While the Asus PG279QM (opposite) feels a little lacking in meaningful features for its high price, the same can’t be said of the MSI MPG321UR-QD. As well as an extra 5in of screen real estate, this 32in bruiser packs in a 4K resolution with a 144Hz refresh rate, quantum dot filter technology for boosted brightness and color range, plus it has a built-in KVM and even a mouse bungee.
This versatility is directly aimed at people who want to connect their PC and games consoles through a single big screen, with the KVM feature enabling you to easily switch between devices. The USB Type-C connection can also be used for video, making it easy to connect a laptop via a single cable.
It’s fantastic if you use so many devices, but if you only intend to use the screen for one desktop PC, there are cheaper ways to get a 4K 144Hz monitor. Also, considering the multi-device focus, it’s surprising there are no speakers.
The physical design is mostly black with a small strip of RGB lighting on the back – it’s simple, but not too garish. Meanwhile, the stand offers height, swivel and tilt adjustment, and there’s a 100 x 100mm VESA mount for monitor arms. The connections are arranged around the back, facing down, and include three USB uplink ports for distributing the KVM switch to your devices, along with four USB downlink ports for peripherals, two HDMI 2.1 ports (for 4K at 120Hz compatibility), one DisplayPort input and one USB Type-C port.
Also on the underside are holes to the left and right edges of the display, where you can attach the included mouse bungee for either left or right-handed use. It’s a useful addition for wired mouse users. The extensive menus are controlled via a mini joystick on the back that works well, or you can download the GamingOSD app to control them. The menus are so comprehensive that we found the display quite confusing to set up, so expect to spend a while searching through every option to work out what the display is doing.
You get an sRGB mode (with adjustable brightness) and a high gamut mode, along with an HDR option but, as HDR content is held back by just having 16 edge-lit backlight zones, you get no real-world contrast boost.
Overall image quality from the IPS panel is very good, with solid viewing angles, dazzling colors in high gamut mode and a decent color balance. The sRGB mode dips to only 92 per cent sRGB coverage, though, so looks a tad desaturated.
Gaming performance is also good, but not at the level of the Asus PG279QM. Its initial response time averaged 12.7ms at normal overdrive and 8ms at maximum overdrive. Combine these figures with the 144Hz refresh rate, and this monitor isn’t a top choice for esports, but it’s great for a 4K monitor. What’s more, that maximum overdrive came with almost no overshoot, so image quality remains excellent.
Screen size 32in Resolution 3,840 x 2,160 Panel technology IPS Maximum refresh rate 144Hz Response time 1ms (MPRT) Max brightness 400cd/m² SDR, 600cd/m² HDR Backlight zones 16 (edge-lit) Stated contrast ratio 1,000:1 Adaptive sync FreeSync and G-Sync Display inputs 1 x DisplayPort, 2 x HDMI, 1 x USB Type-C Audio Headphone out Stand adjustment Height, pivot, rotation, tilt Extras 100 x 100mm VESA mount, KVM with six USB 2 inputs and two USB 2 outputs, rear RGB lighting HDR standard VESADisplayHDR 600
MSI’s MPG321UR-QD is an impressive display, and worth its price for those that want to plug many devices into one big, 4K display. MSI really has left very few stones unturned to add all the features you might need, other than speakers and proper multi-zone backlighting for true HDR. For single-PC users, though, there are cheaper ways to get the same core 4K at 144Hz performance.
+ Pros + Excellent image quality + Solid gaming performance + Decent value
- Cons - Only edge-lit backlight zones - High price if you don’t need the KVM