MSI Optix MAG251RX Review in 2021

The OPTIX MAG251RX is the best 240Hz 1ms monitor. MSI Optix MAG251RX Review discusses this monitor in detail. If you want to know everything about this monitor, this analysis will give you a complete idea about the monitor.

The MSI Optix MAG251RX is the e-sports gaming monitor par excellence from the Taiwanese manufacturer for enthusiasts. He proposes a device with a fairly compact 24.5-inch IPS Full HD panel with no less than 240 Hz and 1 ms response.

But its features do not stop here since it also supports HDR 400, AMD FreeSync compatible with G-Sync, and even has a USB Type-C port as a video connection. All this with good image quality and perfect gaming performance without ghosting or other artifacts cloud the experience. So, if you want to know this monitor in-depth, we invite you to stay in this analysis. Let us begin!

Before we begin, we thank MSI for their trust in us by temporarily lending us this monitor for in-depth analysis.

MSI Optix MAG251RX technical characteristics

MSI 24.5” FHD (1920 x 1080) Non-glare with Super Narrow Bezel 240Hz 1ms 16:9 HDMI/DP/USB Height Adjustment G-Sync Compatible IPS Gaming Monitor

MSI 24.5” FHD (1920 x 1080) Non-glare with Super Narrow Bezel 240Hz 1ms 16:9 HDMI/DP/USB Height Adjustment G-Sync Compatible IPS Gaming Monitor


Among its main features, We find

  • Display Type: LED
  • Screen Size: 24.5 inches
  • Color: Black
  • Aspect ratio:  16:9
  • Resolution: FHD 1080p Ultra Wide
  • Refresh Rate: 240Hz 
  • Response Time: 1ms
  • Weight: 11.90 lbs
  • Dimensions: 22 x 2.3 x 13.3 inches
  •  Brightness: 400 nits
  • Contrast : 1000:1‎‎

Unboxing

We begin the analysis of the MSI Optix MAG251RX gaming monitor by unboxing it first. The presentation consists of a thick cardboard box that is quite compact in measurements but considerably thick. This time we only have a black silkscreen on the neutral color of the cardboard, being a little more basic than expected, but not bad for that. In it, it is possible to see the information of its key characteristics.

Without much else to see outside, we will open the box on the upper side, thus extracting a package formed by two sandwich-shaped expanded polystyrene cork molds. The monitor comes disassembled in three pieces, along with all the extra accessories it brings.

Unboxing of MSI Optix MAG251RX
Unboxing

This time in the bundle, it should have the following:

  • MSI Optix MAG251RX Monitor
  • External power supply and plug cord
  • DisplayPort cable
  • HDMI cable
  • USB Type-B to Type-A connector for data and software
  • 4x Wall Mount Adapters
  • 2x Screws for mounting the bracket and cover caps
  • User and startup guide

In this case, MSI has included two cables for the main video connections but has omitted the USB-C cable for the third type of connections that we have available. And it seems that it is not optional either according to the information provided by the support guide, so for the rest, we do have everything expected.


Bracket design and mounting

The MSI Optix MAG251RX monitor will arrive disassembled and divided into 3 pieces: the support base, the support arm, and the screen itself. To carry out the assembly, we will need a star screwdriver.

This time it is a monitor of a size that we could consider quite compact. And with a 24.5-inch screen, can we reduce the width of the base a bit without losing stability. This is what MSI has done since, instead of the typical “V” legs; it has opted for a rectangular base measuring 250 mm wide by 175 mm deep. It consists of a fairly thick metal chassis with a matte black plastic casing with a slight roughness to the touch. It is well built, but its design is a bit basic and simple.

Bracket design and mounting of MSI Optix MAG251RX
Bracket design and mounting

In this way, we go to the support arm, which has a hydraulic raising and lowering mechanism that, of course, uses a metal chassis for maximum durability. Like the base, it has a thick and rough plastic casing of very good thickness. There is no lack of a hole in the lower area to pass the cables, as well as a coupling mechanism with two teeth, and fixing using a single screw that we can thread manually.

