The Sony INZONE M9, or just M9 for short, is Sony's first monitor and is part of their new INZONE lineup of gaming products, which also includes headphones like the Sony INZONE H9 Wireless. It's a premium gaming monitor with a 4k native resolution and a high refresh rate, with HDMI 2.1 bandwidth and support for both FreeSync and G-SYNC Compatible variable refresh rate technologies. It's part of Sony's "Perfect For PS5" lineup, which are designed with PS5 gamers in mind and support a few unique features. It also features a full array local dimming feature, but unlike some of the competitors, like the Samsung Odyssey Neo G8 S32BG85, it doesn't use a Mini LED backlight.
The Sony M9 is an impressive monitor. It's designed with console gaming in mind, and it delivers an excellent gaming experience overall, with low input lag and a fast response time. The large, high-resolution screen makes it a very good choice for office users or media creators. It delivers a good HDR experience if you're looking to game in HDR or watch the latest videos, thanks to its high peak brightness and wide color gamut. Sadly, the stand offers poor ergonomics, so it's hard to place it in an ideal viewing position, which limits its versatility overall.
The Sony M9 is very good for office users. The large, high-resolution screen makes it easy to multitask, as you can easily work with multiple windows open, resulting in superb text clarity. It has good visibility in bright rooms thanks to its high peak brightness and good reflection handling, so glare isn't an issue. Sadly, it has poor ergonomics, so it's difficult to adjust it to an ideal viewing position, and you might need to consider VESA mounting it instead of using the included stand.
The Sony M9 delivers an excellent gaming experience. It has amazing low input lag, delivering a very responsive gaming experience. It also has an excellent response time at the max refresh rate, with very little blur around fast-moving objects and very little overshoot with the best settings. The large, high-resolution screen is great for gaming, as you can see more fine details in graphically intense games. Finally, it's a great choice for console gamers, as it supports HDMI 2.1 bandwidth on both HDMI inputs, so you can enjoy 4k @ 120Hz gaming from the Xbox Series X and the PS5 without having to change the connections.
The Sony M9 is good for watching videos. Glare isn't an issue in bright rooms, as it has great peak brightness in SDR and good reflection handling. It doesn't look as good in a dark room, though, as it has a low contrast ratio and just an okay local dimming feature, so there's some distracting blooming around bright objects and blacks look gray. The large, high-resolution screen is great for watching the latest 4k content.
The Sony M9 is a very good monitor for media creators. It has a fantastic SDR color gamut, with perfect coverage of the sRGB color space, and it has fantastic gradient handling, with very little banding in areas of similar color. The large, high-resolution screen makes it easy to see more of your workflow at once. Unfortunately, it has poor color accuracy out of the box, and colors are terribly oversaturated. It also has poor ergonomics and just an alright horizontal viewing angle, so it's hard to place it in an ideal viewing position, and you can't easily turn it to share your screen with someone else.
The Sony M9 delivers a good HDR experience. It has impressive peak brightness in HDR, so bright scenes look close to how the content creator intended. Sadly, it has a mediocre contrast ratio and just an okay local dimming feature, so bright specular highlights don't really stand out from the rest of the scene. It has an impressive HDR color gamut and great color volume, so HDR content looks vivid and realistic.
We tested the Sony M9, the first monitor launched as part of Sony's new INZONE lineup of gaming monitors. A new, cheaper version of it, the Sony INZONE M3, has a lower native resolution and lower peak brightness but a faster refresh rate.
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If someone comes across a different type of panel or their Sony M9 doesn't correspond to our review, let us know, and we'll update the review.
Our unit was manufactured in June 2022, and you can see the label for our unit here.
The Sony INZONE M9 is an amazing gaming monitor overall, but its unique design has a few drawbacks, and it's not as well-built as most of its competitors. It offers very little over its competitors, like the LG 32GQ950-B, and it's more expensive, so most people are better off saving a bit of money and getting one of the other 4k 144Hz displays on the market. That said, it's one of the only 4k 144Hz monitors available with a 27" screen, so if you don't have space for a 32" monitor, it's a great alternative.
The LG 27GP950-B is slightly better than the Sony INZONE M9. The LG has much better accuracy out of the box, and colors aren't oversaturated, so it's a better choice for anyone looking for an accurate image. The LG also has better ergonomics, so it's easier to place it in an ideal viewing position. The LG also has slightly faster response times, especially if you're gaming at lower refresh rates, including 120Hz or 60Hz gaming from a console.
