Monday, August 15, 2022
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Smooth Performance From a Curved Display – Review Geek


Rating:
8/10
?

  • 1 – Absolute Hot Garbage
  • 2 – Sorta Lukewarm Garbage
  • 3 – Strongly Flawed Design
  • 4 – Some Pros, Lots Of Cons
  • 5 – Acceptably Imperfect
  • 6 – Good Enough to Buy On Sale
  • 7 – Great, But Not Best-In-Class
  • 8 – Fantastic, with Some Footnotes
  • 9 – Shut Up And Take My Money
  • 10 – Absolute Design Nirvana

Price: $380

MSI MPG ARTYMIS 273CQR monitor on desktop next to peripherals and VR headset
Marcus Mears III / Review Geek

When microseconds are the difference between game-winning plays and heart-wrenching throws, it pays to have hardware that can keep up. MSI’s MPG ARTYMIS 273CQR monitor stands at the ready, boasting a 165Hz refresh rate, 1ms response time, and a curved 27-inch 2K display.

Here’s What We Like

  • Extremely-smooth performance
  • Display adjustability
  • Design accents
  • Easy customization

And What We Don’t

  • Cumbersome base
  • Curve can get in the way

My grievances are few and far between with this monitor, but those that exist may be a deal breaker for some. Let’s get into the review.

Setup: Ready in Just a Few Steps

The included quick start guide helps move things along during the setup phase. Make sure to follow the wise tip MSI offers for damage-free assembly: leave the monitor lying face down in the styrofoam packaging as you connect the stand to the back of the display.

Now, place the stand horizontally such that it aligns with all four screw holes and screw it in to mount it to the display. Once all screws are installed, pop the black plastic cover on to hide them and you’re all set.

With your MPG ARTYMIS 273CQR standing tall, use the wide angle of rotation and vertical adjustability offered to position the screen where it’s most comfortable for you.

Once your stand is connected and you’ve got a good idea of where the monitor will sit, it’s time to get everything connected to your computer.

Connectivity

MSI MPG ARTYMIS 273CQR port selection
Marcus Mears III / Review Geek
  • AV Ports: 1x DP (1.2a), 2x HDMI (2.0b), 1x USB Type-C (DP Alternate Mode)
  • Other Ports: 3.5mm audio jack, 2x USB-A, 1x USB-B
  • Compatibility: PC, Mac, PS5, PS4, Xbox, Mobile, Notebook

The MPG ARTYMIS 273CQR has ports for everyone. Around the back side of the monitor, facing the ground, you’ll find a power jack (for the external 20V power block), a DisplayPort, two HDMI ports, and one USB-C port for audio and video connections. There’s also a 3.5mm audio jack, 2 USB-A ports, and 1 Upstream (USB Type-B) port for any PC peripherals.

While ports that face towards the ground (rather than a wall) are great for keeping cables neatly routed, they can be a major pain to get a cord plugged into. I found the most effective solution was to lift the monitor to its apex height, use my phone flashlight to see what I was doing, and then connect the cable using my left hand.

Once you have it set up, it’s not an issue. But if you move from desk to desk or setup configuration to configuration, reconnecting these cables gets annoying quickly.

I’ll talk more about the buttons and other features present on the exterior in the next section.

Design and Display: The Looks Fit in, But Does it Fit on Your Desk?

MSI MPG ARTYMIS 273CQR monitor display panel
Marcus Mears III / Review Geek
  • Panel size: 27in
  • Panel type: VA
  • Surface treatment: Anti-glare
  • Curvature: 1000R
  • Dimensions: 23.9 x 10.27 x 20.74in (607.1 x 260.9 x 527.8mm)
  • Resolution: 2560×1440 (WQHD)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9
  • Brightness: 550 Nits

This is a gaming monitor. If the 165Hz refresh rate doesn’t give it away, the RGB lighting and carbon fiber accents should be enough to distinguish it from your typical office display. These stylistic choices, however, are only present on the backside; the front of the monitor is made up of a low-profile matte black casing, razor-thin bezels that provide a frameless display, and a simple white LED at the bottom right that lets you know whether your monitor is currently on or in sleep mode.

To the left of that LED, in the middle of the frontside exterior, is the light sensor the MPG ARTYMIS 273CQR uses to dynamically shift brightness levels and color coding according to your environment. This is a nice touch that can help reduce eye strain during way-too-late gaming sessions that you know should come to an end when the birds start chirping their good mornings.

Above this bottom bezel is the 27-inch QHD display capable of 2560x1440p DisplayHDR 400 output. It’s beautiful. If you’re coming from a 1080p display, be prepared, you will never want to look back. Coming from a 4K display daily driver, I wasn’t all that thrilled about losing out on the extra pixel density. But I must say, the high refresh rate compared to my usual 60Hz absolutely makes up for the loss in image quality when you’re playing competitive games. I’ll talk more about this in the next section on performance.

The 1000R curve is hard to miss. It curls the display’s left and right ends towards the middle so you don’t have to crane your neck around for the best view. This does make it easier to see the entire screen at once when looking head-on, but the viewing angle becomes a little problematic if you’re planning to keep this monitor on the side of your main display.

Located on the right-side edge is the headphones hanger, ready to pop out and keep your headphones (or, in my case, an Oculus Rift S) neatly organized when you need them and easy to hide away when you don’t.

Moving around to the back, you’ll probably notice the RGB lighting first and foremost. While I can’t say it takes away from the monitor, and I don’t dislike it, I don’t understand why it’s there. You won’t see this RGB at all when you’re using the computer, and webcams in streaming setups typically capture from the front of the display forward towards the streamer. It’s too dark to act as backlighting if put against a wall.