It is the final support on which will fix the screen of the MSI Optix MAG251RX. It is a VESA 100 × 100 mm variant with quick coupling. It consists of two tabs that will fix the upper part, accompanied by two screws for the lower fixation. In this case, we do not have an even faster and screwless click system, although the truth is that it offers more guarantees and better fixation. This monitor will be compatible with universal VESA arms, such as joint mounting with other monitors and multi-screen configuration for simulators.


The final appearance and screen design on MSI Optix MAG251RX Review

And once assembled, this is the aspect that our MSI Optix MAG251RX presents, in which its compact measurements and good mobility undoubtedly stand out; in short, that’s what it was designed for. Not all users need 27-inch gaming monitors; even this size will come in handy for triple screen mounting, use with laptops, or simply because we like this diagonal better where we can control the entire surface without moving our head.

Final appearance and screen design of MSI Optix MAG251RX

Nor are we going to have any curvature, making the necessary depth for its installation to be about 180-200 mm. The design is designed so that the base at no time protrudes from the screen; in fact, it stays exactly in line when we place the screen completely vertical. The lowest position of the screen will be about 4.5 cm from the ground.

The design of frames does not disappoint, and the manufacturer has reduced them to the minimum expression in the lateral and upper areas. We only have the strict 3 mm physical frame to contain the screen, adding the 5 mm of the frame integrated into the image panel. The bottom edge frame is physical and measures about 2.3mm, also very tight compared to other monitors. MSI has done a great job designing and optimizing this MSI Optix MAG251RX, always prioritizing pure performance, which is ultimately what a user will look for when buying this equipment.

But we have the odd gaming flash in its design, more specifically in the back area. Although it only serves as decoration. According to the image, we have a Mystic Light LED lighting area in the left area, specifically in the darkest diagonal line. Its basic management will be done from software, although we can turn it off directly from the OSD menu. Of course, it does not serve as a backlight since its light output is very low, although the LED density must be very good, judging by the smooth color transition.

This entire rear area will be presented in a large, thick plastic casing, in matt black and with the same roughness as the rest of the set. The truth is that the footprints are quite marked, and we must keep them clean to show off the MSI logo and the “Gaming E-Sports” identifier located on the right. Lastly, the upper edge features a grille for ventilation of the internal hardware, although this time, we do not have the integrated power supply.

Fair ergonomics for its size

We do not stray too far from the design section because we still have to see the mobility offered by the MSI Optix MAG251RX, which in this case will be a bit fair with the factory support.

Fair ergonomics of MSI Optix MAG251RX

So there will be two degrees of freedom that we have on the screen. The first of these, of course, is the possibility of vertical movement in a fairly wide range of 130 mm thanks to the integrated hydraulic mechanism. This section is usually the maximum available on a monitor of this style, so we cannot complain.

The next degree of freedom is given directly by the support mechanism, which allows us to adjust its vertical orientation. Has free movement in the Y-axis 5 or down and 20 or upwards. In this way, we can adjust the panel’s orientation depending on the relative height of our head in it.

But we expected a little more, and we will not have available the possibility of rotating the screen, nor the orientation in the Z-axis as horizontal movement. We believe that for its sale price and for what it is built, the second possibility would be necessary.

Connectivity

What we found about the connectivity of this monitor is detailed in the MSI Optix MAG251RX Review. We have already seen almost everything this MSI Optix MAG251RX offers us in terms of exterior design, but we have not seen the port panel yet. This is located in the back area and looking down as usual. In it, we will find the majority of ports:

Connectivity of MSI Optix MAG251RX
Connectivity
  • 1x Display Port 1.2a
  • 2x HDMI 2.0
  • 1x USB Type-C with DisplayPort support
  • 1x 3.5mm jack for audio output
  • 3x USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A (side)
  • 1x USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-B for data and software
  • DC-IN power jack at 19V @ 3.42A
  • Kensington slot for universal lock (on the outside)

It is undoubtedly a fairly complete port panel, with up to 4 video connections available to the user and three different types. It is possible to achieve the maximum possible performance at Full HD resolution 1920x1080p @ 240 Hz with all of them. All will be compatible with the implemented technologies, such as HDR, FreeSync, or Flick-Free.

