First impressions of Sony’s new gaming PC screen and headphones

First impressions of Sony’s new gaming PC screen and headphones

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Sony Electronics has launched a new gaming hardware brand, Inzone, aimed at PC gamers. The company announced the brand last week with two 27-inch screens and three types of gaming headsets.

I got to test out the headphones in a week and the advanced screen for two days. Both the 27-inch screen, called the Inzone M9, and the headphones, the Inzone H9, have features that make them stand out from the competition. But given their price points, premium products can be a tough sale for gamers, who already have a large number of other hardware manufacturers to choose from.

Sony plans to win players through products they consider competitive prices. The company is offering an $ 899 4K resolution display with a 144-hertz refresh rate, available this summer, and a $ 529 1080p display with a 240Hz refresh rate, coming later this winter.

The 4K resolution M9 screen, which I tested, has full array local dimming. Thanks to it, the colors seem super bright and pleasing to the eyes. Games on PC like “Valorant”, “League of Legends” and “Neon White” looked sharp and vibrant. On PlayStation 5, titles like “Deathloop”, “Elden Ring” and “Horizon Zero Dawn” reproduced shadows and battles well. Images on the screen look bright and clear, and it is easier to see the defects of blurred images through the screen.

The screen can be controlled by a program called Inzone Hub, where the settings can be adjusted to a game preset or to a standard picture mode, which lowers the brightness and saturation. Even then, with the settings set to look more like an average screen, the M9 made scenes in the game – like the green views and the sparkling water of “Neon White” – a joy to watch.

Sony is targeting PC gamers with the new Inzone hardware brand

The stunning graphics are the most notable feature of the M9 display, which is what Sony is likely to rely on to sell devices. The company gave influencers pre-access to the monitor to review it; it performed well on benchmark tests and showed high dynamic range. With prices at $ 899, however, Sony is making a tough bargain against lower-end options on the market (some of which cost between $ 300 and $ 600), while strategically staying below $ 1,000.

I already own two 27-inch 1080p game monitors with decent refresh rates (Acer and ViewSonic), but they are several years old and will be upgraded. I would not have done that bought an M9 monitor to replace one of them; The price point of $ 899 is quite steep when a lower end screen can easily get the job done. Still, the better colors, brightness and higher refresh rate on the M9 made a subtle difference when I played compared to the older models I already had. It’s a welcome addition to my current game layout, especially when playing competitive modes.

The concept for Inzone was created in 2019 when Sony executives observed the growth of the video game and sports industry. Three years later, Inzone launches late into the PC gaming market.

“We are entering the gaming equipment industry with screens and headsets in an exciting time, since games and e-sports have become even more popular in recent years,” Kazuo Kii, Sony’s president of home entertainment and audio products, told The Washington Post in an exclusive interview last week. “We leverage Sony’s high-quality display and audio technologies to deliver products that allow players to immerse themselves in their gaming world.”

Sony did not pack the M9 monitor with an HDMI cable, which is usually used to connect a PS5 or PC, so customers have to buy one separately to make the monitor work. The monitor has multiple ports so you can connect a PS5, a PC, a USB-C cable and a monitor port.

The screen comes with its own stand, a white leg similar to the PS5 design. It can also be mounted on a third-party stand.

Aesthetically, all Inzone products were designed to look like Sony’s latest PlayStation console. Both the screen and the headphones have a ribbon that glows blue. The PS5 can also automatically detect the M9 screen and adjust high dynamic range settings, saving you a few more seconds of setup.

Read more: With the PS5, Sony’s big effort is that what’s good for developers will be good for gamers.

Meanwhile, Sony’s approach to gaming headphones is to see which of their three models appeal to consumers. The company sells a $ 299 wireless headset with noise reduction and synthetic leather, along with a reduced $ 229 wireless headset (no leather or noise reduction) and a pair of $ 99 wired headphones.

Priced at $ 299, the H9 headphones offer good sound quality. The sound is solid for games like “Overwatch 2” and “Valorant”, and helps me hear which directions enemies are approaching.

Getting the headset connected to my PC via Bluetooth was an ordeal, but after the initial setup and tinkering with various game and Discord settings, it became much easier to use the headphones repeatedly.

However, consumers may find the H9 microphone feature completely useless. Speaking via Zoom and Discord, it made my voice sound muted, regardless of how I bent the microphone towards my mouth. Laughing into the microphone sounded like loud thumps. Fortunately, dimming the sounds by pointing the microphone away while eating. Sometimes, as I spoke into the microphone, the headphones played off the sound of my voice. The muted microphone sounded so uncomfortable that my callers asked me to switch back to my professional podcasting microphone instead.

All three pairs of Sony gaming gaming headphones are equipped with a spatial sound field function, which allows players to decide how far opponents are from them and where they are based on the sound. Sony’s 3D sound has been a major selling point for the PS5. Preliminary tests of the H9 headphones – the $ 299 – other players in first-person shooters simply track down the sound of their footsteps.

Another thing to say about the headphones is that the noise reduction works quite well. The hum of my air conditioner went dull, as did the sounds on my mechanical gaming keyboard – even though I could finally hear both.

The headphones are also designed to be less tight around the ears, so players can wear them comfortably for hours. This was a unique feature of the headphones, which were more comfortable than Apple’s AirPods Max ($ 549) or the HyperX Cloud Stinger headphones ($ 49.99). The spacious ear shape made the Sony H9 headphones some of the most comfortable I’ve tried, even better than the PlayStation Pulse 3D headphones, which have smaller ear holes and are designed for the PS5.

The H9 headsets have 32 hours of battery life and 10 minutes of charging time; while I was testing, my device seemed to live up to these claims. These headphones beep loudly when they are out of power, disconnected, or fully charged.

The Japanese conglomerate hopes that PC gamers – especially first-person shooters – will give Inzone a chance, and the products I tested are solid choices. Sony is still entering a saturated market, while they especially choose not to cut prices.

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