MSI Modern MD271QP monitor review: It sure is an effective business monitor
- Highly adjustable
- Integrated speakers
- Blue light filter works well to reduce eye strain
- Some image dropout issues on a MacBook M1
- Adjustment buttons rather than joystick
- Speakers could be louder
MSI's Modern MD271QP is a business-centric monitor rather obviously pitched at folks who over the past few years have found themselves working as much from home as in an office – it would suit either situation for productivity work. It's an adjustable monitor with full support for landscape or portrait orientation. Its use of buttons for configuration settings can get a touch annoying, and it may have some issues for Mac users specifically based on my experiences.
Still, if you're after a no-nonsense business monitor and can make use of display flipping for however you work, it's a good choice.
MSI Modern MD271QP monitor review: The design isn't fancy (but it doesn't need to be)
The MSI Modern MD271QP monitor is built around a 27-inch 2560x1440-pixel IPS LCD panel with very small bezels indeed, measuring in at around 5mm on the top and sides, with a slightly larger chin at the base that incorporates a small MSI logo.
Unlike many gaming monitors, you don't really have to worry about the MSI Modern MD271QP blaring out its branding in bright RGB colours. Out of the box, it can be wall- or monitor arm-mounted or placed on its solid and simple base.
If you've ever put together any monitor, you'll have no trouble here with the standard base screw locking system that practically everyone uses. The base is also large enough to easily slide a laptop under for that nice tidy desk look.
The MSI Modern MD271QP uses an array of buttons for selecting its on-screen menu options. They're functional for sure, but they're way more fiddly to use than the joystick type controls you see on some monitors.
It took me some time to get the muscle memory down to remember which buttons were for display input switching, which would select an option or scroll through menus and the like. The reality here for many workers is that you'll configure the MSI Modern MD271QP and not revisit it. However, if you're sharing the MSI Modern MD271QP or need to change up settings frequently, it's a small nuisance.
For connections, you get 3 downwards-facing ports covering HDMI, DisplayPort or USB-C, which should cover all but the most archaic of computers you'd want to plug into it. Even then, you could easily pick up an HDMI adaptor if you were desperate.
The other aspect of the MSI Modern MD271QP is the flexibility you have on its precise positioning. The stand allows for up to 110mm of height variance, so even the shortest or tallest of us should be able to find a comfortable and ergonomic height position for it. It will also tilt from -5 to +20 degrees, which can be useful depending on external light sources to minimise glare.
Its party piece is being able to swivel around into portrait mode for those who prefer long scrolling lists of code, emails, social media or whatever suits your fancy. You will need to put the MSI Modern MD271QP into its higher position to manage this flip, and there's no inbuilt hardware to detect the flip itself, so it's worth making the software-based flip before you start turning the monitor. Trying to make that change with all the text and input boxes on their sides is hard work that makes my brain scream in pain.
MSI Modern MD271QP monitor review: The performance is good for productivity, but I wish the speakers were louder
I do work a lot with multiple monitors, but not typically with portrait-oriented ones. So for this review, I flipped my perspective and went vertical, seeing how well it worked and whether I found it preferable.
Personally, it isn't for me, because my desk set-up and working style is just a little smoother in landscape mode. But I can see the appeal, and there are certainly a few issues with using the MSI Modern MD271QP this way. You get a surprise flipping to that portrait orientation, because everything is suddenly a whole lot longer on screen.
I did hit 1 problem specifically when connected to a MacBook Pro M1 via HDMI out through a hub device, where the MSI Modern MD271QP would sometimes flicker off for a second randomly, which was annoying. Was it the monitor's fault, the MacBook's or the hub? It's genuinely hard to say, but I didn't hit the same issue connecting with a Windows 11 PC in the same way.
The adjustability of the MSI Modern MD271QP is a big plus. My partner intermittently uses my home office for her own working needs and she's notably shorter than I am. The ease with which we could adjust not only height but tilt was a big plus for both of us getting on with our respective tasks.
One nice inclusion not found in every business monitor are inbuilt speakers. The core idea here is that you can run your Teams or Zoom calls without needing external headphones in play, as long as you select the MSI Modern MD271QP as your audio source. It works, but not quite as well as I might have liked. The maximum volume isn't particularly loud.
If your office or home office is quiet and secluded this might not matter, but in more busy environments you may struggle to hear some participants through the MSI Modern MD271QP's mediocre speakers. It's also an area where actual volume controls on the monitor would help a lot, because they're buried within the standard menu controls if you do need to adjust them on the go.
The MSI Modern MD271QP's controls do give you some control over the output that you look at, including a very pleasant blue light filter intended to reduce eye strain. It's not quite the world's most scientific test, but I tried working for a few hours in standard mode and then in blue light filter mode, and the effect on my eyes was pronounced, with less of that "tired eyes" style feeling.
With a refresh rate that tops out at 75Hz, nobody's going to pitch the MSI Modern MD271QP as a gaming monitor to speak of. If the boss' attention is drawn elsewhere – or you're using the MSI Modern MD271QP after hours when it's your own damned time – it's serviceable for entertainment purposes without being notably good for this purpose. MSI naturally has plenty of gaming monitors better suited to that crowd, such as the recently reviewed MSI Optix MPG321UR-QD.
Should you buy it?
- Buy it if you need the flexibility of flipping quickly between portrait and landscape modes.
- Don't buy it if you need beefier inbuilt speakers.
The MSI Modern MD271QP has a job to do, and that's being a productivity-focused monitor. It meets that remit in a good way, with good visual reproduction, a nice wide array of physical adjustment controls and a solid and simple stand. The inbuilt speakers aren't great, and while at one time I preferred buttons, I've flipped totally over to the joystick side for control preferences.
The MSI Modern MD271QP would score a little better if it was easier to change those configurations, but beyond that, it's a good choice for those looking for a work-centric display.
MSI Modern MD271QP review: Pricing and availability
How we tested
The MSI Modern MD271QP was tested over a 1-week period using it as my daily working monitor, because it's meant to be used for productivity tasks. It was connected to both a MacBook Pro M1 13 Inch and a desktop Windows 11 PC to test compatibility in both portrait and landscape modes. Speakers were tested with music and video playback as well as Zoom video conferencing to evaluate overall audio quality from a range of sources.
Alex Kidman is a multi-award winning technology journalist with more than 2 decades of experience testing, reviewing and evaluating consumer and business technology products for multiple publications.
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