MSI Modern MD271QP Review: Highly Ergonomic, Adjustable 27-Inch Monitor Can Go Vertical

At 1440 x 2560 pixels native resolution when vertical, the Modern MD271QP is technically both a WQHD and 2K monitor. Scott Tharler

At a time when both companies and professionals are being asked to pivot, MSI's soon-to-be-released Modern MD271QP monitor can do so, a full 360 degrees. Though in practice, you'll probably only be twisting this 27-incher 90 degrees at a time once it's wired to your computer or gaming console.

When I first heard about the concept of a vertical monitor, it was offered as a solution for coders (which I am not) and folks who seek a more expansive view of their social feeds (which I do not). But since then, I have expanded my perspective of the usefulness of vertical-capable computer displays and will only reluctantly move back to my laptop's more petite internal display, which remains fixed in the landscape position.

It's possible to adjust this monitor's height about 4 inches, plus swivel, tilt and rotate it into proper position. Scott Tharler

Highly Adjustable

Based on your particular desk and chair setup, here's how you can adjust this display:

  • Raise and lower about 4 inches
  • Swivel 30 degrees to face left or right
  • Tilts back 5 degrees and forward 20 degrees
  • Pivot 360 degrees

Those last two definitely go together, since the monitor needs to tilt back for its corners to clear its stand when pivoting around. Another factor to consider with the pivoting is which side you want the cables to be on. (With the monitor positioned in traditional horizontal fashion, the AV inputs are accessed on the bottom.) Since my laptop's HDMI port is on the right and I wanted to be able to set it down to the left of the monitor, it felt more natural to pivot the monitor into position with its HDMI port on the left.

I found an unexpected plethora of additional adjustability—this time, in the form of software—after downloading MSI's Display Kit application. I could choose which of my active programs to snap into a tiled configuration filling up the screen—strikingly similar to a feature I recently suggested but had no idea actually existed. MSI's app also offers adjustments to the brightness, orientation, resolution, refresh rate and bit count, plus options for setting the color scheme based on a preset or creating your own. And lastly, among some power, projection and mouse control options, a handy on-screen keyboard can be activated. But volume control would be a great addition to this application: The alternative for controlling the loudness of the monitor's built-in speakers—which are 1 watt and not very loud—involves inconveniently delving into the on-screen menu and foraging two levels down under Other.

MSI's 27.1-inch monitor offers just over three times the screen area of the 15.6-inch laptop shown here. Scott Tharler

Easy on the Eyes

Although it's certainly a handsome enough monitor, it's easiest on the eyes in the ophthalmic sense. This TÜV Rheinland-certified monitor features MSI's anti-flicker and anti-glare technologies, both designed to help reduce eyestrain. But I noticed the biggest difference during long-term use when engaging Low Blue Light mode. As opposed to just turning down the brightness in Standard mode, LBL mode—which I'm using even as I type this article—is plenty clear and much less harsh on my eyes, especially during long work stretches. Speaking of which, right in this monitor's manual MSI recommends taking 20-minute breaks every couple of hours and stretching out. So clearly it has got both ergonomics and wellness in mind.

The Modern MD271QP can attach to video sources via HDMI, USB-C and DisplayPort, plus features built-in speakers and a headphone jack. Scott Tharler

Going Vertical

I was a little disappointed when I first turned the monitor into a portrait orientation and the text and images didn't automatically adjust. That is to say, unlike most of today's phones and tablets, which have spoiled me, this monitor doesn't contain an accelerometer. So I needed to manually switch its orientation. Not having yet discovered the Display Kit app mentioned above, I was able to select the proper portrait orientation in Windows' settings.

With the text and images scaled at 100 percent, I noticed a huge disparity versus my laptop in what I was able to view. For example, on my trusty notebook's full HD (1920 x 1080 pixel) screen, I could only see the first 13 unread emails in my browser-based Gmail inbox; but with the formidable MSI monitor attached and pivoted vertically, I saw the first 50 unread emails, plus the first five in the next section (that is, over four times as many messages as on my laptop screen). The one drawback was that the view on the MD271QP was about 15 characters narrower. So I was losing two or three words of email preview text, but that didn't amount to a significant enough sacrifice to outweigh the coolness of seeing way more total content on a single screen.

