Review | MSI MAG322CQR Curved Gaming Monitor

Back in 2019, we reviewed the MAG321CQR from MSI. A 32 inch, curved 1440P panel with 144Hz of refresh rate.

Fast forward to this date, we now have the MSI MAG322CQR. The much awaited update to the outgoing model. This one comes with a new VA panel with 165Hz refresh rate, a more aggressive curvature at 1500R and… that’s about it really.

Technical Specifications

Display
LCD Size 31.5″
Aspect Ratio‎ 16:9‎
Resolution ‎ 2560×1440
Refresh Rate 165Hz (Adaptive, AMD FreeSync Premium)
Pixel Pitch 0.2724mm
Brightness 300cd/㎡
Contrast ‎Ratio 3000:1‎‎
Panel Type‎ VA
Response Time‎ 1ms (MPRT)
Color Space 125% SRGB, 96% DCI-P3
Color Depth 10-bit (8-bit + 2FRC)
Backlight LED
Connectivity
Display Options‎ 1x DisplayPort 1.4, 2x HDMI 2.0, 1x USB Type-C
USB 2x USB 2.0 Type-A
Audio‎ 1x 3.5mm (Out)
Ergonomics
VESA Mount‎ 100x100mm
Pivot N/A
Swivel N/A
Tilt -5°/+20°
Lift 0-130mm
Dimensions
Length 710.4mm
Width 513.6mm
Height 266.5mm
Weight 7kg

Packaging and Accessories

MSI had the MAG322CQR packed inside a more environmental friendly packaging. The product should come with the following items inside:

  • Power cord (US)
  • Power cord (EU)
  • Power adapter
  • HDMI cable
  • DisplayPort cable
  • USB cable
  • VESA mounting screws
  • Quick start guide

Proper bundles we got here for the MSI display. What’s missing is a USB Type-C cable though.

Design, Layout and Build Quality

The MAG322CQR doesn’t look any different from the previous MAG models. That said, it still features a slim bezel design with the company’s signature stand design. This is a 32-inch display with a 0.2724mm pixel pitch.

MSI had the MAG322CQR equipped with an anti-glare coating. Not sure how hard the material is, but it is not as good as a 3H coating based on my experience. Still, this is enough for environments with a lot of light sources.

Ergonomics is a weak point of the MAG322CQR. You only got tilt and lift as a part of the package. Of course, you could sviwel it by adjusting the base but that’s too much for optimism. You may opt for a VESA mount in the future though.

Display and connectivity options are good – which is something I expected to see at this price point. I kinda wish we got dual DisplayPorts here though for daisy chaining. If you insist to use the feature, the USB Type-C port got you covered.

With its bulky lower half, you would think there’s enough room for a pair of speakers or an internal power adapter. Alas, power is external and audio output will depend on what kind of banger you could insert on the 3.5mm audio out port.

On-Screen Display Menu

OSD layout is pretty good, especially with the joystick in tow. Important statistics about the monitor are also displayed here. Now there are 3 important menus to watch out here, with the Gaming menu as the most important one for of course, gaming.

Gaming and Professional menus had their own presets so if you wanna use any of the presets found within the menus, the last preset you played with will be applied. The back light strobing feature (Anti Motion Blur) is found within both menus.

Now the image menu is where you play with the brightness, contrast, sharpness color temperature and even the screen size. Enabling presets will disable a few options here. For example, using the Designer preset from the Professional menu will disable Brightness and will lock it at 120 nits.

Test Setup and Methodology

Our test setup relies on the Blur Busters TestUFO Motion Tests and the Data Color Spyder5ELITE Display Calibration System. The cameras used throughout the review for the motion artifact and high speed assessments are the Fujifilm XE-1 and the Nikon 1 J1.

Test System Specifications
CPU Intel Core-i5 6600K
Motherboard ASUS Z170-A
Cooler Noctua NH-L9i
Memory ADATA Premier DDR4
GPU ASUS ROG Strix GTX 1060 OC
Storage Crucial BX200 480GB
Case Thermaltake Core P3
PSU CORSAIR RM850X
Display DELL U2715H
OS Microsoft Windows 10 Pro

Target for calibration is a 2.2 Gamma value, with a White Point at 6500K and a Brightness value set at 120 cd/㎡. Calibrated values are then analyzed with the Spyder5ELITE Display Analysis tool. Do note that Dynamic Contrast Ratio and other extra features built within the OSD are disabled during the tests. The following OSD values are selected for the display calibration.