The Cooler Master Tempest GP27U is better overall than the Sony INZONE M9. Although they each have full-array local dimming features, the Cooler Master uses Mini LED backlights to produce deeper blacks with less blooming, and it also gets much brighter in HDR for brighter highlights. The Cooler Master also has better motion handling and has better ergonomics that make it easier to adjust.
The Samsung Odyssey Neo G8 S32BG85 is much better than the Sony INZONE M9. The Samsung has much more versatile stand, so it's easier to place it in an ideal viewing position without having to buy a separate VESA mount. The Samsung model also has much better contrast and a better Mini LED local dimming feature, delivering brighter highlights in HDR and less blooming around bright objects.
The Samsung Odyssey Neo G7 S32BG75 is better than the Sony INZONE M9. The Samsung has a much more versatile stand, so it's easier to place it in an ideal viewing position or turn the screen to share it with someone else. The Samsung also has much better contrast, delivering deeper blacks in a dark room and less blooming around bright objects thanks to its Mini LED backlight.
The LG 32GQ950-B is a bit better than the Sony INZONE M9. The LG has a faster response time, with no noticeable overshoot at the max refresh rate. The LG also has a better stand, with a wider range of ergonomics, so you can easily adjust it to an ideal viewing position. On the other hand, the Sony gets a bit brighter in SDR and has much better reflection handling, so if you're planning on using it for office work in a bright environment, the Sony is a bit better.
The Gigabyte M32U is slightly better than the Sony INZONE M9 overall. The Gigabyte is a more versatile monitor overall, with much better ergonomics, better accuracy out of the box, and a slightly faster response time. The Sony monitor, on the other hand, delivers a better HDR experience overall. The Sony gets brighter in HDR and has a much better local dimming feature.
The Dell G3223Q is a bit better than the Sony INZONE M9. The Dell has a wider range of ergonomics, so it's easier to place it in an ideal viewing position. The Dell also has much better accuracy out of the box, as colors aren't oversaturated, and there are no noticeable issues. Finally, the Dell model offers better build quality, as there are a few issues with the construction of the Sony monitor's stand, and there have been reports of quality control issues with the Sony model.
The Sony INZONE M9 and the Samsung Odyssey G7/G70B S32BG70 are both excellent gaming monitors with many of the same features. The Samsung monitor delivers better motion handling, especially with lower-frame-rate games, but the Sony has lower input lag with 60 fps sources. The Samsung also has much better ergonomics, making it easier to adjust to an ideal viewing position. On the other hand, the Sony looks better in HDR thanks to its higher peak brightness, but both monitors have low contrast.
Although the Sony INZONE M3 and the Sony INZONE M9 are part of the same lineup, they're very different monitors. The M9 is designed with console gaming in mind because it has a 4k resolution with HDMI 2.1 bandwidth, allowing you to take full advantage of the PS5 and Xbox Series X. On the other hand, the M3 is better for PC gamers because it has a higher 240Hz refresh rate, and with a 1080p resolution, it's easier for your graphics card to reach its max refresh rate.
The Sony M9 has a unique design and a definite gamer aesthetic. The front of the monitor has a simple design, with very thin bezels on three sides and just a bit of dead space between the sides of the screen and the first pixels. The back of the monitor shares many similar design elements with the PS5 and the other Sony INZONE products, like the Sony INZONE H7 Wireless. The stand has a unique design, with three legs that support the monitor like a tripod.
The Sony M9 has just decent build quality. It's mostly plastic, and some of it feels pretty cheap and not very premium. The stand doesn't work as well as it should for a monitor at this price point; it wobbles quite a bit and takes a while to recover from wobble.
Unfortunately, the stand's unique design also limits its range of ergonomic adjustments. The height adjustment range is disappointing, and it can't swivel or rotate to portrait orientation. Thankfully, it can be VESA mounted, so if you're having a hard time placing it in an ideal viewing position, you can mount it to a third-party stand or wall mount instead.
The back of the monitor is pretty plain, with an RGB light strip near the top of the display and a hook on the back of the stand for basic cable management.
The stand has a very unique design that looks a bit like a tripod. The height adjustment is at an angle, so the total thickness varies depending on the height of the display. At the lowest point, the total thickness is about 9.7" (24.7 cm), and at the highest setting, it's about 8.3" (21.1 cm), so the distance between the user and the screen varies as you adjust the height.
