Samsung’s Odyssey Ark had a stealthy presence at CES 2022, however the curved 55-inch gaming monitor-meets-TV is practically able to launch. It’s popping out in mid-September for $3,499.99, with reservations for preorders beginning in the present day. I acquired to check out a prototype of the Odyssey Ark with a batch of PC video games. Shock: gaming with my face three toes away from a 55-inch 4K display with 165Hz refresh price 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, of course, one option to go about protruding. It could actually simply be rotated to be used in portrait mode with as much as three video sources. The opposite main means is with some good TV performance, particularly the Samsung Gaming Hub that permits for cloud streaming through Xbox Sport Go, Google Stadia, and Amazon Luna. Just like the Samsung M8 Sensible 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 price, there’s a good likelihood 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 instances directly with ease. Constructing upon the usual picture-in-picture (PIP) mode supplied by many TVs and a few displays, the Ark consists of sturdy 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 probabilities, whereas not endlessly configurable, appear ripe for some attention-grabbing use instances 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 fearful 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 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 sort of seems to be 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 is additionally wall-mountable and can embrace a VESA mount.
Regardless of Samsung’s promotion of the Ark closely favoring exhibiting it within the cockpit mode, I most popular gaming in panorama mode with a single supply taking on the 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. That will break the immersion for gaming, however it needs to be fantastic for different duties. If I have been utilizing the Ark for work, I’d possible desire utilizing it in cockpit mode. Just like the concept behind the 16:18 facet 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 displays 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 referred to as the Ark dial. It’s a standalone command middle that places the Ark’s foremost features (energy, quantity, enter choose, and recreation bar) on huge 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 observe 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 in search of, and a giant half of my demo was simply attempting — and generally failing — to go the place I wished to.
The Ark, like Samsung’s different high-end gaming displays, is a melding of its greatest TV panel know-how with options that players with deep pockets will possible 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 feel the 1000R is the candy spot in phrases of simply having the ability to see all the things 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 Everlasting and Forza Horizon 5 appeared like excellent showcases for the way shiny 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. Nevertheless, 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. Although, the truth that I didn’t really feel that means might be attributable to some elements, 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 stated, 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 staff stated this was a recognized prerelease difficulty. Additionally, a sliver of the highest bezel didn’t wish to stay seated, letting a smidge of backlight peek out. Once 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 downside altogether. Hopefully, that’s not current in delivery models.
The Ark looks like a recognized amount on its face, however there’s one thing about it that feels distinctive. It packs spectacular gaming monitor specs into a design that is, 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 might be a nice match for somebody who needs to go all-out — each in phrases of measurement and its $3,499.99 price. I’m nearly extra excited with the concept that it’s a signal that some of these options may come to cheaper Samsung gaming shows within the close to future.
Images by Cameron Faulkner / The Verge