As for the data, the connectivity section is also a good detail to include 3 USB ports, although these are 2.0 instead of 3.0 and therefore a little more basic. The best of all is their location since they are located in the lateral area with perfect accessibility to connect peripherals. The data connection to the PC is also made with another USB-B 2.0, which will be necessary to manage it from the MSI Gaming OSD software that we will see later.


Screen Features

We continue the analysis of the MSI Optix MAG251RX, seeing in detail all the sections of its screen characteristics, functions, and of course, the quality of its calibration. Despite being only 24.5 inches, you will see that its power is considerable.

Screen Features of MSI Optix MAG251RX

This time we have an IPS LCD type panel capable of offering us a Full HD resolution at 1920x1080p, in a 16: 9 image format. This time it does not have a curved design, and it would not make much sense for its size since it is better in the 27 ”. In any case, it will be a very valid option also for multi-screen or simulators in which the user wants an extra fluidity.

And is that this IPS panel delivers a refresh rate of 240 Hz with a response of 1 ms GTG to offer the user the maximum possible performance without image artifacts such as ghosting or tearing. It also implements AMD FreeSync dynamic refresh technology with certification of compatibility with Nvidia G-Sync, something that we have verified with positive results.

It is one of the fastest IPS panels on the market, waiting for the 300Hz ones to come out, with the obvious benefit that IPS technology offers over TN regarding viewing angles and color. In this case, we have a range of 178 or vertically and horizontally to a panel capable of delivering 1000: 1 and 400 nits brightness certified DisplayHDR 400. This is not very common in a 240 Hz panel, and it will be from the game where we can activate the function as long as it is compatible or through an image mode in the OSD.

In terms of color characteristics, we also have quite good performance when using a 10-bit depth, although, in reality, it will be 8 bits + FRC palette to give a total of 1.07 billion colors. This brings the color coverage to 107% in sRGB in absolute terms and 84% in DCI-P3. Finally, as basic features, we have flicker-free technology to avoid flickering and an excellent anti-glare finish on the panel.

It has specially adapted functions for games, such as custom crosshairs for shooting games, image modes specially designed for gaming and HDR, and OverDrive selection or response time in three levels of speed. Added to this is a night vision mode that modifies the gamma to overexpose especially dark sections. Later, we will see the integrated OSD menu offers and the MSI management software for the operating system.


Color testing and calibration

MSI Optix MAG251RX review now, we will analyze the calibration characteristics of the MSI Optix MAG251RX, verifying that the manufacturer’s technical parameters are met. For this, we will use the X-Rite Colormunki Display colorimeter and the free programs HCFR and DisplayCal III. Likewise, we will verify the properties with the sRGB and DCI-P3 color space, finally performing a calibration.

Flickering, Ghosting and other artifacts

We have made use of all the functions that this MSI Optix MAG251RX includes to evaluate the panel’s performance by looking for image artifacts with TestUFO. We have configured the test at 960 pixels per second and separated 240 pixels between the UFOs, always with a Cyan background. The images taken have been made with UFO tracking at the same speed as they appear on the screen to capture the ghosting trail they may leave behind.

The camera also introduces some blur, so we should not take what the sensor picks up at face value, but much more what our eyes perceive.

This time we have screenshots of the test in normal, fast, fastest response modes, and a quarter without using FreeSync. The common factor in all of them is that we have not detected ghosting in this panel, seeing a perfectly defined image, which if it weren’t for the blur that the camera introduces, it would be perfect. We can detect a small, lighter halo behind the ufo with the faster response mode that indicates some ghosting. Still, it is so slight and not very visible that it compensates for the minimal black trail of the other captures and the definition of the image.

It is one of the best panels that we have seen in this type of test results. In addition, it has impressive fluidity and absolutely no tearing when using FreeSync, obtaining perfect image transitions due to the excellent response time. It is certainly a worthy exponent for e-sports in this regard, so let’s see if it also delivers on image and color quality.