The joystick control is located at the back of the monitor. It's easy to use but a bit sensitive, so it can take some getting used to if you're coming from an LG or Samsung monitor with a joystick.
Unfortunately, the Sony M9 doesn't come with any cables to connect it with your source.
The Sony M9 has a mediocre contrast ratio, so blacks look gray if you're in a dark room. Unfortunately, despite the relatively high zone count, the local dimming feature can't boost the native contrast ratio, even with relatively large areas of black space like this checkerboard pattern.
The local dimming feature is just okay. It has 96 zones in an 8x12 array, which is better than most local dimming features on monitors. The zones are still a bit too large to allow for precise dimming in dark scenes, and the algorithms tend to leave more zones on than needed. There's some noticeable blooming around bright objects, but very little black crush because of this. It isn't very good for subtitles, though, as it tends to light up large areas of the screen.
The local dimming feature can keep up with fast-moving content well, so you don't see a trailing bright edge behind fast-moving, bright objects. It's an okay implementation, but it's limited by the relatively small number of zones, and because it tends to turn on more zones than necessary, the impact is limited. You can see two real scene videos of the local dimming feature in action here, and the same video filmed from an angle here.
If you want a 4k monitor with similar features and a better local dimming feature, then look into the Cooler Master Tempest GP27U.
The Sony M9 has great peak brightness in SDR. It's bright enough to overcome glare in a bright room, and there's no variation in brightness between scenes.
These measurements are from after calibration in the 'Game 1' Picture Mode with Brightness set to max, and Local Dimming set to 'High'.
The Sony M9 has impressive peak brightness in HDR. It's bright enough to deliver an impactful HDR experience in both games and movies. The PQ EOTF follows the target curve well for the most part, ensuring most scenes are displayed at the brightness level intended by the content creator, but dark scenes are boosted a bit. There's a gradual roll-off near the monitor's peak brightness, ensuring bright highlights aren't crushed. Unfortunately, very small highlights are crushed a bit by the monitor's local dimming feature.
These measurements are in the 'Game 1' Picture Mode with HDR enabled, Local Dimming set to 'High', and Brightness set to max. The monitor automatically detects what type of source it's connected to and switches between the 'Cinema' and the 'Game 1' picture modes in HDR. The 'Cinema' picture mode delivers the same peak brightness.
The horizontal viewing angle is just alright, so it's best enjoyed from directly in front at a comfortable viewing distance. The image degrades and fades when viewed at an angle, so the Sony M9 isn't a good choice for co-op gaming on one screen, and the sides degrade if you're sitting too close.
The vertical viewing angle is just decent, and the image degrades if you're looking at it from above or below. It's mainly noticeable if you're sharing the screen with someone standing next to you, as they'll see a different image from you.
The Sony M9 has very good gray uniformity. There's very little dirty screen effect in the center, but the sides of the screen are a bit darker.
The Sony M9 has passable black uniformity. With local dimming disabled, the entire screen is cloudy, and there are a few bright spots throughout the screen where the backlight isn't quite even. With local dimming enabled on 'High', there's noticeable blooming around the test cross due to the size of each dimming zone. It's mainly noticeable in real content when you have bright objects in otherwise dark scenes, as the dimming zones are too large to dim precisely around the bright object.
The Sony M9 has okay accuracy out of the box. The white balance is excellent, with no noticeable issues in shades of gray, and gamma follows the sRGB target curve well for the most part, but darker scenes are slightly overdarkened. The biggest issue is with colors, as they appear terribly oversaturated, and there's no sRGB clamp to artificially limit them to the sRGB color space. Despite these issues, the color temperature is close to the calibration target, and there's no red or blue tint to the image out of the box.
The Sony M9 has superb accuracy after calibration. The biggest difference is with colors, which are no longer oversaturated. The white balance is slightly better, but there were no noticeable issues before calibration anyway, and gamma follows the sRGB curve better than before, especially in darker scenes. The color temperature is very close to the target.
The SDR color gamut is fantastic. The Sony M9 can display all of the sRGB color space used by most desktop and web content. It has good coverage of the wider Adobe RGB color space, but it can't display the full range of greens in that color space, so it's not ideal for print processing.
The color volume is incredible in SDR. It's mainly limited by its low contrast ratio, which prevents the monitor from displaying dark, saturated colors. It fills out the sRGB color gamut entirely, and colors are bright and vibrant.
