Sony Inzone M9 gaming monitor review

Sony has more to offer gamers than the PlayStation. To prove it, the company just launched Inzone, a new brand of gaming headsets and gaming monitors aimed primarily at the esports crowd. And if our time with the new Inzone M9 display is any indication, the Japanese electronics giant just might be on to something.

The Inzone M9 has one of the most gorgeous, practical designs we’ve seen on any monitor, coupled with a rich 27-inch 4K screen that comes fully optimized to take advantage of the latest consoles and souped-up gaming PCs. It’s not without its flaws, but the M9 is an excellent gaming monitor debut for Sony, and a great choice for serious PS5, Xbox Series X or PC gamers willing to invest in an immersive display that can also provide a competitive edge.

A great 4K gaming monitor for console and PC

The Sony Inzone M9 is an excellent 4K gaming monitor for serious PS5, Xbox Series X or PC gamers, especially those who play competitively.

Mike Andronico/CNN

The Inzone M9 is one of the most attractive monitors I’ve ever laid eyes on, with sleek curves and an understated black-and-white color scheme that makes a perfect complement to both my PS5 and Xbox Series S. There’s a customizable strip of RGB lighting in the back, and while it may not be something you notice while gaming, it’s still a nice touch for those who game in dark rooms. But this monitor’s design isn’t just pretty; it’s also practical.

The M9 has one of the more unique stands I’ve seen on a gaming monitor, with a tripod design that mostly rests behind the screen. Unlike the wide, triangular bases on many gaming displays (such as the Alienware 34 Curved I recently tested), Sony’s monitor barely made a dent on my desk, leaving plenty of room for my usual mess of peripherals. According to Sony, this design was built with competitive gamers in mind, as lots of pros like to play with their keyboard at a sharp angle. But even if you’re not dominating high-stakes Counter-Strike matches, you’ll still appreciate how little desk space the M9 takes up compared to other 27-inch gaming monitors.

Sony’s monitor also comes loaded with ports, packing two HDMI 2.1 ports, a standard DisplayPort, a DisplayPort-capable USB-C connection, a USB-B port and three USB-A ports that serve as a USB hub for using your accessories with up to two different computers. This layout allowed me to have my PC, PS5 and Xbox Series S all hooked up at the same time without having to constantly fumble with wires whenever I wanted to switch systems.

Mike Andronico/CNN

I’ve been using Sony’s display as my primary monitor for the past week or so, and even basic work tasks like writing this very review have become more enjoyable, thanks to its rich hues and deep blacks that trump what I get from my old Dell 24 Gaming Monitor. But while the M9 works well for everyday productivity and entertainment, let’s be real: You’ll be buying this thing primarily to play games. And fortunately, the M9 delivers big in that department.

Sony’s 27-inch display worked great with my PC, PS5 and Xbox Series S, delivering gorgeous colors, an immersive level of detail and smooth frame rates that helped give me a competitive edge. The cinematic, Pixar-like action of Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart looked especially stunning on the M9, thanks to high dynamic range (HDR) support that allowed the purples and oranges of the game’s interdimensional worlds to really pop. The gory details of Mortal Kombat 11 and Doom Eternal looked especially vivid in crisp 4K, and when I fired up Halo Infinite on my Xbox Series S, the monitor provided me with a smooth 120 frames per second (fps) that made it easy to react quickly during a heated free-for-all match (I came in a very close second, for the record).

Part of why games look and play so great on the Inzone M9 is because the monitor comes loaded with all of the fancy tech you’ll need to take full advantage of the latest consoles and PC hardware. It’s a perfect PS5, Xbox Series X or Series S monitor, thanks to an HDMI 2.1 port that allows for variable refresh rates — meaning the display can automatically adjust itself for optimal performance and pump out up to a blistering 120Hz for supported games. And since it’s a Sony product, the Inzone M9 plays especially nice with the PlayStation 5, with rich HDR support and a PS5-exclusive auto picture feature that can automatically change modes based on whether you’re playing a game or watching a movie. The latter is especially cool, and it really works.

PC gamers will enjoy up to an even smoother 144Hz, complete with variable refresh rate support for those with an Nvidia RTX 30-series or AMD Radeon 6-series graphics card. And even if you have an older GPU, you’ll still benefit from adaptive sync technology that keeps gameplay smooth while preventing nasty screen tearing. Long story short: If you have a next-gen console or a powerful gaming PC, your games will look fantastic on the M9.

It’s also worth noting that the M9 has built-in speakers, which is rare for a gaming monitor. The display’s integrated audio was pretty soft and tinny (you’ll want to use a pair of computer speakers or a gaming headset for the best experience), but it was perfectly serviceable for quick play sessions, especially when many competitors don’t have speakers at all.

