosting then all that impact is lost, but the MPG341CQR nailed it with bright colours, nicely saturated without pushing any particular hue to the fore, and the combination of the uniform backlighting and Night Vision mode really help keep the blacks black without losing any detail. It's a pseudo-HDR effect and it works very well. We know that many titles aren't overly happy with 21:9 resolutions and this is where the ability to split the monitor into two windows really helps. You can keep the 16:9 game on one side whilst leaving open your Discord window or whatever takes your fancy. There is support for the Steelseries Gamesense with the five RGB LEDs at the base of the monitor but the trouble with this, as is the case with all such game integration, is that their isn't a universal solution yet. Every manufacturer has their own take on the formula and there appears to be little desire for people to use the SDKs to build their own. Like DirectX this is a fantastic idea that desperately needs the industry to agree to one standard, so you aren't limited to whichever game developer has integrated it into a specific companies products but instead can benefit from all the titles.
It isn't only on screen that the Optix MPG341CQR is very flexible either. With an included Webcam stand, mouse bungee and headset hanger you can dispense with an awful lot of the detritus that builds up on your desk and have everything to hand. Admittedly the mouse bungee needs a bit of a redesign as the mounting isn't as sturdy as we'd like, but the webcam mount is spectacular and perfect for scare-cam streaming or holding on to your TrackIR receiver. Lastly the stand has a lot of adjustment available to it in height and tilt terms. Understandably with such a wide panel it doesn't support portrait mode, so those of you with an addiction to Cave SHMUPs will need to look elsewhere. But it every other regard it's a quality stand and it's so nice to have a monitor that doesn't have you immediately reaching for a third party option. Although with a price tag just north of £800 we'd hope that the supplied stand would be good.
The MSI Optix MPG341CQR has a great panel that really fills your vision and can give you the productivity of a multi-display setup on a single panel. With a good stand and lots of extra elements it's a perfect choice if you're feeling limited by a mere 16:9 display and wins our OC3D Gamers Choice Award.