Samsung’s Odyssey Ark had a stealthy presence at CES 2022, however the curved 55-inch gaming monitor-meets-TV is sort of able to launch. It’s popping out in mid-September for $3,499.99, with reservations for preorders beginning at this time. I bought to check out a prototype of the Odyssey Ark with a batch of PC video games. Shock: gaming with my face three ft away from a 55-inch 4K show with 165Hz refresh fee is superior. However 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, in fact, one strategy to go about protruding. It may well simply be rotated to be used in portrait mode with as much as three video sources. The opposite main approach is with some good TV performance, namely the Samsung Gaming Hub that allows for cloud streaming through Xbox Sport Go, Google Stadia, and Amazon Luna. Just like the Samsung M8 Smart Monitor that I reviewed, it runs on Samsung’s Tizen OS — in case you wish to use some streaming apps like YouTube or Apple TV Plus.
Given its excessive value, there’s a very good probability that you just’ll wish to do extra than simply recreation on the Ark. This display is large enough to accommodate a number of use circumstances directly with ease. Constructing upon the usual picture-in-picture (PIP) mode provided by many TVs and a few screens, the Ark consists of sturdy display manipulation settings that allow you to go from fundamental (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 chances, whereas not endlessly configurable, appear ripe for some fascinating use circumstances in the event you’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 show upward, elevate it to the very best setting that its large, minimalist, height-adjustable stand will permit, then flip it 90 levels counterclockwise. I used to be anxious that it’d be a two-person job, however I used to be capable of do it myself with out a lot hassle. What’s cool is that rotating the display will auto-rotate your supply’s image, too. With the Ark oriented like this, you possibly can view as much as three screens stacked vertically or stretch one from high to backside in case your recreation helps it. In cockpit mode, it type of seems just like the Ark is a wave that’s about to crash on high of you. Samsung’s Owen Sexton informed me in the course of the demo that the Ark can be wall-mountable and can embrace a VESA mount.
Regardless of Samsung’s promotion of the Ark closely favoring displaying it within the cockpit mode, I most popular gaming in panorama mode with a single supply taking on your complete display. Utilizing 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. Which will break the immersion for gaming, however it needs to be high quality for different duties. If I have been utilizing the Ark for work, I’d probably want utilizing it in cockpit mode. Much like the concept behind the 16:18 side ratio LG DualUp, it’s simpler to shortly see a number of home windows by simply transferring my head up and down as an alternative of aspect to aspect like I’ve to with a number of screens or an ultrawide.
Samsung consists of two remotes with the Ark, one being a typical distant to deal with the essential features and one other extra concerned choice known as the Ark dial. It’s a standalone command middle that places the Ark’s primary features (energy, quantity, enter choose, and recreation bar) on large buttons. There’s a rotatable dial and a directional pad inside it to extra shortly alter settings. There’s even a photo voltaic panel to recharge it, so that you don’t must ever plug it in.
I ought to notice 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 searching for, and a big a part of my demo was simply making an attempt — and generally failing — to go the place I wished to.
The Ark, like Samsung’s different high-end gaming screens, is a melding of its finest TV panel expertise with options that avid gamers with deep pockets will probably get pleasure from, 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 able to 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 fee.
This show 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 when it comes to simply with the ability to see every thing on the display with out peripheral element dropping by the wayside).
In my temporary time with the Ark, taking part in video games like Doom Everlasting and Forza Horizon 5 appeared like excellent showcases for the way brilliant and quick this show can go. No complaints there. Its 16:9 side ratio meant that the image didn’t exhibit visible warping across the edges as we saw on Samsung’s 32:9 aspect ratio Odyssey G9 and Neo G9. Nonetheless, 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 kind of sucked in with immersion. Although, the truth that I didn’t really feel that approach could possibly be as a consequence of some components, like the extreme 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 the image resizing options, some tutorial pop-ups wouldn’t disappear. The workforce mentioned this was a recognized prerelease concern. Additionally, a sliver of the highest bezel didn’t wish to stay seated, letting a smidge of backlight peek out. After I pressed down on the bezel, the sunshine leakage went away, however it got here again shortly after I launched it. Maybe it’s a problem with glue or one other drawback altogether. Hopefully, that’s not current in delivery models.
The Ark looks as if a recognized amount on its face, however there’s one thing about it that feels distinctive. It packs spectacular gaming monitor specs right into a design that’s, by all accounts apart from the stand, an old-school curved TV. Provided that it packs in some good options, like cloud recreation streaming and good TV apps, the Ark could possibly be a fantastic match for somebody who desires to go all-out — each when it comes to measurement and its $3,499.99 value. I’m virtually extra excited with the concept it’s an indication that a few of these options may come to cheaper Samsung gaming shows within the close to future.
Images by Cameron Faulkner / The Verge