Sony InZone M9 review: impressive but flawed – The Verge

Sony’s 27-inch InZone M9 gaming monitor is practically a high-end 4K Bravia TV with a few features (and more than a few inches) chopped off. It can’t serve your channels or streaming apps, but this monitor can deliver full array local dimming for more accurate backlighting, which is something few TVs and even fewer monitors can do. It’s a great monitor if you watch a lot of HDR content on your computer — the matte panel looks bright, detailed, and gorgeous. It’s like watching a really good TV that’s not actually a TV.

But the main reason to spend $899.99 on the M9 is to play games, and it ticks a long list of boxes that many PC and PS5 gamers have been waiting a long time to see. In addition to stocking a great 4K (3840 x 2140) panel, it has two HDMI 2.1 ports, Nvidia G-Sync compatibility for PC, 144Hz variable refresh rate (VRR), auto low-latency mode (ALLM), and other cool PS5-specific HDR features that display nerds will appreciate. Beyond stuff angled toward pleasing the most particular gamers, it has a slick, PS5-inspired design, USB-C video support, and USB-A passthrough for connecting accessories.

Good Stuff

  • Many features for PC and PS5 gamers
  • Excellent control over brightness
  • InZone app makes it easy to change monitor settings

Bad Stuff

  • No video cables included
  • Vignetting around corners and, at times, splotchy color uniformity
  • Low 15W USB-C power passthrough
  • Stand doesn’t offer much flexibility

Here’s how The Verge reviews products and scores them.

For its first 4K gaming monitor, Sony’s M9 doesn’t fail spectacularly in any one key area. Yet, it doesn’t get everything totally right. For instance, it can take nearly 10 seconds for its auto input selector to eventually find the source that’s providing video to it, but you can skip the wait by manually toggling to your input. Perhaps more egregious is that Sony decided not to include cables with its $900 monitor, save for the power supply. You’ll have to supply the video cables you want to use, whether it’s a high-bandwidth HDMI 2.1 cable, DisplayPort cable, or USB-C video cable. Heck, you’ll even have to provide your own archaic USB-B to USB-A cable to update the monitor’s firmware. That stuff adds up.

The M9’s signature feature — full array local dimming — utilizes 96 dimming zones, which is a lot to pack into a 27-inch display. More dimming zones allow for more granular control over what on the display is lit versus what isn’t than your average LCD panel. It lets LCDs come a little closer to the spectacular realism that Mini LED backlighting and OLED can provide. The M9 can outshine most OLEDs (pricier QD-OLEDs beg to differ) at a peak brightness of around 540 nits in my testing with the Datacolor SpyderX calibration tool, slightly less than Sony’s 600 nit claim.

The InZone M9’s horizontal strip of LEDs defaults to white, but the color can be changed.

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