Samsung Odyssey Ark hands-on: a raft of a gaming display - The Verge
It debuted at CES 2022, and now we’ve tested a prototype of the Odyssey Ark, the 55-inch curved 4K gaming monitor from Samsung. Samsung says it will launch in mid-September 2022 for $3,499.99
Samsung’s Odyssey Ark had a stealthy presence at CES 2022, but the curved 55-inch gaming monitor-meets-TV is nearly ready to launch. It’s coming out in mid-September for $3,499.99, with reservations for preorders starting today. I got to test out a prototype of the Odyssey Ark with a batch of PC games. Surprise: gaming with my face three feet away from a 55-inch 4K display with 165Hz refresh rate is awesome. But I was equally impressed with the bounty of features that the Ark can deliver.
The Ark represents Samsung’s most aggressive play at distinguishing itself as a maker of gaming displays. The 55-inch 1000R curvature is, of course, one way to go about sticking out. It can easily be rotated for use in portrait mode with up to three video sources. The other major way is with some smart TV functionality, namely the Samsung Gaming Hub that allows for cloud streaming via 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 want to use some streaming apps like YouTube or Apple TV Plus.
Given its high cost, there’s a good chance that you’ll want to do more than just game on the Ark. This screen is big enough to accommodate multiple use cases at once with ease. Building upon the standard picture-in-picture (PIP) mode offered by many TVs and some monitors, the Ark includes robust screen manipulation settings that let you go from basic (stack four windows, two by two) to more niche (set one input to be 32:9, with one traditional 16:9 input above it). The possibilities, while not endlessly configurable, seem ripe for some interesting use cases if you’re the type who likes to tweak settings. And that’s before you turn the Ark sideways into cockpit mode.
Doing so requires you to tilt the display upward, raise it to the highest setting that its big, minimalist, height-adjustable stand will allow, then turn it 90 degrees counterclockwise. I was worried that it’d be a two-person job, but I was able to do it myself without much trouble. What’s cool is that rotating the screen will auto-rotate your source’s picture, too. With the Ark oriented like this, you can view up to three screens stacked vertically or stretch one from top to bottom if your game supports it. In cockpit mode, it kind of looks like the Ark is a wave that’s about to crash on top of you. Samsung’s Owen Sexton told me during the demo that the Ark is also wall-mountable and will include a VESA mount.