Sony InZone M9 gaming monitor review: The final word PS5 HDR monitor?

Sony InZone M9 gaming monitor

MSRP $900.00

“The Sony InZone M9 challenges the state of HDR in gaming monitors under $1,000.”


  • Excellent HDR for under $1,000
  • Auto tone mapping with PS5
  • Works with G-Sync and FreeSync
  • Easy to make use of OSD and software
  • KVM switch with two USB ports
  • DisplayPort over USB-C


  • Vignetting around the sides
  • Stand doesn’t get high enough
  • SDR is lacking behind VA panels
  • Poor color and brightness uniformity

Sony is entering the world of gaming monitors, and it clearly isn’t content to do this quietly. The Sony InZone M9 challenges the old guard of 4K gaming monitors, upping the ante with full-array local dimming, HDR that isn’t terrible, and a singular, space-saving design — oh, and all for under $1,000.

A spec sheet would have any display enthusiast sold on the M9 in a heartbeat, and a few of that’s earned. Nonetheless, for as much as Sony’s first gaming monitor gets right, it also gets quite a few things mistaken. The stand doesn’t make sense for most individuals, and I experienced panel issues on two separate units. And, if you happen to don’t care about HDR, there isn’t much to sell you on the M9 over the competition from LG and Samsung.

For that group with a PlayStation 5 and a PC that cares about HDR performance, though, the InZone M9 is offering something that the market just doesn’t have right away. And most significantly, it’s a step forward for the largely stagnant market of the most effective monitors.


  Sony InZone M9 (SDM-U27M90)
Screen size 27 inches
Panel type IPS
Resolution 3840 x 2560 (4K)
Peak brightness 600 nits
HDR DisplayHDR 600 w/ Full Array Local Dimming (96 zones)
Response time 1ms GtG
Refresh rate 144Hz
Curve None
Speakers 2x 2W
Inputs 2x HDMI 2.1, 1x DisplayPort 1.4, USB-C
USB ports 2x USB-A, 1x USB-B
Adjustments Height adjustment (2.5 inches)
List price $899

Design and features

Destiny 2 running on the Sony InZone M9 gaming monitor.Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

The InZone M9 looks great, especially next to a PlayStation 5. They’re purpose-built for one another, with the monitor wrapping stark white plastic around a black interior for a futuristic look. The monitor even has a glow behind it just like the PS5, as well, which you may adjust to match the look of the LEDs on the console.

The stand is where things get funky though. It has three legs, unlike the usual two you discover on most monitor stands. It’s definitely a singular look, and it’s an enormous space saver on cramped desks.

I’m just undecided what Sony was pondering with the ergonomics here. It’s just tall enough. Even at its highest point, I couldn’t discover a position where I wasn’t tilting my neck downwards. The range of height adjustment is so low, too, so there’s little or no room to regulate it how you wish. Unless you’ve gotten loads of room for height adjustment along with your desk and chair, the InZone M9 was uncomfortable to make use of with no monitor arm. There’s a touch of tilt adjustment to assist, but you’ll still be angling your neck down typically.

The ergonomics are a shame since the M9 and its stand really do look implausible. Sony took advantage of the PS5 beyond looks, too. The M9 features an automatic genre mode that may toggle between the low-latency Game mode and quality-focused Cinema mode depending on what you’re doing in your PS5.

The back of the Sony InZone M9 gaming monitor.Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

More importantly, the M9 does automatic HDR tone mapping. The PS5 can detect the M9 because the monitor, and it should adjust the colour and brightness values it spits out to cater to Sony’s display. I’ll dig more into that within the performance sections below, but spoiler alert: the HDR tone mapping is absolutely good.

Ports and controls

Menu on the Sony InZone M9 monitor.Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

The M9 has a fantastic collection of ports: two HDMI 2.1 to support 4K at 120Hz on the PS5, a single DisplayPort 1.4 connection, and even support for USB-C. You get a few USB ports if you happen to hook up the USB-B connection to your PC, and due to the KVM switch contained in the M9, you may swap your peripherals between devices just by changing the input. All thumbs up here.

What’s more exciting is the OSD. I’ve praised the menus on monitors just like the Acer Predator X28, but even they don’t hold a candle to the M9. You get a big, clearly legible, and comprehensible OSD that’s dead easy to navigate with the joystick behind the precise side of the monitor. Sony uses a separate power button, too, so that you won’t by chance switch off the display.