With the circular stand attachment snapped into the back of the monitor, it can theoretically rotate 360 degrees. Scott Tharler

Gaming on It

At 75 Hz, no one is likely to call this the ultimate gaming monitor. But by the same token, I'm not really the ultimate gamer, despite what my recent arcade and console reviews might suggest. I did play some really fun games through the Modern MD271QP, such as the challenging cave flyer ThrustLander (below)—but nothing as intense as what serious RGB-minded PC gamers would probably throw its way. Still, it passed my cinematic testing literally with flying colors.

As always, when testing audiovisual equipment, I screened the film Thor: Ragnarok, which features several great action scenes, both darker (e.g., in the arena when Thor battles the Grandmaster's champion) and brighter (e.g., Thor's synchronized lightning blasts simultaneously striking a wide assortment of assailants on the infamous rainbow bridge). In both cases, the action looked clean to me, with plenty of detail, and no unwanted shadows or remnants.

What made it work well was selecting the right mode. I disengaged the Low Blue Light setting and bypassed Standard for Movie mode, which was significantly brighter and perhaps a little warmer. Then I noticed two other modes, FPS (First Person Shooter) and RTS (Real Time Strategy), referring to particular video game genres. Both of those were better than Movie mode for watching the God of Thunder do his thing. And though I can't quite put my finger on the subtle difference between those last two modes, I settled on RTS as the best picture quality, at least for watching that flick. In the process, I discovered a sneaky little shortcut for switching modes just by pressing the monitor's right arrow button. Anything to avoid firing up the on-screen preferences menu.

The MD271QP features dedicated modes for playing games like Improbable Pixel's "ThrustLander" for the Atari VCS, shown here. Scott Tharler

Should You Buy the MSI Modern MD271QP Monitor?

I really like this forthcoming monitor as a boon to productivity, for its versatility in both form and function, and for its eye-friendliness, without the need to wear blue-blocking glasses. Although company says the Modern MD271QP monitor will be coming out soon, MSI already has some similar models available for purchase. Both its Modern MD241P (24 inches, $170) and Modern MD271P (27 inches, $200) are full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) as opposed to WQHD (2560 x 1440 pixels). So you would take a hit on the resolution, but the other features, specs and benefits are dead-on. And of course, you'd save 60 to 90 bucks from the Modern MD271QP's suggested retail price.

The closest MSI model to the monitor I tested is the MP271QP from its Pro line. In fact, I originally thought that's what MSI was sending me. That model has slightly different ports (two HDMI, no USB-C), a slower refresh rate (60 Hz), is brighter (by 50 nits), and has louder built-in stereo speakers (2 watts) and some other minor differences. But I haven't seen it available anywhere, so I'd skip that potential confusion and just stick with the Modern MD271QP.

In fact, the only reason I'd seek an alternative solution to increase my screen real estate in a similarly versatile way would be in the name of portability. SideTrak monitors are available in 4K touch screen versions that can stand on their own either horizontally or vertically. It also has full HD monitors that can attach to the back of your laptop and slide or swivel out when you need them. So you could potentially configure a dual or triple display for on the go. But if your professional proclivities don't necessitate that level of mobility on a regular basis, go for the MSI.

Preorder at B&H Photo Video or MSI for $259.99.

Newsweek may earn a commission from links on this page, but we only recommend products we back. We participate in various affiliate marketing programs, which means we may get paid commissions on editorially chosen products purchased through our links to retailer sites.

Editor's pick

Newsweek cover
  • Newsweek magazine delivered to your door
  • Unlimited access to
  • Ad free experience
  • iOS and Android app access
  • All newsletters + podcasts
Newsweek cover
  • Unlimited access to
  • Ad free experience
  • iOS and Android app access
  • All newsletters + podcasts