Samsung’s Odyssey Ark had a stealthy presence at CES 2022, however the curved 55-inch gaming monitor-meets-TV is almost able to launch. It’s popping out in mid-September for $3,499.99, with reservations for preorders beginning immediately. I bought to check out a prototype of the Odyssey Ark with a batch of PC video games. Surprise: gaming with my face three ft away from a 55-inch 4K display with 165Hz refresh price is superior. But I used to be equally impressed with the bounty of options that the Ark can ship.
The Ark represents Samsung’s most aggressive play at distinguishing itself as a maker of gaming shows. The 55-inch 1000R curvature is, of course, one technique to go about protruding. It can simply be rotated to be used in portrait mode with as much as three video sources. The different main means is with some good TV performance, specifically the Samsung Gaming Hub that enables for cloud streaming through Xbox Game Pass, Google Stadia, and Amazon Luna. Like the Samsung M8 Smart Monitor that I reviewed, it runs on Samsung’s Tizen OS — in case you need to use some streaming apps like YouTube or Apple TV Plus.
Given its excessive value, there’s a good probability that you simply’ll need to do extra than simply sport on the Ark. This display is large enough to accommodate a number of use circumstances directly with ease. Building upon the usual picture-in-picture (PIP) mode provided by many TVs and a few displays, the Ark contains strong display manipulation settings that allow you to go from primary (stack 4 home windows, two by two) to extra area of interest (set one enter to be 32:9, with one conventional 16:9 enter above it). The prospects, whereas not endlessly configurable, appear ripe for some fascinating use circumstances if you happen to’re the kind who likes to tweak settings. And that’s earlier than you flip the Ark sideways into cockpit mode.
Doing so requires you to tilt the display upward, elevate it to the very best setting that its huge, minimalist, height-adjustable stand will enable, then flip it 90 levels counterclockwise. I used to be apprehensive that it’d be a two-person job, however I used to be capable of do it myself with out a lot bother. What’s cool is that rotating the display will auto-rotate your supply’s image, too. With the Ark oriented like this, you may view as much as three screens stacked vertically or stretch one from high to backside in case your sport helps it. In cockpit mode, it type of appears to be like just like the Ark is a wave that’s about to crash on high of you. Samsung’s Owen Sexton instructed me throughout the demo that the Ark can be wall-mountable and can embrace a VESA mount.
Despite Samsung’s promotion of the Ark closely favoring displaying it within the cockpit mode, I most well-liked gaming in panorama mode with a single supply taking over your complete display. Using multiview mode is nice, although whether or not in portrait or panorama mode, the curvature of the display could make every slice of the display tackle a slight keystone impact, the place some corners look skewed. That might break the immersion for gaming, but it surely must be wonderful for different duties. If I have been utilizing the Ark for work, I’d seemingly want utilizing it in cockpit mode. Similar to the concept behind the 16:18 facet ratio LG DualUp, it’s simpler to shortly see a number of home windows by simply shifting my head up and down as a substitute of aspect to aspect like I’ve to with a number of displays or an ultrawide.
Samsung contains two remotes with the Ark, one being a typical distant to deal with the essential capabilities and one other extra concerned choice known as the Ark dial. It’s a standalone command heart that places the Ark’s essential capabilities (energy, quantity, enter choose, and sport bar) on huge buttons. There’s a rotatable dial and a directional pad inside it to extra shortly modify settings. There’s even a photo voltaic panel to recharge it, so that you don’t have to ever plug it in.
I ought to word that neither distant appeared to make it elegant to navigate the monitor’s myriad menus and settings. There’s a particular studying curve to discovering the settings you’re on the lookout for, and a giant half of my demo was simply attempting — and typically failing — to go the place I needed to.
The Ark, like Samsung’s different high-end gaming displays, is a melding of its finest TV panel expertise with options that players with deep pockets will seemingly take pleasure in, like HDR, VRR, and 4 HDMI 2.1 ports (although, curiously, no DisplayPort). It has Samsung’s quantum Mini LED backlighting that it claims is succesful of as much as 1,500 nits at peak brightness, and the corporate claims that it’s the primary 55-inch 4K panel that helps 165Hz refresh price.
This display has a 1000R curve, and it’s each bizarre and funky to see the curve come again for a panel that appears a lot like a TV. The curve’s scoop isn’t as deep because the Odyssey Neo G9’s 1800R curvature (to every their very own, however I believe the 1000R is the candy spot in phrases of simply with the ability to see every part on the display with out peripheral element dropping by the wayside).
In my transient time with the Ark, taking part in video games like Doom Eternal and Forza Horizon 5 appeared like superb showcases for a way vibrant and quick this display can go. No complaints there. Its 16:9 facet ratio meant that the image didn’t exhibit visible warping across the edges as we noticed on Samsung’s 32:9 facet ratio Odyssey G9 and Neo G9. However, I wasn’t as flabbergasted by the distinction in Microsoft’s Flight Simulator as I hoped to be. With the Ark’s curve and the QLED display, I used to be anticipating to be roughly sucked in with immersion. Though, the truth that I didn’t really feel that means may very well be attributable to some elements, like the extraordinary brightness of the room, the visible mode of the Ark not being tuned correctly for gaming, or maybe that the tuning on this prototype unit isn’t fairly completed.
All mentioned, the Ark expertise feels polished, however there have been another quirks on this prototype. When a Samsung consultant was strolling me by means of the image resizing options, some tutorial pop-ups wouldn’t disappear. The group mentioned this was a identified prerelease concern. Also, a sliver of the highest bezel didn’t need to stay seated, letting a smidge of backlight peek out. When I pressed down on the bezel, the sunshine leakage went away, but it surely got here again shortly after I launched it. Perhaps it’s a difficulty with glue or one other drawback altogether. Hopefully, that’s not current in delivery items.
The Ark looks as if a identified amount on its face, however there’s one thing about it that feels distinctive. It packs spectacular gaming monitor specs into a design that’s, by all accounts other than the stand, an old-school curved TV. Given that it packs in some good options, like cloud sport streaming and good TV apps, the Ark may very well be a nice match for somebody who needs to go all-out — each in phrases of measurement and its $3,499.99 value. I’m virtually extra excited with the concept it’s a signal that some of these options might come to cheaper Samsung gaming shows within the close to future.
Photography by Cameron Faulkner / The Verge