Contrast and brightness

The contrast and brightness of the 240Hz 1ms monitor are discussed in detail in this MSI Optix MAG251RX Review. For the brightness tests of the MSI Optix MAG251RX, we have used 100% brightness in “user” image mode.

For now, the performance does not look bad since we obtain a maximum brightness of 408 nits even using HDR in the image. As for the black depth is also quite good at not exceeding 0.4 nits, thus delivering a contrast greater than 1000: 1. On the other hand, both the gamma value and the color temperature are very well adjusted to the idea of 2.2 and 6500K, respectively.

Regarding the uniformity of the panel, we have a maximum difference between the brightest point and the least of only 46 nits, so we can conclude that it is very good. At the same time, it is true that in the upper section, the Delta UL exceeds 2, not being as excellent as the rest of the panel, although it is something that affects the visual experience little.

SRGB color space

Moving on to verify the coverage in the two main spaces, we have a relative value of 96% and an absolute value of almost 113%, thus exceeding the records set out in the specifications. Of course, it does not cover the entire triangle in the two lower edges, but it is not something important to play.

The verification of colors in this space has given us an average Delta E of 2.3. However, there are saturated colors such as red or blue that are not perfect, coinciding with what was previously seen on the sRGB triangle. In any case, they are excellent results for the panel, and it is also demonstrated in the HCFR curves with a good fit to what is considered ideal.

DCI-P3 color space

We moved to the more demanding DCI-P3 space, giving us a relative coverage of almost 79% and absolute coverage of 80%, this time remaining below that specified by MSI. Again we must stress that they are good results for a gaming monitor since this concerns more designers. It’s a good way to see the technical quality of the panel.

As expected, the average Delta E rises, but very little to 2.6, being even better than we expected. Surely with profiling and calibration, we will adjust everything a little more.

Calibration

Finally, we have performed profiling and calibration of the MSI Optix MAG251RX to see if we improve those results in the color spaces. These are the new values.

Check out what good results we have obtained after calibrating in sRGB, reducing the Delta to 0.5, and nailing all the colors to perfection. In the same way, in DCI-P3, this value has also been improved to less than 2, although there are still unattainable extremes in reds and blues.


OSD menu

Let’s now see everything that the configuration menu of the MSI Optix MAG251RX has to offer us, which we can control easily and intuitively from the joystick located in the right rear region of the monitor.

The control allows movement in the four cardinal points, as well as inward pulsation for selection. There is only one other button dedicated to turning the equipment on and off, located on the lower right edge. These will be the quick menus that we can draw at each point:

  • Above: Picture mode selection from the list of presets
  • Bottom: Crosshair selection for games
  • Left: Wake-up mode with time selection
  • Right: Video input selection, between HDMI, DisplayPort, and USB Type-C

And by pressing in, we will get the main menu divided into 6 different sections. In the first of them, we have, as usual, the essential options for gaming, such as image mode, night vision for dark areas, OverDrive, refresh rate counter on the screen, and activation or cancellation of FreeSync. It will not be possible to modify the Hz of the screen from here but from the graphics card’s control panel.

The next section has other image enhancement functions that are not as important as the previous ones. However, it will allow us to place the HDR mode among other predefined configurations. In the image section, we have everything you need for color control; there is nothing relevant in this regard. Nor is there it in the rest of the menus, although in the last one, we will find options to deactivate the RGB, modify the OSD and display information on the screen.

These options are complemented by those added in the MSI OSD Gaming software, which we can download from the MSI support section. To use it, we need to have the monitor’s USB-B connected to the PC.

This program is one of the complete manufacturers offer for their monitors, although Gigabyte / AORUS is at a similar level. In the main window, we find a large list of predefined image modes with a complete configuration covering many sections. The best of all is that we can choose the parameters at will in each of them and use them whenever we want independently. What’s more, we can even create our profiles, which in the case of using Nvidia GPUs, we have a predefined one such as Ray Tracing.

The configuration options are further extended on the right side, where the screen can be divided into regions to sort the open applications. Please note that this is not a PIP or PBP mode, as this monitor does not support it. In the tools panel, we have other settings for mouse, power, on-screen keyboard, and access to other Windows functions.


