Technology

Sony InZone M9 Gaming Monitor Review: A Bright Spot for PC, PS5 Dualists The flagship 27-inch monitor from Sony's new InZone gaming line shines in HDR mode.


Sony launches its first PC gaming monitor as part of its debut of the InZone line of PC and PS5 compatible accessories — and its first general-purpose monitor in decades. Sony primarily targets FPS fans with the 27-inch M9, which kind of does the monitor a disservice. With DisplayHDR 600 certification and a 96-zone local dimming array backlight, 4K resolution at up to 144Hz and HDMI 2.1 with VRR connectivity for consoles, it’s really suited to the bulk of gaming genres. Maybe not to all pocketbooks, though. 

The InZone M9 (SDM-U27M90) is slated to ship this summer for $900 and will be followed by the M3 (SDM-F27M30) by the end of the year for $530. The M3 will have a 1080p 240Hz screen with a limited sRGB gamut and minimal HDR in the form of DisplayHDR 400.

8.0

Sony InZone M9 (SDM-U27M90)

Like

  • Full array local dimming delivers high local contrast that provides a real HDR experience for the money
  • Calibrated HDR

Don’t Like

  • Looks good but the connection locations and cable management aren’t
  • Slow input scanning
  • Calibrated for HDR but not SDR
  • Doesn’t swivel

Physically, the monitor uses similar materials as the PS5, albeit forgoing the PS5’s organic design in favor of a more angular aesthetic common to PC gaming displays. The rear legs of the stand don’t look substantial, though they seem to be. Though it might look different from the pack, ultimately the monitor’s setup and operation is the same as everyone else’s. 

Sony InZone M9 (SDM-U27M90)

Price $900
Size (diagonal) 27 in./68.5cm
Panel and backlight IPS with direct backlight, FALD
Flat or curved Flat
Resolution and pixel density 3,840 x 2,160, 163 ppi
Aspect ratio 16:9
Maximum gamut 95% DCI-P3
Brightness (nits, peak/typical) n/a
HDR DisplayHDR 600
Adaptive sync G-Sync Compatible
Max vertical refresh rate at 4K 144Hz (DisplayPort, USB-C via DP alt mode), 120Hz (HDMI 2.1)
Gray/gray response time (milliseconds) 1ms
Connections 1 x DP 1.4, 2 x HDMI 2.1, 3 x USB-A (out), 1 x USB-B (in), 1 x USB-C (in or out)
Audio Headphone jack, 2 x 2w speakers
VESA mountable Yes, 100 x 100mm
Panel warranty 1 year limited; at least 0.01% defective pixels to qualify for coverage
Release date Summer 2022

The monitor is expensive but not outrageous for its features and performance. In addition to the dual HDMI 2.1 connections, it also supports USB-C for display. It’s got speakers, though they’re not sufficient for gaming.

Sony InZone M9 gaming monitor side view showing angled stand

It does have a striking profile.


Lori Grunin/CNET

I wish Sony had decided to break a little with tradition and use a better layout for the connections and cable management. Like many, the connections sit under a ridge on the rear, set back far enough that you’ve got to go through some contortions if you’re trying to plug something in blindly — which you’ll be doing, because that’s where the three USB-A connectors live. And one of the two HDMI 2.1 connectors is almost impossible to reach because it’s mostly blocked by the stand. 

It has a tiny plastic hook that can hang off one of the thin legs through which you’re supposed to feed your cables. It’s not large enough to accommodate a few thick ones though, and really feels insubstantial.

The onscreen display annoyingly defaults to one of the least-needed menu entries — DDC on/off, and a level down — which makes navigating a chore if you have to do it a lot. 

Sony InZone M9 gaming monitor rear view

The connections are in the usual, inconvenient place.


Lori Grunin/CNET

It has a built-in KVM switch, which means the USB ports depend upon the active input. That’s a perk if you’re connecting to two different systems or a PC and a console. The input scanning looking for an active connection seems to take a little longer than normal, though, and I got some unexpected resets (where it decides to recheck its connection) — such as between benchmark tests — that I’ve never seen with other monitors.

The monitor does shine in many ways. Sony really, really expects you to stick to HDR. In a change from the norm, it’s calibrated in HDR, but not SDR, which is good if you plan to use that mode a lot. And oddly, the default SDR setting is with local dimming turned on and set to high. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but may result in some unexpected behavior in places where you’re expecting uniform brightness and contrast. It also changes with the presets — high, low and off — along with brightness.

Accuracy isn’t bad in SDR, but it takes a little tweaking to get it within tolerances; dropping the green and blue channels to 95% did the trick as a quick-and-dirty solution.

Global measurements

SDR HDR
Gamut Approx. 93% P3 97% P3
Contrast FALD off 920:1, FALD high (max brightness) 42,000:1 Approx. 77,000:1 (53,000:1 lower left to 82,000:1 middle right)
White point Warm: 6,300K, neutral: 7,800K, cool: 8,800K Approx. 6,500K

It does work best in HDR, where it hits its maximum gamut and expected white point. The tone curve gets thrown a bit because it doesn’t seem to have the maximum brightness controlled well; I got readings as high as about 800 nits, but I think the system’s assuming it won’t hit that high.

I kind of miss having HDR presets to choose from, though. In Windows your choices are on or off. On the PS5, it supports Auto HDR and Auto Genre picture mode. The latter means that it changes to a game-optimized, low-latency mode when you launch a game and to a cinema-optimized mode when it detects a movie playing. Once again, though, all auto. 

Color measurements (presets)

White point Gamma Brightness at center (nits) Accuracy (DE2K average/max)
Cinema 6,300K 2.4 273 n/a
FPS 7,900K 2.0 441 n/a
Game 1 (default) 7,700K 2.3 444 (peak)/269 (typical) 3.64/8.85
Game 2 (custom, adjusted) 6,680K 2.2 n/a 1.67/3.96
Standard 6,300K 2.2 228 2.48/3.76
HDR 6,500K n/a 791 n/a

The InZone M9 isn’t my favorite all-around monitor, but thanks to the HDR performance and VRR support, it’s still a top choice for dual-system gamers looking for a great picture and flexibility.

How we test monitors

All measurements are performed using Portrait Display’s Calman Ultimate 2021 R4 software using a Calibrite ColorChecker Display Plus (formerly X-Rite i1Display Pro Plus) and a Murideo Six-G pattern generator for HDR testing where necessary, or the Client3 HDR patterns within Calman, where possible. How extensive our testing is depends on the capabilities of the monitor, the screen and backlight technology used, and the judgment of the reviewer.

On the most basic models we may stick with just brightness, contrast and color gamut, while on more capable displays we may run tests of most user-selectable modes for gaming or color-critical usage, uniformity and so on. For the color work, we may also run tests to verify how white point accuracy varies with brightness.

Color accuracy results reported in units of Delta E 2000 are based on Calman’s standard Pantone patch set, plus the grayscale and skin tone patches. White points results are based on both the actual white value plus the correlated color temperature for the entire gray scale (21 patches, 0 to 100%) rounded down to the nearest 50K as long as there are no big variations. We also use Blur Bustersmotion tests to judge motion artifacts (such as ghosting) or refresh rate-related problems that can affect gaming.



Source from www.cnet.com

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