OSD Settings
Brightness 55 / Designer
Contrast 70
Saturation N/A
Temperature Normal
Gamma N/A
Preset Professional > Designer

If you wish to use the calibrated ICC profile taken from our Spyder5ELITE result, just send us a message. You may also read our guide on how to use ICC profiles.

Color Gamut

The Color Gamut test evaluates the color space coverage of the display panel from industry standards such as sRGB and AdobeRGB. Higher percentage values are better.

Right off the bat, the MAG322CQR showcased a 100% sRGB and 88% AdobeRGb coverage result. DCI-P3 is about 94%. In line with MSI’s specifications.

Tone Response

Tone response is where we check the display panel’s Gamma and presets if there are any. We then compare the results with the industry standard Gamma level at 2.2. Closer to this value is better.

The MAG322CQR got a gamma level of 2.1 at the test. Could make it to 2.2, but we have to increase the contrast even more just to be able to do that.

Brightness

The test here will shows us an overview on how the display performs at its maximum brightness level. This is measured in nits or candela per square meter (cd/m2). Higher is better.

Panel brightness at 100% is rated at 297.6 cd/㎡ – which is pretty close to the specifications.

Contrast Ratio

Static contrast ratio is also tested. The test here will shows us how the display performs at its maximum contrast level measured in luminance ratio. Higher is better.

Static contrast ratio is the best we’ve seen so far – which says a lot with how this particular model handles dark areas. VA is still king when it comes to contrast ratio, I must say.

Screen Uniformity

This test shows us an overview of the display panel’s screen uniformity at maximum brightness level. The closer this value to 0, the better the quality of the panel.

Screen uniformity is pretty good. So good, it is the best VA panel we’ve tested as far as this test is concerned.

Color Accuracy

The color accuracy test shows how different basic color hues are reproduced by the display panel. These color tones corresponds with the Datacolor SpyderCheckr. Lower Delta-E values are better.

Color accuracy is another result the MAG322CQR secured at the top spot as far as VA panels and our list of monitors are concerned.

Power Consumption

The power consumption is checked with a power meter. Measurements are taken at maximum brightness and contrast levels.

Power consumption is about 46.8W at maximum brightness and contrast. Not really surprising for VA panels especially for its size.

Button to Pixel Input Lag

Our Button to Pixel Input Lag result is the combination of latency from the point of input, processing and display output. To quantify the display panel input lag, we utilized Quake 3 Arena as our main shooter. The game is set at the panel’s native resolution with the FPS locked at 250. We check how much delay in milliseconds it took the monitor to output the signal via a 1200 FPS high-speed camera with ~0.83ms of accuracy.

 

The MSI MAG322CQR has an average input lag of 9.7 ms. Faster than the older MAG321CQR model.

Motion Clarity: MPRT

Motion Picture Response Time (MPRT) is the numbered approach to demonstrate the level of perceived motion blur on a display. Basically, a lower persistence value indicates less motion blur. Refresh rate and the sampling method plays a major part here whereas a higher refresh rate nominally features better display persistence values.

These results are references to check out the theoretical MPRT values of a display. Head over to our Pursuit Camera test for the visual representation of the actual values.

Motion Clarity: Pursuit Camera

Setting up a pursuit camera courtesy of Blur Busters allows us to a great extent, perceive the actual motion clarity of the display. Using such method also allows us to check out motion artifacts including ghosting, inverse ghosting and blurring. This pursuit camera test is a peer-reviewed invention.

Now VA panels are not generally the best when it comes to motion artifacts and the MSI MAG322CQR is no exception. You have two options here. Use overdrive and expect excessive blurring or try back light strobing for less blurring at the expense of ghosting.

Blurring isn’t that noticeable with light activities such as browsing. Ghosting on the other hand is your number one enemy here even with strobing turned off. I expect gamers to turn off strobing outside gaming use  so there’s that as a consolation.

