Samsung 55-inch Odyssey Ark: Take gaming monitors to a whole new dimension

2022 has been a great year for monitors. We already got the Alienware’s world’s first QD-OLED monitor with another on the way by MSI. And earlier this summer, Sony joined the fray with its new brand of Inzone gaming hardware. But now Samsung is taking things to a whole new level with the Odyssey Ark.

Boasting a massive mini Quantum LED panel with a 1000R curve, the Ark delivers an immersive experience with stunning visuals and surprisingly good sound. Not only does Samsung claim the Ark is the world’s first 55-inch monitor with 4K resolution, 165Hz refresh rate and 1ms response time, but you also get audio support. HDR 10+ and Dolby Atmos. And while the sound of many monitors is often an afterthought (assuming they can even output anything), the Ark has a total of six speakers: one in each corner and two woofers. in back. And when combined, Samsung says the Ark’s speakers were designed to create a sound dome.

And now, after having the chance to check this thing out in person, I can say that this monitor is unlike anything else on the market. Even compared to other ultrawide displays, the Ark’s dimensions allow it to wrap around you like a kind of high-tech cocoon. Colors are rich, and with its matte finish, you don’t have to worry about reflections ruining your graphics. The monitor also supports AMD FreeSync Premium Pro for VRR, so you get the best performance whether you’re gaming on console or PC. And while you won’t see pure blacks like you would with an OLED screen, Samsung claims the Ark’s contrast is 4x better than its previous generation monitors.

Meanwhile, to make controlling the Ark easier, Samsung is including not one but two remotes, both of which have built-in solar panels so you don’t have to worry about keeping them charged. The first remote is similar to what you’d get with a TV, but the one that feels a bit more special is the wireless Ark Dial. It lets you quickly change video settings, adjust volume, and switch between special monitor display modes. It’s super easy to use, and best of all, it means you don’t have to reach back and fumble around with hidden buttons or a joystick like you do with a lot of rival monitors.

Unlike most screens of this size, the Odyssey Ark supports portrait orientation, which Samsung calls Cockpit mode.

Sam Rutherford/Engadget

The best thing about the Ark is all the modes and features included by Samsung to help you get the most out of this giant panel. First, there’s Flex Move Screen, which lets you adjust the size of your content and move it around, you know, in case you don’t need the Ark’s 55 inches. There’s also Samsung’s Gaming Hub which supports game streaming platforms like NVIDIA GeForce Now, Xbox Cloud Gaming and Google Stadia natively. You even get RGB lighting on the back, not that you can really see it with that much screen between you and the back of the screen.

But my favorite thing is the Multi View mode, which lets you have up to three different apps open at once, including the ability to move and resize windows as you like. This means you can play while having a movie and social media on the side, or you can double down by having two games open plus YouTube, or basically anything in between. And if there’s a layout you particularly like, you can save that layout so that next time you can open everything with a tap. The only caveat is that due to an HDMI limitation, you can only view content from the Ark’s built-in apps and an external device at the same time. So while you can have a console and a PC plugged in at the same time thanks to support for four HDMI ports (which are all HDMI 2.1), you can’t output content from both simultaneously.

Gallery: Hands-on photos of the Samsung Odyssey Ark | 12 Pictures

Finally, there’s the Ark’s Special Motion, which is able to swivel into portrait orientation, or as Samsung calls it, Cockpit mode. You still get support for all the monitor features like Multi View and Flex Move, but now on a screen that curves up and above your head. And you know what, it really does feel like sitting in the pilot’s seat on an airplane. My only regret is that I wish I could install a shoot’em up like Ikaruga, so I was able to really take advantage of the verticality of the Ark in Cockpit mode. And if you want a huge new screen but don’t have much desk space, Samsung even includes a VESA wall mount in the box.

That said, starting at $3,500, the Odyssey Ark is a big financial commitment for anyone. But if none of the other monitors released this year are big enough for you, Samsung’s new flagship gaming monitor might just be the centerpiece your home battle station needs.

Pre-orders for the Odyssey Ark begin today, and when combined with booking discounts, potential customers can save up to $300 before the official sales launch in early September.

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