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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