The InZone Hub invites a deeper level of monitor customization

You don’t should use the OSD, though, and I like to recommend you don’t. The InZone Hub app gives you your entire monitor settings in your desktop, and in contrast to the MSI MPG32-QD, you don’t have to hook up a USB cable to make use of the software.

Inside, you’ll find five picture modes: Cinema, Standard, FPS, Game 1, and Game 2. The 2 gaming picture modes are literally custom slots where you may adjust brightness, contrast, etc. Otherwise, the image settings are locked outside of the black equalizer and native dimming setting. None of them are bad, however the Standard mode is scorching vivid, while the Cinema mode has a signature warm color temperature that only really looks good if you happen to’re watching a moody drama.

I adjusted the brightness of the primary gaming mode all the way down to a snug level and went to a neutral color temperature, but that’s all I needed to do to get the monitor looking how I wanted.

InZone Hub on the Sony M9 monitor.Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

I believe most individuals don’t configure their monitor settings because, frankly, it’s annoying coping with an OSD and a joystick. The InZone Hub invites a deeper level of customization, which I like, and manages to supply all of the crucial picture settings you wish without entering into advanced color calibration that only a small fraction of individuals will make the most of.

Image quality

A SpyderX sitting over the Sony M9 monitor.Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

I strapped my SpyderX on the M9 to confirm the specs listed by Sony, and almost every thing checks out. It’s a large gamut display that covers 100% of the sRGB spectrum and 92% of DCI-P3 based on my testing. Sony says it covers 95%, but my results are close enough that I’m content. My panel was surprisingly color accurate, too, with a median Delta-E (difference from real color) of 1.14. Lower than 2 is right for colorwork, though the M9 definitely isn’t a display for video or photo pros.

The opposite results are straightforward for an IPS panel. In SDR, the M9 topped out at a peak brightness of 419 nits, with a contrast ratio of 900:1. The upper 600 nit mark that Sony quotes comes with local dimming and HDR turned on, and I actually measured a much higher value of 834 nits with VESA’s DisplayHDR Test tool. That’s super vivid for an IPS panel, but take into accout that this test blasts 10,000 nits on the screen without delay. It’ll rarely get that vivid in use.

The HDR can outpace even the most effective VA panels available on the market.

Native contrast isn’t going to floor you; that is an IPS panel, which universally have poorer contrast in comparison with VA options. It’s the HDR contrast that stands out. With HDR and native dimming on, I measured a contrast ratio of 5,180:1, which outpaces even the most effective VA panels.

The specs and my testing checks out, but my subjective experience with the M9 was removed from perfect. My initial review unit arrived with a couple of panel defects — not an enormous deal, this stuff are sure to occur to not less than a couple of of any monitor — and Sony swiftly sent out one other one.

The second unit didn’t include defects, however it showed clear vignetting. It was never an issue when loads of colours were on screen from a game or movie, however it was distracting with just an online browser open, as my eye would shoot to the corner to double-check that my vision wasn’t going. My first unit got here with some vignetting, as well, though not as much as the second. I reached out to Sony about each issues, and I’ll update this review once I hear back.

I’m really torn on the M9. As I’ll dig into in the following two sections, it easily offers among the best HDR and gaming experiences available today. No doubt. Nevertheless it’s hard to overlook issues with the panel, especially when two separate units each include their very own problems.

HDR performance

An HDR video playing on the Sony InZone M9.Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

The InZone M9 is certified with VESA’s DisplayHDR 600 certification, which, as monitors just like the Samsung Odyssey G7 show, doesn’t all the time indicate great HDR performance. For the M9, the large deal isn’t its DisplayHDR certification. It’s Full Array Local Dimming (FALD).

Unlike the Odyssey G7 and LG’s ever-popular 27GP950, which have dimming zones on the sides of the display, the InZone M9 comes with dimming zones throughout the screen. And it comes with 96 zones, which compares to only eight zones on the Samsung monitor and 16 zones on LG’s. Those zones make an enormous difference. Unless you search out a QD-OLED panel just like the Alienware 34 QD-OLED, you’re not going to seek out a greater HDR experience below $1,000.

This is definitely the most effective HDR experience you’ll get on a PC under $1,000

DT contributor Arif Bacchus actually saw the M9 right next to LG’s popular 27-inch monitor, and he didn’t mince words: “I’m telling you, the Sony is healthier.”