Avoid this monitor for competitive gaming.

Back light Bleed

Back light Bleed is the phenomenon where back lighting from a display leaks. This is prevalent with displays where LEDs used to light the panel are situated at the edges of the display. Testing the back light of the display is conducted on a dim room, simulating the recognizable amount of bleed for such scenario.

Back-light bleed is not a problem with this display. Pretty much uniform around the edges. Zero clouding too. A champ for 32 inchers.

Viewing Angles

Viewing angles are also tested to check out how the display panel performs at different positions or eye levels. This should be helpful if you are looking for a panel that could be used on multi-monitor setups.

Color shifting is barely noticeable with this VA panel but it is there. You shouldn’t care about it though, since you’ll start noticing it at the most extreme angles.

Frame Skipping

Frame Skipping is the phenomenon where dropped frames and missing refreshes occur due to ineffective refresh rate overclocking. We are are utilizing the Blur Busters Frame Skipping Checker to test if there is any. If your display exhibits such issues, it should be perceptually similar to in-game frame skipping.

No worries here when it comes to our frame skipping test. Everything’s smooth at 165Hz.

Software, Lighting and Special Features

The MSI MAG322CQR features an aggressive 1500R curvature which is something I would totally avoid for productivity when it comes to dealing with images and videos. A shame since the monitor offers excellent color accuracy and coverage. For gaming, 1500R is totally acceptable – tailor made for it, really.

Monitor-Technology-Demonstration-2018-(2)

On top of the 165Hz refresh rate, the MAG322CQR also supports AMD FreeSync Premium. That said, the display supports Low Framerate Compensation (LFC) with a tested range of 48-165Hz. LFC allows adaptive sync to compensate even if the framerate goes below the scanning rate. Meaning, it alleviates tearing even at low framerate moments.

Monitor-Technology-Demonstration-2018-(1)

As tested, the gaming monitor comes with back-light strobing in the form of MSI’s Anti Motion Blur option. It doesn’t work with FreeSync and HDR mode so keep that in mind.

Monitor-Technology-Demonstration-2018-3

Like many MSI gaming monitors, this one also supports the Gaming OSD. A value added software option to play with the display settings.

Final Thoughts

The MSI MAG322CQR is a much appreciated update to the older MAG321CQR. It features excellent color coverage, color accuracy and a contrast ratio appropriate for a VA panel.

Now while the quality of the VA panel is great as far as screen uniformity, viewing angles and back light bleed are concerned, ghosting is where it kinda went down hill. For casual titles, it is not a big concern personally speaking but if we are going to talk about competitive games, then I wouldn’t really recommend it. It’s already hard to play competitive titles at a 32 inch panel with a GPU hog 1440P resolution and the excessive ghosting just made it even worst. Perhaps the intended demographic of this display are casual gamers alone.

The MSI MAG322CQR comes with a price tag of 32,500. A viable curved VA option for those who are able to ignore its weakness and maximize its strong points.

TechPorn Awards 2018 (1)

MSI MAG322CQR

  • Performance - 8.5/10

    8.5/10

  • Build Quality - 8/10

    8/10

  • Features - 9/10

    9/10

  • Design - 9/10

    9/10

  • Value - 8.5/10

    8.5/10

8.6/10

Summary

The MSI MAG322CQR comes with a price tag of 29, 400 PHP. A viable curved VA option for those who are able to ignore its weakness and maximize its strong points.

Pros

  • Excellent color output
  • Excellent contrast ratio
  • Screen uniformity
  • Overall panel quality
  • AMD FreeSync Premium

Cons

  • Excessive ghosting
  • Limited ergonomics

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Colorful Graphics

2 Comments

  1. Good review and good to know that it’s a ph site. I’m leaning to buy this mainly for fps games, MW, BF. etc. Is the ghosting really that bad btw? Tia.

    • I’m searching the web for reviews of this monitor, witch is hard to find.
      And I must say that, the ghosting is very excessive, when comming from a BenQ monitor where everything looks crisp.
      I’m properly going to return the monitor

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Leo Bien Durana is the Owner and Chief Editor of TechPorn. A competitive PC gamer with a robust technical background. He usually breaks a lot of stuff though.