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Sony Inzone M9 review: The unofficial PlayStation 5 gaming monitor makes PS5 games pop

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The Inzone M9 launches 18 August. Pre-orders are open now  (The Independent)
The Inzone M9 launches 18 August. Pre-orders are open now (The Independent)

Sony’s new M9 gaming monitor fulfils two objectives. Firstly, more PlayStation owners than ever are plugging their consoles into gaming monitors rather than traditional televisions, and Sony wants to be the monitor of choice for console gaming. Secondly, PC gaming hardware is a giant market still relatively unexplored by Sony.

The new Inzone range – which also includes the H9 headset (£269, Sony.co.uk) – is laser-focused on gaming, but oddly enough it doesn’t come from the PlayStation side of Sony’s business.

Instead it’s the work of the electronics division, the folks behind some of the best wireless headphones and best wireless earbuds you can buy, such as the list-topping new WH-1000XM5 (£379, Sony.co.uk).

But place the crisp alabaster curves of the Sony Inzone M9 gaming monitor alongside the popped white collar of the PS5 console and you can’t help but notice the family resemblance. Behind all of the technical detail and inter-departmental politics, the Inzone M9 is, for all intents and purposes, the unofficial PS5 gaming monitor.

So, how does this companion piece to the latest PlayStation fare against existing gaming monitors? On paper it ticks every box going, with top specs that should capture the attention of discriminating PC gamers as well as console players feeling let down by their sub-optimal, movie-tuned TVs.

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How we tested

We tested the Sony Inzone M9 gaming monitor by coupling the display with the PlayStation 5 and two of our gaming laptops. HDR-enabled games we tested included Microsoft Flight Simulator, Horizon Zero Dawn, God of War and Spider-Man. Here’s how it fared.

Sony Inzone M9 gaming monitor: £999, Sony.co.uk

 (Steve Hogarty/The Independent)
(Steve Hogarty/The Independent)
  • Rating: 8/10

  • Screen size: 27in

  • Panel type: IPS LCD

  • Resolution: 3840 x 2560

  • Peak brightness: 600 nits

  • Native contrast: 1,000:1

  • Refresh rate: 144Hz, Nvidia G-sync compatible

  • Response time: 1ms

The Sony Inzone M9 is a peculiar looking piece of tech. The futuristic curves are designed to match the audacious towering shape of the PS5, and the display sits atop a distinctive tripod-style monitor stand. It has none of the gaudy flashy Nineties nightclub aesthetics of typical gamer gear.

In pictures, the stand looks like it would take up more space than it saves, but on small desks the rear feet get tucked all the way out of the way, leaving just that central column occupying a tiny piece of desk real estate behind your keyboard. It’s real space saver, and as well as looking great the stand allows for some clever cable-management trickery to tidy away unsightly wiring.

 (Sony)
(Sony)

The screen can be tilted, raised and lowered, but not rotated, which is more degrees of freedom you get on most displays with stands. We found the height adjustment topped out at a level slightly lower than what we’re comfortable with – for us, the top of the display aligns with our eye-level – but the ability to tilt the screen upward slightly to meet your gaze means it doesn’t feel awkwardly placed.

Sony Inzone M9 ports

The selection of ports covers everything you could reasonably need in a modern gaming display. There are two HMDI 2.1 ports. These can handle 4K resolution at 120 frames per second, which is what the PlayStation 5 tops out at.

For PC gamers there’s a DisplayPort 1.4 connection running at 144Hz, and a USB-C connection that even supports DP Alt mode – superb news for anyone who wants to descend into that particular circle of cable-compatibility hell.

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One more point on the USB-C connection. The Inzone M9 has a KVM switch built in, a piece of hardware that lets you instantly swap your keyboard, monitor, mouse and other peripherals over to another computer or console connected to the display, just by switching your input source. A tiny addition to the M9 that has huge benefits for anyone wanting to use this screen as a PC display and a PS5 display, but can’t stand repeatedly reconnecting stuff.

Sony Inzone M9 picture quality

So how does the Sony Inzone M9 actually look? When gaming on PS5 especially, HDR is a spectacular visual feat. The display itself has just modest HDR capabilities, but when connected to the PS5 the console and the monitor can work in tandem to enhance the image in real-time and draw vastly improved detail out of games.

If you’re unfamiliar, HDR (or high dynamic range) is a feature of high-end TVs and flagship gaming monitors that can display a much wider range of brightness levels and colour detail. This means objects and scenes look more realistically lit, and more like they would appear in the real world.

 (Sony)
(Sony)

While it’s typically expensive to implement premium-level HDR in a 27in gaming display, the M9 has a few tricks up its sleeve to achieve pretty much the same effect on the cheap. It uses the PlayStation 5’s video rendering technology alongside a technique called full-array local dimming for a clean and pumped-up HDR result that’s truly impressive in an 27in LCD monitor costing less than £1,000.

Automatic genre detection can also tell when you’ve started watching movies or television on your PS5, and will switch the HDR processing to the most appropriate settings to ensure you’re getting the best picture quality.

In short, connect the Inzone M9 to a PS5 and your games and movies will look luscious and exactly as their creators wanted you to see them.

When gaming on PC, you’re still getting a great HDR experience, though not as fine-tuned as with the PS5. We tested the Sony Inzone M9 with a range of HDR10 compatible games, including Microsoft Flight Simulator, where the boosted light range enabled a level of detail that’s simply not attainable on standard monitors. The sun glints believably off wings and cloud-dappled landscapes come to life. In Horizon Forbidden West the added range breathes detail into everything, foliage has more depth and skies look enormous and endless.

Sony Inzone M9 audio and features

The M9’s built-in speakers don’t live up to the spectacle of the display, but monitor speakers are always a total wash. Crappy dedicated speakers run rings around even the best built-in speakers, so they’re barely worth considering as a feature. However, they do the job of not leaving you in complete silence should you forget to connect your headphones.

Also worth a mention is the clever on-screen display for configuring settings and choosing inputs. Monitor OSDs are almost universally awful, but the M9 breaks from convention with a thumbstick-style nub on the back of the display that can be flicked in four directions to easily whizz around menus. And if that’s not your bag, the Inzone app acts as a software hub for the screen and the Inzone headset.

The verdict: Sony Inzone M9

The Sony Inzone M9 is a superb gaming monitor that draws on the company’s vast expertise in producing some of the world’s best television displays. It’s more expensive than a mid-range screen with cheaper HDR technology, but for your money you’re getting one of the best HDR experiences in this class, especially when connected to the PS5.

Pair that spicy HDR performance with high-end, must-have specs such as the 144Hz refresh rate, 1ms response time and 4K resolution, and the Sony Inzone M9 is an enticing prospect for PC and console gamers looking to upgrade their screen.

Sony Inzone M9

Buy now £999.00, Sony.co.uk

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