I began with Destiny 2 to check HDR performance, which has develop into my litmus test with its eye-scorching contrast. And it looked great. HDR monitors have been lagging behind TVs for some time, and the InZone M9 is finally raising the bar. Attributable to the 96 dimming zones, you get much higher contrast in games like Destiny 2 without seeing individual parts of the monitor adjust how vivid they’re.

Destiny 2 on the Sony InZone M9 gaming monitor.Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

HDR gaming is great, easily the most effective experience on PC you’ll find for $900 (not less than at this resolution). PS5 is even higher resulting from the automated tone mapping. I played through a few of Tales of Arise and Returnal, each of which looked implausible. Tales really shined with its watercolor-esque art, because the tone mapping and native dimming squeezed out hidden areas of contrast I never paid any mind to.

Gaming performance

Tales of Arise on the Sony InZone M9 gaming monitor.Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Gaming is a treat on the M9, especially if you’ve gotten a PC and PS5. I had each attached, and I swapped backwards and forwards between my machines immediately due to the deep integration the M9 has with Sony’s hardware. The console picked up the M9 immediately and optimized the PS5 picture settings, and all I needed to do was tickle the brightness slider to get a implausible image. That is Sony profiting from its gaming ecosystem.

For raw gaming features, the monitor support variable refresh rate (VRR) and goes as much as 144Hz. It’s G-Sync Compatible, which implies VRR works across Nvidia and AMD GPUs, and the PS5 routinely turned on VRR within the settings once I hooked the monitor up.

I used the M9 as my primary gaming monitor for just over every week, trying every thing from Destiny 2 to Tale of Arise to Neon White — whatever I happened to be playing on the time. And it’s implausible. Even with HDR turned off, the local dimming offers a pleasant bump in contrast to some PC games, and the always-on HDR on the PS5 takes the local dimming nicely.

The PlayStation Store on the Sony InZone M9.Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

VRR support and a 144Hz refresh rate take the M9 outside of Sony’s console, too (though, you’ll need among the best graphics cards to drive those frame rates at 4K). The one minor issue is a few ghosting at high overdrive levels. The M9 permits you to lower the response time with overdrive, and as these settings typically do, there was some ghosting behind moving objects. It was removed from an issue, though, and the monitor defaults to having overdrive turned off.


Price is the important thing factor that the M9 lives and dies by, and Sony is selecting to live. The list price is $900, which can almost definitely catapult the M9 to the go-to monitor for 4K gaming. The past few years have been dominated by two monitors around the identical price — the 28-inch Samsung Odyssey G7 for $800 and the LG 27GP950 for $900 — and the M9 beat them point-for-point.

It’s finally a step forward for gaming monitors. There are not less than a half dozen other 28-inch 4K monitors with a 144Hz refresh rate, but they’re throughout the identical price with only slight deviations in features. The Gigabyte M28U is cheaper and comes with a KVM switch, for instance. The M9 stands apart with its 96-zone FALD.

My predominant query is how much the M9 will actually sell for. List price to list price, it’s a fantastic deal. But the usual guard of 4K monitors around this price are incessantly on sale, below $600 in loads of cases. And in that situation, higher HDR performance doesn’t quite seem well worth the premium.

Our take

Panel issues aside, you may’t ignore the M9. There isn’t one other monitor at this price that does every thing the M9 does. It’s the most effective HDR monitor for gaming you may buy under $1,000 right away, and it’s even higher if you happen to can pair it with each a PC and PS5. HDR is the large selling point, though. If HDR isn’t vital to you, the tried and true options from Samsung and LG offer an identical experience (and frequently for less money).

Are there any alternatives?

Yes, there are several alternatives. The 2 predominant competitors are the LG 27GP950 and Samsung Odyssey G7, that are around the identical price once they’re not on sale. They’re almost similar to the InZone M9, though they lack full-array local dimming.

Meanwhile, the Alienware 34 QD-OLED offers a good higher HDR experience, though you’ll should pay considerably more for it.

How long will it last?

Most IPS monitors will last not less than a decade and sometimes longer. The M9 shouldn’t be any different, though be wary of panel defects.

Must you buy it?

If you happen to highly value HDR, yes. There isn’t one other monitor offering what the M9 does at this price. If you happen to don’t care about HDR, and particularly if you happen to’re strictly a PC gamer, the LG and Samsung alternatives offer a greater value overall.

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