To me, it’s wholly unnecessary. But if you need RGB on every item in your setup, the MPG ARTYMIS 273CQR delivers. One neat thing you can do with it, however, is sync it up to your other RGB-lit MSI gear. I decided to sync it up to my MSI GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Gaming X Trio, and it worked perfectly using MSI Center’s Mystic Light tool.

At the bottom right-hand corner of the backside exterior is the ARTYMIS 273CQR’s set of two control buttons, one for power and one macro key, as well as a mini joystick used for navigating the on-screen Settings menu. Cross to the opposite side and you’ll find a Kensington Lock for an extra layer of security.

Underneath it all is the monitor’s stand, a pain point from where I sit. While it does a magnificent job keeping everything mounted and secure, it takes up too much space for its own good. The feet extend out quite far in all directions, even when compared to my larger ViewSonic XG3220 32-inch 4K display.

This can make it tough to position your keyboard and mouse where you want them, and if you use a dual- or triple-monitor setup, it’s almost guaranteed you’ll have to do some repositioning to make this monitor fit. It’s definitely not impossible, but it is mildly frustrating.

On the other hand, the stand does offer an excellent range of adjustability in verticality and rotation.

In all, the MPG ARTYMIS 273CQR is expertly designed for style, comfort, and clarity—save for the unwieldy base.

Performance: Seriously Smooth

  • Refresh Rate: 165Hz
  • Response Time: 1ms (MPRT)

With a refresh rate of 165Hz, I’d argue the MPG ARTYMIS 273CQR is all the performance you’ll need, unless you’re actively competing in eSports tournaments or in-house leagues (in which case you may even want to opt for something with a 240Hz refresh rate). Especially if you’re coming from 60Hz, even 120Hz will make a world of difference.

It’s tough to picture if you’ve only ever played at 60Hz, but transitioning to 165Hz (or 144Hz, which is where I usually kept the monitor during gaming sessions) removes lag you didn’t know was there. It’s like moving your Windows installation from a hard drive to a solid state drive, you can’t go back to the way it was before.

Do you even need the performance that comes with a high-end monitor’s price tag, though? For many games, particularly heavily story-driven or single-player titles, 60Hz is perfectly fine. I even preferred playing Red Dead Redemption 2 on my 60Hz 4K monitor for the upgraded picture quality.

But when you want to compete against the best or climb the ranked-game ladder, exceptional performance pays dividends. A high refresh rate won’t turn you into a professional overnight, but you’ll notice that you can hit shots you previously couldn’t, spot enemies before they see you, and land frame-perfect ability timings. This is, of course, if you have a PC or console that can handle it.

If you get less than a consistent 165 FPS in the games you intend to play, you won’t utilize the full potential of the monitor’s refresh rate. But for easier-to-run, massively-popular competitive games like Counter Strike: Global Offensive, League of Legends, DOTA 2,  and Rocket League, most setups can crank out the 144+ FPS required to justify tacking on the MPG ARTYMIS 273CQR, even if they can’t quite eek out the full 165 FPS.

Now your games run smooth as silk, but do they look how you want them to? If you want to brighten up dark corners in Escape from Tarkov or give everything a warm hue, check out the available customization options.

Customization: Simple to Navigate, Options Abound

MSI monitor customization options for MPG ARTYMIS 273CQR
Marcus Mears III / Review Geek

First things first, make sure you manually set the refresh rate to whatever you want it to be. By default, it’s set to 60Hz (and your resolution may be lower than 2K). To do so on a Windows machine with an NVIDIA card, right-click on the desktop and select “NVIDIA Control Panel.” Then, under “Change Resolution,” adjust to your preferred settings.

Now, using the navigation joystick on the back right of the monitor, click it in to bring up the menu. Navigate the menus using the joystick and push it in to select the option you’ve highlighted. Here, you can change color temperatures to preset profiles like RTS and Racing, apply a smart crosshair (which always displays in a color that contrasts with the object you’re looking at), adjust HDR settings, PIP (picture-in-picture) settings, and much more.

The MPG ARTYMIS 273CQR is also AMD FreeSync-compatible (though I can’t test it on my NVIDIA GPU) if you want even less screen tearing—you can edit these settings in the customization menu as well.

These customization settings can be a real hit-or-miss situation, with nearly-impossible-to-navigate menus being all too common. This gaming monitor makes it simple to find what you want and get there, though.

You can even customize the joystick’s up, down, left, and right movements to quickly open settings you tend to adjust often (like smart crosshair and color grading). The MPG ARTYMIS 273CQR’s customization options make it easy to game the way you want to.

Should You Buy the MSI MPG ARTYMIS 273CQR?

If you’re looking to upgrade from 1080p to 1440p, and you want a high refresh rate for competitive gaming, I can easily recommend the MSI MPG ARTYMIS 273CQR gaming monitor. The only time I’d have a hard time doing so is if you’re low on space in your setup and can’t accommodate the wide base and curved display.

Otherwise, this monitor has it all (as long as you’re not looking for 4K). A competitive price point, speedy 165Hz refresh rate, customization options, and adjustability for the perfect viewing angle.

If it’s 4K you’re after, you may want to look to the Optix MPG321UR QD model from MSI. While this display isn’t curved and offers a slightly-lower 144Hz refresh rate, it comes with a huge boost to image quality.

Otherwise, you can pick the ARTYMIS 273CQR up today for $499.99 (and it’s regularly, heavily discounted). Be on the lookout for any deals that take this monitor from a fantastic choice to a must-have.

Here’s What We Like

  • Extremely-smooth performance
  • Display adjustability
  • Design accents
  • Easy customization

And What We Don’t

  • Cumbersome base
  • Curve can get in the way





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