The MSI Creator PS321QR is a 32-inch Quad HD 165Hz monitor aimed at both gamers with its responsive panel and creatives with a supposedly perfect factory calibration.
The MSI Creator PS321QR features a 32-inch IPS panel with a Quad HD resolution of 2560 x 1440 px. It stands out from the competition thanks to a panel compatible with a native frequency of 144 Hz (overclocked by default to 165 Hz), a factory calibration announced as perfect, a complete ergonomics and the presence of an SD card reader. It is placed on a hybrid segment by targeting both video game enthusiasts and creative people who need a screen with the right colors to work.
The design of the MSI Creator PS321QR monitor is unobtrusive, with a sober edge-to-edge screen and a good quality grey plastic.
The stand allows the monitor to be rotated ±30° to the left or right; handy for showing a project more easily to someone who is not facing the screen.
This MSI monitor has a height adjustment of 10 cm and a tilt adjustment between -5° and +20°. On the other hand, the stand does not allow the passage in portrait mode. The central stand is relatively imposing, since it measures 30 cm wide and 23.5 cm deep.
The connectivity consists of two HDMI 1.4 inputs, a DisplayPort input, a USB-C port (not Power Delivery compatible), a USB 3.0 port and an audio input. On the edge, there is also an SD card reader, two USB 3.0 ports, an audio input and a headphone output. This model does not include speakers. We simply regret the absence of power from the USB-C port, which does not allow you to recharge a laptop when connected to the monitor.
The back of the monitor is made of grey plastic. The connectivity is oriented towards the bottom. The screen is also compatible with VESA 100 x 100 mm mounts once the stand is removed.
MSI does not forget the players by installing a halo of RGB leds at the back and which makes its small effect at night. The base of the stand has a removable plastic clip that gathers all the cables, but does not hide it completely.
The clickable joystick is still the most pleasant and efficient way to navigate the settings. Pressing the button displays the menu. Then you have to move the cursor to the right to validate the choices and to the left to go back. It is possible to change source, mode (presets) and access settings (brightness, contrast, sharpness, overdrive, temperature, etc.). The menus are easy to read and navigation is fast. A press on one of the sides gives quick access to the choice of the source, the display mode, the timer and the template.
On our 140 x 60 cm desk, the MSI CReator PS321QR is just about comfortable. The depth of the stand (23.5 cm) remains quite contained for a 32-inch monitor, but the latter overflows quite a bit on the front. Note that with a 32-inch slab and a Quad HD definition, the resolution of only 92 pixels per inch still requires some distance in office (at least 1 meter). For games, this is not a problem since the eye is less sensitive to a lower definition when watching moving images. On a 32-inch slab, we now prefer an Ultra HD definition, perfectly managed by modern operating systems and allowing to enlarge the workspace. The MSI monitor comes with a headset to mask a good part of the stray light, an accessory quite common among graphic designers and photographers.
Colors and contrast
The image quality of the monitor is not optimal out of the box. If the temperature and gamma curves are good and stable (respectively 7120 K and 2.2, for reference values of 6500 K and 2.2), the colorimetry suffers from an average delta E too high (4.7) to be considered as faithful. It is necessary to pass in sRGB mode to find colors perfectly faithful to the source (average delta E of only 1,7; largely lower than the value of 3, below which the human eye does not perceive any more the drifts). After calibration with the probe, the gamma curve remains perfect, the color temperature (6750 K) is even closer to the reference value, and the colors are even more accurate (delta E at 1.2). You can download the colorimetric profile by following this link.
The native contrast of 1060:1 is a bit lower than those measured on the Asus TUF Gaming VG27AQ and the AOC 27G2U, in both cases higher than 1200:1. This contrast is average for an IPS panel, without being bad. In any case, this device remains far from the contrast found on the best VA monitors on the market, such as the Philips Momentum 436M6 or the MSI Optix MAG271CR, which benefit from a rate higher than 4000:1. The darkest scenes and black solids look grayish, especially in a dark room, but this is not a problem during the day.
The average white uniformity deviation is 15% on this 32-inch panel. There's fairly little variation in brightness that's noticeable to the eye, but the uniformity gap is one of the highest we've seen in the lab, and it's a bit of a blemish on a monitor that's partly dedicated to professionals. We didn't notice any light leaks in the corners or clouding on our test model. The IPS technology also offers very good viewing angles with very little variation when moving away from the viewing axis.
The MSI PS321QR doesn't use pulse width modulation (PWM) to adjust brightness, so it's flicker-free and won't cause headaches for those sensitive to flicker.
This monitor supports FreeSync between 48 and 165 Hz and therefore works optimally when the graphics card sends between 48 and 165 fps. The supported range is therefore very wide and covers all uses. However, we recommend a high-performance graphics card, such as the AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT or the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080, in order to take advantage of the native Quad HD definition and a high frame rate. In any case, the fluidity is there and the image does not suffer from tearing or micro-stuttering problems.
We measured the dwell time at 5.5& ms with the overdrive set to "fastest". This value limits ghosting (ghost image effect). This is an excellent afterglow time, especially for a Quad HD IPS panel. This monitor does better than the Asus TUF VG27AQ, which, with its 8 ms, was long considered the most responsive IPS Quad HD monitor on the market. However, we found more responsive, like the VA models Samsung Odyssey G7 27 and 49G9, with a latency of only 4.5 ms. Finally, we measured the input lag at only 8.9 ms (at 60 Hz). So there is no lag between the mouse action and its repercussion on the screen.
By lowering the brightness to 7 to obtain a white at 150 cd/m², the MSI Creator PS321QR consumes about 35 W, that is to say a relative consumption of 124 W/m², largely higher than the average of the tested monitors (100 W/m²). At minimum brightness (109 cd/m²), it consumes 31 W. At maximum brightness (422 cd/m²), consumption rises to 63 W. These values are measured at 60 Hz. By switching to 165 Hz, it consumes between 3 and 5 W more.
With the Creator PS321QR, MSI fulfills part of the contract by offering a monitor that will suit both gamers (165 Hz frequency, FreeSync compatibility and responsiveness) and creative people (perfect rendering in sRGB or DCI-P3 mode). We would have preferred an Ultra HD panel for this type of mixed use, a better homogeneity, and above all a USB-C powered port much more practical for use with a compatible laptop. The Creator PS321QR is still a very good screen, but it could have aimed for perfection, especially at this price.