Home office monitor configuration: flat, curved or portrait

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As someone who has worked from home for over a decade, I cannot stress enough the importance of a comfortable and functional office setup.

For those just starting out, it’s hard to resist the temptation of a high-resolution gaming monitor with insane refresh rates – especially for long lunch breaks – but good luck convincing the accounting department. Despite tighter budgets this winter, it’s possible to upgrade for less, and make no mistake, a new monitor can be transformative. I’m often amazed at how many home workers continue to rely on small, low resolution panels that stifle productivity, or even worse, a small laptop screen whose reflective surface is likely to give you a little more than a headache.

So what should you be looking for? There are a myriad of variables to manage, but panel technology and form factor is a good place to start. To get an idea of ​​what’s out there right now, we’ve spent the last month using a trio of affordable MSI Pro Series 1080p monitors for our day-to-day work.

MSI Pro MP271P, MP271 and MP271C
Portrait vs curvy. apartment

Quite a change considering we’re generally used to much more exotic screens – a perk of our trade – but spending time at the lower end of the market always proves instructive, and our testing reveals some interesting hints.

We have the Pro MP271, a flat 27-inch IPS panel priced competitively at £140, the Pro MP271C, a curved VA at the same price, and the Pro MP271P, which adds swivel functionality for a cost of £160.

An interesting trio because they each have a lot in common. MSI’s panels sport a ubiquitous 1920×1080 FHD resolution, along with a 75Hz refresh rate and 250 nits peak brightness. Modest benchmarks, as you’d expect at these current prices, but the three wide 178° viewing angles, anti-glare surface treatment and built-in 2W stereo speakers are adequate for basic tasks. As working solutions, connectivity is limited to HDMI 1.4 or VGA, and an integrated power supply is coupled with a bundled C5 cloverleaf cable.

To make our findings easier to digest, we’ll run through the trio in order of preference, ranked from worst to best.

The Curved: MSI Pro MP271C

Third, MSI’s curved variant is the least appealing option in our view, which may come as a surprise given the way curved monitors are marketed.

Studies by some of the major display manufacturers find that a curved panel increases immersion while simultaneously reducing eye strain. We can’t comment on the fact that the latter has spent the last few weeks scrutinizing multiple monitors – eye strain is part of the game – but on a 16:9 panel the extra sense of immersion is limited.

MSI Pro MP271P vs. MP271C
Curved and flat don’t mix

On the contrary, regular work such as editing spreadsheets on a 1500R curve takes some getting used to. It’s fine once you get adjusted, but on a screen of this size and resolution you can’t escape the feeling that a curve adds very little note to the actual user experience. If you’re set on a curved screen, consider making it larger or wider to maximize the effect.

It’s also worth pointing out that curved panels are often based on underlying VA (vertical alignment, a type of LED panel) technology, where the subtle arc helps smooth out color shift and uneven brightness. A clever workaround, but in the case of the MSI MP271C, the resulting image looks washed out alongside the IPS siblings. Colors lack extra pop, consistency isn’t great when shifting off-axis, and while viewing angles are officially considered the same, the curved model is noticeably less forgiving.

MSI’s VA panel has its advantages – contrast is over 4000:1 and color coverage improves to 98% sRGB over IPS counterparts – but the verdict was unanimous. Everyone in the Club386 office who tried the VA-based MP271C, whether for photo editing, web design, or office work, paid no attention to the curve but ultimately preferred the MP271 flat.

The dish: MSI Pro MP271

Testing the monitor variations simultaneously is telling in that you really notice the difference when switching. After a few days with the curved MP271C, the flat, regular MP271 looks much nicer thanks to the IPS (in-plane switching) panel. Side note: Don’t mix curved and flat monitors in a multi-screen setup, as the transition from one to the other is more shocking than you might imagine.

Dual screen setup
Good monitors don’t need to cost the earth

What is clear is that a competent 1080p monitor should be the minimum standard for workers. A 1920×1080 resolution fits nicely into a 27-inch form factor, IPS panel technology ensures excellent visibility from all angles, and while the 93% sRGB color coverage falls far short of true pro standards, it’s It’s a display we’ve struggled to criticize during day-to-day work.

An anti-reflective coating, found on most work solutions, is a must, and any modern display worth its salt will include anti-flicker and low blue light features for that extra level of convenience. What you might not get at this price is a lot of adjustability. The MP271 is limited to tilt adjustment only (-5°/+23°), and while it’s 100mm VESA mount for compatibility with a third-party stand or arm, there’s has value in out-of-the-box flexibility.

The all-rounder: MSI Pro MP271P

The pick of the bunch also happens to be the most expensive, but that extra £20 is well spent on a flat screen with a versatile VESA-compliant stand. While the other two are fixed, MSI’s Model P offers 120mm of height adjustment, 30° swivel, +8°/-20° tilt, and the ability to swivel 90° in portrait mode.

As a tall user who spends much of the day sitting at a desk, I really appreciate a monitor that can be positioned closer to the eye line, and I’d be hesitant to recommend a display that doesn’t not include a certain height. adjustability.

MSI Pro MP271P and MP271
Multi-monitor to get the job done

There’s also the added benefit of portrait mode, but it’s not without its limitations. We spent a few hours trying to use the monitor as a standalone portrait setup, and the 16:9 aspect ratio is less than ideal. The tall, narrow setup works best as a secondary screen, and there are plenty of occasions where the towering orientation proves hugely beneficial. Spending the day reading in-depth and insightful reviews? You will love a portrait setup.

Want to go the extra mile with a home office that will be used for years to come? There’s a natural temptation to go for a larger, higher-resolution panel. This approach certainly has merit, but don’t discount the usefulness of a dual-screen setup. Although it’s used ultrawides on many occasions, there’s a lot to be said for two dedicated monitors. Being able to compartmentalize your work is a real boon, and the MP271 alongside the MP271P offers huge smart productivity for just £300.

The TL;DR of all of this is that a low-cost 27-inch monitor with 1080p resolution is a good starting point for any home office. Favor IPS over VA if you need punchy colors and wider viewing angles versus contrast ratio, don’t let a fancy curve sway the decision, and if you can stretch your budget to include a second panel , consider it a job well done.

MSI-Pro MP271P


“A perfect 27” screen size to learn what you love from home, whether it’s programming, coding, and web design; or view these apps, spreadsheets and more.

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