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MSI MAG281URF 144Hz 4K ‘Eyesafe’ IPS with HDMI 2.1

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Users have traditionally had to choose between a high resolution or high refresh rate. There has been a recent surge in the number of models available combining a ‘4K’ UHD resolution with 144Hz+ refresh rate. The MSI MAG281URF sits amongst these, with HDMI 2.1 capability allowing the PS5 and Xbox Series X to leverage a ‘4K’ UHD 120Hz signal. The usual understated styling of the Optix series is evident at the front. Medium to dark grey plastics dominate, with a fairly compact rectangular stand base. The top and side bezels are quite slim, a dual stage design with a slender panel border that’s flush with the rest of the screen. And a thin hard plastic outer edge. The OSD (On Screen Display) is controlled by a joystick at the rear of the monitor, towards the right side as viewed from the front.

Understated styling

The monitor uses a 28″ 3840 x 2160 (‘4K’ UHD) IPS-type panel, likely the Innolux M280DCA-E7B AAS (Azimuthal Anchoring Switch) panel. A 144Hz refresh rate is supported alongside Adaptive-Sync, including ‘G-SYNC Compatible’ and AMD FreeSync with a 48 – 144Hz VRR range plus LFC. A light to very light matte anti-glare screen surface is adopted, with a 1000:1 static contrast ratio, 178°/178° viewing angles and 10-bit (8-bit + FRC) colour support included. A flicker-free WLED backlight delivers a 300 cd/m² (400 cd/m² HDR peak) typical maximum luminance and claimed 95% DCI-P3 colour gamut. The monitor is ‘Eyesafe’ certified by TÜV Rheinland, with the blue peak shifted to less energetic wavelengths and the amplitude of the peak reduced to potentially improve viewing comfort. This is combined with a conventional Low Blue Light (LBL) setting for more relaxing evening viewing, which reduces blue light output at all wavelengths – the manufacturer refers to this combination of ‘always on’ (Eyesafe) LBL and the additional toggle as ‘Less Blue Light Premium’. The monitor is VESA DisplayHDR 400 certified. A basic level which doesn’t require a particularly high luminance level of local dimming to enhance contrast. Though the panel likely used here does include 8 dimming zones for a slight situational contrast enhancement. It allows the reasonable colour gamut and 10-bit colour processing to be put to good use.

A 1ms grey to grey response time is specified (approach with caution), whilst an MPRT Sync strobe backlight mode is included. This can be used in conjunction with Adaptive-Sync if you wish. The stand screws in centrally and can be removed to reveal 100 x 100mm VESA holes for alternative mounting. Full ergonomic flexibility is provided, including height adjustment (130mm or 5.12 inches) and pivot into portrait. Customisable ‘Mystic Light’ RGB LED lighting is included above the stand attachment point. The ports face downwards and include; DC power input (external ‘power brick’), 2 HDMI 2.1 ports, DP 1.4, USB-C (15W PD, DP Alt Mode, upstream data), 2 USB 2.0 ports (plus upstream) and a 3.5mm headphone jack. 2-device PbP and PiP is also supported, alongside KVM which allows USB peripherals to be shared between multiple systems. This functionality can be assigned to a movement of the joystick in a particular direction (‘Navi Key’) without needing to enter the main menu, for rapid switching.

A touch of RGB at the rear

Further details can be found on the manufacturer’s website. Information on price and availability still to come.

MSI MAG281URF