PlayStation masterminds Sony have made an unexpected jump into PC gaming hardware, announcing their InZone range of desktop-focused gaming monitors and headsets. It’s Sony’s first big attempt at PC kit, in any form, since mothballing their Vaio laptop and all-in-one brand way back in 2014.
The new lineup’s flagship monitor, the InZone M9, is a 4K/27in IPS display. Its HDMI 2.1 connectivity suggests it still has Sony’s PS5 on the brain, but is otherwise a bonafide PC gaming screen, with Displayport, a 144Hz refresh rate, 1ms grey-to-grey response time and compatibility with Nvidia G-Sync. Full-array local dimming (FALD) also promises better backlighting control, in tandem with the M9’s DisplayHDR 600 support.
The InZone M9 ain’t cheap, though, coming in at $899. Neither is its 1080p sibling, the InZone M5: this drops the resolution, cuts out FALD and lowers HDR brightness from 600 to 400cd/m2, all for a still-pricey $529. The M5 does, however, bump the refresh rate all the way up to 240Hz, so it might be worth the investment for more competitive PC players.
Both monitors have the same fast IPS panel and what I’ve only just noticed is an amusingly PS5-aping black and white stand design. They’re definitely built for those who have both a PC and a PS5 and want to switch between them on one screen, though all of the best gaming monitors do tend to have a clearer PC focus. We’ll see how the InZone M9, at least, performs once it releases on August 7th; there’s no date for the InZone M5 just yet.
The wait for Sony’s trio of PC headsets will be shorter, with the InZone H9, InZone H7 and InZone H3 all shipping from July 4th. The top-tier H9 ( $300) goes all out with active noise cancellation, wireless connectivity, and synthetic leather earcups; the H7 ($229) shares a similar wireless design but drops ANC and switches to nylon padding for a lower price. The H3 ($100) is the “budget” option, using wired connectivity, slightly lower-spec drivers and a more basic build with fewer onboard controls.
Interestingly, all three have a companion app that works with Sony’s 360 Spatial Sound Personalizer, which in turn lets owners create a personalised 360-degree sound profile tailored to the shape of their ears. I’ve tried similar tech on my own pair of Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones, and it works quite well for music, so maybe games will benefit too. The InZone H9’s ANC is also based on the 1000X headphone series, which is fine by me – Sony’s noise cancelling is among the best in the audio business, maybe just behind Bose’s.
InZone, InGeneral, probably isn’t the return to PC hardware that many imagined Sony making, but there’s some intriguing stuff here. Even if the monitors are mighty expensive – maybe Sony need the cash after buying Bungie for $3.6 billion?