Sony has finally branched out and released its first ever gaming monitor with the INZONE series. This collection of tech includes three sets of headphones and two monitors, the crowning jewel of which is the INZONE M9, a 27 inch 4K monitor jam-packed with top of the line specs and designed with the PS5 in mind.
But what is actually 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 last couple of weeks, so let’s work our way through those questions.
What Is the 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 the high-spec version of its M3 counterpart, and reflects that premium quality with its £999 UK price and slightly cheaper $899 US pricing.
But what does all that money get you? The M9 is certainly a high-end gaming product, with a 27 inch 4K display that features 144hz variable refresh rate (VRR), 1ms response time with G-Sync support, HDR, and 96 dimming zones across the monitor. These dimming zones essentially allow this LCD screen to imitate something closer to a QLED or OLED TV — although it has to be said if you are familiar with OLED screens, there is still a stark difference between the two.
Essentially, the M9 ticks all the feature boxes you would want from a premium gaming monitor, to allow for the most responsive and dynamic looking gaming experience possible.
What’s In the Box?
Straight out of the box there isn’t much messing about with the M9. Once you’ve dug your way through its polystyrene, you’ll find just the monitor, its stand, a power cable with power brick, and two screws. Set-up is incredibly easy then, as it’s just a case of assembling two parts into the stand with the two screws, and slotting the stand into the screen. Plug it in and you have yourself a working INZONE M9.
Design and Hardware Features
Once you have your M9 up and running, you’ll get to appreciate the monitor’s subtle homage to the PS5. With its three-pronged stand, the central pillar imitates that original black and white colour contrast. The stand itself allows you to adjust its height and tilt it both up and down, and we found that its tilting range and ease of access were very much appreciated. However, the stand does consume quite a lot of desk retail, and we’d imagine that many desk ledges used to raise monitors wouldn't be deep enough for the M9.
Looking to the back of the monitor there are 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 have the M9 placed on your desk, you’ll appreciate the built-in cable funnel which keeps your set-up looking clean. However, the angling of the ports can make them a bit fiddly to access, and we struggled to squeeze a third cable through the funnel.
On the back to the right side of the screen, you have an easily accessible power button, and a directional control toggle, which can take a little getting used to. Additionally, there is a built-in LED light and you can customise its colour. However, this thing isn’t very powerful, as we didn’t even notice that it was there until we were exploring the settings.
The screen quality of the M9 will be noticeable from the moment you boot up your PS5. With a near edge-to-edge display, even the PS5 login and dashboard screen visually pop, 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 really nice way.
However, that doesn’t mean it's all perfection. The source detection in particular felt annoyingly long at times, sometimes even taking around ten seconds to detect a new source. This was especially frustrating when playing games that would activate HDR, or switch framerates. Each time you switch mode you'll be left staring at a blank screen, patiently waiting to resume your gaming session.
Source detection isn’t the biggest let down, however, as the sound quality was borderline unlistenable. Immediately, you’ll reel back at the idea of playing your games with its tinny sound quality, and in that case a set of speakers, a soundbar, or a pair of headphones are highly recommended.
The Playing Experience
Once you're actually playing the games, any previous shortcomings of the M9 fade away. Playing cinematic games like The Last of Us: Part I look fantastic thanks to the M9’s dimming zones and Display HDR600. The blacks aren’t black like an OLED, but they are dark, and the range of dynamic colours make each shot jump off the screen.
However, as you would expect for 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 much better to play. If you’ve been playing on a television with 5-10ms response times, the M9’s 1ms G-Sync will vastly improve your experience (and possibly even your performance).
You are going to have to search a little for the games that support 120hz, like Destiny 2’s Crucible, and in this case, there's barely a better gaming experience out there. When you're making 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 that's been said about the INZONE M9, you’d expect the answer to this question to be a resounding 'yes'. However, this product's high price of entry — especially in the UK — stops us short of fully recommending it. For those looking for high-end monitors, you’d struggle to find one with all the M9’s features for less, but with the odd sacrifice you could potentially save hundreds.
However, a big sticking point for us is how close this price is to a high-end OLED TV. This author's been using the LG C1 48” OLED for the past year, which was picked up for the same price as the M9 in the UK. This television offers up 4K, HDR, 120hz VRR, 1ms G-Sync, and of course that stunning OLED display, so in some cases, you're getting a bigger and better screen for the same or similar price. Of course, big OLED TVs won’t suit everyone, but with incredibly close prices, it’s a point that's hard to ignore.
