Screen Size: 27 inches
Resolution: 3,840 x 2,160
Refresh Rate: 144 Hz
Inputs: 1 headphone jack, 3 USB-A, 1 USB-B, 1 USB-C, 1 Display port, 2 HDMI 2.1
Dimensions: 24.25 x 18.88 x 9.88 inches (with stand)
Weight: 15 pounds (with stand)
The Sony Inzone M9 gaming monitor ($899) is something of an oddity. It’s a Sony-manufactured gaming device from a new hardware division called Inzone that’s independent of Sony Interactive Entertainment, Sony's games division. And while Inzone isn’t specifically producing hardware for the PS5, you wouldn't guess it by looking at the M9, which sports the same aesthetic as Sony's latest console. However, Sony is clearly targeting PC gamers (along with PS5 users) with this device.
Branding confusion aside, the Inzone M9 is one of the finest gaming monitors I’ve tested. With its vibrant 27-inch 4K LCD display, 144Hz refresh rate, 1ms response time, VRR support and G-Sync compatibility, PC and PS5 games look and run phenomenally on this monitor. And the best part? You get all of this for under a thousand dollars. This is an easy inclusion into our best gaming monitors list. It’s that good.
Sony Inzone M9 gaming monitor review: Price and release date
- Costs $899
- Releases Summer 2022
The Sony Inzone M9 gaming monitor will go on sale for $899 sometime this summer. It features a 27-inch 4K LCD 144Hz display with an advertised max brightness of 600 nits, a 1ms response time, HDMI 2.1 support and G-Sync support. It's compatible with PC, PS5 and even the Xbox Series X.
Sony also plans to release the Inzone M3 gaming monitor sometime during Winter 2022. This Inzone monitor is similar to the Inzone M9, except it has a Full HD (1920 x 1080) 240Hz display that's rated for 400 nits of brightness. The Inzone M3 will cost $529.
Sony Inzone M9 gaming monitor review: Design
- Shares the PS5's design language
- Doesn't take up much space on a desk
- Can't rotate 90 degrees (portrait orientation)
The Inzone M9 is a relatively small gaming monitor that doesn’t command much space on a desk. Its design is reminiscent of the PS5 with its black-and-white casing. Most of the back portion is white, while the bottom part housing the ports is black. The only source of color comes from a LED strip along the back.
Instead of the usual V-shaped stand that comes with most monitors, the Inzone M9’s stand is more of a tripod – with a central shaft holding the screen and two thinner legs providing support behind the stand.
Because the shaft is set at a 45-degree angle, the screen glides toward you when you bring it down and away when you slide it up. This took some getting used to since I’m accustomed to monitors that glide up or down along a vertical shaft. You can’t tilt the screen left or right, meaning you’ll have to move the entire monitor to get your preferred viewing angle.
Unlike the Gigabyte Aorus FI32U, you can’t rotate the monitor 90 degrees into a portrait orientation. This likely won’t be an issue for people who tend to play modern games with 16:9 aspect ratios. However, it means you can't turn the display sideways to play a vertical scrolling shooter like Ikaruga in a more authentic aspect ratio.
There are a good amount of ports on the rear of the monitor. This includes a headphone jack, three USB-A, one USB-B, one USB-C, one Display and two HDMI 2.1 ports. There’s also an OSD (on-screen display) joystick behind the monitor for entering the menu to configure display settings.
Sony Inzone M9 gaming monitor review: Screen
- 27-inch 4K 144Hz display looks bright and colorful
- Various picture modes make games and movies look good
- PS5-exclusive picture settings
The Inzone M9 has a 27-inch 144Hz 4K (3,840 x 2,160) LCD IPS panel with a 1ms response time. Preset picture modes include Standard, FPS game, Cinema, Game1 and Game2.
With regard to the first two modes, Standard delivers a balanced picture for both games and content. FPS mode optimizes brightness and contrast to make it easier to see enemies. Perhaps it’s because I’m not a competitive gamer who plays FPS games often, but I didn’t feel that FPS mode provided me with an advantage. I was just as bad in Call of Duty: Warzone as I have always been.
Cinema mode is a PS5-exclusive feature that automatically kicks in when you watch streaming content or pop in a DVD/Blu-Ray/UHD disk (yes, those still exist). Whereas Game1 Mode (the default setting for gaming) minimizes input lag to make games run better, Cinema Mode shifts focus to picture processing to provide for an overall stronger image. This is a great feature that will spare you the headache of creating separate game and picture modes on your TV (as I did on my LG CX OLED 4K TV).
Speaking of PS5-specific features, Auto HDR tone mapping automatically recognizes Inzone gaming monitors during the initial setup process and optimizes the console’s HDR settings. This is another neat time-saving feature that can save you from manually adjusting the PS5’s HDR settings. Granted, I’m the kind of snob that prefers to calibrate HDR settings myself, but I like that this feature exists.
As far as our Tom’s Guide testing results are concerned, we found that the Inzone M9 achieved an average of 395.8 nits of brightness in Standard mode. This is brighter than the Acer Predator XB323QK, which averaged 378 nits of brightness in User mode. The Inzone M9’s other modes achieved similar averages that hovered in the 390 range; all save Game2 mode, which achieved 445 nits of brightness.