Intuitive controls and great software

Mike Andronico/CNN

The Inzone M9 features a handy navigation nub just behind the right side of the monitor for switching inputs and customizing settings, which I found much more intuitive than the button- and touch-based controls found on many displays. It’s a good thing that navigating the M9’s menus is easy too, because this thing is absolutely packed with features.

Sony’s monitor features five total display settings: a standard mode, a mode optimized for first-person shooters, a cinema mode for bingeing Netflix and two game modes that you can customize to your heart’s content. There are also a range of “Gaming Assist” features built in to give you a competitive advantage, including an on-screen frame rate counter, a crosshair overlay designed to give you better aim in shooting games and a timer that’s ideal for keeping track of your turns in strategy titles. Additionally, there’s an adjustable Black Equalizer setting that you can crank up to illuminate dark areas in games without blowing out the whole image — something I found legitimately useful for getting a better look at the shadowy corners of a Halo Infinite arena.

And here’s the real kicker: You can tweak all of these settings without having to touch the monitor’s actual controls. Once you install the Inzone Hub app for Windows, you can make all of the aforementioned tweaks (and more) directly from your desktop without constantly reaching around to fumble through the on-screen menus. In addition to adjusting the picture and activating special features, the Inzone Hub lets you import and export your customized settings — something handy for, say, keeping your preferences intact across multiple displays. You can also sync specific picture modes to specific apps, because what looks good for a grisly brawler like Mortal Kombat might not be right for a colorful racing game like Forza Horizon. And if you’re using an Inzone gaming headset (such as the excellent Inzone H9 we reviewed), you can control both your headphones and monitor from one handy app.

The ability to make fine adjustments directly from an app isn’t something I’ve seen on many gaming monitors, and as easy as it is to navigate the M9’s on-screen menus, nothing tops being able to use my mouse and keyboard.

Minimal adjustment options and some hard-to-reach ports

Mike Andronico/CNN

It’s hard to find many faults with the Inzone M9, but its lack of adjustability definitely sticks out. You can tilt the display 20 degrees forward or backward and adjust its height a few inches up or down, but that’s about it — there’s no ability to rotate the screen side to side or swivel it vertically if you want to use it in portrait mode.

That ties directly into my other major gripe with this monitor, which is that the DisplayPort and HDMI ports, which are obscured by the stand, are somewhat difficult to reach. I never have this issue on my cheaper Dell 24 Gaming Monitor, since I can simply rotate the screen vertically and easily access whatever ports I need. These issues aren’t deal breakers — and it is VESA-compatible if you want to attach it to your own monitor arm — but more flexibility would have made this great gaming display even better.

Mike Andronico/CNN

The $899 Sony Inzone M9 is a fantastic premium gaming monitor, with an attractive, practical design and all of the bells and whistles necessary to take full advantage of your PS5, Xbox Series X/S or PC. Its 27-inch 4K screen makes it easy to get immersed in all types of games and movies, and competitive players will get a lot of use out of its fluid 144Hz refresh rate and robust customization settings.

If all you want is a nice 4K screen, the $329 Asus VG289Q1A is one of the best budget gaming monitors we’ve tested, and less than half the price — though you’ll have to settle for a much slower 60Hz refresh rate. The $799 LG 27GN950-B is a popular option that offers similar specs for cheaper, though it lacks HDMI 2.1 for optimal next-gen console support. If you’re willing to invest in a great 4K monitor that will showcase your games at their absolute best — and especially if you’re a competitive gamer — the Inzone M9 is well worth it.

Display 27-inch 4K IPS display 27-inch 4K IPS display 28-inch 4K IPS display
Refresh rate 144Hz 144Hz 144Hz
Variable refresh rate support Yes No Yes
HDR DisplayHDR 600 DisplayHDR 600 DisplayHDR 400
Adaptive sync Nvidia G-Sync Nvidia G-Sync, AMD FreeSync Premium Pro Nvidia G-Sync, AMD FreeSync Premium
Ports HDMI 2.1 (2), DisplayPort 1.4, USB hub HDMI (2), DisplayPort, USB hub HDMI 2.1 (2), HDMI 2.0 (2), DisplayPort 1.4, USB hub
Adjustment options 70mm height adjustment, 0 to 20-degree tilt 110mm height adjustment, -5 to 15-degree tilt, pivot 120mm height adjustment, -5 to 20-degree tilt, -90 to 90-degree pivot
Built-in speakers Yes No Yes
Price


$899


$636


$748

Leave a Comment