All and all, if you do decide to splurge on an INZONE M9, you likely won’t be disappointed. It is a fantastic looking display that elevates your gaming experience, and even makes general web-browsing much more pleasurable. At the end of the day, it is a great display — just maybe not £1000 great.
Are you ready to spend big on a dedicated display like the Sony INZONE M9? Make your opinion crystal clear in the comments section below.
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I can't play games on an lcd after having an oled. I tried but sent the Sony xh90 back to get my second oled just soley for my ps5. They just look so much better but above ALL else, they just FEEL so fluid. You can get one for around the same price so I don't see much point in this display tbh.
exactly at that price go OLED
I'm sure this monitor is nice but I prefer to play my PS5/Series X/Switch on my 48" LG C1 OLED at my desk. Which cost me $800. After gaming on an OLED, I could never go back to an ips, LCD, or LED panel.
I wish this monitor was 30" or more. It's nice to have Sony competing in the PC space again, though.
Yep, OLED, either go 48" for a similar price (I got the LG C2 for less than £999) or go for a 42" for potentially lower. Or go for the C1 for even less. Plus it's multi usage. Get a good enough deal on an LG in the winter sales coming and you could also use the money saved for a 3D sound system, or some extra peripherals for your console/pc. Or just save the money flat out.
I'm a long time TV gamer, so lag was never an issue for me, but TV's are now so good in that respect, and LG has really nailed down this as an option for people who traditionally used monitors for gaming.
Sony a little late to the party perhaps. It looks kind of nice though...
Don't see why the price point is important when being compared to a TV.
You're either in the market to buy a monitor or you're not. You don't consider a monitor with an eye on watching TV too. If £1000 is too much it shouldn't be because you'd rather have an OLED TV it should be because you've found another monitor you prefer.
The comparison introduces a negative bias that doesn't need to be there.
It's more than double the price I paid for my same sized monitor that has all the same features except HDMI 2.1 VRR (it has freesync but the monitor predates HDMI 2.1 by a few months), and the dimming zones, which, while nice, are not worth more than double the money. Is this thing even IPS or is it MVA for the refresh speed and with the weird ghosting that's associated?
Sounds like a decent monitor with a gamer-tax making it priced far, far beyond what it's real cost should be.
Likely upscaled 4k. It's not bad for the price but probably wouldn't go fir anything less than 240 hz refresh rate but those kinda monitors are like a grand+. Just recently bought two 2k monitors 240 hz for about a grand
Asus has the same specs at half the cost
Genuinely wish I had £1000 to spend on this but that's 2 thirds of my monthly wage, no chance.
I bought one and while I do think it’s overpriced, I don’t regret getting it.
Sony have released hardware which is well beyond the reasonable asking price for the specs?!?! Well I never....
@riceNpea I think it's because more and more people are using the LG C1 and C2 as their designated monitors now.
999? I'd rather sacrifice some HDR and get something like an Electriq for 300 tbh
A little off topic but does anyone know of the cheapest 144 hz display tv or monitor I can find? I have a 4K 60 fps TV that I play PS5 on but I would like to experience 120 fps in games like Doom and Ghostrunner.
@Bentleyma how’s it overpriced , it came with a mini PS5 for a stand in the middle of it
@Ravix that's totally understandable. But this is a monitor review. You compare it to other monitors. When was the last time someone in the market to buy a TV to play games on considered buying a monitor? Nobody has because when you buy a TV to play games on it's because you also want to watch TV on it. You never see TV reviews compare them to monitors when considering their value for money.
This isn't a recommendation article I'd what device is best to play games on, it's a monitor review and that is the field of technology it should be compared to because monitors and TVs have different capabilities, strengths and weaknesses.
This monitor should been held up against an Asus with similar stats not a TV
At this price its an LG 48 inch c1 oled that's a miles better buy.
I use one for my PC gaming, but we have a second PS5 feedign it too and its a fantastic match.
I have a lot of time for Sony screens, but to make there monitor non oled was backwards step I didn't expect for a company that's normally more forward thinking.
What a joke. LCD at those prices and monitors continue to lack behind in hardware while remaining super expensive.
Also I'm not seeing it in the review maybe I missed it but does it even have real hdr?
Edit: Ah found it 600, so the bare minimum as in it doesn't then.
I would pick LCD with local dimming zones over OLED all day. I had a LG CX, and great specs and all but the picture processing wasn't in Sony's league. Plus I was always worried about screen burn. Too many do's and even more don'ts with OLED. I managed to sell it at quite a loss and bought a 65" Sony X95H. I have never looked back. All my games look like they have had a hd makeover and no more worries about screen burn.