Things get exponentially brighter when HDR is enabled. Our tests revealed that the Inzone M9’s screen achieved an average of 793 nits of brightness with HDR at 40%.
Pointing our colorimeter at the monitor, we found that it achieved 145% of the sRGB color gamut (100% is most accurate) and 102.9% of the DCI-P3 color gamut. Its Delta-E value reached 0.31 (closer to 0 is better). The other modes stayed within this range.
In comparison, the Acer Predator XB323QK reached 138.1% of the sRGB color gamut and 97.8% of the wider DCI-P3 gamut. Both get trounced by the Alienware 34 gaming monitor, which achieved 183.2% of the sRGB color gamut and 129.8% of the DCI-P3. But given how the latter has a Quantum-Dot OLED display, it has somewhat of an unfair advantage.
As for my own experience, I felt that the Inzone M9 delivered fantastic picture quality and brightness. This is especially true for Spider-Man: Miles Morales, with its dense snow-covered NYC streets and gleaming glass towers. The subtle details and myriad colors in Elden Ring also popped on the screen. While the Alienware 34 has the best picture quality of any screen I've tested, the Inzone M9 is no slouch.
Sony Inzone M9 gaming monitor review: Performance
- Can display PC games at up to 144 fps and PS5 games up to 120 fps
- Ultra-fast response time
- Middling speaker quality
The Inzone M9 is a gaming monitor through and through. Because it supports HDMI 2.1, it can display certain PS5 games at a buttery-smooth 120 frames per second. On PC, you can experience up to 144 fps after adjusting a game’s graphics settings. Suffice it to say, the Inzone M9 is an excellent monitor for both PC and modern consoles.
On PC, I tested Doom Eternal and Cyberpunk 2077. Both titles look and run great, especially Doom Eternal. Blowing demons to bloody chunks with a shotgun feels glorious on this monitor. Though Cyberpunk 2077’s never reached past 45 fps, it also ran quite smoothly. The Inzone M9’s G-Sync feature and 1ms response time helped out big time.
PS5 games like Elden Ring, Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Astro’s Playroom and Gran Turismo 7 run superbly on the monitor. I’m not the biggest fan of racing simulators, but I actually enjoyed playing GT7 because of how gorgeous it looked – not to mention how pleasant it felt racing across the tracks. My favorite PS5 game to play during testing was Miles Morales because it could display at 120 fps, though I might also be a tad biased toward that title since I’m a native New Yorker.
Non-gaming content like the 4K UHD videos from the Nature Relaxation Music YouTube channel looks stunning on this display. I felt like I was transported to the Mediterranean when watching a video about Greece. The blue-green sea looked like the genuine article on the Inzone M9. Colorful movie trailers like Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse shine, both literally and figuratively.
Most monitor speakers tend to have next to no bass or low end. Unfortunately, that's also the case here. Whether it was games or YouTube videos, everything sounded flat and thin. To the speakers' credit, they do a good job of separating sounds so that everything comes through clearly. But when using the Inzone M9, I suggest you wear your favorite headset.
Sony Inzone M9 gaming monitor review: Interface
- Monitor interface is easy and intuitive to use
- Several gaming assist options exist
The Inzone M9’s system interface features a transparent grey background, white lettering and the Inzone line’s purple accenting. It was easy and intuitive to navigate through the monitor’s various menus thanks to the responsive OSD joystick.
Conversely, you can control monitor settings via the Inzone PC app. Through this hub, you can adjust all of the aforementioned picture settings right from your desktop. The app is pretty straightforward and simple to use. When playing on PC, I prefer using this app over the OSD joystick.
There are a handful of gaming assist options you may or may not find useful. This includes a green crosshair overlay meant to aid with FPS titles. I found this option more distracting than useful, but it’s there if you need it. You can also enable a frame rate counter and display a timer to track the elapsed game time.
Sony Inzone M9 gaming monitor review: Verdict
If Sony was dipping its toe into the PC gaming space by releasing PlayStation exclusives like God of War and Death Stranding on Steam, it is now taking a full-on plunge with the Inzone brand. Make no mistake about it, the Sony Inzone M9 gaming monitor is a direct competitor to the best monitors released by the likes of Samsung, LG, Asus and Acer.
Sony is one of the top-tier TV manufacturers in the world so it’s no surprise it would release an exceptional gaming monitor. The Inzone M9 delivers sharp picture quality that makes both PS5 and PC games look their best. The fact that it’s so competitively priced at $899 makes it virtually irresistible, especially if you’re in the market for a solid gaming monitor that doesn’t take up a lot of space. Though better monitors like my beloved Alienware 34 exist, it’s hard to ignore what the Inzone M9 is offering.
But if you’re looking for a more affordable monitor, the Gigabyte M32U is a solid 32-inch 4K 144Hz gaming monitor that's competitive with the Inzone M9 at $749. It doesn’t come with PS5-exclusive features, but it’s worth every penny. But as far as I’m concerned, the Inzone M9 is the better monitor because it’s perfectly suited for PC and PS5. That alone is worth the already affordable price.