MSI Prestige PS341WU 5K2K Monitor

August 29, 2021

I have been using an ASUS CG32UQ 32" 4K Monitor at my desk for about a year now and while I am happy with it, I would still like more real estate on the screen for when I am working on websites in particular, but also for video editing and photo editing. I recently stumbled upon the MSI Prestige PS341WU 5K2K Monitor and it piqued my interest greatly.

I recently learnt of the 21:9 ratio screens, or as many are commonly called, Ultra-Wide displays. Almost all Ultra-Wide displays however are low in pixel count. Yes, some are 5K on width, but more often than not, they are only 1440 pixels on the height, which is less than what a 4K display offers.

The MSI Prestige PS341WU 5K2K Monitor is interesting because it offers 5K resolution on the width, and 2K resolution on the height, (5120 x 2160) unlike almost every other Ultra-Wide monitor on the market. This essentially makes it a 4K monitor, with an extra 3 million pixels off to the side. Some call it a 4K Ultra-Wide, and that is probably the most appropriate name, and it is exactly what I have desired for some time. Somehow, I missed the announcement of this monitor when it was released back in 2019 along with the only other monitor of its type, and the display it is based on, the LG 34WK95U. (I have now seen a new Dell 5K2K monitor which has been released very recently)

MSI Prestige PS341WU Monitor

Both this MSI and the LG monitor are end of life after a near two-year run, which is about normal, but I am somewhat perplexed as to why no one else is making this brilliant screen ratio. Both the LG and this MSI are aimed at creators and not gamers, and it is safe to say the driving force in monitors are gamers. The fact that these monitors do not offer the ultra-fast refresh rates that gamers need, they did not get the press as much as a gamers monitor would, still, there are a number of reviews around both in print and video format.

The reviews are a little mixed, with some mentioning the fact that build quality is not as good as it could be, regardless of how nice it appears to be be built in the images, and some as always complain of the slow refresh rate which is just stupid as it is not a gaming monitor! They all seem to agree however, that the monitor is capable of excellent colour accuracy, and that is the most important factor for me, (or any creator) along with the fact it is also a very sharp monitor that is approaching retina levels of resolution at 163ppi.

Very early examples of the MSI and LG monitors had some users seeing red after experiencing burn in, but oddly not all users. I recall my old 5K iMac which used an LG panel experienced some burn-in too, but I am hoping that LG have sorted the issue with the new 5K2K panel and that I will not have to deal with the problem at all.

The 21:9 aspect ratio is akin to a 4K 16:9 with extra space on on the side

MSI Prestige PS341WU Monitor arrives

My MSI Prestige PS341WU Monitor arrived today, in a very large box with the monitor inside very well packed. I carefully unpacked it and laid the monitor screen down on my kitchen benchtop while I unpacked the stand. I have to say, the stand is a very solid all metal affair, yes metal, not plastic so I was quite impressed with that. The monitor itself is in spite of some other reviews, very well made in my view. Yes, the casing is plastic, but which monitor is not made of plastic? The finishing is very nice all over, and the screen attached to the stand with four screws and the cover plate clipped in place to hide the attachment area.

My real concern was if this monitor worked in 5K mode with my Gigabyte Aero 15 YD Laptop, which does have both Thunderbolt and DisplayPort 1.4. However, I use a Plugable Thunderbolt Dock to simplify moving my laptop from my desktop to portable use and back. The Plugable Thunderbolt Dock is Thunderbolt 3, with a single USB-C port which I was hoping to use for the connection of the MSI monitor. The good news is, I need not have worried, the moment I plugged it in, it just worked, all that was required was for me to change the screen settings to 5120 x 2160 pixels and I was set to go.

I did however notice some banding in certain images, and long story short, after connecting the screen directly to the Gigabyte, the banding went away. My conclusion? The Plugable dock does not have the bandwidth for the 5K2K resolution and the full colour spectrum, so a new dock is on the way, more on that later.

MSI Prestige PS341WU Monitor Rear

I used the MSI Creator OSD software to set the monitor to sRGB tone curve and everything looked pretty good I have to say. However, as always, I got out my X-Rite iProfiler and did my own calibration to ensure it was bang on. A few minutes later I was enjoying a beautiful display with very accurate colours, and brilliantly sharp details. I run the monitor in full 100% view mode to maximise the screen real estate, which also provides extremely sharp text and images too.

It is early days, but thus far, I am so glad I grabbed one of the few remaining in stock as there is simply no other monitor with 5K2K resolution on the market at this price point (the new Dell is AUD$2599), which is ridiculous as this is such an awesome resolution/aspect ratio that proves itself to be very useful for people like me working in website development, photography, video editing and audio mixing. Either be quick to grab one or take a look at the more costly Dell option.

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