@tinCAT-zero my LG TV has horrendous screen burn. It's totally ruined. OLED certainly comes with its problems. I'll not buy one again for gaming.
This would be perfect! If I was 2ft tall and I put my nose on the screen while playing
Sony really isn't good at this anymore. Have a coworker with a new Sony OLED and it's got a lot of oddball issues with black frame insertion, vrr, and other things.
Used to be a fan when the Bravia stuff was new 10 + years ago but would never buy another sony tv/monitor now.
There are too many static images when gaming.
@tinCAT-zero yeah. A monitor is so much better purely for gaming.
I game on a 24" inch monitor, really comfy. I don't like to game on huge screen. I tried it, and it was uncomfortable. The only downside is that my monitor is missing HDR features that my TV had, but I'll gladly trade that for the more comfortable set up that i now have.
@tinCAT-zero got two oleds, first one in 2018, still no retention, never mind burn. Led lcd is crap, smeary and feel sluggish to play, its no surprise all the DF guys use em.
@riceNpea probably a pre 8 series. They really upped the game from the 8 onwards. Unless you watched or played the same thing every day and used vivid /dynamic mode. That would be bad for your eyes, never mind your screen or energy bill.
Thanks for that. I'll bin my Sony X95H flagship TV.
LG C1 is currently at the £800 mark. That thing is a work of art as well as a great tv.
HDR+RT looks amazing on my 4KTV but makes me realize how awful my monitor does HDR. The new Microsoft tool helped, a bit.
Saw the Hardware Unboxed review. Apparently this is one of the few with decent HDR (love this channel)
See if it ever goes on sale.
PC monitors have been lagging behind TV's for years on the image quality front.
Not just lagging, they aren't even on the same planet.
The problem with PC monitors is that in addition to the mediocre performance, they suffer from grossly excessive pricing.
Now I'm not going to say it's all the manufacturers mark up, rather it could be because they are niche and lack the economies of scale of TV's.
The smart play if you have the space, is to buy a relative cheap IPS monitor for productivity/creativity work. That will cover most amateurs, and then buy an LG C* OLED for the gaming.
It's a shame but I believe it was Linus who tested the 48" LG as a monitor and it did suffer burn-in. Otherwise I'd much rather do that than waste money on an over-priced monitor.
@Toypop The fact that we even still have this quandry is amazing, a TV, in the traditional sense, doesn't even exist. With the advent of smart "TVs" they are all just basically monitors, and I'd just look at features, not what they call them. An OLED "TV" is going to blow away almost any monitor. The only reason you might consider a monitor is if you're gaming on a desk.
@tinCAT-zero nah, they just aren't as good. Which is fine, we all like different things.
@BusyOlf but dimmer and has worse processing than a c2. However the slightly dimmer screen could be a blessing if you are one of the few who's worried about burn in. I have a BX in my game room and it's a good bit dimmer than my c8 downstairs but 120fps on it is especially nice.
I remember taking comparable photos of the Sony x90h and the bx when I had them both and not only was the black level laughable on the led, it was so smeary and sluggish to play, especially fast panning 60hz games like demon's souls.
Vincent Teoh from HDTV test did a really good job of explaining instant pixel response on oled displays that led just cannot match.
I know OLED is fantastic. I had an LG CX which I sold. Last year I went crazy buying TV's. The only thing that stopped me was I ran out of rooms in my house. I have a Sony X90H 55" in my living room and I have my X95H 65" in the games room. Basically a back bedroom / man cave. I also have a X95H 55" in my bedroom. Believe me the X95H is way better than the X90H. The picture is deeper, has more bite to it, more pop, basically incredible. When I connected my ps4 to it, it looked like all my games had a HD makeover. Plus it supports 120 fps at 1080p, possible 1440p but I'm not sure .
I would possibly buy an OLED in the future but it would definitely be a Sony because Sony's picture processing is far superior to LG's. I was constantly adjusting the picture when I had the CX. I don't have that issues with any of my Sony's.
@tselliot I quite agree, there is almost little point in drawing a distinction between TV's and Monitors now.
I don't know whether monitors cease to exist or TV's do!
I think I'd just refer to them all as "panels"!
Currently though, the term "monitor" seems to just refer to over-priced TV's, with all the apps removed, half the ports removed and hiliariously bad HDR!
@tinCAT-zero good points, the Sony and LG I bought were at the lower end of the chain but it shows me what a crock of crap some these reviews are because that thing stinked!
I just put em in filmmaker and don't mess around too much. Job done.
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