Use experience

At this point, we believe that the strengths of this MSI Optix MAG251RX are quite clear, but after a few days of using it, it is worth giving our point of view and the experience it has given us.

Multimedia

Of course, we have used this monitor to watch the odd movie or series in our rest periods. And of course, here are two points of view: those who have never tried a larger monitor will be delighted by the fluidity of this equipment, especially if we play clips at 60 Hz, which would be normal.

But if we come from a larger monitor, obviously inexperienced and immersion, it cannot compete as it is a 24.5-inch panel. A point in its favor is having HDR and a good brightness power, which will go up whole in the image experience, but it is not exactly an eye-catching HDR. Perhaps integrated speakers would have come in handy for those who settle for something ordinary and versatile.

Games

In games, there is no doubt that it is a beast, and in this case, the size will not be a deciding factor when going to the taste of each user. If 27 inches still make us move our heads to the corners while we play, at 24 inches, this will become unnecessary. In this way, our view will respond more quickly to game events, and you will be able to see the HUD bars at the ends and corners at all times, which is useful in FPS and MOBA.

Response time and frequency make both ghostings and blurring virtually nil, and image definition are substantially improved even with highly detailed scenarios. The Full HD resolution in this panel generates a good pixel density and speeds up our hardware’s work to squeeze the frames per second.

Another decisive factor for acquiring this monitor is transporting it without many problems wherever we go to compete. It is always an advantage to have our hardware in gaming events or online competitions, and the size here will play in its favor. Having quite tight frames allows it to be used in multi-screen setups where fluidity to size is a priority, for example, for racing simulators, although a curved panel here would give a little extra.

In our particular case, the experience and fluency are worthwhile and are worth trying if we are dedicated to e-sports. Although perhaps a 27-inch panel for solo play is the most recommended for immersion. Again the great power of brightness, HDR function, and MSI’s OSD software will be very interesting to put it to our liking.

Design / work / daily use

It is not an option for design, and despite being IPS, we would be wasting its potential. Although it offers good image quality, the spaces do not cover them completely, and the size is not the most suitable for image processing or design work.

We are more or less in the same; we would waste its potential if we are amateur-level gamer users. There are cheaper options, the same size, and with 120 or 144 Hz, we would be more than enough.


Final words and conclusion about the MSI Optix MAG251RX

We are putting an end to the analysis of this gaming monitor specialized in e-sport, making our final assessment.

If we have learned something from it, it is the raw power it has and how well optimized it is; we would say that it is one of the best 24.5-inch gaming monitors that we have tested. Not only is it 240 Hz and 1 ms response, but the great build quality of the panel to give a perfect image without bleeding, tearing, ghosting, or any other factor that alters the experience.

All this is accompanied by obvious improvements such as FreeSync, DisplayHDR 400, or a perfect calibration and color coverage to be a gaming panel. MSI knows how to choose quality panels, as the 240Hz displays of the new generation of notebooks are similar. We have been surprised by the great color coverage and the margin for improvement after calibration with a colorimeter.

A complete OSD menu is available to the user, making it better than the Gaming OSD software for Windows. It supports many customizable picture modes and peripheral support thanks to the USB ports, although we would have liked it to be 3.0 instead of 2.0. We also appreciate having USB-C with DP support to increase the connection possibilities.

As for design, it is perhaps its weakest point since it is something basic in aesthetics, although well built. Its size has little ergonomics for the user, and although it has lighting, it is merely decorative and not very useful.

If we think about the benefits it delivers, it is quite a logical cost, but we can say that for being 24.5 inches, perhaps it is a bit high. In any case, it is one of the best in performance for e-sports, and those who belong to the gaming world will know how to take advantage of it and take advantage of it, not only for fun.

Advantage

  •   Gross power for E-sports.
  • Perfect image experience without ghosting or other articles.
  • The benefits in angles and image of an IPS.
  • Management from software gaming OSD.
  • USB connectivity for peripherals.

Disadvantages

  • Low ergonomics for its size.
  • Highly normal HDR mode.

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