The Sony M9 has a great color gamut in HDR. It has fantastic coverage of the DCI-P3 color space used by the vast majority of current HDR content. Its coverage of the wider Rec. 2020 color space is limited, so it's not future-proof.
The Sony M9 has great color volume in HDR. Like with SDR content, it's mainly limited by its low contrast ratio, as it can't display dark, saturated colors. It also can't fill out the entire color gamut in either HDR color space, but the colors it can display are bright and vibrant.
The Sony M9 has good reflection handling. The matte anti-reflective coating significantly reduces the intensity of bright lights. Thanks to its high peak brightness, you can easily overcome any glare just by increasing the brightness.
Thanks to its high pixel density, the Sony M9 has fantastic text clarity. Even in apps that don't support ClearType settings (bottom photo), text is clear and well-defined. The matte anti-reflective coating adds a slight haze to the screen, but it's not really noticeable with regular content.
The Sony M9 has fantastic gradient handling. There's some noticeable banding in darker shades, but bright areas of similar color are displayed properly.
Strangely, the maximum refresh rate on the Sony M9 is only available over DisplayPort. Over HDMI, you're limited to 120Hz, regardless of source, even though it has enough bandwidth on the HDMI ports to support 144Hz at the native resolution. Even forcing a 144Hz resolution doesn't work, and the monitor just displays a black screen before reverting Windows display settings back to 120Hz.
The Sony M9 supports variable refresh rate technology. It's officially certified to work with NVIDIA's G-SYNC Compatible mode, and it also works with FreeSync sources, but only over DisplayPort. It supports HDMI Forum VRR, which allows it to support VRR with some HDMI sources, including the PS5 and Xbox Series S|X.
Unfortunately, there are some issues with the variable refresh rate feature on this monitor. After playing certain games with VRR enabled for a few minutes, the monitor can sometimes start flickering severely, even if you close the game and change sources. This issue occurs frequently with Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales on the PS5, meaning it could be an issue with that game's specific VRR implementation and the monitor.
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The Sony M9 has an excellent response time at the max refresh rate, delivering clear motion with very little blur behind fast-moving objects. The 'Fast' mode delivers the best experience overall, with just a bit of overshoot in some transitions. The 'Faster' mode has a slightly faster rise/fall time, but there's significantly more overshoot and a very distracting trail of inverse ghosting, so it's not recommended. The 'Standard' mode is a good alternative to 'Fast', as it has no overshoot, but it's slower overall, and there's more blur around fast-moving objects.
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The response time at 120Hz is great, delivering clear motion for console gamers. Like at the maximum refresh rate, the 'Fast' mode delivers the best experience overall. The 'Faster' setting delivers slightly faster rise/fall times, but it's not enough to make a noticeable difference, and instead, there's significantly more overshoot, so it's not recommended. There's still a bit of overshoot with the 'Fast' mode, and if this bothers you, the 'Standard' mode is a good alternative, but it's slightly slower overall.
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The Sony M9 has a very good response time when gaming at 60Hz. Most transitions approach their final shade quickly thanks to the fast rise/fall time, but the total response time is significantly slower, resulting in more noticeable blur behind fast-moving objects. Unlike at higher refresh rates, the 'Standard' mode delivers the best experience overall, as higher settings have significantly more overshoot, resulting in a long trail of inverse ghosting behind fast-moving objects. Unfortunately, this means that there's no single setting that works well across all refresh rates, so for the best gaming experience, you'll need to change settings if you change between devices.
Unfortunately, the Sony M9 doesn't have an optional backlight strobing feature, which is commonly known as black frame insertion.
The backlight is completely flicker-free at all backlight levels.
The Sony M9 has amazing low input lag, ensuring a responsive gaming or desktop experience at any refresh rate.
The Sony M9 is fully compatible with everything the PS5 supports. It also supports a few features specific to the PS5, including Auto HDR Tone Mapping, which optimizes your HDR experience to match the capabilities of your display.
This monitor is nearly fully compatible with the Xbox Series S|X. It doesn't support Dolby Vision for movies or gaming.
It supports USB-C and power delivery, but it doesn't deliver enough power to charge a laptop or Ultrabook while you're using it.
The Sony M9 works well with recent MacBooks. There are no issues with the variable refresh rate feature, and windows return to their original position when you wake the computer from sleep or if you close and reopen the lid.
The Sony M9 has a few extra features, including: