With big PS5 games like God of War, and now Spider-Man Remastered & Miles Morales coming to PC, it was inevitable that Sony would introduce a gaming monitor. The Sony Inzone M9 is a 27-inch gaming monitor with everything you’d want from a 4K screen, including a 144Hz refresh rate with HDMI 2.1 to drive it, IPS colors, HDR 600, VRR, and G-Sync compatibility. But what really gives this gaming monitor its edge is its HDR capabilities (including one that’s PlayStation-specific) and competitive $899 price tag.
The Sony Inzone M9 has a black and white color scheme that makes it absolutely look like a gaming monitor made for the PS5. Meanwhile, the front of the display’s base looks almost identical to Sony’s console, except it’s leaning back.
Thankfully, the Sony Inzone M9’s styling isn’t as eye-catching as the PS5’s popped collar. In fact, the design here actually helps hide the monitor’s feet and most of the entire stand behind the screen. There’s also a cable passthrough in the center of the supporting arm to keep things even tidier.
All of this makes for a very clean gaming desk setup and thanks to the monitor’s rear-positioned feet, you can rotate your gaming keyboard or whip your gaming mouse far forward without bumping into anything. That said, the way the support arm is slanted means the monitor shifts slightly forward and back as you adjust its height.
The business side of the display is nice and clean too. There’s no outrageous RGB lighting or big tribal logo, and the bottom lip is only a hair over 10mm in size. The bezels are pretty small too, measuring in at 7mm on top and then 9mm on the sides.
To quickly review, the Sony Inzone M9 is a 27-inch monitor with a 3,840 x 2,160 resolution IPS panel featuring a 144Hz refresh rate, 1ms response time, and support for VRR and G-Sync compatibility.
Its most stand-out feature is its full-array backlighting system, a display technology that is primarily seen in 4K TVs. Although this isn’t the first monitor to feature local dimming, it packs 96 lighting zones to drive localized contrast that blows most gaming monitors out of the water. Other competing 4K gaming monitors like the $799 LG UltraGear 27GN950-B only feature 16 local dimming zones.
More often, gaming monitors like the LG UltraGear 27GP950 and Samsung Odyssey G70A only feature edge-lit backlighting, so they have a noticeable glow around the edges of the display. Meanwhile, the Sony Inzone M9 can display bright pixels right next to sheer darkness without any halo-ing issues (or backlight bleeding into darker parts of the screen).
Of course, this isn’t the most backlighting zones we’ve seen on a gaming monitor. The $1,999 Acer Predator x27 and Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ both featured 384 zones as the first two G-Sync Ultimate gaming monitors in 2018. More recently, Mini-LED technology has introduced even more intricate backlighting control to displays, but at a considerable cost. For a few examples, the $2,895 Asus ROG Swift PG32UQX features 1,152 lighting zones and the $2,299 Samsung Odyssey Neo G9 has 2,048 lighting zones.
The Sony Inzone M9’s 96 lighting zones might seem minuscule by comparison, but it still delivers a fantastic picture and at $899 it comes at a fantastic value.
As for connectivity, it has two HDMI 2.1, DisplayPort, and USB-C (with DP support), so you can connect all your devices including two consoles, a gaming PC, and even a gaming laptop if you wanted. Better yet, it automatically changes inputs once it detects a video signal. The monitor also has two KVM switches built into it so you can share any USB peripherals plugged into the monitor with two computing devices.
When connecting to a PS5, the Sony Inzone M9 also offers Auto HDR Tonemapping. Basically, this means your console talks to the screen and recognizes its full capabilities to automatically set the HDR settings. This saves you the hassle of eyeballing the HDR brightness and darkness settings for every game. Unfortunately, Auto HDR Tonemapping only works when this monitor is connected to Sony consoles and not a gaming PC playing PlayStation games.
Sony’s on-screen display menu system is clear, fast, and easy to navigate. On the back of the monitor, you’ll find a joystick to open and get through all the menus.
All the typical stuff for a gaming monitor is here including adjusting brightness, contrast, saturation, color temperature, and black equalizer. There are a few prebaked presets you can mess with and the Inzone M9 will actually auto-switch picture modes too.
It also features some more gamer-oriented features including turning on an on-screen clock, crosshairs, and the frame rate. Unfortunately, that last one doesn’t work as well as intended as it just shows what hertz the monitor is operating at rather than a live counter of how many frames your game is running at. I had Ghost of Tsushima running in fidelity mode and while the game was clearly running at 30fps, the counter on the screen read 60Hz.
If you find messing with the settings on the monitor itself to be finicky, you can also adjust everything from Sony’s Inzone PC application. It offers all the same adjustments and while I found it a bit strange using PC software for a monitor, after fine-tuning things without having to reach behind the monitor I kind of wished more displays came with an application.
The Sony Inzone M9 offers astounding picture quality. Thanks to those 96 local dimming zones I’ve mentioned previously, this monitor has almost OLED levels of contrast. Highlights shown on the screen are blindingly bright and darkness is represented by almost pitch black. What’s even more impressive is you can have these two extremes right next to each other without seeing a speck of dull gray pixels anywhere. This was especially evident whenever looking at a starry sky in Returnal’s intro every time I died.
On top of the great contrast, colors really pop from the Inzone M9’s IPS panel, so you can enjoy all the rich colors in vibrant games like Horizon: Forbidden West. According to my colorimeter tests, this monitor maxes out for sRGB and 98% of DCI-P3 colors, so color accuracy is excellent here.
As for motion, the Inzone M9 does a fantastic job of making gameplay look fluid. Thanks to support for VRR, FreeSync, and G-Sync compatibility, you won’t see tearing on this display while playing on either console or any gaming PC. Outside of gameplay, I tested the monitor against the Blur Busters UFO Test and it impressively showed no ghosting at all even on the top row at 120Hz.
The Sony Inzone M9 will be available this Summer for $899.