Sony has finally branched out and released its first gaming monitor with the INZONE series. This collection of tech includes three sets of headphones and two monitors, the crown jewel of which is the INZONE M9, a 27-inch 4K monitor packed with jams and designed with the PS5 in mind.
But what’s really different about the M9? What does it offer that others don’t? And is it worth its eye-watering £999 price tag? We’ve been using the INZONE M9 for the past few weeks, so let’s work our way through these questions.
What is Sony INZONE M9?
As mentioned, the Sony INZONE M9 is part of a collection of new gaming tech from the Japanese giant. The M9 is a higher-spec version of its M3 counterpart, and reflects that premium quality with its £999 UK price and slightly cheaper $899 US price.
But what does all that money get you? The M9 is definitely a high-end gaming product, with a 27-inch 4K display with 144hz variable refresh rate (VRR), G-Sync support, HDR, and 1ms response time with 96 dimming zones across the monitor. is These dimming zones essentially allow this LCD screen to mimic something close to a QLED or OLED TV – although it should be said that if you’re familiar with OLED screens, there’s still a huge gap between the two. There is a difference.
Essentially, the M9 ticks all the feature boxes you want from a premium gaming monitor, to allow for the most responsive and dynamic looking gaming experience.
What’s in the box?
There’s not much to mess with the M9 straight out of the box. Once you dig your way through its polystyrene, you’ll find just the monitor, its stand, a power cable with a power brick, and two screws. Set-up is then incredibly easy, as it’s just a matter of attaching the two parts to the stand with two screws, and slotting the stand into the screen. Plug it in and you have a working INZONE M9.
Design and hardware specifications
Once you’ve got your M9 up and running, you’ll appreciate the monitor’s subtle homage to the PS5. With its three-sided stand, the central pillar mimics that original black and white contrast. The stand itself allows you to adjust its height and tilt it both up and down, and we found that its tilt range and ease of access were much appreciated. However, the stand consumes a lot of desk retail, and we’d imagine that many desk ledges used to prop up monitors won’t be deep enough for the M9.
The back of the monitor has a total of eight ports along with a 3.5mm headphone jack. These ports include two HDMI 2.1, three USB-A, one Ethernet, one Display Port, and one USB-C Display Port.
Once you place the M9 on your desk, you’ll appreciate the built-in cable funnel that keeps your set-up looking clean. However, the angle of the ports can make them a bit fiddly to access, and we struggled to squeeze the third cable through the funnel.
On the back right side of the screen, you have an easily accessible power button, and a directional control toggle, which can take a bit of getting used to. Additionally, there is a built-in LED light and you can customize its color. However, this thing isn’t very powerful, as we didn’t even notice it was there until we were exploring the settings.
The M9’s screen quality will be noticeable from the moment you boot up your PS5. With a near edge-to-edge display, the PS5 login and dashboard screens also pop visually, with a crystal clear resolution and smooth presentation. Whether you’re playing games or using the M9 as a PC monitor, the look and feel of its screen is premium, and all of its features come together in a great way.
However, this does not mean that it is all perfection. Source search in particular feels annoyingly long at times, sometimes taking around ten seconds to detect a new source. This was especially frustrating when playing games that activated HDR, or changed framerates. Every time you switch modes you’ll be left staring at a blank screen, patiently waiting to resume your gaming session.
Source detection isn’t the biggest disappointment, however, as the sound quality was borderline unlistenable. Immediately, you’ll come back to the idea of playing your games with its tinny sound quality, and in this case a set of speakers, a soundbar, or a pair of headphones is highly recommended.
Once you’re actually playing games, any previous shortcomings of the M9 disappear. Playing cinematic games like The Last of Us: Part I looks great thanks to the M9’s dimming zones and display HDR600. The blacks aren’t as black as OLED, but they are dark, and the dynamic color range makes each shot jump off the screen.
However, as you’d expect from a gaming monitor like this, first-person shooters (FPS) are really where the benefits are felt. Games like Modern Warfare 2 and Apex Legends look and feel great to play. If you’re playing on a television with a 5-10ms response time, the M9’s 1ms G-Sync will greatly improve your experience (and possibly your performance as well).
You have to do a little searching for games that support 120hz, like Destiny 2’s Crucible, and in this case, there’s simply a better gaming experience. When you make the most of its features, the M9 feels like it captures the best of both performance and resolution.
Should you buy the Sony INZONE M9?
With everything said about the INZONE M9, you’d expect the answer to that question to be a resounding ‘yes’. However, the high price of entry for this product – especially in the UK – prevents us from fully recommending it. For those looking for high-end monitors, you’ll struggle to find one with all the features of the M9 for less, but with the odd sacrifice you could potentially save hundreds.
However, a big sticking point for us is how close the price is to a high-end OLED TV. This writer has been using the LG C1 48” OLED for the past year, which was picked up in the UK for the same price as the M9. This television offers 4K, HDR, 120hz VRR, 1ms G-Sync, and of course the gorgeous OLED display, so in some cases, you’re getting a bigger and better screen for the same or similar price. Of course, large OLED TVs won’t suit everyone, but with prices so close, it’s a point that’s hard to ignore.
All in all, if you decide to splurge on an INZONE M9, you probably won’t be disappointed. It’s a great-looking display that elevates your gaming experience, and makes even casual web-browsing more enjoyable. At the end of the day, it’s a great display — maybe not £1000 better.
Are you ready to spend big on a dedicated display like the Sony INZONE M9? Express your opinion in the comment section below.
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