Now that its TVs are finally getting serious about cutting edge gaming support and its PS5 console is apparently on the verge of overcoming the stock shortages that have plagued it since launch, Sony has today expanded the gaming part of its business with new ‘Inzone’ ranges of desktop monitors and gaming headphones.
The new Inzone monitor range will at launch comprise two models: the flagship M9, and the entry level M3. Both models will be available in 27-inch screen sizes and offer 1ms Gray to Gray response times, and both will support variable refresh rates in the Nvidia G-Sync and HDMI standards, via HDMI 2.1 ports.
Both monitors are attached to innovative desktop mounts that create more space than most for tucking a keyboard and mouse mat right up close to the screen, and both support Sony’s Perfect for PS5 system, whereby the PS5 can recognise when it’s connected to one of the monitors and automatically adjust its HDR settings accordingly.
Also available on both monitors is ‘Auto KVM Switch’ functionality enabling you to control two PCs from just one keyboard/mouse setup, while new Inzone Hub software enables PC users to control features of both Sony’s new monitors and headphones from their computer screens.
That’s where the similarities end, though. A key selling point of the £999/$900 M9 is its use of a full array with local dimming panel design, where the LEDs are positioned directly behind the screen, and can have different sections of them output different levels of light simultaneously for any given image frame. This premium lighting arrangement can usually be depended on to deliver a superior contrast performance.
The M9 backs this up with VESA DisplayHDR 600 certification, versus DisplayHDR 400 certification on the M3. This should help the premium model deliver a much more satisfying demonstration of what high dynamic range pictures can bring to the gaming party.
The M9 is also claimed to reach more than 95% of the key DCI-P3 colour space while the M3 tops out at 99% of the sRGB colour space – though actually both monitors use 10-bit colour processing to deliver a claimed 1.07 billion colours.
The M9 sports a native 4K resolution that it can sustain up to 144Hz refresh rates, while the (US$529.99, UK price TBC) M3 only has a full HD native resolution – though it can sustain that at up 240Hz refresh rates. Finally, the M9 sports a colour-adjustable LED strip on its back edge, while the M3 doesn’t.
The Inzone M9 is expected to be available this summer, while the M3 has a less imminent ‘Available within 2022’ launch date attached to it.
The new Inzone gaming headset range comprises three models: the flagship H9s ($299.99/£269), the mid-range H7s ($229.99/£189), and the entry level H3s ($99.99/£89). All three headsets support Sony’s 360 Spatial Sound technology for a more immersive surround sound gaming experience that works with both PS5s and PCs. The H9 and H7s ships with a dongle that opens up wireless use with both PCs and PS5s – though not, tellingly, Xbox consoles. Only the H3 headset can work with Xboxes – albeit only in stereo – courtesy of its wired rather than wireless design.
The H9s are claimed to deliver up to 32 hours of battery life from a single charge, or an hour’s play time from a quick 10 minute charge if you need to get up and running in a hurry. The H7s actually offer a longer claimed battery life of up to 40 hours, but crucially they lack two key features of the H9s: Noise cancelling support and Ambient monitoring mode.
The former shuts out all external sounds for complete immersion in the gaming world, while the Ambient Monitoring mode instead makes sure you won’t miss potentially important sounds from the real world while you’re exploring a game world.
The H9s benefit exclusively, too, from ultra-comfortable soft-fit leather ear pads while the H7s and H3s only get Smooth Nylon. The H9s get exclusive LED light ‘rings’ around the points where the headband attaches to the cans too, and as a final key point of difference between the ranges, the H9 and H7 both support Bluetooth as an option for in-game chat while the H3s do not.
While all three Inzone headsets are currently scheduled for a July launch in the UK, there’s currently no concrete release date information for the US.